Feminine power and its role in popular culture are explored through the lens of Iris Chacon, the charismatic Puerto Rican performer who starred in the 1970s variety television show El Show de Iris Chacon. Artist Edra Sotos childhood memories of watching Chacon in Puerto Rico inspired her to re-examine female sexuality and how this celebritys image translates into American culture. Soto presents a large hand-crafted stage and drawings inspired by the variety show at the next UBS 12 x 12 New Artists/New Work that opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, during First Fridays on the evening of June 6, and runs through June 28, 2009.
Iris Chacon was an iconic celebrity in Puerto Rico and despite sexually provocative costumes and performances, she was a popular family entertainer. In a reversal of traditional male/female roles, Chacon produced and choreographed the show and used men dressed in gorilla suits as her backup dancers. Soto is intrigued by what Chacons legacy means for women today even if they have no previous knowledge about her.
Soto invited over 50 artists to create portraits of her with the aid of two
photographs: one of herself and one of a gorilla. The effect is something like the creation of mythological creatures, half human, half beast- blurring reality, memory, and interpretation:
Deborah Boardman, Deb Sokolow, Dawn Reed, Alberto Aguilar, Adelheid Mers, Vladimir Kharitonsky, Vincent Dermody, Paul Mezinskas, Chris Juarez, Joanna Zevallos, Jen Thomas, Chris Smith, Christopher Simkins, Chelsea Chineworth, Vassi Vasevski, Susannah Kite Strang, Stacie Johnson, Sara Schnadt, Jacob C. Hammes, Irene Perez, Ian Weaver, Noah Berlatsky, Caroline Picard, Carmen Price, Candida Alvarez, Silvia Malagrino, Christopher Patch, Paola Cabal, Melissa Oresky, Harold Mendez, EC Brown, Ramiro Trejo, Huong Ngo, Brenda Torres Figueroa, Albert Stabler, Barbara Koenen, Maria Gaspar, Maritza Martinez, Miguel Cortez, Paul Nudd, Eric Cortez, Rus Holler, Dana Peters, Derek Chan, Ann Toebbe, Andreas Fischer, Amy Mayfield, Leona Lee, Lilli Carre, Lucia Fabio, Saul Aguirre, Caleb Jones Lyons, Anni Holm, Catie Olsen