MOST IMPORTANT UGLY
April 25, 2014 July 25, 2014 American Two Shot
135 Grand street, NYC Opening Reception: April 25th, 6:00-9:00pm
Hello friends and friendly strangers –
If you know me at all, you know I live and breathe both makeup and memories – the stories that lipstick can tell you and the people who wear them help me wake up in the morning. Call it shallow or call it survival. I’d consider it more the latter and it’s the heart of Most Important Ugly.
What exactly should you expect? In essence,
it’s a series of 13 portraits that negotiate the
sitter’s stories of alienation and presentation,
memories and disremembering. In order to sit
for their photo to be taken, I asked each muse
a series of questions about shame, safety,
power, family and beauty. This series of
questions is called “Therapy Sessions in Sephora,” a reference to the place where I came up with the questions and the place where the ideas for this project began to unfold.
This project discusses anxiety and queer marginalization, revealing the monsters that are hidden inside of us when we are taught what we are is not enough, or is too much, or that it shouldn’t exist at all. It is a presentation of the resistance of marginalized people and how makeup can bring out the best in you: it’s just that the best is not always what is expected, or the most beautiful, or the most kind. Most Important Ugly tells the story of Monster Culture and the everyday heroes that it breeds. The heroes are my friends in the queer community, my readers, our friends. Nonbinary beauties, trans friends, queer and questioning people we know and love all came together to sit for this project and it is their stories that we have the honor to share in these photographs. Gertrude Stein once wrote: “Give me new face new faces new faces I have seen the old ones.” This is our response to this idea of a beauty culture where we do not belong.
There are 13 portraits in the installation. There will also be a Limited Edition zine (Edition of 100 copies) detailing our process and monster culture, and it will include the original questions asked of each sitter. That way, you can learn what your Most Important Ugly is, too.
Arabelle Sicardi is a fashion and beauty writer & artist with the popular feminist fashion blog, Fashion Pirate. She is on staff at Rookie Magazine, the online teen magazine founded by Tavi Gevinson, and has also contributed to Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Autostraddle, and Lucky. She was most recently profiled in the New York Times for her work in creating communities of SelfEmpowerment and in PAPER Magazine online as a personal style blogger the magazine is obsessed with.
Tayler Smith is a photographer with a focus on fine art portraiture, currently attending her second year at The School of Visual Arts. She was named one of the Frist Museum’s “Young Tennessee Artists” of 2012 and has since contributed to Inconnu Magazine, Motive Magazine and Autostraddle. This is her first public exhibition.
For contact information, please email Arabelle at email@example.com
PHOTOS SHOWN ABOVE:
Indigo Nelson, 2014
Melissa Fan, 2013
Tyler Ford, 2013
Hari Nef, 2014