January 14 – February 27 1994
Offering an array of gluttonous treats, “Bad Girls” displayed a rich Whitman’s Sampler of recent art works, mostly by women, that defy traditional notions of feminine propriety and pleasure. Organized by Director Marcia Tucker and occupying the Museum’s entire space - including the main gallery, New Work, WorkSpace, and the Window on Broadway - the exhibition was presented in two parts, each with a continuously playing video program organized by Cheryl Dunye.
Structured around the idea that humor, ranging from the sardonic to the slapstick, can be a cogent and subversive strategy in challenging many of the conventional, predictable attitudes toward feminist and gender issues, “Bad Girls” aimed for serious fun. In its mission to explode the social inequities of class, race, and gender, “Bad Girls”’ outrageous works focused primarily on the visual arts: painting, sculpture, film, video, and installation. This eclectic mix of multimedia forms, crucially linked to and informed by popular culture, demonstrated a covert alliance with music, television, comic books, cartoons, illustration, fiction and autobiography, and the work of children. The exhibition series also continued the New Museum tradition of introducing to the public lesser known artists along with recently acclaimed ones; presenting 78 artists over the course of its run.
“Bad Girls West,” a sister exhibition which coincided with “Bad Girls”, was organized by guest curator Marcia Tanner for the UCLA Wight Art Gallery in Los Angeles. “Bad Girls West” presented work by 40 artists in a variety of media who wrestle with issues of body image, representation, fashion, aging, and sexuality in the world according to Hollywood.