Marjorie Strider Paints a New Woman for Duchamp
By Maria Goldverg
posted: 03-12-11
Strider gives Duchamp's Etant Donnes a new perspective in Eyeful (2010)
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Her work hasn't been exhibited in New York for fifteen years, but pop-artist Marjorie Strider has finally returned to Hollis Taggart Galleries where her much anticipated show opened on March 8th. Her art, happily, remains as we remember it. Bikini-clad women, painted in flat blocks of acrylic paint, playfully engage their audience. And these ladies have real 'depth' to them: in some pieces, the more desirous parts of their bodies physically project out from the canvas. Next to one such relief of a woman's breasts, Come Hither from 1963, hangs the notice: DO NOT TOUCH. It is the only such injunction in the gallery, making Strider's reference hard to miss. In 1947, Marcel Duchamp co-authored a naked and solitary rubber breast, calling it Priere de Toucher or Please Touch. Strider's breasts are markedly different. Firstly, there are two of them. Then, they are clothed. In relief, it also looks as though they have felt the effects of gravity. And, they are truly monstrous in size. Strider's breasts have the strength of a contemporary and distinctly female artist—an artist who was not afraid to grow intimate with the male-dominated line of inheritance drawn from the early avant-garde, only to grow past it.

Needless to say, Duchamp's name should come up quite often where Strider's work is involved as she appears to draw much of her own conceptual vision from the world's original conceptual artist. For instance, Duchamp's seminal Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912) also finds mention on Hollis Taggart's walls: Strider re-imagines its content for her own portrayal of a near-nude woman stepping down the stairs in her aptly titled, Descending (2010). Where it is obscured in Duchamp, the female form in Strider's piece is recognizable, blunt, and transparent. The woman is quite actually stripped bare and made wholly visible. Strider doesn't seem to have the patience for Cubism's disruptive plurality of perspectives. Descending possesses a different kind of mobility: the hyper-sexual woman descends upon her gallery with all the force of a candid act. There is only one perspective here, and Strider renders it inescapable. We have to leave wondering if maybe viewership can really be so much simpler than, at least as women, we want to imagine it to be.

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