Portrait of Andy Warhol, by Christopher Makos
Raise the bar.
Lens of Glamour
An art-lover, a curator and a gallerist explore “The Pathology of Glamour.” by KRYSTIN ARNESON
Photo provided by the William Shearburn Gallery.
GALLERIST WILLIAM SHEARBURN
has worked with guest curators in the past, but none quite like Susan Sherman and Kimberly Jacobs, who collaborated with him to organize a new fashion photography exhibition, “The Pathology of Glamour.” Opening at the William Shearburn Gallery on Oct. 17, the exhibit coincides with the last events of Saint Louis Fashion Week. But the artwork doesn’t celebrate the spectacle of fashion; instead it analyzes how society and glamour shape and reflect each other. “It’s a very interesting mix of artists and very accessible,” says Sherman, who makes her curatorial debut with this exhibition. “I’m confident the show is going to wow both fashionistas and the community at large.” Artist Heather Bennett provides the show with the local connection the curators desired. An adjunct professor of photography at Washington University, she’s just back from an exhibition in New York. Her pieces for the Shearburn show replicate luxury ads, perfume especially, but provocatively strip them of their commercial roots by erasing all hints of branding. Sherman, Jacobs and Shearburn also have strong ties to the art world, which allow them to pull in other names that have dazzled New York. Christopher Makos’ large-scale black-and-white portrait captures Andy Warhol in what Shearburn calls the “ethereal,” liminal phase between makeup and full drag. Then there’s Jessica Craig Martin,
whose photographs have graced Vogue and Vanity Fair. Her closely cropped portraits of A-listers and socialites display all the trappings of glamour— cocktail glasses, jeweled clutches, silk dresses—but erase the individual who wears them with cropped-out body parts and faces. “There’s a certain level of vulnerability with those cropped, weird angles,” says Shearburn. Acclaimed artist Ellen Gallagher will show “DeLuxe”—what Shearburn calls her “tour de force:” 60 individual ads depicting beauty aids and hair products marketed toward African-American women. Also in the Tate Modern’s collection, her work examines how notions of beauty are created, idealized and reflected within and between cultures. “What we think about as fashion at a deeper level with how it reflects who we are as human beings boils down to the deeper nature of ‘What is glamour?’ ‘What is beauty?’” Jacobs says. “It can take on many forms and many definitions. Giving it that scientific definition is to think about glamour in various ways, and not just what we think is pretty.” “The Pathology of Glamour” at the William Shearburn Gallery, 665 S. Skinker Blvd., runs Oct. 17-Nov. 28. A public reception will take place from 5-7pm on Oct. 17. A portion of proceeds from sales will benefit the Saint Louis Fashion Fund. For more info, visit shearburngallery.com.
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