The Red Wedding
Lise Haller Baggesen
Fatemeh Kazemi and Yasmina Hashemi
Barbara T. Smith
Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle
Curated by Matt Morris
May 8 – July 3, 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 8, 12pm–6pm
Limit of eight people in gallery at a time
masks required, hand sanitizer provided
Courtyard will be open for overflow
4148 N. Elston Ave. Chicago, IL 60618
Gallery hours are Wednesday–Saturday, 12pm–4pm.
The Red Wedding marks the nuptials between the department store and the boudoir. Grand spaces of commerce are annexed with the softening of inner sanctums, are slinking spectrally toward obsolescence, are spreading out beside Benjamin’s arcades and his dandies. Here there be psychological corridors in which the feminine is practiced, maintained, regulated. Ancillary spaces occur: an adolescent bedroom, perhaps a closet, a wedding with no groom, the transactional zones of the art and cultural marketplaces. The works assembled throb with curiosity over the ways that identity has been produced as an effect of capital and exchange. Vestiges of gender conventions and the unstable ways they have been historically mapped across the category of Womxn, lounge and languish around this public toilette. In no particular order: evening gloves, effusive perfumes, bonbon wrappers, flower bouquets, millinery, magazines, twirling ribbon, an electric vibrator, dressing gowns, gowns, protest signs, false lashes, wives’ tales, blouses. Perhaps blouses most of all.
The Red Wedding is an exhibition on its period. It’s the Scarlet Witch. It’s a means by which we might m/other ourselves. It’s a beauty routine imitative of flushed desire. Under its auspices, the erotic as power and the valences of flirtation, fetish, sex education, feminist consciousness raising, drag, camp, queerness, and kink are arrayed as a brave if not sometimes unsteady politics. decoration / identity / storage
The Red Wedding is a gathering of Liptick Formalists, agony aunts, Aunt Flo, former lovers of mine, faggots, frippery, adolescence reminiscence, beauticians and the beasts that dwell herein, former students of mine, Instagram crushes, analysts, the artists at the center of my twin sibling’s dissertation, the artists who produce the podcasts I listen to, the artists who produce the perfumes I wear.
The title of The Red Wedding is drawn from two simultaneous sources: first is the series of novels and HBO TV show Game of Thrones. It’s not a property I’m very familiar with, but I remember how evocative that bit of phrasing was when it circulated through pop culture. The Red Wedding was also the title for the first year of ecosexual artists Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle’s Love Art Laboratory project to which we extend an indebted wink and nod. When I was still a young witch in training, among my earliest memories of attending exhibition openings or anything in any sort of “art world” were the annual Venus Envy shows in Baton Rouge, a satellite project for those developed by Mallarie Zimmer in Saint Louis; The Red Wedding is modeled after the future-oriented feminism that was demonstrated for me in those spaces.