Toward the end of my Summer 2013 in-residence period at MassArt, I became very interested in hair as a material and have learned since then that connotations of hair are a deep well that course through many important socio-cultural issues. I began the research for my art history class project of curating an imaginary exhibition knowing only about a small handful of artists who work with hair as a material or hair as subject (or both). By the end of the project, I learned about nearly 200 international contemporary artists, both male and female, who are working with human and synthetic hair or who reference hair as subject matter in their works, such as in painting, drawing, and photography. I was fortunate to engage with a few artists and curators directly, and I thank them for generously sending to me writings, images, personal comments, and exhibition catalogs. Very special gratitude goes out to artists Rosie Leventon and Samantha Sweeting. To date, not very much has been published about hair as a contemporary fine art medium and subject. I’m thinking that a book enriched with essays and photographs of fine art works just might be in order, oh say around 2016, when I am done with the business of being an MFA candidate. Thanks, Valerie Hellstein…you rock!
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