NEW YORK, NY (September 1, 1999)-Picturing the Modern Amazon, the first
museum exhibition devoted to the hyper-muscular woman as represented by
the female bodybuilder, will open at the New Museum of Contemporary Art
in New York City on March 30, 2000 and will remain on display through
July 2, 2000. Much of the art that will be included in the exhibition
was created expressly for the project, and features bodybuilders who
posed for contemporary artists.
The exhibition will include paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, sculptures, comic books, and installations by over sixty artists. Participating artists include:
Matthew Barney, Judy Chicago, Louise Bourgeois, Reneé Cox, Bill Dobbins,
Nicole Eisenman, Jane Hammond, Oliver Herring, Annie Leibovitz, Alfred
Leslie, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meiselas, Sarah Van Ouwerkerk, Herb
Ritts, Alison Saar, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Nancy Spero, Marnie
Weber, Eli Xyr, Barbara Zucker, and many others.
The exhibition consists of three separate sections: historical images,
contemporary works, and comics. The historical component includes over
150 images of women in physical culture, the earliest of which dates to
1783, and encompasses documentation on modern women's bodybuilding from
the 1970s to the present. Steve Wennerstrom, Jan Todd and David Chapman
served as project historical consultants. Over forty artists are included in the contemporary section.
In the third section, comic strips, comic books, and unique art works that focus on muscular female characters and superheroes represent a half-century of work from comic illustrators and artists. They include Jennifer Camper, Robert Crumb,
Diane DiMassa, Roberta Gregory, John Howard, and Turtel Onli. The exhibition is organized by Laurie Fierstein, a bodybuilder and social activist, Joanna Frueh, an art historian, art critic, and performance artist, and Judith Stein, a curator and critic.
Women Bodybuilders to "Pose and Perform"
On Friday evening, March 31, 2000, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the New Museum will present Posing and Performing, a live physique exhibition of a dozen women bodybuilders. A discussion series on the topic will also take place in tandem with the exhibition.
NYC High School Students to Get Involved Through Visual Knowledge Program
The New Museum's Visible Knowledge Program (VKP) pairs teachers in New York City high schools with artists in collaborations that expand curricula in the humanities, sciences, and arts. This year, VKP classes will concentrate on issues surrounding the idea of the hyper-muscular woman, and will tie into the Picturing the Modern Amazon exhibition. Lesson plans from Picturing the Modern Amazon VKP projects and other VKP projects will be available on the VKP web site, www.vkp.org.
Full-Length Book Published in Conjunction with Picturing the Modern Amazon
A fully illustrated book accompanying the exhibition contains interviews
with five female bodybuilders including the legendary Bev Francis;
six-time Ms. Olympia, Lenda Murray; bodybuilding pioneer of the 1940s &
50s, Abbye "Pudgy"Stockton; British IFBB pro, Andrulla Blanchette, and
California amateur, René Toney. It will be published by Rizzoli
International, Inc. in March 2000. Laurie Fierstein, Judith Stein and
Joanna Frueh, the co-curators of the exhibition, co-edited the book, and
each contributed an essay. The book will address the history of
bodybuilding, the aesthetics of the body, muscularity as a manifestation
of female power, and related subjects. Other contributing writers
include Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Cunningham, historians
Steve Wennerstrom, Jan Todd and Pierre Samuel, long-time strength and
physical culture sage Al Thomas, Belgian bodybuilder Nathalie Gassel,
scholars Carla Williams and Leslie Heywood, New Museum founder Marcia
Tucker, and art historian Irving Lavin. It will be available in the New
Judith Stein is an art historian, art critic, and curator. As curator
of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1981-1994, she organized
over eighty exhibitions of contemporary art for the Academy's Morris
Gallery, as well as the touring show I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace
Pippin. Her writing frequently appears in national art journals, and
she was a contributor to The Power of Feminist Art (1994). She is
co-president of the International Art Critics Association (AICA),
Laurie Fierstein, a bodybuilder and social activist, is a central figure
today in pioneering creative expression for and new discourse about
muscular women. In 1992, she wrote Bodybuilding and the Female
Physique, a paper discussing the muscular female's complex social
position. Fierstein, Picturing the Modern Amazon project creator,
produced the watershed performances of female bodybuilders and strength
athletes, Celebration of the Most Awesome Female Muscle in the World
(1993), and Evolution F: A Surreal Spectacle of Female Muscle (1995).
Joanna Frueh is an art historian, art critic, and performance artist who
has written extensively on the female body and contemporary art.
Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love (2000), her most recent book,
explores many subjects, one of which is female bodybuilding. She is
also the author of Erotic Faculties (1996) and Hannah Wilke: A
Retrospective (1989), and is a co-editor of New Feminist Criticism: Art,
Identity, Action (1994), and Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology
(1988). She is Professor of Art History at the University of Nevada,
Picturing the Modern Amazon is supported by a generous grant from the
Peter Norton Family Foundation.
The Visible Knowledge Program is made possible by generous grants from
the Albert A. List Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts,
and Consolidated Edison. Additional support is provided by the William
Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for the Visible Knowledge Program. Teacher
training programs are made possible by The Chase Manhattan Teachers
Workshop Fund at the New Museum.
The Visible Knowledge Web Site, www.vkp.org is supported by generous
grants from the Albert A. List Foundation and the National Endowment for
the Arts to provide educators and students nationwide with the curricula
and teaching methods of the New Museum's high school outreach program.
New Museum Information
Location 583 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
(between Houston and Prince Streets in
Hours Wednesday and Sunday: noon - 6:00 pm
Thursday through Saturday: noon - 8:00 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Admission Free to members
Visitors 18 and under free
Thursday 6:00 - 8:00 pm free
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The New Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibitions are made possible by
the Director's Council and members of the New Museum. The New Museum of
Contemporary Art receives general operating support from the New York
City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts,
and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.