Writings about California, Art and Parenting

Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel @ The Hammer Museum

I used to think gender was everything; the lense through which all else must be viewed. Got a problem? Put on your gender inspectors and poof, the solution, once hidden behind culture’s murky gender norms, would be revealed. But since Hilary Clinton’s loss (could we hate anything more than a woman who seeks power?), and Caitlin Jenner’s rise (not her personal story and strength but the media’s strange infatuation with it) — and to be honest, probably quite a long while before that – I’d come to think maybe I’d lost touch with the meaning of the word. Leave it to the next generation, I thought, who, at best, see gender as an intensely personal and political choice and, at worst, see it as invisible. But artist Sarah Lucas took no such defeat. Using the typical tools of contemporary art, she does what any badass person does with a complicated topic: she makes it strange, funny, a question mark. Her summer show at the Hammer (can’t help but wonder if the touchy subject was hidden in the downtime month) used gender signifiers to question the legacy of art as a male domain.

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