Making Trouble for Gender

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One of our requirements in the ICP-Bard MFA is an internship at an arts organization. Last November, I started mine at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. I am working in the collections department and am specifically helping them with the photography collection. It is a small museum so it is very hands on and I am getting exposed to a variety of things.

The last exhibit was on the classical nude and had an eclectic range of pieces in the show. There was a video in the show by a Canadian artist, Heather Cassils, who I had heard of but didn’t know too much about her work. The piece in the show was called Hard Times and I found it pretty mesmerizing.

She has an extensive website and you can get a full sense of her practice there. It includes videos and a good amount of text about her projects. I am really interested in how she is using her body and her own acts of transformation to challenge essentialist ideas of gender. Her work turns the notion of the authentically gendered body on it head.

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