Head to Toe
Impressing the Body

April 11 - June 5, 1999
Head to Toe

The human figure has been a ubiquitous subject throughout the history of art. But in the last three decades the body, as a site of gender and sexual politics and as a locus of identity, has been a particularly popular and charged subject. With so much attention focused on the human anatomy, it is not surprising that a number of contemporary artists make work not only about the body, but with the body. Why have so many artists chosen to use the body as both subject and medium? Doing so offers both a direct, unmediated way of producing art and provides an elemental link between artist and artwork. It is a means to explore and convey personal identity by literally and metaphorically integrating the self into the artwork. Some artists have even impressed or made marks with their most private body parts in an effort to challenge taboos and break down boundaries between public and private. The rise of performance art has also given artists freedom to use their bodies in inventive ways. For the majority of artists in Head to Toe, the physical act of making body-marks is a personal (or public) performance. They find--as our prehistoric ancestors must have found--that marking with the body affirms the self and proclaims, "I am."

Included in the exhibition are works by Vito Acconci, William Anastasi, Janine Antoni, Chuck Close, Charles Clough, Bruce Conner, Eduardo Difarnecio, Cheryl Donegan, Suzan Etkin, Antony Gormley, Nene Humphrey, Jasper Johns, Annette Lemieux, Richard Long, Andrew Lord, Claudia Matzko, Ana Mendieta, Larry Miller, Jennifer Monick, Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Tina Potter, Marc Quinn, Seth Rubin, Carolee Schneemann, Gary Scheider, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, Charles Spurrier, Not Vital, and Robert Wilson.


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