This past Tuesday, S & M Shrines and Masquerades in Cosmopolitan Times opened at 80 Washington Square East Galleries. The exhibition curated by Lyle Ashton Harris, Nancy Barton, & Chris Bogia, will be on display until December 6th. Artwork included in the exhibition strives to reinterpret and reinvent the nominal idea of shrine and its ongoing importance within the African culture. In our current society the word masquerade carries with it more then just the idea of coverage using a mask. Its not uncommon for individuals to don costume specifying a particular genre/style of fashion, while cross-dressing lends itself and the sidewalks of Manhattan to stage performance. This exhibition raises the questions and assists at providing answers for those seeking to not only tap into the riddles of spiritual matter, but leave nostalgic residue as memory of what they may have discovered. This residue can be as fleeting as a shadow or carry the weight and solid presence of a painting.
In our ongoing search to locate the sometimes transient nature of beauty, self and cultural identity, we must realize that more often then not, this identity can only be exposed and fully realized when putting on a mask or performing to become something closer to what may be truth. In the daily tribulations of life we inadvertently interact with elements of birth/death and joy/pain. We are swaddled in elements of media, pop culture and uncontrollable forces of nature. This exhibition reminds us, that in a sea of information, it helps to step back, reach into the grit and hidden places of the past and regurgitate. If one believes that karma actually exists, “Shrines and Masquerades” can lend itself as a crossroads nestled between cause and effect.