During the summer of 2010, Niki and I first exhibited Girl with a Pearl Earring [After Vermeer] in the Kinsey Institute‘s annual juried show. (See postcard in photo at right.) The day after the show opening, we visited the institute to view their permanent collection of art and found ourselves in awe and giddiness. The hallways of the institute — literally the wall space between each of the researchers’ offices — feature a rich collection of photos, paintings, drawings, and sculpture pertaining to sexuality, gender, and the body from all over the world and across an extensive spectrum of human history.
After our visit, still marveling at the magnitude of our experience, Niki and I decided to donate Girl with a Pearl Earring [After Vermeer] to the Kinsey Institute art collection.
Jumping ahead to 2014, my friend (and former Chicagoan) Ann, who oversees the University of Oregon magazine, chose to profile U of O alum Katherine Johnson-Roehr, curator of the Kinsey Institute art collection in the most recent edition of the magazine. In the article, Katherine speaks beautifully about the history of the institute’s collection and how it relates to their mission “to pursue research that produces reliable information about human sexuality, gender and human reproductive issues.” Having the acquaintance of Katherine for the past five years through various exhibitions at the institute, it was easy to speak about how her bringing more contemporary work into the collection is expanding on their mission. And from a more personal perspective, it’s really gratifying to have one of our pieces be a part of that conversation.
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The other day Niki and I were assessing the final color edits needed before printing Madame X [after John Singer Sargent] from the Muse series. Visually combing through the whole image, she noted the usual process of balancing skin tones, and then mentioned bringing up the color in my lips. Observing the lips, I immediately looked for adjacent color relationships to ensure balance. In all artistic seriousness I replied, “Oh nice…my lips match my nipples.” After a half-moment’s pause, we both burst into laughter having realized the disparately serious tone against the slightly absurd words. Fortunately, these exchanges are an often occurrence during our collaboration, and we revel in their beautiful spontaneity.
In addition, we are proud to have this image included in the Kinsey Institute 2013 Juried Art show from May 17 to July 13, 2013. View an online gallery of the exhibition – but note that, considering the nature of the exhibition, sexually explicit images are included.
Also, “Girl with a Pearl Earring [After Vermeer]” is on exhibit as part of the Face Value: Portraits from The Kinsey Institute exhibition from April 12 – August 30, 2013.
Face Value: Portraits from The Kinsey Institute explores the various ways that artists utilize the portrait. This exhibition in the main gallery includes contemporary and vintage photographs, as well as painting, prints, and sculpture.
It’s truly an honor to be included in the same exhibits as Pierre et Gilles, Herb Ritts, Joel-Peter Witkin and other artist who’ve provided artistic inspiration along my journey.
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Olympia [After Manet] is part of the Muse series, a collaboration with photographer Niki Grangruth.