New York City, NY
While Carol Rama (1918-2006) has been largely overlooked in contemporary art discourses, her work has proven prescient and influential for many artists working today, attaining cult status and attracting renewed interest in recent years. Rama’s exhibition at the New Museum will bring together over one hundred of her paintings, objects, and works on paper, highlighting her consistent fascination with the representation of the body. Seen together, these works present a rare opportunity to examine the ways in which Rama’s fantastical anatomies opposed the political ideology of her time and continue to speak to ideas of desire, sacrifice, repression, and liberation.
“Carol Rama: Antibodies” celebrates the independence and eccentricity of this legendary artist whose work spanned half a century of contemporary art history and anticipated debates on sexuality, gender, and representation. Encompassing her entire career, the exhibition traces the development from her early erotic, harrowing depictions of “bodies without organs” through later works that invoke innards, fluids, and limbs—a miniature theater of cruelty in which metaphors of contagion and madness counteract every accepted norm.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, The Passion According to Carol Rama aims not only to explore the art of Carol Rama, but also to challenge the dominant narratives of art history through work that requires us to undo narratives and reformulate concepts. Almost forgotten by art history and the feminist movement, the work of Rama, stretching over seven decades, constitutes an anti-archive allowing a reconstruction of the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Through a selection of 120 works--mostly paintings--and essays by Paul B. Preciado, Anne Dressen and Teresa Grandas, in addition to the contributions of a selection of artists, writers and musicians, this clothbound volume proposes an attempt to recognize and restore a life's work--one markedly feminine and sexualized--still unknown but nevertheless slated to become classic.