Filtering by Category: Nancy Burson

Alicia Eler reviews HE/SHE/THEY for Aperture

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Alicia Eler writes, "Spanning over eighty years of photographs, an exhibition explores the gender non-conforming potential of the word 'they.'

Yasumasa Morimura, Jane Fonda 5 (Barbarella), 1995  © the artist and courtesy ROSEGALLERY

Lise Sarfati, Malaïka #7, Corner 7th Street and Spring, from the series On Hollywood, 2010  © the artist and courtesy ROSEGALLERY

The singular gender-neutral pronoun “they” was named word of the year in 2016. Judging from the social and historical depth of photography and archival imagery in the exhibition He/She/They, currently on view at ROSEGALLERY, which includes work by more than fifteen artists, it’s crazy to think that it took this long to get American culture at large to recognize life outside the gender binary. Ranging from the early 1930s to the present, the works exhibit a wide array of bodies, locations, gazes, and socioeconomic perspectives, and consider the intersectional influence of race and class on notions of gender.

Since this exhibition is presented in Los Angeles, Lise Sarfati’s Malaïka #7, Corner 7th Street and Spring from the series On Hollywood (2010), is appropriately local and captures a woman trying to make it in the entertainment industry. In this startling photograph, a young woman appears forlorn, perhaps returning from an audition, unsure of what to do next. The actress’s face, and the low-angle perspective, is reminiscent of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #21 (1978), in which a young woman, who could be any (white) woman, looks intently beyond the frame, with an imposing block of skyscrapers forming the background. Marrying visual art and Hollywood icons, her dress and hairstyle reference Marilyn Monroe and the “dumb blonde” archetype.

Graciela Iturbide, Carnaval, Tlaxcala, Mexico, 1974  © the artist and courtesy ROSEGALLERY

...Other works in the show focus less on the performance of gender, and more on people who defy normative gender distinctions. Nineteenth-century photographs depict Native American “two-spirit” individuals—those who participate in gender roles not assigned to their sex—but the accompanying text explains that intersex, androgynous, and gender non-conforming people could be held in high regard outside of Eurocentric, heteronormative cultures. In photographs by Mexican artist Graciela Iturbide, Magnolia, who identified as Muxe (Zapotec for homosexual and “genderqueer”), poses for the camera wearing a dress and sombrero, a traditionally male accessory.

He/She/They leans heavily on the visual language of portraiture, which might suggest a desire for authenticity in documentation, in contrast to much of the dynamic content found online, where self-expression by social media sensations, celebrities, and everyday people appears to be constantly evolving. The photographs in this show offer a fixed moment in time, declarative and definitive, but also remain open to the many shades of identity, the gender non-conforming potential of the word “they.”

Alicia Eler is a journalist based in Los Angeles. A contributor to New York Magazine, The Guardian,VICE, LA Weekly, Hyperallergic, Art21, and Artforum, she is currently working on her first book,The Selfie Generation (Skyhorse).

He/She/They is on view at ROSEGALLERY, Santa Monica, through November 12, 2016."

Read the full review on!

The Polaroid Project displays Nancy Burson's work at the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP)

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Polaroid, despite the demise of the great corporation, remains a highly respected name, evoking innovation, utility, creativity and quality. In the photography world, Polaroid has only the finest connotations, and the bankruptcy of the corporation has rightly been viewed as a tremendous loss for the field of artistic expression. Photographers were deprived of a creative laboratory that was unparalleled in the medium's history.

© Nancy Burson, Untitled, 1989. Courtesy the Polaroid Collections  

© Nancy Burson, Untitled, 1989. Courtesy the Polaroid Collections

Nancy Burson used the medium of polaroid photography in her composite portraits from the 1980s in a profound way.  All 20 x 24 inch polaroids are unique prints and more so unique in the sense that Nancy has created new imagery, new faces, with layers upon layers of research and purpose behind each composite portrait.  He work revolutionized compositing practices and became a basis for her patented technology to be later used for aging predictions in the human face.  Her research at M.I.T. was proven to be incredibly successful which lead to her involvement with the FBI to help find missing persons. Her work will be on exhibit with artists Chuck Close, Ralph Gibson, David Hockney, Barbara Kasten, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and William Wegman to name only a few.

Read about the exhibition on

Art, Diversity and the Human Race, Nancy Burson on Huffington Post

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Nancy Burson's timely new work, What If He Were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Middle Eastern-Indian, is gaining national attention.  Huffington Post writer Christine Buckley wrote on the topic of diversity, Nancy's research and work, and how most of us are more similar than we are different.

