New York

Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Guarded Secrets, 2015, sheep rawhide, nylon thread, porcupine quills, archival adhesive, dimensions variable. From “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S.”

“The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S.”

Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery and President's Gallery

Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Guarded Secrets, 2015, sheep rawhide, nylon thread, porcupine quills, archival adhesive, dimensions variable. From “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S.”

During Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified to how he sexually assaulted her as a high school student. In support of Ford, Artemisia Gentileschi’s vengeful painting Judith Slaying Holofernes, ca. 1620, based on a Biblical story in which a strong-armed Judith and her maidservant behead the titular Assyrian general, was circulated on social media as a meme. Captioned with women’s empowerment hashtags, such as #SlaySisters, the artwork distilled contemporary feminist rage. 

“The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S.,” a group exhibition curated by Monika Fabijanska, opened just a few weeks prior to the hearing. A work in dialogue with another painting by Gentileschi was installed in the entryway: Kathleen Gilje’s Susanna and the Elders, Restored, 1998/2018, an X-ray print on

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