Tribeca institution Postmasters Gallery is opening a show called #WCW (@womencrushwednesday) on Wednesday, July 22nd. The show, curated by Postmasters founder Magda Sawon, gathers works with female subjects from a disparate group of artists on the loose theme of the ubiquitous social media phenomenon. Sawon quotes the International Business Times for the show’s epigram: “‘WCW’ stands for ‘Woman Crush Wednesday,’ which is when users share pictures of ladies that they find attractive or admire.” This show leans more toward admiration than attraction, with portraits of journalists and a scarred Syrian girl by the great radical artist and writer Molly Crabapple, a weird Christian music video by Polish artist Ada Karczmarczyk called “Get Hyped on Mary,” and an intimate photograph of a family from impoverished Galesburg, Illinois by Chris Verene. There’s a leering form of attraction, too, with appearances by controversial artists Richard Prince and Ryder Ripps, who took a lot of heat for appropriating images of women from Instagram, the platform where #WCW performs best. It’s jarring to see the Molly Crabapple drawings and the Suicide Girl print the pinups reclaimed from Richard Prince across the room from each other. The show itself is a jumbled mishmash of styles and themes that doesn’t exactly gel, but it’s certainly interesting.
Sawon went through Postmasters’ 30 years of archives to find works that fit the theme. Most of the pieces are very recent, but there are a few older ones, like Anton Perich’s Visitation from 1987.
Sawon said that the show hasn’t attracted any controversy so far, but it hasn’t opened yet.
“Everyone is so sensitive these days,” she said, “that everything has the potential to offend someone.” Some people hate Ryder Ripps, and an entirely different group of people hate Molly Crabapple, she noted. Even the mildly blasphemous depiction of the Virgin Mary could offend someone.
But Sawon said she doesn’t really care if people don’t like how she organized the show. She doesn’t believe that their principles of sensitivity should be applied to art.
“If art cannot be a free speech zone, we are buried,” she says.
#WCW opens July 22 and runs until August 15 at Postmasters Gallery, 54 Franklin Street, Tribeca.
(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)