Exhibitions - Fall 2003

August 20 -
September 20

Beggars and Choosers:
Motherhood Is Not a Class
Privilege in America

August 20 -
October 11

Lejos de Dios/Far from God:
A Photodocumentary Installation
by Leah Krieger '03

September 26 -
November 1

GENECORP©: Making the World
a Better Place

October 20 -
December 13

Photographs by Harold Edgerton

November 10 -
December 13

Poaching Dürer’s Hare


Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood Is Not
a Class Privilege in America   

Regina Montfort, Mayra and Jordan,2000, gelatin silver print

For more than a generation, politicians in the United States have argued that poor women who have children—especially the ones who need public assistance—are irresponsible and selfish, waste public funds, and make bad mothers. Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans agrees. In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, most Americans have embraced, in one way or another, the idea that motherhood should be associated with economic and consumer status, or even class privilege, and should be reserved for women with adequate resources.

When Americans think about who is a legitimate mother, few know that employers pay African-American women about 65 cents for every dollar earned by white men for similar work. Few realize that over 40% of poverty could be eliminated from female-headed households if women were paid comparable wages for comparable work and if employers were committed to paying a “living wage.” Beggars and Choosers provides images that reflect the strength, dignity, and determination of mothers who are often defined by public policy and public opinion as women who should not reproduce. The exhibition argues that “reproductive rights” means claiming the right and the resources to control fertility and the right to be a mother.

Mel Rosenthal, Mother and Daughter, East 173rd Street,
1980, gelatin silver print

Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood Is Not a Class Privilege in America is a traveling exhibition of over fifty photographs associated with the publication Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States (Hill and Wang, 2001) by prize-winning historian Rickie Solinger. She is also the author of Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade (Routledge, 1992, 2000); editor of Abortion Wars: A Half Century of Struggle, 1950-2000 (University of California Press, 1998); and, with Gwendolyn Mink, editor of Welfare: A Documentary History of U.S. Policy and Politics (New York University Press, 2003).

The exhibition includes photographs by Jerry Berndt, Roland Freeman, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Corky Lee, Susan Meiselas, Regina Montfort, Eli Reed, Joseph Rodriguez, Mel Rosenthal, Stephen Shames, Taryn Simon, Clarissa Sligh, and Deborah Willis, among others. Generous support for Beggars and Choosers has been provided by the Open Society Institute, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Puffin Foundation Ltd.

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Lejos de Dios/Far from God:
A Photodocumentary Installation by Leah Krieger '03

Leah Krieger
, Eternal Gratitude and Love, 2003,
chromogenic color print

In the fall of 2002, I lived in the state of Oaxaca working as an intern for a Mexican non-governmental organization, FomCafé, a name derived from the verb fomentar, to promote and foster. Within three indigenous Zapotec communities, FomCafé promotes the production and international distribution of Fair Trade organic coffee for La Trinidad Cooperative. In general, the label Fair Trade certifies that cooperatives are democratically organized and guaranteed a minimum price for their coffee beans. For my internship, I translated FomCafé’s Web site and assisted in organizing various community meetings, including one that was designed to teach women concepts of a savings and micro-lending program that would support economic diversification and women’s empowerment. Informally, I acted as a shadow—listening, observing, writing, and formulating my own un-romanticized perspectives of what was going on around me.

One photograph in the exhibition, Addressing Cervical Cancer in Role-Playing Exercise, documents a series of educational activities designed to promote better communication and support regarding women’s health care. Demonstrations, videos, and role-playing encouraged women to obtain yearly Pap smears in order to decrease the incidence of cervical cancer in rural coffee-producing communities. Because these economic and social initiatives often subverted traditional gender roles, they were met with varying degrees of resistance from both men and women, and I continue to question their sustainability within certain communities.

During my time off, I spent countless hours wandering through chaotic labyrinthine markets. Heaps of fresh-cut flowers, especially during the Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebrations, constantly entranced me. I also witnessed a street protest opposing the construction of a McDonald’s in the historic center of Oaxaca City and an anti-capitalism march. As a tourist and as an American, I was unwelcome at these frequent political mobilizations.

The title of my exhibition refers to a common Mexican dicho/saying: tan lejos de Dios, tan cerca de los Estados Unidos/too far from God, too close to the United States. While I wished not to be labeled a güera/white girl, this constant reminder made me realize that I am an estadounidense/a person from the United States. Despite its failings, successes, and excesses, the U.S. is the country that I call home, and English will always be the language in which I communicate best. With this acknowledgment, I attempt to avoid perceiving culture as static but instead examine the complexity of the world and why places, people, and countries evolve and interact as they do—whether it be by historical forces, global economic structures, God’s will, or pure chance.


