This exhibition presents new commissioned works by sculptor and performance artist Doreen Lynette Garner.
Doreen Lynette Garner, Purge, 2017. Performance: Pioneer Works, Brooklyn. Courtesy of the artist, JTT, New York, and Pioneer Works, Brooklyn. Photo: Lexie Moreland
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The New Museum will premiere a solo presentation of new works by Doreen Lynette Garner (b. 1986, Philadelphia, PA), whose sculptural and performance practice examines the suppressed histories of medical experimentation, malpractice, and exploitation enacted upon Black people. Deploying the slippage between the beautiful and the grotesque, Garner’s intricate sculptures—often comprised of silicone, insulation foam, glass, beads, crystals, pearls, synthetic hair, and other materials—uncannily evoke corporeal flesh, organs, and wounds. While Black women remain at the center of her practice, Garner has recently shifted her focus to rendering white flesh to reflect on the damage inflicted by colonial and imperialist logics, including in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Whereas past projects have centered on the visceral confrontation of trauma, this body of work will focus on the notion of ancestral revenge, imagining ways to act out a ritualistic catharsis of the enduring forms of violence her work exposes. Garner’s works for the exhibition will build on her ongoing research into the inhumane practices of J. Marion Sims, an early-nineteenth-century physician once regarded as the “father of modern gynecology,” who conducted recurrent surgical operations without anesthesia on at least ten enslaved Black women, including Betsey Harris, Lucy Zimmerman, and Anarcha Wescott. This new project interrogates the allure and abuse of power, the politics of redress (a multifaceted approach to reparations), and considers the reclamation of torture as a mode of restitution.
“Doreen Lynette Garner: REVOLTED” is curated by Vivian Crockett, Curator, New Museum.