Artist Rachelle Beaudoin on Kathleen Hanna's "Slut" proclamation and co-opted sexuality
Artist Rachelle Beaudoin examines the female identity in popular culture using commercial icongraphy. Challenging what is presented as mainstream feminine sexuality, Beaudoin's take on figure-shaping and labeling is as jarring as it is thought-provoking. This Saturday, March 16, Beaudoin will be performing selected pieces of her work, alongside poetry readings by Eric Baus.
In advance of this event, the artist and professor spoke to Westword from her current residency at Anderson Arts Center in Snowmass about the selective censorship of her work, and the examination of the self-sexualization of women in American culture.
Westword: What will you be presenting at this particular event at Counterpath?
Rachelle Beaudoin: I'm going to do three different performances kind of relating to clothing, underwear and intimacy in different ways. The first one is called "Locker Room Tease"; it's a piece that I initially performed for a webcam art show, Low Lives. It's where different people do performances all over the world at set times, and they could be viewed at UStream.
This piece involves taking on and off clothes without getting completely nude. It comes out of these experiences I've had growing up and playing sports -- girls teaching each other tricks to take off a bra and put on another bra.
The next is called "Booty Pop" and it uses these commercially available underwear called Booty Pop that I layer on top of each other. They are supposed to make you look more desirable, but the more I layer them, the more monstrous and undesirable the form becomes. It's kind a like a soft sculpture using my body and these available products altering them.
I tried to get Booty Pop to sponsor me, but they only offered me like a discount on 144 pairs of underwear. (Laughs.) I was like, well, I don't really need that many.
The other piece, "Absolute Control," has never been performed before, live - I've just done it for video. It's sort of the opposite of Booty Pop; I am using all sorts of Spanx, wearing them to create an uber smooth silhouette, almost like a mummy character.
I love this idea of sharing tricks of concealment in a place like a locker room, where we're supposed to be taking off our clothes. I distinctly remember when I learned the bra-through-the-shirt-sleeve trick.
Playing women's ice hockey, I felt like growing up, there would be more sex positive, body positive people. But yeah, we would always change our bras that way - constantly never walking around with anything on.