and, Jem. we’re all atwitter about Jem.
seriously, y’all, sophie campbell, kelly thompson, and sara richard are making all of my childhood queer headcanons come to life, and i’m so excited.
and, i adore that all of the women look unique and there are different body-types–including round little peoples like me!–and women of color and queer women of color, and I CANNOT CONTAIN MY SQUEE.
it comes out in time for my birthday, y’all.
some of it has been moving into my new studio at the ARTgarage because that requires a lot of work and preparation, and some of it has been being just epically under the weather.
i did, however, get to play with some really cool art when i went to set up my studio this week.
but, steve bowles work hasn’t been the only neat work i’ve seen recently, and usually, i’ve been writing up what i’ve been seeing for The Rainbow Hub. for whatever reason, one of my reviews didn’t get put up? (it probably got lost in the shuffle; that happens sometimes.) but, the work was really neat, so i’m going to put it up here so that y’all can read/see it.
the show isn’t up anymore, but there are some neat images included.
The Concept’s The Thing: April Beiswenger’s ‘In Nothing am I Chang’d/But in my Garments’ Show
Now, here’s the thing—I’m a Shakespeare wonk. I have a degree in it around here somewhere, so when I saw the title of April Beiswenger’s In Nothing am I Chang’d/But in my Garments show, there was a niggling in the back of my head.
Because this is a line from Act V, Scene VI of King Lear where Edgar, ever the faithful and dutiful son, is leading his now-blind father Gloucester up a hill and Gloucester notes that Edgar (who he doesn’t know is Edgar) sounds more well-spoken than he had before.
Edgar’s response? “You’re much deceived: in nothing am I changed/But in my garments.”
The point being that Edgar is Edgar is Edgar no matter who or what anyone thinks he is, no matter what slanders are slung in Edgar’s direction.
And, that concept carries over into Beiswenger’s exhibit of wearable-not-wearable art pieces that have the feeling of theatrical costumes, which is only fair given the name of the show and that Beiswenger is a Theatre professor.
Which makes me punch-pleased.
Yet Beiswenger’s pieces aren’t just theatre. No, they’re highly conceptual pieces (with a couple of incredibly smart visual puns at play) that discuss and dissect notions of personhood and personality and come down firmly on the side of you are who you are no matter how that person is dressed up.
And, as much as that thought is one that’s seductive to all of us—that there’s some inner core of personality that’s just you—it does overlook that we all exist within a specific context and that context influences who and what we become.
Would Edgar still be Edgar if he had been born a bastard rather than Edmund?
Would Edgar still have been ever-loyal and ever-true if Gloucester hadn’t loved him so completely?
It’s a complicated conversation, and those answers—difficult though they are—are present in Beiswenger’s pieces.
However, if you’re not familiar with the Shakespearean context of Beiswenger’s work, there’s still the construction of the pieces and the idea that identities can be costumes too as well as all the puns.
Seriously, Beiswenger mosaic-ed one of the dress-forms with broken pieces of china and then dressed it in an outfit made of bubblewrap. Tell me that isn’t hysterical.
And, a dress that looks like your gran’s best faux fur coat (replete with fuzzy collar) with bits of antler that’s then covered in the same sort of thick, clear plastic that all of our grandparents used to cover their furniture in? Is priceless.
It’s like Eddie Izzard’s “I am a gran; I never die.” song was crossbred with Hannibal’s murder-suit but made for that self-same gran.
Beiswenger’s show is funny and fanciful, serious and studious and matches art to Shakespeare to mixed media assemblage wearable art.
It really doesn’t get better than this for me.
Beiswenger’s show will be up until February 20th in the Bush Art Center at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin.
Really, take some time and go see these not-dresses. You’re gonna like them.
so, yeah, i’m a little miffed it didn’t get published, but i’m sure there were reasons and Reasons and things.
also, i haven’t posted my most recent unboxing for y’all to see. i have been quite the fail recently.
okay, i need to get my things together to go see chappie.