While walking through “Seductive Subversion,” the Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibition on female Pop artists between 1958 – 1968, I was interrupted by a family of tourists who burst into the gallery and made a beeline for “Accumulation, No. 1,” a soft sculpture piece by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama featuring a white armchair covered with fabric phalluses. As I looked on, the family, children included, began fondling the chair until the security guard yelled at them to stop. They did, and I went back to Kay Kurt’s photorealistic painting of a candy box.
In the 1960s, Hannah Wilke caught the attention of the New York art scene and shocked the public with her frank and sexual sculptures, which forced viewers to confront the body as a site of pleasure and eroticism, death and decay. Wilke is now best known for her “vulva sculptures,” (a body of work readers can explore on their own) but in all of the media that she worked in — drawing, photography, performance, and perhaps most famously, chewing gum — Wilke offered up the naked body as a challenge, directing the shame that’s often associated with it toward the embarrassed spectator.
In honor of the Argentine bicentennial, and the country’s position as guest of honor at the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair, the Jewish Museum Berlin has turned over several of its rooms to “Jewish Life in Argentina,” a special exhibition that functions as a living archive of the community’s 150-year-old history, as well as a quiet acknowledgment of Germany’s involvement in it.
The debut screening last week of Jennifer Callahan’s hour-long documentary “The Bungalows of Rockaway” at the Museum of the City of New York opened with an informal poll: How many people in the audience either grew up in, or owned a home in the Rockaways? About a third of the crowd raised their hands, and before long, there was little doubt about where they were sitting. During the screening, Rockaway loyalists cheered at references to local history and folklore, and mentions of less savory elements — namely the villainous Robert Moses and Breezy Point, a gated community on the southern tip of the peninsula — elicited boos.