Three Shows on the Lower East Side Expand the Dialogue on Femininity
Three current shows on the Lower East Side in New York City ( each with a female artist at the helm) offer refreshing interpretations on the notion of 'femininity' and initiate a curious conversation of 'female identity' in the 21st century. Laurie Simmons' photography exhibit at Salon 94 Bowery takes you on a fetishistic route with 'Kigurumi, Dollers, and How We See'. Simmons departs from her lifelike latex dolls and staged domestic settings, to now working with human subjects who don costumes and role play. This performance art of costume play or 'cosplay' is set within the Japanese fetish subculture of 'Kigurumi', which involves participants embracing characters and interacting as a community. These 'Dollers' or 'Kiggers' play out their characters in public, often swapping genders- with men dressed as female 'Dollers' and women dressed as male 'Kiggers'- ultimately these individuals feel very connected to their alternate personas. In Krista Kristalova's exhibit at Lehmann Maupin, the artist's whimsical ceramic sculptures transport you to land of nymphs, fairies, and pure fantasy. The women in her fantastical world are human/animal hybrid creatures who embrace an intimate relationship with nature. The Czech-born and Sweden-based Kristalova also just recently showed at Galerie Perrotin. Lastly, in the group show 'Double Blind' at Garis & Hahn, Andrea Mary Marshall offers up drawings in the form of highly stylized, vampy self-portraits. Marshall's overall aesthetic is an intriguing mix of androgyny, dark beauty, and unapologetic female empowerment.