Laurence Miller Gallery is pleased to present BODY OF EVIDENCE, featuring over thirty photographs and works on paper largely drawn from a single Midwest collection. The exhibition explores a wide variety of interpretations and representations of the human body, from procreation to incarceration; from the factual to the fantastic; from humorous to tragic. The pictures, by more than twenty artists, fit into four major themes: Family, Evidence, Individuality, and Performance. Collectively, these diverse representations of the body powerfully intersect with contemporary politics, ethics, and cultural priorities.
Within the idea of family are Cindy Sherman’s self-portrait as a pregnant young woman, originally produced for a Planned Parenthood auction; Sophie Calle’s pair of gravestones, marked MOTHER and FATHER; Diane Arbus’ Jewish Giant, towering over his parents in their modest Bronx apartment; Darrel Ellis’ elusive manipulated portraits of his mother and father; Julie Mack’s portrait of her mother and two brothers on the living room sofa, the father curiously absent.
Merry Alpern’s voyeuristic views, captured through a distant window, reveal drug use and sex acts that could be offered as criminal evidence. In stark contrast is Taryn Simon’s Innocents Project, featuring William Gregory, wrongly convicted of murder and imprisoned for seven years for a crime he did not commit.
Perhaps it is our eyes that convey the most about our individual identity. Witness Bruce Wrighton’s life-size portrait of a glaring parking lot attendant; Clarence John Laughlin’s surreal portrait of a woman’s face merged into a mask; a very early pre-Film Stills Cindy Sherman self-portrait; and Kazuo Sumida’s close-up of a white-skinned Japanese gender-fluid cabaret entertainer.
Performance is a broad category, incorporating a Weegee snap shot of two Society women on their way to an opening at the Metropolitan Opera, confronted by a disheveled drunken woman hired by Weegee to provoke them; a group of Peter Moore documents of performances, including Robert Rauschenberg’s Pelican, in which a man on roller skates attempts to skate around a rink while bearing an open parachute on his back; and two portraits by Denis Darzacq from his series ACT (shorthand for action, actor and activist), in which he collaborated with young adults with bodies challenged by conditions such as Down's Syndrome or cerebral palsy, to enable them to express their own joy and exuberance for life.