Chorus, Kiki Smith, 2012
on view until September 4th at 46th street and 8th Avenue in New York City at the Last Lot project space.
The rainbow-colored star clusters pay tribute to Josephine Baker, the American-born French burlesque dancer, singer and actress, who epitomized the sensuality and spectacle of the burlesque follies of the 1920’s. The first African American female to star in a major motion picture, and the quintessential entertainer of that time, Baker is also known for her support of the Civil Rights Movement and for her family of adopted children from all over the world, whom she called “The Rainbow Tribe.” Baker served as a muse to several influential artists based in Paris at the time such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pablo Picasso. Smith, whose work often explores feminist themes through depictions of the female body and women from history and mythology, is drawn to the complexity of Baker’s career as an erotic and primitivist performer/showgirl, and a social and political activist.