NEWS: Margaret Harrison @ mima, Middlesbrough | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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In 1971, Margaret Harrison had her exhibition shut down and was deemed ‘indecent’ by the police. This was not because of the pin-up style pictures, she says “were not too different from the pop-art style in those days” but because of her transformation of the ‘sacred’ male body. So much controversy was stirred that her portrait of Hugh Heffner dressed as a Playboy Bunny, with fake breasts and a bunny penis, was stolen and destroyed. Her evocative humour is emblazoned with irony and feminist fury. Beginning this October, Harrison will display some of her works from the 1980s onwards at mima in Middlesbrough, in an exhibition called Accumulations.

In her installation entitled The Last Gaze is one of the pieces that will be displayed. In it Harrison appropriates J.W Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott (looking at Lancelott), which itself was inspired by Lord Tennyson’s poem of the same name. Harrison’s original work glazes Lord Tennyson’s eponymous heroine with pop culture icons and her customary comic book characters to make a slick bricolage of mixed media art.

Another piece, called Common Reflections, speaks with strong cadence alongside the current migrant crisis in Europe, even though the piece was originally formulated to pay homage to the protestors involved in Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. The juxtaposition of barbed wire and concrete posts decorated with the intimate domesticity of family photos, children’s clothing and teddies will evoke an adequate malaise.

Margaret Harrison’s Accumulations will be at mima, Middlesborough from Friday 23rd October until Sunday 24th January.

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