Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., closed Sunday, Monday, and university holidays
Julio Cesar Morales, Curator
Arizona State University Art Museum presents the work of Liz Cohen, weighing both the investigative and voyeuristic aspects of documentary photography and involving both performance and the production of objects and video. Her works typically embrace exhibitionism, radical self-expression, and countercultures. She pushes against fixed moral positions judging the use of familiar tropes (like the car bikini model) that have emerged within the context of patriarchy—arguing that tropes can have different utilities. In Cohen’s world, scripts written under oppressive pressures can be co-opted to serve new narratives. We do not invent new worlds from scratch. The power of self-determination comes from the fact that it exists in the face of something.
The exhibition will focus on the works Cohen generated around her Trabantimino car, including the car itself. For this decade-long undertaking, Cohen immersed herself in the lowrider culture of custom cars as a builder (she built the Trabantimino from the ground up) and bikini model. The Trabantimino traveled from the wide-open spaces of the American West to a decaying factory in the former East Germany, where Cohen photographed the Trabantimino at various stages of completion, inserting herself as a character in the story, a fabrication as well as a fabricator. The work is indirectly autobiographical, an examination of Cohen’s in-betweenness as a first-generation Latina and a child of the Cold War, the daughter of Colombian parents who tended to favor Warsaw Pact countries over Disneyland for summer vacations.