“Soft and Wet” Exhibition

EFA Project Space

poster for “Soft and Wet” Exhibition
[Image: Ana Mendieta "Corazón de Roca con Sangre" (1975) Super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, color, silent. Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co. Soft And Wet]

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Curated by Sadia Shirazi

EFA Project Space presents Soft and Wet, curated by Sadia Shirazi. The exhibition features works by Arooj Aftab, Beverly Buchanan, Crystal Z Campbell, Caroline Key, Ana Mendieta, Andy Robert, Julie Tolentino, Zarina, and Constantina Zavitsanos.

The exhibition cites Prince’s 1978 single, “Soft and Wet” and Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States, which was co-curated by Ana Mendieta, Kazuko Miyamoto, and Zarina at A.I.R. Gallery in 1980. These citations serve as reference points to help us locate fleshy, formalist impulses in the practices of contemporary artists that echo those of artists from the 1970s. Working through sound, vision, vibration, touch, and breath, the artists in Soft and Wet activate multi-sensory responses that move beyond the linguistic registers of a singular voice and questions of individuated agency dominating discourses of representational art. The artists turn their formalism towards questions of flesh, fugitivity, and consent in relation to the nation-state, neoliberal capitalism, and the medical-industrial complex, while stretching formalism beyond the assumption of hegemonic subjects as the sole inheritors of its legacy. The works in this show are experiments in, and explorations of, what it means “to consent not to be a single being” as Édouard Glissant writes. The artists in Soft and Wet think with and through one another, invoking the artist whose song gives the exhibition its title, to feel out the contours of other ways of being in relation. They join him in saying—We’d be so lost, in our mouths, the best, I feel it everyday (every way).

Related Events
Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 5–8 pm – Curatorial walkthrough and opening reception (walkthrough at 5 pm sharp)

Saturday, October 19, 2019, 5 pm – Lecture Performance by Crystal Z Campbell, followed by a conversation with Caroline Key, Sadia Shirazi, and guest speaker.

Friday, November 15, 2019, 5 pm – Publication launch. Writers of commissioned texts will read excerpts from their writing, alongside readings of selected passages by artists included in the catalogue of Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States from 1980, followed by a conversation.



from September 18, 2019 to November 16, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-09-18 from 17:00 to 20:00

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