The Frye Art Museum is pleased to announce Tschabalala Self, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Opening simultaneously is the US west coast debut of the collective Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian, as well as an immersive installation by Seattle-based dance artist Jody Kuehner featuring daily performances by her drag-clown alter-ego Cherdonna Shinatra and dance company DONNA.
Tschabalala Self’s work examines the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality, focusing particularly on the iconographic significance of the black female body in contemporary culture. Self creates exuberant, multilayered personalities—not depictions of herself or others, but “avatars”—that celebrate complexities of black life that are often obscured in the American imagination by stereotypes. The artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Tschabalala Self brings together figurative works in painting, sculpture, and video, populating the gallery with characters from across her budding career. The exaggerated physical attributes of Self’s figures reflect her own experiences and entrenched cultural attitudes toward race and gender. Through owning and amplifying these traits, her unruly subjects disrupt expectations, declaring their agency and physical autonomy. Seen leaping, coupling, and contorting their bodies according to their own desires, Self’s avatars assert that ordinary pleasures can also be acts of defiance.
Organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by Amanda Donnan. Generous support is provided by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, ArtsFund, and Phillips
The Rain Doesn’t Know Friends From Foes: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian
Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian work collectively to create installations and stop-motion animations that transform found materials in order to critically examine contemporary history-in-the-making. The Dubai-based artists’ animations are composed
Organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by Amanda Donnan.
Cherdonna Shinatra: DITCH
Seattle-based dance artist Jody Kuehner skewers social and cultural norms of gender and sexuality through her persona and alter ego Cherdonna Shinatra. Combining contemporary dance, drag, clowning, and the lineages of feminist and queer performance, Cherdonna defies categorization to dismantle the patriarchy and seek more liberated ways of being. DITCHtakes the form of a wildly colorful, multisensory environment that purposefully rejects the traditionally “neutral” white-walled gallery. Acknowledging the museum as a space historically dominated by men, DITCH is instead a matriarchal domain, presided over by MomDonna, a larger-than-life disembodied sculpture in a state of ruin that births the performers—Cherdonna and members of her dance company DONNA—each day. Over the course of eighty performances, Cherdonna and her six companions will seek to counteract the drudgery and turmoil of modern life by unapologetically inhabiting their femme selves, indulging in a quest for retribution and visibility in this trash fire of a world.
Organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by David Strand, head of exhibitions and publications. Generous support is provided by Vulcan, Inc., the Robert Chinn Foundation, and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.