Featuring Eugene Andolsek, Hipkiss, JJ Cromer, Daniel Martin Diaz, Sam Gant, Max Romain, Julia Sisi, Terry Turrell
Featuring Thedra Cullar Ledford, Alexandria Deters, Alyssa Kazew
3 Bad Girls resist the Neo-puritan mob
Alexandria Deters, Alyssa Kazew and Thedra Cullar Ledford
Curated by Bill Arning
Presented by Bill Arning Exhibitions Houston / Hudson Valley
Bad Girls, those artists that twist standard feminist pieties through a sexualized punk-rock sensibility , can still in 2023 appear like space aliens returned to our world to liberate us all. As a curator I was in my early 30s when the heroic curator Marcia Tucker’s presented at the New Museum Bad Girls and it blew my mind. Standard definitions of feminist art left younger feminist and queer curators cold seeming to offer a flavorless, safer existence. Only through risk and disobeying the parameters of taste could a feminist future attract a younger over-stimulated generation to participate.Yet her task seems tragically unfinished, with Neo-Puritans having beat down the radical third wave feminism the show championed, The three artist presented here, two from Texas and one in NY are up for the challenge to save our souls.
Thedra Cullar Ledford response to her double mastectomy was to get involved with the “flat is fabulous movement” of women.who celebrate the beauty of their scared but vibrantly living bodies. She started painting boobs as removable and exchangeable body parts in her comically expressionist large scale paintings. Then, basing their form on Renaissance images of Saint Agatha, who was martyred by having her breasts cut off, she began painting breasts and vulvas on cheap metal trays. All the body parts based were based on her friends who shared theirmost intimate images with her, these strange objects serves as a type of magical women’s health Milagros, protecting these women.
On a darker note Alexandria Deters deeply researches female cult leaders whose used their positions for negative ends to manipulate, abuse, torture, and in some cases even murder their followers. Embroidering their faces and stories the artist mixes her in depth research into a folk art keepsake objects in which each material carries a psychological charge.
Finally, Alyssa Kazew from Austin is building on the teenage graffiti sensibility that first garnered attention as a painte making for the first time painting scaled versions of her cast resin that appeared to be made my a misanthropic teenager.
Bill Arning Exhibitions (BAE) was founded in 2019 by curator Bill Arning following a career that spanned four decades in the nonprofit art worlds of Cambridge, New York, and Houston. First conceived as a radical nomadic curatorial project that would mount exhibitions in a variety of international gallery, museum, and alternative art spaces—the current incarnation of BAE resulted from the pandemic travel restrictions of early 2020.
BAE opened its first gallery space in a highly-visible storefront in October 2020 in the Montrose neighborhood—the spiritual heart of Houston’s alternative and gay community. The BAE space hosts traditional art exhibitions as well as events like poetry readings and dance, burlesque, and stand-up comedy shows, ushering in a distinctly new chapter in Arning’s curatorial practice and one that he cherishes for the sense of community it fosters.
In the summer of 2022, BAE opened a second space in New York’s Hudson Valley. The old storefront in Kinderhook has a distinctly different feeling as its primary audience includes former NYC art-scene folks who adopted a post-pandemic rural lifestyle and weekend visitors from the city—resulting in a unique interaction between culture and the natural environment. Built in 1812, the modest building and its gallery space is conducive to a quiet and contemplative experience—especially as compared to the spectacular gestures allowed by BAE’s Houston space.
Curatorially, BAE’s Houston and Hudson Valley gallery spaces work together, offering the established and emerging artists that Arning has championed throughout his career ample opportunity to present their work and reach their ideal audiences.
Bill Arning Exhibitions
604 W Alabama St
Houston, TX 77006
+1 617 359 9643