New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

The Visible Vagina
reviewer #1

The title of this show conjures up my excitement as a 10 year old on being taken to the Boston Science Museum and hoping to catch a glimpse of their much touted “Visible Woman.” Although the Visible Woman was a little more demur than desired, that’s not so with this show. Although, and I may be getting a little technical here, this show really should be called “Presenting Pudenda” rather than “Visible Vagina.” The stand-out exception to this however really is vaginal - Allyson Mitchell’s room-sized installation piece, “Hungry Purse: The Vagina Dentata in Late Capitalism.” Here we enter through a cave-like entry with pendulous overhangs into a red and pink room that can only be described as a pleasure dome. Shag carpeting, crocheted wall hangings and pillows, everything is soft, warm and fuzzy, you really want to get comfortable there. (I was a little too ashamed to ask if they rented it by the hour.) And it gave me new insights into all those afghans and pillow covers my grandmother made.

There are about 10 photographs included in this show (of about 50 items) all from well-known names, ranging from Cindy Sherman to Robert Mapplethorpe, Laurie Simmons and Gerald Malanga. There is a single picture by Beth B., “Untitled (#17 Jane (Pierced))” that loses it pungency by being isolated from the other images in that series. And the picture by Cindy Sherman is from her not totally convincing anatomical model series. I especially enjoyed the small photocollage by Jane Hammond.

Overall then the show was pleasant enough, and as I withdrew from the gallery I felt a great sense of well-being, although I must say that I soon found myself wanting to just roll over and go to sleep.

The Visible Vagina

David Nolan Gallery
527 W 29th St.
Chelsea         Map

212 925 6190

Thursday, January 28 to
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Hours: Tue-Fri, 10 to 6; Sat, 11 to 6