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New Traditions in Beauty Queens

Senzeni Marasela & Louise McCagg

May 25, 2011 through June 19, 2011


Brooklyn, NY, May 2011 – A.I.R Gallery, in partnership with Alma on Dobbin and Axis Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of a collaboration between long time AIR artist Louise McCagg and South African artist Senzeni Marasela, which will be on view from May 25 through June 19, 2011.


This partnership started when mutual friends introduced McCagg and Marasela in 2008, discovering common interests on issues of identity and politics. In the exhibition, New Traditions in Beauty Queens, the artists’ duo is presenting an installation of dolls, a video projection and a series of interviews on Beauty Queens.


The exhibition will consist of a collection of dolls by Marasela and a series of doll-sculptures by McCagg. Marasela’s dolls are bought in stores around Johannesburg, her native city. The doll sculptures by McCagg are casts of Marasela’s face. Each doll carries McCagg’s signature form: shrunken head casts. The heads, hands and feet are made of Sculpey; The bodies and clothes are made of fabric. Both artists’ dolls installation will be part of Marasela’s performance that will take place in the gallery.


McCagg lives and works in New York City and has exhibited her work throughout the United States and internationally. Exhibitions have included The 2009 Venice Biennale, The Sculpture Center, (New York), and Sejong Arts Festival (Seoul). McCagg’s work has been acquired by major collections including Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, CT.; The New York Public Library Collection; Kresge Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan; Yale University Library, New Haven, CT.; Museum of Fine Art, Budapest, Hungary.


Senzeni Marasela is represented by Axis Gallery and has exhibited internationally. Her work is also currently on view in MoMA's "Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now" and in The Newark Museum's "Present Tense: Arts of Contemporary Africa." She is featured in "DARKROOM: South African Photography and New Media 1950-Present," organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, which closed earlier this month at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama. Marasela is interested in new readings of the identity of black women, their relationship to motherhood, and the entanglement of these issues with the creation of black dolls.


Marasela’s performance at A.I.R will take place during the opening night Thursday, May 26, & Saturday May 28th,

4-6 PM


A.I.R Gallery is located at 111 Front Street, #228, in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Gallery hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11AM to 6PM. For directions please see www.airgallery.org. For additional information, please contact Kat Griefen at A.I.R Gallery at 212-255-6651 or kgriefen@airgallery.org

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