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“A Bizarre Bazaar”
Jason Rhoades'
Black Pussy, 2006
Installation Runs November 13, 2007-January 26, 2008
David Zwirner Studio

Reviewed by Mindy Human

Photograph by Douglas M. Parker Studio
Courtesy Estate of Jason Rhoades; Galerie Hauser & Wirth, London and Zurich;
David Zwirner, New York

Black Pussy by Jason Rhoades is an art installation covering 2,960 square feet and it sets off a wave of emotion upon entering. Black Pussy calls for one’s mind to be alive and active. There is a lot going on in this piece. The on-looker is not quite sure if the setting is a bazaar in a third world country or somebody’s bedroom where naughty things are about to take place.

One could spend hours looking at all of the objects that make up this installation. There is a fluffy bed with a large microphone-looking vibrator resting on it. There are rugs overlapping each other on the floor, hookah pipes on racks, hanging dream catchers by the dozens and random glass vegetables. Throughout the space there are countless neon signs spelling out different ways of saying vagina. Due to their sheer volume and placement, the viewer wonders if these items might be up for sale. The viewer asks him/herself, “Where the hell am I?” The focal point of the piece is a stage with curtains that reads Live in the Black Pussy.

The lasting impression of Black Pussy is a combined comical, lewd, moral and philosophical effect on the audience. The piece begs the question “What is for sale?” and reflects the idea that Rhoades is commenting on notions of culture. The idea that by buying a material item we might be looking to get a piece of the culture that produced it. However, by consuming a piece of the culture, we are simultaneously objectifying that culture. So who’s hungry?

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