SCARECROW, Exhibitionism, Ritual, & Theatricality
Cooley Gallery, Reed College Library (3203 SW Woodstock Blvd.)
Daniel Spoerri, Lynda Benglis, Robert Rauschenberg,
Andy Warhol, Mary Bauermeister, Sol LeWitt
Works of Art from the Reed College Art Collection
April 6 – June 9, 2010
12-5 Tuesday through Sunday. Free.

Have you ever seen footage of footage of Robert Rauschenberg performing Pelican (1963), the dance on roller skates he choreographed for Judson Dance? Apparently no one’s ever seen photos of Daniel Spoerri’s infamous, destructive, 1975 dinner at the Eliane Ganz Gallery in San Francisco that Cooley Gallery curator Stephanie Snyder writes about for Arcade. Round the exhibition out with Lynda Benglis’ provocative 1974 Artforum ad, her video The Amazing Bow Wow (1976) about a hermaphroditic dog, works by Mary Bauermeister, Sol LeWitt, and a hundred or so Polaroids by Andy Warhol (donated to the Reed College Art Collection by the Andy Warhol Foundation through the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program) and you have SCARECROW, Exhibitionism, Ritual, & Theatricality, the new exhibition of works from the Reed College Art Collection opening at the Cooley Gallery with a reception tonight, Friday, April 9, 6:00 PM.

Snyder contextualizes the works this way:

SCARECROW considers artists’ explorations of the human body—and its functions—in visual narratives and performance situations that reorder and transgress physical and social conventions. SCARECROW seeks to locate and consider the “ever unfinished, ever creating body” in works of art by a group of seminal American and European artists that came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, during periods of feverish artistic experimentation and upheaval.

The artists in SCARECROW represent, cloak, replace, and stress both their own bodies and the bodies of others, in ways that are as inspiring as they are strange, uncomfortable and sometimes, disturbing. The exhibition seeks to revisit and reconsider works historicized as grotesque and voyeuristic as inspired agents of social antagonism and subjective liberation. The exhibition presents recently acquired and rarely seen works from the Reed College Art Collection that embrace ritualistic, theatrical, and exhibitionistic modes of art making that exceed and animate the representational body — through action, transformation, myth, and taboo.

SCARECROW is inspired, in part, by the writings of Russian philosopher, literary critic, and semiotician Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin (1895-1975). Bakhtin’s seminal work on the grotesque, theorized the body in relationship to internal and external stresses that penetrate and transform the self.