The group show takes a look at gender’s place in contemporary art

“Trigger: Gender as a tool and a weapon” couldn’t be a better title for an exhibit exploring the place that gender — and the many complicated discussions around the concept — occupy in our collective dialogue in 2017.

According to a New Museum press release, it will be a “major exhibition investigating gender’s place in contemporary art and culture at a moment of political upheaval and renewed culture wars. The exhibition features an intergenerational group of artists who explore gender beyond the binary to usher in more fluid and inclusive expressions of identity.”

More than 40 artists are involved in the exhibition — Mickalene Thomas, Mariah Garnett, House of Ladosha, Nayland Blake, and Pia Camin just to name a few. The exhibition also marks the 40th anniversary of the New Museum, making this exhibit a perfect fit for an institution that has developed a reputation for emphasizing the radical and new.

In a piece titled “The Art World As Safe Space,” New Yorker writer Peter Schjeldahl describes the group show as “elegant and ingratiating, temperate, or even a little boring … The show’s provocative title turns out to function rather like the old vaudeville pistol that emits a little flag imprinted “BANG!”

One of the show’s best pieces is Mickalene Thomas’ Me as Muse (2016), a video sculpture with a nude female black figure projected onto multiple screens under the poetic musings of the artist. Forbes writer Adam Lehrer writes about Thomas’ piece that “her brazen self-celebration of her own contributions to recent art history read as subversive, powerful, and, in a sense, challenging to (yes) gendered and racial hierarchies.”

Curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement, the exhibit runs until January 21, 2018.

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