"The Origin of the World /\ The Force of the Source \/ The Cause of the Vigor" is a three parts brilliant, two parts non sequitur (or maybe it's the other way around) group show at Samson gallery.

The subject: "The vagina as base of creativity and joy." In practice this means, Kirsten Stoltmann's glittery deadpan self-portrait photo I Know You, a giant close up of an amethyst (purple quartz) stuck in her vagina. It's like staring into the Bermuda Triangle — swallowing you up with bedazzling, intimate anatomy, humor, and just plain dumbfounding weirdness.

The exhibit's polestars are Gustave Courbet's notorious 1866 painting of lady parts called The Origin of the World and feminism (reconsiderations of the female nude; celebration of the body as source of grrrl power). So we get Tim Davis's photo of Courbet's painting (the real one, I'm told) with a glare of light on the pubic hair and Daniel Gordon's recreation of the painting as a funny, odd, rumpled (wounded?) paper sculpture. Then there's Kelly Kleinschrodt's green glass pyramid with a gray image — perhaps waves? — in the bottom.

This stuff doesn't bother with the erotic charge of Courbet's high-end smut. Instead it's vagina as icon, biology, curiosity, power plant, specimen, temple.

"THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD . . . " :: Samson, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston :: Through March 30 :: 617.357.7177 or 

Related: Kentridge's South Africa and Coe's disasters of war, Slideshow: Fresh Ink at the MFA, Neal Rantoul at Panopticon, Top 10 New England Art Exhibits of 2010, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , lady parts, vagina, visual art,  More more >
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