Washington, DC

Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry

Conner Contemporary Art

Cut, 2006, a four-and-a-half-minute video that was accompanied in this show by six stills, depicts husband-and-wife performance artists Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry methodically shearing each other’s hair with a straight razor, and is perhaps the pair’s most hypnotic, moving, and politically charged work to date. The action walks a line between poetry and violence, a duality conveyed through a complex choreography. The amplified sound—brittle and declarative—of razor sawing through hair is chilling. The work was inspired by images of Nazi collaborators in postwar France, their heads shorn as punishment, and was originally to feature only the cutting of Tarry’s hair. She suggested that the act should be reciprocal, and the result is a study of race (McCallum is white and Tarry is black), power, and identity that weaves together love, fear, trust, intimacy, and psychosexual tension.

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