press release

Plural Possibilities & the Female Body

February 27, 2021 — May 09, 2021

Hannah Wilke, Kiki Smith, Rosemarie Trockel, Laura Letinsky, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Firelei Báez, Chakaia Booker, Ria Brodell, Helen Chadwick, Patty Chang, Liz Craft, Cherie Hiser, Graciela Iturbide, Lisa Kereszi, Suzanne McClelland, Susan Meiselas, Ana Mendieta, Zanele Muholi, Wangechi Mutu, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Catherine Opie, Penny Siopis, Christina Quarles, Mickalene Thomas, Brittney Leeanne Williams, Lisa Yuskavage.

This exhibition explores the gendered construction and deconstruction of the female body and its representation. Across painting, photography, and sculpture and a range of artistic strategies from abstraction to documentary, the exhibition aims to create a counterpoint to persistent myths and reductive ideas about femininity and gender norms. The artworks included wrestle with questions of power and self-possession in relation to pleasure, desire, and acts of looking, as well as challenge traditional Western conceptions of beauty and a fixed gender binary.

Plural Possibilities & the Female Body is presented as part of the Henry’s participation in the Feminist Art Coalition, a nation-wide initiative that seeks to generate cultural awareness about feminist thought, experience, and action. The exhibition locates the feminist pursuit of self-determination in solidarity with racial and sexual difference, and many works explore intersecting identities and interlocking forms of oppression. Together, the works on view serve as an invitation to reconsider the possibilities of the individual and collective female body when untethered from the limitations encoded within culture and society that attempt to narrowly define and contain it.

Works by over twenty artists from the Henry’s permanent collection and on loan from Seattle collectors will be on view, including works by Firelei Báez, Graciela Iturbide, Suszanne McClelland, Wangechi Mutu, Catherine Opie, Christina Quarles, and Kiki Smith.