In Residence: May 28 – Jul 22, 2019

Exhibition: Jul 18 – Sep 8, 2019

Activates Sculpture Schedule⁠

Narcissister’s sculptures will be activated by human presence on the following dates.
Saturday, July 27, 1-2 pm⁠
Saturday, August 10, 1-2 pm⁠
Saturday, August 24, 1-2 pm⁠
Saturday, September 7, 1-2 pm⁠

Conceived of in 2007, the Narcissister project combines the artist’s professional dance training, her work as a commercial artist, and her longstanding visual art study and practice. She is identified by her mask, merkin, and mixed-race body. The masks she dons are repurposed wig display forms designed in 1965 by female entrepreneur Verna Doran. Narcissister’s name and mask merge contradictions such as the shadow of narcissism, fetishized female beauty, the notion of sisterhood, and concerns beyond self. Her disguise distances her from the viewer and the consequent anonymity empowers bold gestures as a performer that are otherwise impossible.

Sexuality, gender, identity, and representation are ever-present in her works. In the collage and sculpture works installed here, she makes a pointed inquiry into the heady masculinity present in the canon of art history (in particular the early-to-mid Twentieth Century). The collages presented are from several bodies of work. The 2018 series Studies for Participatory Sculptures feature women or their body parts collaged onto, and sometimes into, images of works of art from prominent periods of art history including Modernism, Minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism.

The two bales of crushed aluminum cans from San Antonio’s Monterrey Metal make reference to the Minimalist cube featured in many of the collaged studies. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the bales will be activated by extra Narcissisters, as will The Face (Performing male facial features). Composed entirely of scrap metal also from Monterrey Metal, the face references monumental sculpture works by artists like Richard Serra and John Chamberlain, but Narcissister responds by making a work entirely activated by a female performer, rendering it static without the presence of a Narcissister. She wears a nose backpack and furry pants as the mustache and operates a pully system to animate the face. The collage from the Studies for Participatory Sculptures series, which inspired the sculpture, is on view nearby.

Her other collage series created at Artpace during her residency: Everyday Cubism, Dog Show, and Portrait Session, combine traditionally salacious imagery intended to titillate with fairly ordinary people, settings, or things. In each of her new series, she presents hybrid figures made of numerous female body parts in unexpected positions and in sometimes absurd, exaggerated configurations. One nude figure standing in an idyllic garden smiles cheerfully at the viewer while across the gallery, male dog handlers at competitions proudly show their “purebred” canine-woman hybrids hoping for, or even better, boasting a victory.

Whether humorous, provocative, grotesque, or subtle, Narcissister’s exhibition inquires into and upsets the normal understandings of power dynamics not just within the confines of identity and representation, but also fetishism and sexuality.

Download Gallery Notes PDF for Wimmin



New York, New York, USA

Narcissister is a Brooklyn-based artist and performer. Masked and merkin-ed, she works at the intersection of dance, art, and activism in a range of media including film, video art, and experimental music. She has presented work worldwide at festivals, nightclubs, museums, and galleries. She won “Best Use of a Sex Toy” at The Good Vibrations Erotic Film Festival, a Bessie Award nomination for the theatrical performance of Organ Player, Creative Capital and United States Artists Awards. Interested in troubling the popular entertainment and experimental art divide, she appeared on America’s Got Talent. Her first feature film Narcissister: Organ Player premiered at Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals 2018 and she recently completed the Sundance Theatre Lab for the creation of a new theatrical work with playwright Branden Jacobs Jenkins.
Photo courtesy of the artist

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Karina Aguilera Skvirsky

New York, New York, USA / Easton, Pennsylvania, USA

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, video and performance. Her work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo exhibitions. In 2015 she was awarded a Fulbright grant and a Jerome Foundation Grant to produce “The Perilous Journey of María Palacios,” a performance-based film that premiered in the 2016 Cuenca Biennale curated by Dan Cameron. In 2010 she participated in There is always a cup of sea for man to sail, the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), where she exhibited work from her project, Memories of Development.
Artist in Residence programs she has participated in include: Office Hours, at El museo del barrio, NY, NY; LMCC Workspace, NY, NY; MacDowell Residency, NH; Smackmellon, Brooklyn, NY and others.
Skvirsky is an Associate Professor of Art at Lafayette College, Easton, PA and an MFA faculty member at The New School, Parsons School of Design, NY, NY. She is represented by Ponce + Robles Gallery in Spain.

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