Author: Lily Kostrzewa

“EXODUS V: Aesthetics in the Political”

The Elixir of Ataraxy in a Sea of Trouble

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

For nine long months the United States has been facing severe distress from the coronavirus forcing the closing of galleries, museums and art centers in New York City. But WhiteBox Harlem continues to independently operate as a community engaged nonprofit venue, a beacon for art lovers for 22 years despite facing numerous crises over the years. Over two decades, it has nurtured many outstanding artists in New York City and abroad, continuing its mission as an experimental center for experiencing new art with social èlan. 

“Exodus V: Aesthetics in the Political” is an exhibition curated by New York-based Kyoko Sato. This remarkable curatorial creates new metrics putting under scrutiny a diverse, singular group of 17 contemporary expat Japanese women artists aged 31 to 84 who chose to emigrate to New York to continue and expand their careers in a less constrained atmosphere than back home. Due to the increasing number of practicing female artists in the art scene in the past 30 years, art museums in Western countries have begun to have many feminist inspired exhibitions awakening the public’s attention to this voluminous subject. Most exhibitions tend to emphasize the inequality between men and women, or talk about women’s sexuality openly such as women’s awareness of the autonomy of their bodies. Time and again, some of these thematic shows unfortunately become cliché. In the spirit of finding a differential, I was quite curious to see how “Exodus V” may be different from many of these other women’s exhibitions I have witnessed.

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

At the opening reception I went through the entire exhibition and interviewed several of the exhibiting artists. I must confess my experience and exchanges observing the whole affair felt like … Click here to read more