Hairy Art: Artists Who Use Hair as Their Medium

23 May

2:00 pm Saturday May 21, 2011 by Emily Temple

You may think it’s just there to keep your head warm – or to keep you from looking like an alien – but the truth is, hair has a variety of conflicting connotations with a distinct bearing on our lives. A shiny, full head of hair is a sign of health and attractiveness, or even a symbol of virility, but hair disconnected from the head (ie in your soup, in the shower drain, etc) is usually seen as dirty or disgusting, even though it’s not any more or less dead than it was when someone was wearing it. There have been many religious and social practices to do with the way hair is styled, indicating adherence to a set of beliefs or loyalty to a certain group, whether it be flappers chopping their hair off to protest the traditional role of women, to Hasidic Jews growing out their side curls, to punks rocking mohawks. It makes sense then that something so ubiquitous and yet with such possibility for controversy be integrated into the art world, where artists can both rebel against and embrace the implications.

Adam Parker Smith‘s irreverent solo exhibition, entitled Crush, is currently up at Evergold Gallery in San Francisco. Though this piece was created with synthetic hair, we think it still achieves the creepiness of actual hair without losing any of its intrinsic mirth and wit.


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