When: Fri., March 20, 6 p.m. 2015
RACHEL HERRICK: OBEAST INVADES DURHAM
BLDG 3 @ GOLDEN BELT, DURHAM
FRIDAY, MARCH 20–SATURDAY, MARCH 21
I once took a middle-school class to see Rachel Herrick's installation Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies (MOCS) at Raleigh's Flanders Gallery. Wall panels resembling textbook pages and advertisements presented information about the North American Obeast, an obese humanoid mammal endangered by overhunting and habitat loss. A mural depicted the Obeast's evolution from aquatic origins to its current terrestrial form; a life-size model of an Obeast peered through thick glasses from a grassy knoll. By turns facetious and bitingly critical, Herrick's Obeast materials implicate our cruel, anxious prejudices about fat and the female body. To varying degrees, the girls in my class immediately got it. The boys, for the most part, rehearsed those prejudices by snickering, or—if they were mature enough to sense that snickering was mean-spirited—falling silent.
After touring its components through Ireland and Canada in the group show The Missing Body, Herrick reconstructs MOCS at Golden Belt for a 24-hour pop-up exhibition as part of the "Off the Radar" series. The show runs uninterrupted overnight—I'm planning a 4 a.m. visit—with events including presentations by Obeast researchers, an Obeast Hole Championship (a game that evolved into cornhole), sing-alongs and chances for visitors to don lab coats and record video segments as Obeastologists. Hear researchers pontificate on the GPS-tagging of Obeasts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, or roll in at 9 a.m. Saturday for a mimosa buffet. Herrick saves the last hour of the installation (which she will lead without interruption) for an artist's talk and discussion of the work. 6 p.m., free, 807 E. Main St., Durham, 919-967-7700, www.goldenbeltarts.com. —Chris Vitiello