Sarah Hill’s Flesh Prison

By GREG COOK  |  November 14, 2012


Sarah Hill stood near the door of Boston's Anthony Greaney Gallery a couple of Fridays ago as Hill's Flesh Prison screened on the opposite wall. The 15-minute video stars the 26-year-old Jamaica Plain resident getting baptized in a pond, dancing with a woman across a lawn, shoveling a grave at night and rolling a body in, choking up a feather, peeing in a yard, seeming dead, spitting, sleeping. Repeatedly the camera cuts close to Hill, painted bloody red, who suddenly lurches toward us and snarls. It's a glam queer horror film, hallucinatory and visceral and jarring, a blast of emotions.

"People ask me all the time: why am I so angry?" says Hill, who is transitioning from female to male, and identifies as "transgender queer." Just getting by in our heteronormative world is hard. "People can't read me as male or female, so therefore I get marked as deviant. . . . And since they can't understand it, they literally think I'm tricking them. Which isn't the case."

A performance last year (at the Museum School, where Hill was a student, among other locations) had Hill yelling "I'm fine" over and over until nearly collapsing. For Hill, going to such extremes addresses "not exactly feeling comfortable in the flesh that I have or was born into. So being able to push my body to an extreme like that is stepping back and taking control over this body that I do have."

  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Visual Arts
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FRANK GOHLKE'S NEW TOPOGRAPHICS  |  January 15, 2013
    "When that show was created, as odd as it seems now, it was extremely controversial," Frank Gohlke says of being featured in the landmark 1975 exhibit of deadpan photography, "New Topographics: Photographs of the Man-Altered Landscape" at New York's George Eastman House.
  •   LADY PARTS: ''THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD...'' AT SAMSON  |  January 15, 2013
    "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.
    Outside the entrance to the RISD Museum, a sign — the sort of blinking arrow sign typical of used car dealerships — promises a "Naked artist inside."
    Mickalene Thomas's paintings teleport us to a black-is-beautiful American 1960s and '70s.
  •   THESE 10 EXHIBITS WILL OPEN YOUR EYES  |  December 26, 2012
    In March, the RISD Museum dusts off its two millennia-old mummy of a priest named Nesmin as part of "Made for Eternity" (March 15 to November 17), a small showcase of the institution's Egyptian treasures.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK