Beauty Contest

Austrian Cultural Forum New York and MUSA Vienna (Collection of Contemporary Art of the Department for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna)
21/09/11 till 03/01/12

Artists under consideration: Clarina BEZZOLA, Petra BUCHEGGER, Mehmet EMIR, Leslie DE MELO, Sissi FARASSAT, Matthias HERRMANN, Anna JERMOLAEWA, Birgit JÜRGENSSEN, Jakob Lena KNEBL, Evangelia KRANIOTI/Victor DZENK, Maria LASSNIG, Kalup LINZY, MUNTEAN/ROSENBLUM, Lisl PONGER, Rashaad NEWSOME, Maria PETSCHNIG, Katarina SCHMIDL, Cindy SHERMAN

This exhibition presents artists exploring what is probably one of the most trivial everyday experiences: our daily encounter with human beauty and its social construction. A perennial subject going back to ancient Greek philosophers’ writings, the creation of beauty has been always been linked to power and gender, to distinction and competition, to rejection and desire, and to linearity and diversity.

Visual arts, fashion and media have strongly contributed to the transformation of the notion of beauty over the last few generations. Widely perceived to be an extension of femininity until the late 20th century, feminism and the gay, lesbian and queer movements have eroded clear definitions of who and what is beautiful – and who and what is not. This sea change took place in an age where the notion of gender itself has been challenged and transformed. mehr

Emancipatory artistic reflection and practice has fought to reveal the hidden structures of repression toward gender, race, and age and to shake off antiquated visual preconceptions. Yet we still seem to be caught in a vicious cycle of competition for social status, visual representation and an industrially managed and mainstreamed esthetical canon.

Curators Berthold Ecker, Claude Grunitzky and Andreas Stadler

Back to top