This lecture is part of the University of Arizona School of Art Visiting Artist and Scholar Series “Transculturations: Cultural Hybridity in American Art.”
In addition, Cohen’s work will be on view at the UA’s Joseph Gross Gallery:
Works by Liz Cohen
March 5 – April 7, 2010
“Through artistic performance and photography, Cohen manipulates social identifiers including race, gender, and body. Fluidity and transformation form the base of her work: exploring roles within a culture, embodying them, and transforming their meaning. Her multifaceted approach to entering the lowrider sub-culture is ripe with themes that challenge what it means to be a woman, visual artist, custom mechanic, model, and promoter.”
From the lecture series website:
“Liz Cohen’s projects create parameters for experiences in which she negotiates her relationships within groups where she does not have the defining characteristic for membership. As her work changes she remains interested in groups of men, radical transformation, and in-between-ness.
Cohen spent four years performing her investigations for CANAL, a series of photographs and performances about a group of transgender sex workers along the fringe of the Panama Canal. The transgender sex worker’s bodies become metaphors for Panama’s geography and history. She learned to transform her appearance and took on the personas of different sex workers she had met for a series of performances.
With BODYWORK, she shifted her focus toward the flexibilities of group membership in the lowrider world and became a member of a group of men who do the customizing work on these cars. Bodywork is the attempt to transform an East German car into an American car by means of hydraulic technology. Simultaneously, Cohen converted her own body into one worthy of a car-show bikini model.
Liz Cohen’s work has been shown internationally including exhibitions at Färgfabriken (Stockholm), the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Galerie Laurent Godin (Paris), Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Rubin Center (El Paso).
She is represented by Galerie Laurent Godin (Paris). “