Beauty Contest presents artists exploring what is probably one of the most trivial everyday experiences: our daily encounter with human beauty and its social construction. A perennial subject for artists and writers, the creation of beauty has always been linked to power and gender, to distinction and competition, to rejection and desire, and to linearity and diversity.
Visual arts, fashion and media have strongly contributed to the transformation of the notion of beauty over the last few generations. Widely perceived to be an extension of femininity until the late 20th century, feminism and the gay, lesbian and queer movements have eroded clear definitions of who and what is beautiful – and who and what is not. This sea change took place in an age where the notion of gender itself has been challenged and transformed.
Emancipatory artistic reflection and practice has fought to reveal the hidden structures of repression toward gender, race, and age and to shake off antiquated visual preconceptions. Yet we still seem to be caught in a vicious cycle of competition for social status, visual representation and an industrially managed and mainstreamed aesthetical canon.
This exhibition is shown in conjunction with MUSA (German acronym for Museum – Start-Gallery – Artothek). MUSA Vienna hosts the collection of the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna, and presents contemporary Austrian art in its 6,500 square foot exhibition space. MUSA also has a fully equipped state-of-the-art artwork storage and conservation facility on its premises. Visit www.musa.at for more information.
PHOTOS from the exhibition opening on September 20th, 2011, are available on our Facebook page.