Strange Genitals: New York’s Contentious Art Exhibit

A vegetable that resembles the shape of male genitalia. A person's hand is shown snipping it with scissors.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“Genitalia is weird, and it should be fun.” That’s the mission statement from the exhibit “Strange Genitals.”

“Strange Genitals” is a group effort curated by Art F City (Paddy Johnson) and Michael Anthony Farley this autumn. With contributions from 14 artists, the show is meant to shine a light on how so-called private parts are increasingly the subject of public news, in contexts ranging from abortion to transgender rights and education. The curators want to highlight that genitals do not simply fit into two neat boxes, and their artists have certainly broken out of those.

There’s no one category that all of the artworks could be put into. There are sculptures, paintings, digital art. Realistic and obscurely abstract. Celebrating and degrading.

Of particular note are Sejong Cho’s series of acrylic paintings, featuring breasts and vaginas as fertile land-masses in a brilliant blue sea, with cloudscapes and greenery illustrating the sense of scale. Also to be enjoyed are Cupid Ojala’s “Secret Room Series,” a set of photographs featuring a nude man keeping company with dozens of varicolored sculpted balls and penises, sometimes holding them fondly.

Some of the art is a little further away from pleasant scenery. In Carole King’s illustrations, disembodied breasts and penises take on lives of their own, in occasional gory fashion. “Monolith-Variation no. 11319” is a towering monster of a phallus, covered in painted sand and as tall as a man.

On the digital side, a series of gifs by artist Jonathon Monaghan reduce genitals and their purposes to mechanical actions, featuring futuristic machines in white and gray with flashing lights performing those actionspenetrating, suckling, pulsing.

All in all, the collection is definitely of the conversational type of exhibition. It’s meant to serve as a set of talking points, around which to begin discourse. The show is located at 20 Jay Street, Suite M10, in Brooklyn, and runs until November 19th.

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