because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Matuschka

Matuschka has had a roller coaster of a life. Orphaned at thirteen, she ran away to New York City the following year, only to be returned to foster care in New Jersey the year after that. Because she demonstrated strong talent as an artist, she got multiple opportunities to develop her skills and, at nearly six feet tall, she bankrolled her art by being a model for artists and photographers (including herself) before she was even out of her teens.

Arriving back in New York City in the 1970's, she was instantly embraced by the Andy Warhol-Studio 54 kaleidoscope of nightlife featuring youth and beauty, art and music, sex and drugs, where she hobnobbed with the rich and infamous and was very much one of them.

For the next couple of decades, Matuschka kept busy (when she wasn't modeling) by writing songs for and singing in front of a rock band called "The Ruins," dressing Bergdorff Goodman's windows on Fifth Avenue, and building her own body of work, including not only photographic studies of herself, but a series of paintings of prostitutes she entitled "Whores Galore." Not surprisingly, her work sold quickly and at respectable prices.

Then, the super-glam world of the bigger-than-life Matuschka was invaded by the announcement that she had breast cancer and would lose her right breast. Rather than collapsing under the weight of this new challenge, however, she threw back her head and catapulted herself into worldwide recognition by creating an exhibit entitled "Beauty Out of Damage," displaying the naked scar where her right breast used to be. In 2003, one of the photos from that collection was named by Life Magazine as one of the 100 photographs that changed the world since the invention of the camera.

Since then, Matuschka has used her recognition and talent to raise questions about identity, race and gender. And her latest exhibit examines consumerism because, as this artist/photographer/model/singer/activist says, "You are what you bag." In-your-face women tell the truth -- about themselves, about reality, about life.


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