Another of Burson’s projects is the provocative Human Race Machine, which she created as a public art project commissioned by the London Millennium Dome in 2000. Burson’s Human Race Machines continue to tour the country at colleges and universities and allow people to view themselves as another race. It is her hope that the project will challenge people to change perspectives on how they view human race. As recently reported by Popular Science, current research shows that the experience of oneself as another race can create cross-racial empathy within the mirror neutrons of the brain. This is important, really, because the concept of race is not genetic, it is social. In 2005 scientists discovered just one gene controls skin color. Put another way, that is just one tiny letter of DNA code out of the 3.1 billion letters in the human genome. Yes folks, we are all 99.99% alike.
In her recent and timely work utilizing the Human Race Machine, What if He were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Middle Eastern-Indian, Burson created images of Donald Trump as each of these races. Originally commissioned by a prominent magazine, which ultimately decided not to publish it, Burson said she was spurred to produce the work. “The question in my mind was whether Donald Trump’s brain would be affected with an empathetic response upon viewing the work,” explained Burson.

While art and politics don’t always mix, Burson’s project is one that goes beyond politics and delves deep into the psychology of a person’s sense of self. One has to wonder if Trump sat with the image of himself as Middle Eastern, would he at all feel empathy and reconsider his position of banning Muslims from entering the United States? Or if he visually experienced himself as Hispanic, would he still fiercely advocate building a wall with Mexico? Would he at all feel compassion for others, if even on a subconscious level?
— C. Buckley

Please read the entire article on



The Work of Nancy Burson, Diversity Matters by Zoë Muntaner

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

“Diversity” has hit a critical mass of awareness.

What If He Were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Middle Eastern-Indian

I have always wondered about the true meaning of diversity and its role in a community and a nation at large. It always seems like it’s the right thing to say when you wish to garner votes (except Donald Trump) but in the moment of truth communities vote for projects that disenfranchise the poor (where diversity is more apparent) to open way for less integrated neighborhoods. Is Santa Monica one of those communities?

Bergamot Station & The Human Race Machine
Art always supply a good point of departure. The Bergamot Station Spring Fling last Saturday had two exhibits at the ROSEGALLERY and one at Earth WE that blew my mind in regards to diversity, challenging the audience to examine the issue and provoking us to engage in the active participation of life in the 21st century.

Nancy Burson’s timely new work “What if He were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Eastern Indian” is a large scale five-part image of presidential candidate Donald Trump that challenges photographic truth at the birth of digital manipulation. About the work on view Burson says: “This project was a commission for a prominent liberal magazine, which ultimately decided not to publish it. My interest in creating this work was the desire to know what Donald Trump’s reaction might be if he saw the images. Current research shows that experience of oneself as another produces an empathetic response within the mirror neurons of the brain. The question in my mind was whether Donald Trump’s brain would be affected by an emphatic response to viewing the work.”

Hillary Clinton’s neoliberal brain might also benefit from a journey through the Human Race Machine. Imagine the woman who bows to AIPAC and votes to go to war on Iraq becoming an Iraqi or a Palestinian or a Libyan or a Honduran, since she supported destabilization in those countries, as well as Iraq.

How it all began . . .
Nancy Burson’s pioneering work in morphing technologies began with age-enhancing the human face, enabling law enforcement to locate missing children and adults. The Human Race Machine is Burson’s best known public art project, originally developed as a commission for the London Millennium Dome in 2000. What would you look like as another race? Human Race Machines have been changing perspectives on racial diversity since 2000 and have been used on college and university campuses as a diversity tool to discuss issues of race and ethnicity since 2003. Human Race Machines have been featured in all forms of media including segments on Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, National Public Radio, PBS, and Fuji TV News, as well as countless local TV channels in the USA. Prominent articles featuring the Human Race Machine have appeared in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Houston Chronicle, and Scientific American Magazine to name a few.

The concept of race is not genetic, but social. There is no gene for race. In 2005, there was a gene that was identified for skin color, but that was only skin deep. Skin color is simply a reflection of the amount and distribution of the pigment melanin and humans are all alike underneath their skin. This newly found gene involves a change of just one letter of DNA code out of the 3.1 billion letters in the human genome — the complete instructions that comprise a human being. We are, in fact, all 99.9% alike.

Burson’s installation compliments the ongoing Japan’s Tomoko Sawada exhibition: Facial Signature, not to be missed. Trust me, just go before it ends on April 9, 2016. Both artists focus on the ever-changing form of the human face in diverse ways." 

Please read the entire column from Zoë Muntaner on