This exhibition of Haitian-American artist Vickie Pierre’s assemblages was both a memorial for what has passed and a desire for what is to come. Interested in studying how one goes about structuring their identity, Miami-based artist Pierre paid homage to the French and larger European architectural design that influenced Haitian culture while also subverting it. By employing the “beautiful grotesque” Pierre crafted aesthetically pleasing vignettes that, once the nuanced details are considered, reveal a deeper truth.
Certain objects were repeated throughout the exhibition: glittering plastic beading, vintage Avon perfume bottles shaped like women in period skirts, wall sconces, galleon ships, and faux foliage. While maintaining a base sentiment of whimsical décor, filtered through Pierre’s personal history, we now see interconnectedness (beads), the unattainable female body (perfume bottles), and slave ships (galleons). Numerous fractured identities are part of the “beautiful grotesque.”
For the first time seen altogether, six of Pierre’s assemblages revealed that there is not one but several narratives and that one’s identity can be contingent rather than fixed. As Pierre has said, she resolves to “maintain the journey toward a future of transformative and tangible change.”
Vickie Pierre was also commissioned to create two murals at the entrance to the Museum in the Perper Courtyard. Procession, A Sort of Homecoming (after Kentridge + U2) remains installed and features a parade of figures dancing across a decorative background that echoes the feminine forms seen in this exhibition.
Curated by Kelli Bodle, Assistant Curator
Boca Raton Florida, 33432