Balls and Dolls

Balls and Dolls

Balls and Dolls – Max Below Toledo-Paris and Sherri Wood

project room: Send in the Clowns curated by Lump Lipshitz

APRIL 2000

“Wood has cleverly played upon the stereotypical naming of women as “dolls,” then invited women in a male-dominated art form (tattooing) to create uplifting female imagery for these stand-ins for the female figure, while insisting upon a traditional female craft – embroidery – for their execution.

More outrageous are a series of cotton panties which Wood has embellished with vintage-style hand-towel designs that have a double-entendre edge. Adding to the sexual content of the message is the fact that these panties have split crotches, adorned with embroidered buttonhole stitching. The shock value in these works consists of their clever juxtapositioning of tame female craft with overt sexual reference.

Max Below Toledo-Paris’s work operates on a much more complex level. He photographs men with a large-format Polaroid, presenting us with views we are more than unaccustomed to looking at.

Down the right side of the gallery, a row of life-sized men’s torsos progresses from a nearly hairless chest through gradually hairier, and finally hairiest and graying chest, suggesting a man’s progress from youth to age. I feel a twinge of discomfort. Used to seeing bare female torsos in art, we readily assume their aesthetic beauty. Toledo-Paris dares us to consider the male body this way.”

Excerpt from the Spectator by Michele Natale

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