Here She Comes: Julia Sherman

Open during public hours: December 8 – 21, 2012
Open by appointment: December 22 – January 1, 2013

Reception: December 13, 7-9 pm

“We could certainly use another protest, if I could think of one I would do it. I hope somebody does”
–Carol Hanisch, 2010 feminist activist reflecting on her 1960s activism

Dear Debra,
I am sorry if somehow my last email conveyed a lack of respect for you or The Miss America Pageant. In all my conversations about this project, I describe you as an articulate woman who was resourceful enough to seek out funding for her education so she might go on to become a musician and educator.
-Julia Sherman, 2012

Recess is pleased to present Here She Comes, a collection of Sherman’s research in the form of photographs, videos, drawings performance, and remnants. These artifacts and new works resurface and continue conversations that began at the 1968 Miss America Beauty Pageant and the Women’s Liberation intervention that occurred during the ceremony.

Sherman’s primary sources become raw material for inciting contemporary reflection on a shared history. Here, the events surrounding the 1968 Miss America Pageant are abstracted and collaged, misinterpreted and re-imagined. These composite gestures ask the viewer to consider how this historicized, yet little known, narrative of the Women’s Liberation Movement, and the history of the pageant, continue to be relevant as we look to define contemporary forms of resistance and appropriation.

Sherman initiated conversations with several 1968 Miss America candidates, collecting details about their talent show performances, personal recollections of the event, as well as their contemporary views on beauty pageants and the 1968 intervention. Her findings blurred a seemingly distinct social picket line, complicating notions of The Beauty Queen and The Activist alike.

In addition to tracking several 1968 participants, Sherman researched spin­off pageants that formed in response to the iconic Miss America pageant, including Miss Akademia (Czech Pageant), Miss America (a drag pageant that was later sued for using that name), Miss Indian America, and Miss Black America (started in 1968 and still in production today).

Julia Sherman employs unwieldy and untraditional research methods, feminist theory, and her own personal anxieties to create a view of the contemporary and historicized beauty queen through the soft focus of forgotten resistance.

About the Artists:

Sherman is currently based in Brooklyn. She is the founder of the artist-run Los Angeles gallery Workspace, and a recent graduate of Columbia University, M.F.A. program with a concentration in New Genres. She is a contributing artist/writer to Triple Canopy, White Zinfandel, Cabinet Magazine and The Highlights art journal. Her work will be featured in In Practice on view at Sculpture Center in January 2013.

Image: Studio audience on The Tyra Banks Show burning their “ill-fitting” bras, 2008

For more information contact

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Download the press release.