Cross’ Purposes

FOR SOME YEARS NOW Dorothy Cross has worked in the Powerhouse, a disused power station near the docks in Dublin. Until 1975, this extraordinary building supplied much of the city’s electricity; once a hub of generation and power, it still contains its old machinery, and various abandoned personal belongings—echoes of an obsolete industry and of long-departed male workers. The Powerhouse resonates with memories of masculine authority. Within it, Cross has established a strong transformative presence.

When she had an exhibition in Philadelphia two years ago, a large-scale installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Cross titled it “Power House”—a play on the name of her studio. Many of the assemblages she showed in Philadelphia used objects found in or near that building; all of them can be said to have hinged on the revisioning of sexuality as a psychic construction rather than a form

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