“Being and Having” by Catherine Opie where “Chicken” = Jenny Shimizu

The complete series of "Being and Having" by Catherine Opie.

"Bo" and "Chicken"

“Shown as Opie’s first one-person gallery exhibition in November 1991 at New York’s 494 Gallery, Being and Having marked the first incidence of the strict seriality and formal classicism that would govern much of the artist’s work to come. The thirteen color photographs that make up the series are variations on a theme: decked out in exaggerated masculine facial hair and other macho props, Opie’s lesbian friends are shot against a brilliant yellow background while they stare directly into the lens of the camera. Each closely cropped image is presented in a wooden frame bearing a nameplate that lists the sitter’s party name in etched cursive script: Chicken, Con, Ingin, Papa Bear, and so on. Deliberately toying with the outward signs of gender displayed by their subjects, Opie’s photographs lambast the notion of gender identifications as stable, unified, or in any way natural.”

— Nat Trotman

Source: Catherine Opie: American Photographer, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Exhibition Catalogue, Pg. 42, 2008.

To read more on Catherine Opie, and the Being and Having series, purchase the American Photographer exhibition catalog here.

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