“Respectability Politics”


The group show “Respectability Politics” asks how identity shapes participation in the art world and determines the parameters of acceptable behavior. Happy Ending (Onegai, Onegai, Onegai, Let Me Get What I Want), a 2016 installation by Kat JK Lee at the center of the gallery, features a body pillow displaying a drawing of an androgynous anime-style character wearing a schoolgirl’s uniform over hairy legs. The gagged face is split open to reveal a grimacing skull, and the body threateningly wields a baseball bat, even though it’s bound in chains. The pillow sits in a hot-pink kiddie pool, submerged in lube, its masochistic image distorted by the viscous fluid. Other pieces in the show include Sophia Wallace’s neon sign that spells lit clit in pink cursive, and Julian Lorber’s This is How We Play Now (2016), an installation of metal-studded baseballs embedded in the gallery walls as if they were chucked at them. The transgressive energy in these works serves as a reminder of norms of decency in the art world and beyond, prompting a reflection on who gains from flouting them, and how. —Celine Katzman


Pictured: Kat JK Lee: Happy Ending (Onegai, Onegai, Onegai, Let Me Get What I Want), 2016, body pillow, plastic pool, plastic rock, lubricant, iPad. Courtesy Outlet, New York.