Barbara DeGenevieve: Medusa’s Cave
September 12 – October 10, 2015
Curated by Daniel S. Berger, MD and Doug Ischar
The death earlier this year of artist Barbara DeGenevieve deprived the worlds of Art and Advanced Studies in the Arts of one of their most singular and widely valued makers and pedagogues. While Barbara may have prioritized teaching over art making to an extent, we must be grateful for all that she left us, the galvanized and edified students (hundreds of them, perhaps thousands), the radical research into the making and teaching of pornography (for which members of her host institution cruelly punished her), and for the splendid and fearless art works she toiled over and left, I’m tempted to say ‘orphaned’ in our custody.
Iceberg Projects will be the first established institution to feature her work in a pronounced and developed way. For the first of our exhibitions devoted to Barbara, we’ve chosen to focus on her early, ground-breaking work, much of which has not seen the light of day — nor the incandescence of the gallery — for many many years. For better or worse, DeGenevieve was not a commercially successful artist, and as the market reigns over the valorization of Art, as well as so much else, it is our duty as her cultural inheritors to secure a permanent place for her work. If we cannot, perhaps, penetrate the canon of blue-chip art, then we must insist on founding a parallel canon for Art which endures due to its great aesthetic and ideological value rather than its saleability.
So our first DeGenevieve show will consist largely of her superb early self-portraits and objet trouvé. In these works she is clearly working amongst a variety of mediums and disciplines, all of which she employs and challenges with imagination and rapidly developing prowess. She is also honing a politics of gender over which she would labor — and frolic — tirelessly for three decades and which would come to color all she touched, Art, People, Ideas, Passions, and Friends.
– Doug Ischar