EFA Project Space is pleased to present Soft and Wet, curated by Sadia Shirazi. The exhibition features works by Arooj Aftab, Beverly Buchanan, Crystal Z Campbell, Caroline Key, Ana Mendieta, Andy Robert, Julie Tolentino, Zarina, and Constantina Zavitsanos.
The exhibition cites Prince’s 1978 single, “Soft and Wet” and Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States, which was co-curated by Ana Mendieta, Kazuko Miyamoto, and Zarina at A.I.R. Gallery in 1980. These citations serve as reference points to help us locate fleshy, formalist impulses in the practices of contemporary artists that echo those of artists from the 1970s. Working through sound, vision, vibration, touch, and breath, the artists in Soft and Wet activate multi-sensory responses that move beyond the linguistic registers of a singular voice and questions of individuated agency dominating discourses of representational art. The artists turn their formalism towards questions of flesh, fugitivity, and consent in relation to the nation-state, neoliberal capitalism, and the medical–industrial complex, while stretching formalism beyond the assumption of hegemonic subjects as the sole inheritors of its legacy. The works in this show are experiments in, and explorations of, what it means “to consent not to be a single being” as Édouard Glissant writes. The artists in Soft and Wet think with and through one another, invoking the artist whose song gives the exhibition its title, to feel out the contours of other ways of being in relation. They join him in saying—“We’d be so lost, in our mouths, the best, I feel it everyday (every way).”
Artists: Arooj Aftab, Beverly Buchanan, Crystal Z Campbell, Caroline Key, Ana Mendieta, Andy Robert, Julie Tolentino, Zarina, and Constantina Zavitsanos
Curated by: Sadia Shirazi
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
EFA Project Space
323 W. 39th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10018