City Pulse

By Simone Carlene Porter

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Marlene Dumas has been described as one of the most thought provoking artists of today. Her MOMA exhibition “Measuring Your Own Grave” features a collection of paintings and drawings that chronicle the life of human beings with a focus on race, sexuality and social identity. From the grotesque to the downright erotic and brutally realistic, Marlene pulls from the viewer a completely different idea with each piece. She shares with us her distinctly unique views on these controversial issues and intrigues us with her approach to bridging the gap between life and death.

There are rooms lined from ceiling to floor with the portraits of all kinds of people; each with a different story. We’re left wondering who these people were and what their stories consisted of. In addition to exploring controversy, Marlene Dumas takes us on an emotional journey. Love, pain, suicide, pregnancy and the loss of innocence are just a few of the pit stops. Pieces like “The Painter” carry with them a kind of double meaning. The red coloring on the child’s hands is supposed to be paint, but you won’t be able to shake the feeling that it could be something more. Take another look.

What: Measuring Your Own Grave by Marlene Dumas
Where: MoMA, 11 West 53 Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues)
When: Now through February 16th, 2009

Originally published December 2008

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