On June 17, the Weatherspoon Museum added more pieces to their “Red Hot and Newly Acquired” collection. This collection seeks to provide new and contemporary forms of art that a young college audience might able to relate to easily. These new additions range from sculptures to drawings to multi-media displays. Most of the pieces in this new collection have an afro-feminist vibe, focusing on the female power and culture of African Americans, but also some pieces highlight the contemporary style of art and challenge the human perspective. This collection includes all the happenings of the modern life we live in — feminism, media culture, science, and more.
In this exhibit, there is one very realistic looking sculpture of two boys, one playing a Game Boy Advance while the other looking over his shoulder. One could mistake them for real boys if it were not for the metal rope surrounding them and their obvious stillness. This sculpture, created by Patricia Piccinini, is entitled “Game Boys Advanced,” and uses silicone and actual human hair and clothes. It explores the advancement of media culture and the responsibilities of our media-centered life we have created. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that the boy’s faces are aging. Their bodies are young but their faces have blemishes and wrinkles. This is done in reference to the scientific creation of Dolly, the cloned sheep that aged quickly and died young. This sculpture addresses the controversy associated with cloning and stem cell research. The artist even names the boys, Ollie and Solly, making the piece even more personal. This sculpture is a literal in-your-face representation of our need to scientifically advance as a species and also asks one question: have we gone too far in our scientific developments?
Another piece in the exhibit, a drawing by Ruby Osorio, shows three images in a row that gradually grow in size from right to left. It resembles those pictures in science books that show the gradual growth of a fetus in the womb. The images are of red sacks with pink meaty blobs inside that would not resemble anything human except for it having small hands and feet attached to the piece. For this reason, when first looking at it, one could assume this is about the ever-growing controversy over reproductive rights. The description next to the drawing does not hint whatsoever at any of this, but instead describes the complexity to which the artist can both mask and reveal personal, social, and cultural assumptions. At first look at this drawing, one will make an assumption and then after reading the description, take a step back and question that assumption.
One particular feminist piece in this collection entitled, “Red Robe Rectangle,” demonstrates the apparent tension between feminism and formalism. The giant red velvet robe displayed is a direct contradiction to female domesticity. It shows the extravagance and power of the female dress and symbolizes that femininity is something to be reckoned with. This artist is often known for her voluminous dresses that drape from the wall to floor. This piece catches the eye of the audience, while also instilling confidence in women. The robe represents a regal power and makes one want to look down on their kingdom from the castle balcony. This image makes one think there is no tension between femininity and formality but that both can exist simultaneously.
This exhibit has many interesting pieces that cater to a modern audience and inspire deep thinking. The exhibit will be at the Weatherspoon through October 15, so there is plenty of time to go and check it out.