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by Tyler Coburn.
Curated by Jeanne Gerrity
February 3 – March 11, 2017
Reception: Friday, February 3, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
620 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA
Two weeks after the largest demonstration in American history put women’s rights at the forefront of a national dialogue, Et al. presents a solo exhibition by New York-based Becca Albee that explores the relationship between color, therapy, and feminism in the twentieth century, including its problematic overlap with consumer culture.
prismataria is inspired by the Prismatarium, a WPA mural by Hilaire Hiler, located in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse in San Francisco. The Prismatarium is an immersive environment in a room originally built as a ladies lounge in 1939, its central component is a color wheel painted on a circular ceiling. In his proposal, Hiler wrote that “the fondness of the Fair Sex for colors is too well known to merit discussion.” For this exhibition, Albee recreates elements of the Prismatarium, including a rotating light fixture that was never realized, and adds her own photographs that relate to color therapy systems and radical feminist texts. With prismataria, Albee looks at the ways that women’s issues can infiltrate daily life.
At the Women’s March, pink pussy hats were seen as symbols of solidarity for many, but for others they were viewed as an essentialist throwback to the exclusionary white feminism of the 1970s. Color can be a means of uniting as a group, but it can also oversimplify complex issues. As we enter a new ere of feminism, in which intersectionality is key, Albee encourages us to take a critical look at traditional modes of feminist representation.
Becca Albee was born in Portland, ME and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a BA from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Albee was a founding member of the feminist punk rock band Excuse 17. Albee is a MacDowell fellow, a Yaddo fellow, and has participated in residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She has recently been included in solo and group exhibitions at Art in General, New York; CAM Raleigh; 356 S. Mission Rd., Los Angeles; CUE Foundation, New York; and Halsey McKay, East Hampton. Albee has also been featured in exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Ortega y Gasset Projects, Queens; KunstWerk Köln, Cologne; Contemporary Calgary, Alberta; The DUMP, Los Angeles; Apexart, New York; and Momenta Art, Brooklyn, among others.
Ed van der Elsken was a unique figure. The first true Dutch street photographer, he roamed cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo seeking out colourful personalities, head-turning young women and wayward youth. Ed van der Elsken both chronicled, and influenced, the Zeitgeist. In his work, he developed a bold, unconventional and personal style. Van der Elsken’s presence resonates throughout his work: he cared about making a personal connection with the people he photographed and, like a playful art director, often staged situations, too.
The oeuvre of Ed van der Elsken is mentioned in the same breath as those of legendary international photographers Robert Frank (1924, CH) and William Klein (1928, VS) and his legacy inspires contemporary artists such as Nan Goldin (1953, US) and Paulien Oltheten (1982, NL).
In 1956, the young Van der Elsken became an international sensation with Love on the Left Bank, a photographic novel inspired by his own life about a group of young bohemians leading an aimless life in post-war Paris. Van der Elsken recognised himself in their nihilistic view of the world but also maintained the detachment needed to capture them in pictures. The filmic structure of the book, with flashbacks and ever-changing viewpoints, hints at the filmmaker Van der Elsken would become.
– See more at: http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/exhibitions/ed-van-der-elsken-camera-in-love#sthash.PFjTlMVy.dpuf