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'Body in Fragments'
at the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Garland Fielder

This small but sumptuous exhibition, “Body in Fragments,” reflects upon the many aspects of the human mind, spirit as well as the body. Curator Kristina Van Dyke has assembled various art objects that either directly reference or suggest body parts, with examples ranging from antiquity to contemporary oddballs such as Robert Gober. The vast menagerie of corporality fascinates in both historic scope as well as creative vision. A fifteenth-century French reliquary consisting of a single elongated index finger extended heaven-ward makes an odd bedfellow to René Magritte’s surrealist masterpiece, “The Eternally Obvious,” composed of a painted nude female segmented into five ornate picture frames, enhancing the notion of the body’s fragmentation in modernity. A wooden Dan comb, with a handle that depicts strong, sculpted female legs, brings together the romanticized notion of female form with the act of beautification itself. Each example is unique in its contribution, shedding importance on the metaphorical import of various body semblances. Walking through the single room exhibition is like taking a tour of the self, together familiar and strange, true and idealized.

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