A True Cutup

French artist Orlan worried about just this situation — you reading about her — last year in an interview with the Guardian. “If you were to describe me without anyone being able to see me,” she said, “they would think I am a monster.” This is a woman who has done as much to alter how others perceive her physical form as almost any living person: She has made her body a canvas for plastic surgeries. She enlisted designers to create costumes for her, procured music or poetry for the procedures themselves, and recorded or broadcast her fully conscious experience as an artistic statement.

It’s a practice that raises all sorts of questions (none perhaps more urgent than, Hypothetically, where in this gallery might best a person vomit?). What is she saying about beauty when she sets out to recraft her brow to match that of the Mona Lisa or reshape her chin in the mold of Botticelli’s Venus? And is she truly unhinged or merely an unsettling provocateur? Perhaps you won’t know even after checking out the exhibition of her photos that Florida Atlantic University is calling “Resurfacing: Surgery-Performance Photos and Recent Works.” No better time than right after the new year to face the exhibit, which will run until January 22 at the Schmidt Center Public Space (777 Glades Road, Boca Raton). It’s free, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Visit fau.edu/galleries, or call 561-297-2661.
Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.; Saturdays, 1 p.m. Starts: Jan. 5. Continues through Jan. 22, 2011

 
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