For this independent study project, Leah Krieger creates a synesthetic gallery installation based on an ethnographic research project that she conducted in Mexico from July through November 2002. For the exhibition, she examines issues of economic and gender equity in the international coffee market and rural women’s health care, as well as cultural traditions, tourism, and social protest. She includes her own photographs, cultural artifacts, and journal excerpts of personal observations and reflections, so that the project weaves together visual artistic expression, academic research, and ethnographic cultural critique.

Leah graduated in 2003 with a combined major in sociology and environmental studies and a double minor in Caribbean and Latin American studies and Spanish. Her interest in diverse Latino cultures stems from living in and exploring Western and Southwestern states in the U.S. During college, she developed a more critical analysis of Latino populations, examining issues of political power and resistance, privilege, race, class, and the Other-ing of culture. Her research in Mexico was funded by a grant from the St. Lawrence University Romeo/Gilbert Intercultural Endowment. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the Cashin Endowment for Fine Arts, the Global Studies department, the department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and the Caribbean and Latin American Studies program. Special thanks to Aram Muksian ’04 for designing and painting exhibition text panels.

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Making the World a Better Place

Pack-Hunting Catfish™, 2000,
mixed media diorama

Using the conventions of corporate and natural history museum display, this exhibition showcases the work of biotechnology company GENECORP©. Genetically engineered hybrid animal and human species and their environments are created based on factual phenomena in science, medicine, agriculture, and aquaculture. Dr. Edward A. Shanken of Duke University describes, for example, “[w]alking catfish, Clarias batrachus, [that] can travel over ground from one pond to another and pose a serious environmental threat. [And] what about Vampirebass™, a nocturnal species with enlarged incisors that explodes when exposed to light?” One of the most startling components of the exhibition is the Aqua sapien™ Laboratory, in which an “amphibious GMH (genetically modified human) that incorporates GENECORP©’s proprietary transgenic blend of primate and fish features is designed to flourish on land and in water.” In the most recent journal of Bioethics and Technological Advancement Review (BaTAR), Dr. Guillermo Xervious notes:

Since the dawn of humanity, a struggle between evolution and nature has been waged by humankind on the planet Earth. With each evolutionary advancement of the human race, there has been a cost-benefit relationship with lasting effects. As humankind grows as a species, it must contend with secondary impacts to the environment caused by the betterment of the race. Although some negative impacts can be amended with newly gained ability, many experts believe that the scales have been forever tipped and our deteriorating environment is a result of human evolution. Regardless of one’s point of view, it is apparent that our planet, our home, has been permanently affected by the natural progression of our species.

GENECORP© is a leader in biotechnological research and implementation, and their genetic modifications have led to industry standards and breakthrough advancements. But has that success come at too costly a price? With the prospect of environmental decay and loss of sustainable habitat, people imagine a finite future that holds uncertainty and reduced potential. Our mortal race looks to science and technology, the very devices that could contribute to our demise, for a solution. GENECORP© provides a glimmer of hope that our longevity may be increased for even a whisper in time.

from “A Look to the Future with an Eye on the Past”

GENECORP© 2000, mixed media installation

Through the display of formulated artifacts, animals, and propaganda, I invite viewers to question ethical and practical ideologies of biotechnology, while emphasizing how current “breakthroughs” will affect all of us in the future. Individual pieces within the installation vary not only in artistic process, but also in style, giving the appearance that the works were created by a team of GENECORP© scientists and artists. Modeling my dioramas after those on display in well-known natural history museums provides a more convincing, authentic experience. It is my hope that gallery viewers will leave confused about the path that is being set out before us by corporate science and technology. The most important message my work delivers is that everything presented as truth could be real—the technology does in fact exist.

-Kimberley Richards

Special thanks to Chad Conant, ecologist.

Cricket Grouse, 2001, pastel and colored pencil

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Photographs by Harold E. Edgerton

  • October 20 - December 13, 2003

Harold Edgerton, Football Kick, 1938, dye transfer print,
gift of the Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation,
SLU 96.5.1

According to National Public Radio commentator Andrew Chaikin, astrophysicists have determined that today at 5:51 a.m. EDT, Mars was 34,646,418 miles from Earth, which is the closest it’s been since 57,617 BCE as this red planet hurtles through outer space at roughly 50,000 m.p.h. Cosmologies of a different sort (or are they the same?) are represented in an exhibition of stop-action and multiple flash photographs by Harold E. “Doc” Edgerton. His well-known images of “milk drop coronets,” splashing water, curling smoke, football players, golfers, circus stunt performers, rodeo riders, ice skaters, jugglers, drum majorettes, rope skippers, orchestra conductors, dancers, bullets (shooting through hot air, apples, bananas, light bulbs, rubber, playing cards, balloons, soap bubbles, Plexiglas, copper wire, string, steel), hummingbirds, bats, and dogs all reveal the movement of matter and objects through space at delirious speeds. Edgerton documented the velocity of dynamite cap particles, for example, exploding at ten times the speed of sound with photographs that were exposed at 1/1,000,000 of a second, as well as the backspin of a golf ball upon impact with a driver (at ~2,000 revolutions per minute) vs. a No. 7 iron (at ~10,000 revolutions per minute). Such exquisite calculations!

