NYC Gallery Promoting Body Positivity With New Contemporary Art Exhibit “Body Beautiful”

Elisa Valenti, “Modern Dance” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019

It’s always a good time to celebrate and promote body positivity, as we still largely live in a culture where one narrow standard of “beauty” is pushed on us everywhere we look. Our fave NYC art gallery, Untitled Space, is holding a special exhibition dedicated to body positivity and the work of 50 contemporary artists who are using their creativity to challenge harmful societal norms.

Body Beautiful, curated by gallery director Indira Cesarine, is running from November 21st through December 14th and will feature artworks across a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, photography, video, and sculpture that highlight the power of the figure.

Allison Hill-Edgar, “Recoil” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019
Anne Barlinckhoff, “yin yang love” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019

“Throughout the canon of art history the human figure has been a central theme, as we grapple with our own existence, feeding a desire to self-represent and to understand our place in the universe. This exhibition will present works by contemporary artists who address the figure not just as an object of beauty, or a subject of anatomy, but rather elaborate on body positive depictions of the human form, including all body types, ages, and genders, celebrating diversity as well as the timeless beauty of the body,” says a description of the exhibit on the Untitled Space website.

Proceeds from the exhibit will go toward Art4Equality, an initiative launched by Indira that supports the creation of empowering gender equality themed exhibitions and public art.

Hiba Schahbaz, “Untitled” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit Artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019
Dafna Steinberg, “Balcony12thStreet” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019

The body-positive movement, which dates back to early Victorian reforms against the corset, 1960s initiatives against fat-shaming, and more recently via social media with influencers challenging unrealistic standards of beauty, is “rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body. The goal of the movement is to address unrealistic beauty standards and to build the confidence of oneself and others. The movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society, and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one’s ability to feel confidence or self-worth. The movement states that neither fat-shaming nor skinny-shaming is acceptable, and that all body types can and should be celebrated.” outlines the gallery.

Katy Itter, “Rule Breaker” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019
Katy Itter, “What to Put in Your Mouth This Christmas” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019

“With the emergence of body activists of the last decade addressing the negative repercussions of fat shaming, including depression, eating disorders and body dysmorphia, we have seen a dramatic shift in consciousness with fatphobia slowly going by the wayside, along with the unhealthy societal demands for bodily perfection. We now live in an era where body acceptance has finally become not only an important subject, but is taken seriously as central to the human experience. This dialogue has changed the lives of many women (and men) with marginalized bodies who didn’t fit into society’s definition of beauty or feel comfortable in their own skin. Ideals of feminine beauty in particular have historically been reserved for a select few who were blessed with privileged physiques. The “beautiful” people existed on their own pedestal, while the rest of humanity was overlooked,” said Indira in a curator statement.

Indira’s own work is featured in the exhibit, including a photo of model and body activist Tess Holliday, who has been an outspoken advocate of changing the norms in the fashion and beauty industries over the past few years.

Indira Cesarine “Tess Holliday” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019
Hiba Schahbaz, “Untitled” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit Artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019

“With beauty standards continuously transforming, what was once previously not accepted as “beautiful” has expanded into the current “body positive” narrative. But what does “body positive” really mean? Is it merely an emphasis on “fat acceptance” or is it truly as inclusive as the word suggest and the movement intends? The BODY BEAUTIFUL exhibition addresses this shift in our cultural experience, engaging viewers with artworks by a wide array of artists of all ages and genders, who address what the “Body Positive” movement means to them in 2019,” she continued.

We’ve included our favorite images from the exhibit in this post, but we highly recommend getting yourself over to Untitled Space in NYC to take a look at all the artwork on display.

Meegan Barnes, “Booty Boots” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019
Sarah Maple, “In Time” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019
Sarah Weber, “UndressedSelfie” Featured in “Body Beautiful” Exhibit, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York, November – December, 2019

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