28 Oct

Might Be Good review of Hystrionics…

There is a figure in the history of the circus side-show who embodied the freak and the familiar and is often overlooked. Supposedly saved from a life of sexual slavery in the Harems of Turkish nobility by entrepreneurial showbiz men like P.T. Barnum, the Circassian beauties were said to be the most beautiful women in the world. With an exotic sounding name and hair teased high in an afro-like halo, the Circassian beauty’s alabaster skin reflected both a familiar and idealized beauty to bourgeois Victorian audiences as well as an otherized specter on which to lay their fantasies and sympathies.

Margaret Meehan digs deep into the registers of 19th century history for facts and mythologies to explore, explode and reassemble. Her work often investigates the quality of viewership, what it means to be a spectator—a gawker, a consumer of art and entertainment. In Hystrionics and the Forgotten Arm, on view at Women and Their Work, Meehan applies the metaphoric structure of the boxing ring to the tale of the Circassian beauty evoking a theater of structured violence by which exploitation and atrocity is made entertainment. Read More…

20 Oct

Austin 360: New Exhibit Examines Outsider Status

By Luke Quinton

There is something not right about the first picture. A model in a snow-white gown is staring straight at you, into the camera. It’s fairly serene. But she has a white beard, actually more of a mane, linking forehead to chest, as if she hopped out of Narnia to warn you about the nefarious queen.

But below, out of focus, you realize that she is also wearing white boxing gloves. This is where “The Pugilist” comes in. Read more…