Susan Hefuna

Rhona Hoffman 40 Years Part 2:
Gender. Race. Identity.

Rhona Hoffman Gallery is pleased to present the second of three anniversary exhibitions, 40 Years Part 2, a group exhibit of artists working in a range of media who bring attention to global issues of the body, sexuality, feminism, marginalized communities, and racial identity.

It is easy to categorize people, cultures, and identities based on their differences, but the artists included in this exhibition poignantly ask the viewer to question the resulting alienation. These artists, starting in the 1970s and 1980s, examine society’s most critical issues of gender, race, and identity to inspire a transformative experience for the audience.

Artists Ghada Amer and Susan Hefuna explore female identity through a global perspective. Amer utilizes found sexual imagery in her ceramic sculptures and embroidered canvases to break free from culturally enforced sexual repression, while Hefuna’s painted wood sculptures inspired by Cairo’s mashrabiya screens take possession of architectural devices intended to keep women invisible. Mike Glier and Vito Acconci invert expected gendered representations. Glier’s painterly Men at Home series exposes a male figure executing domestic, stereotypically female tasks, while Acconci’s conceptual Conversions III, 1970-1971 depicts the artist in various stages of a performed gender transition.

Documenting the lives of transexual men in Juarez on the Mexican border, James Drake’s series Que Linda La Brisa (“How Lovely the Breeze”), provides a raw look into the lives of people who have had to live on the periphery as social outcasts. Zanele Muholi, on the other hand, captures her subjects in self-chosen, confident poses celebrating the diverse identities of the LGBTI community in South Africa.

Racial identity, a subject particularly pertinent in today’s socio-political landscape, is an ongoing interest in the gallery’s program. Historic works such as Untitled (guess who’s coming to dinner) by Lorna Simpson, The Kitchen Table series by Carrie Mae Weems, and Dawoud Bey’s The Birmingham Project, are flanked by recent works from currently represented artists including Derrick Adams, Deana Lawson, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn. These works coalesce to examine trauma, beauty, and the black body in diverse ways.

By uniting powerful works from a range of historic periods, media, and subject matter Rhona Hoffman, 40 Years Part 2 represents an ongoing commitment to supporting artists who share a common urgency for provoking conversation and inspiring social change.