January 15 – April 11 1993
For his first museum exhibition, Oliver Herring knit, wove, and intertwined transparent tape to create fragile sculptural objects. Presented as an installation in the Museum’s WorkSpace gallery, Herring’s art took the form of various garments—a coat, sweater, and a pair of trousers—calling attention to how delicate and vulnerable the human body is both physically and emotionally.
Along with raising questions about traditional gendered models of art making, Herring’s creative process undermines assumptions about male sexuality and masculinity. The articles of clothing are ambiguous in gender, further rendering sexuality as an individual experience. Herring’s work offers a composed and heartfelt exploration into issues of sexuality that might otherwise be addressed with anxiety, tension, and confrontation.
The installation at New Museum was part of an ongoing project entitled A Flower for Ethyl Eichelberger, named for a performance artist whose cross-gender roles addressed issues concerning sexuality and gender, and who took his own life in 1991 while sick with AIDS.