The cosmos may be found through the lens of a camera, telescope, or microscope or understood through one’s physical body, inviting us to consider the nature of time and space as well as the relationship between the sacred and the mundane. In The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd, Mary Rose O’Reilley paraphrases a teaching by Thich N’hat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, who advises, “…practice stopping when you walk. When you have a need to go somewhere, do walking meditation as though you’ve stopped. Whenever you need to go somewhere, go in the spirit of walking meditation.” Likewise, the photographs of Harold Edgerton stop me in my tracks, and I am able to ponder the momentary graces of this world.

-Catherine Tedford, Director

Harold Edgerton, Jackie Jumps a Bench, 1948,
gelatin silver print, SLU 93.47

Harold Edgerton earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he became a member of the MIT faculty in 1931. Edgerton created the first electronic stroboscope, a precursor to modern flash photography, that could “stop motion” on film. The use of a stroboscope allowed exposure times to decrease from hundredths to millionths of a second, freezing motion in crisp detail. Later in the 1980s, Edgerton experimented with camera-less photography, capturing fragile marine microorganisms as they rested directly on a piece of film. After his retirement in 1968, he continued to work at the MIT lab, known as “Strobe Alley,” five or six days a week until his death in 1990.

-Carole Mathey, Assistant Gallery Director

All photographs ©Harold & Esther Edgerton Foundation, 2003, courtesy of Palm Press, Inc. Special thanks to Gus Kayafas and Mary Steele.

and Poaching Dürer’s Hare

GAM, 2003, installation details, Roland prints
mounted on steel, transfer prints on cloth

The art installation GAM by Joel Seah provides a powerful commentary on a contemporary form of Orientalism wherein North American Gay White Males (GWMs) seek “smooth,” “tan,” “honest,” and “submissive” Gay Asian Males (GAMs) for “good times and maybe more.” In the exhibition, low-res pixilated digital prints of 36 GWMs from an AOL chat room are displayed, each image veiled with the man’s online profile.

By exploring themes of desire for the exotic Other, Seah maps the intersections of sex, racism, and sexuality. In representing the textual desires of GWMs, the artist analyzes the ways in which whiteness, class, and privilege are used to inscribe the body of the Asian Other. However, far from submissive, GAM, the installation, illustrates how objects of desire can also acquire the power of agency and resistance—similar to Hegel’s master/slave dialectic—as positions of dominance are slippery and often vacillate between subject and object.

In Poaching Dürer’s Hare, 1,000 tracings of a color Xerox of Albrecht Dürer’s A Young Hare are exhibited, each copy on vellum a tracing of the one before it. Seah’s drawings of rabbits evoke a symbol of heterosexual biological reproduction, i.e., the slang for pregnancy tests in the 1950s. Themes of degeneration (as seen in cases of national identity during periods of diaspora) and regeneration (such as the agency that is associated with a nomadic identity) found in this piece recall similar concerns examined in GAM, as the artist continues to explore concepts of seepage and shift. But the drawings reveal a further progression in which identity itself becomes problematized. With no authentic original present in this case, production has powerful material consequences nonetheless.

Each installation evokes a conceptual palimpsest. Historically, the term “palimpsest” describes the ways in which writers reused vellum or parchment, resulting in the juxtaposition of two or more layers of text. However, when such pages are held up to light, the original texts bleed through, blurring past and present, as each layer informs the meaning of the other. Seah’s re-printing forces a queering of binaries, as both installations investigate notions of original/copy, location/movement, and power/resistance.

- Danielle Egan
Assistant Professor of Sociology

Poaching Dürer’s Hare, 2003, installation details

I am formally trained as a printmaker; however, I am conceptually and technically drawn to a multidisciplinary studio practice that involves performance, photography, installation, video, and sculpture. My main concern remains with the multiple as it pertains to rituals, identities, and the recurring desire for home and a homeland. Having been raised in a Chinese family in Singapore where emphasis was placed on occidental thought, I explore the dichotomies of “Eastern” and “Western” in my work as I reconstruct ideas of heritage, immigration, displacement, and bi-cultural dialogue.

In subscribing to playwright David Henry Hwang’s proposal that “being Chinese today means rediscovering what it means to be Chinese today,” I also note that the ethnicity in this statement could be substituted for any other. The dislocation from and reconnection to a sense of belonging mark a journey that most people undertake in one form or another, which is certainly not unique to being ethnically Chinese. I am working toward reconstructing this universal experience from what is particular to my own.


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All exhibitions and related educational programs are free and open to the public.  The Gallery welcomes individuals and groups for guided tours; please call (315) 229-5174 for information.

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