Willie Cole’s Beauties are haunting, full-scale prints made from crushed and hammered ironing boards, each named after a woman from the artist’s cultural and ancestral history. Cole has used irons and ironing as central motifs in his work for 30 years, evoking everything from African masks to slave ship diagrams to the routines of domestic servitude. In this special installation, the gallery will be lined wall to wall with the Beauties. Standing silently—like sentinels, tombstones, shrouds, or windows—the prints will open a space for confronting anew the whole range of often contradictory energies running through them: resistance and oppression, beauty and violence, labor and forebearance.
Reception to follow.
Exhibition organized by Jennifer L. Roberts, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts, Radcliffe Institute, and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University