Here in Seattle we’ve got a small controversy brewing over artist Ben Beres’ piece Mamelles. Originally slated for display at local art school, Cornish College Of The Arts, Ben’s piece was removed from a show on male artists due to the discomfort it caused some female employees at the school. Now, ad-hoc curator, Sierra Stinson, plans to show the work on November 18th at her one-night-only venue Vignettes.

Meanwhile, arts critic Jen Graves has written about the piece and its wake in the Stranger, a weekly paper. It’s a great article and rounds up a lot of the discussion.

Sierra sent invitations to the showing earlier today. Mamelles will be the only thing on display (and Ben). Hopefully, so will Ms. Graves and anyone else who’s interested in the piece. Ben’s said publicly he isn’t interested in discussing the piece, it’s impact, or his intentions, but if you feed anyone enough booze they’ll spill their secrets. Bring a bottle and offer to help him finish it.

I wrote back to Sierra upon receiving the invite and here’s my reply, “Just discussing this last night… It’s fantastic that you’re presenting this.
I love the complications of the piece and wonder how I would feel if it was names of black artists with images of gorilla heads above them. Being that a white guy did it, I might be no less upset even understanding the nature of the criticism evoked and knowing where it’s aimed.

And, we did all come from Africa.
And African ladies.

Love,
Pol Rosenthal, former African, never a lady, yet”

Here’s the piece for posterity’s sake:

Mamelles by Ben Beres

Mamelles by Ben Beres

 

Jen Graves, Ben Beres, Whatshertits, & Mamelles | 2012 | Criticism, Thought