Jersey City art exhibition explores body boundaries

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An art exhibit in Jersey City called 'Please Touch: Body Boundaries' explores sexuality and body imagery

Tucked in a former tobacco warehouse in Jersey City is a thriving art organization that began as a storage facility. It has since transformed into one of the largest contemporary art organizations in the United States, also offering exhibition spaces and artist studios.

One of the latest exhibitions unveiled at the space is "Please Touch: Body Boundaries."

It features more than 50 artists who push the boundaries of body imagery and explore sexuality, identity, femininity and society's assumptions about women and sex.

Pinar Yolacan, a Greenpoint, Brooklyn-based artist originally from Turkey, is featuring three pieces in the exhibition.

"They are inspired by fertility goddesses," Yolacan said. "I wanted to do it so you can't really tell, you know, is this a surreal person or is this an object? I'm creating these living or live sculptures which I then photograph."

Ysabel Pinyol is the curator, while Dana Ben-Ari is the filmmaker behind the exhibition.

"Sexualization of the human body has been an ongoing theme throughout art history, from breast imagery in churches to classical female archetypes," Pinyol said.

She said the state of gender politics and body-boundary violations inspired them to present an exhibition that featured the ways artists have explored this dialogue over the years.

"The exhibition engages with today's climate of accusations, denials, bodies, and borders through work that is sensual, exhilarating, painful, confusing, sexual and vulgar," Ben-Ari said.

Yolocan added that the exhibition also challenges mainstream media's definition of beauty.

"Different types of bodies exist and different types of people do, and artists can find something beautiful in them and they are beautiful," Yolocan said.

Because of the nudity in some of the pieces, much of the exhibit has been censored on social media and other internet platforms.

"It is the human form, that is what artists have explored for so many centuries and to this day, in 2018, for it to be censored in such a manner, it says something about our ideas," Yolacan said. "What is accepted, what is not, what do we allow ourselves to look at, and what we can't."

The exhibition opened April 29 and runs through August 1. Mana Contemporary is located at 888 Newark Avenue in Jersey City and offers free tours of the two-story exhibition Tuesday-Saturday at 3 p.m.

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entertainmentartcontroversial artmuseum exhibitJersey CityHudson County
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