June 22 – July 27, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 22, 2013 7 – 9 pm
Holly Bass: Performance of Pristine, Tuesday, July 9, 7-9 pm
Artist Talk: Tuesday, July 16, 7 pm
Nora Howell and Holly Bass investigate the issues of race, whiteness and labor in Spotless, an exhibition on view at Hamiltonian Gallery from June 22 – July 27, 2013. Please join us for an opening reception on Saturday, June 22 from 7 – 9 pm and an artist talk at 7 pm on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.
Artist and Hamiltonian Fellow Nora Howell will explore the racial construct of ‘whiteness’ with an emphasis on the racial and socio-economic transitions currently taking place within the U Street corridor. Through performance-based sculpture and video, Howell will focus on daily cleansing rituals such as tooth brushing, bathing and house cleaning as metaphors for the equivocation of whiteness to purity, cleansing and superiority. Howell will use her interactive performative work and collaboration with community leaders Mark Andersen (We are Family Co-Director), Dominic T. Moulden (ONE DC, Resource Organizer), Natalie Hopkinson (writer and scholar), Tim Kumfer (ONE DC, Organizing Apprentice) and Beverly M. Pratt (University of Maryland, Sociology PhD student) to initiate dialogue, reflection and action around the implications of whiteness. Howell’s performance Rub-A-Dub-Dub will take place during the exhibition opening on June 22 from 7-9 pm.
Guest artist Holly Bass will present her sculptural Penny Bank series and a new durational performance Pristine, on Tuesday, July 9 2013 from 4 – 8 pm. In Pristine, Bass challenges the privilege whiteness affords by reversing normal hierarchies of labor, race and class. Bass will place advertisements for an assistant who must be “white, pretty and petite.” During the performance, the new assistant-for-a-day must carefully sort through piles of marble rocks for several hours in search of the whitest, most pristine specimen while Bass indulges in leisurely activities such as a mani-pedi and “liquid lunch,” in between checking the assistant’s progress.
Nora Howell is a white artist from Cincinnati. She received her MFA in Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA in studio art from Wheaton College. While in college she spent a semester at the New York Center for Arts and Media Studies [NYCAMS] in New York City. Through her work she develops a visual language to illuminate and instigate dialogue around systemic racism and whiteness. Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at The Maryland Institute College of Art, The H&H, Wheaton College, Bethel University, and New York City. Nora is is currently a Fellow at Hamiltonian Artists.
Holly Bass bridges performance and visual art. A trained dancer, her work has been presented in traditional theater settings as well as museums, galleries and alternative spaces. Common themes include race, gender, the body, exploitation and colonization. A Cave Canem fellow, her poems have appeared in Callaloo, nocturnes (re)view, Beltway, and Tidal Basin Review. She studied modern dance and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College before earning a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University. She was one of twenty artists nationwide to receive a Future Aesthetics grant from the Ford Foundation/Hip Hop Theater Festival.