Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Upcoming shows for Jenny Walton

Meat After Meat Joy art exhibit

Saturday, June 21, 2008 - Sunday, July 20, 2008
12:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Pierre Menard Gallery
10 Arrow Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Free and open to the public,
with an opening reception on Saturday, June 21, 6-9 pm.
Phone: (617) 868-2033

Age Suitability: 18 and up

Meat After Meat Joy brings together the work of 10 contemporary artists who use meat in their work.

Curated by Heide Hatry, Meat After Meat Joy investigates the paradoxical relationship meat has to the body. Meat combines flesh, skin, muscle, organs, blood — each with its own relationship to the body, yet meat's only reference to the body is as a once-upon-a-time living biological thing. By putting these artists together, Meat After Meat Joy seeks to investigate the uncanny effect meat as a medium is for artist and viewer. This is not a show about meat as spectacle but about meat as signification, precisely because meat does not signify (a body) but its very annihilation.

Skin is the body's largest organ and greatest protection. It is the body's most public point of vulnerability and private realm of pleasure. Flesh is associated with the body; it cannot be separated from the body except when it is torn, crucified, burned, flayed. Muscle and fat are anatomy, as well as the fit body, the football body, the anorectic body, the fat body.

Meat is the body without skin. It has no identity. Meat cannot have a mood, cannot feel, nor have an intention. It cannot die or even remember having been killed. It is not a metaphor but matter. Meat cannot have a soul. When a suicide bomber blows up a wedding, a funeral, a café creating sprawling mass of bloody, fleshy, skinless, blobs and chunks human beings and animal are turned into meat. In William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), when Cases's body is unhooked from the computer and no longer jacked into cyberspace, it becomes "meat". Meat has no notion of being-in-the-world.

And yet, an exhibition on meat seems like an obvious continuation of discussions of contemporary art and the body. Certainly in relation to feminism, meat has been an erotic and eschatological component of a liberatory, transgressive discourse of female sexuality and the body beginning with Carolee Schneemann's path-breaking 1964 Meat Joy. After Meat Joy, the female body was no longer the 'poulet" or chick but an erotic and political force of the laugh of the Medusa (Helene Cixous) — the writhing ecstatic female body freed from the constraints of patriarchal definition (meat is the indefinable flesh) that expresses an epistemology (Interior Scroll 1975) into ontology (the feminist movement). In Meat Joy, although controversial, raw meat — animal human — and the human body are at their most uncontested and merged, for meat is not the absence or the other the body but an act of reclamation and affirmation of all that patriarchy had previously "disemboweled" from the female body.

But what kind of commentary about being and the body is Zuang Huan's Meat Suit within the context of the body as meat of the suicide bomber? Both amusing and terrifying; beautiful and nauseating — Meat Suit is both super hero and carcass; literal description of the body as meat as well as explosive metaphor of the body as raw meat in the age of virtual reality and suicide bombing. Then again, what is Betty Hirst's crowned circumcised sushi penis asking of meat and the body in Penis. It calls up the penis of the female to male transsexual, a limb fashioned out of skin and muscle from other parts of the body. It signifies raw humor (literally skinning the phallus), and raw critique as it juxtaposes the skin of a body with the skinless shape, the act of sculpting and photographing, playing this skinless dick to the anonymous white skinned body on which it lays. But the body is never there in any of these interpretations – only the raw meat that has been carved(?) sewn(?) rolled(?) into this representation of the phallus which, for psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, was never the penis, but the Grand Signifier.

Besides the work of Schneemann (, Huan (, and Hirst (, Meat After Meat Joy also features work by the following artists:
Jana Sterback (
Tamara Kostianovsky (
Nezaket Ekici (
Dieter Roth (
Anthony Fisher (
David Raymond (
Jenny Walton (
Following the run at the Pierre Menard Gallery, Meat After Meat Joy will travel to Daneyal Mamood Gallery in New York City in the Fall of 2008.

Background information:

Curator Heide Hatry is a painter, sculptor, photographer and performance artist, who has also been trained as a printer, art historian and rare bookseller. She curated the exhibition entitled SKIN, in which she assembled work by seven woman artists, whose primary subject, and in some cases, medium, is skin. The show was mounted at the Heidelberger Kunstverein, the Goethe Institute in New York, and several commercial galleries. She also published the book Skin, several catalogs for artists including Carolee Schneemann and is currently working on a book about portraits, as well as completing the exhibition catalog for Meat After Meat Joy. She curated a show for Elga Wimmer Gallery in New York about body-related performance art, which will travel during 2008. For more information on Hatry, visit

The Pierre Menard Gallery was founded in 2006 by John Wronoski, proprietor of the well-known international rare book firm, Lame Duck Books (founded 1984). In its first year, the gallery mounted an exhausting 17 shows. The gallery's space allows for multiple simultaneous exhibitions. Among the artists exhibited have been Lucien Clergue, Jim Peters, Hiroyuki Hamada, Jan Saudek, Josef Sudek, Christian Bastian, Matt Weber, Gordon Wagner, Rikki Ducornet and Elena Urbaitis. Exhibition catalogs have been produced to accompany the majority of its shows, often with contributions by prominent authors, art historians and critics. Nathan Censullo is the gallery's director. Log onto for more details.