Cut, Pulled, Colored & Burnt featured work that examined ways in which the popular culture of hair and beauty demonstrate attitudes of personal, social and political empowerment. Curated by Michael Rooks, formerly from the Museum of Contemporary Art, the exhibition featured work by internationally recognized artists to the Art Center to appear alongside work by emerging artists from Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.Cut, Pulled, Colored & Burnt offered a diverse group of provocative, serious works, tempered by often humorous social critique.
Dawoud Bey‘s closely observed images of young people in their own environment, Matthias Herrmann‘s irreverent pictures of himself in spicy drag, Lauren Kelley‘s outlaws Afros and Santiago Sierra‘s documentation of forced cultural conformity addressed the issues through modes of portrait, fashion, and documentary photography. Brett Cook-Dizney, Charles LaBelle, and Rashid Johnson took different roads to the determination of racial and generational identity, while Conor McGrady invoked the authority of academic portraiture in a full-length painting. Anne Lemanski and Price-Walton focused on the complex and sometimes comic aspects of headgear- wigs and hats- and while Wolfgang Tillmans tackled the absence of hair that has been shaved away, Jerome Powers focused on the unmentionable strands that should have been discarded. Stas Orlovski‘s meticulous drawings of hair suggested fantastic and poetic landscapes and Dana Schutz invented portraits from unlikely combinations of physical attributes. Finally Ellen Spiro‘s documentary film focused on the social dynamism of a hair salon, while Hector Falcon and Georgina Valverde abstracted culturally specific hairstyles.