PACO CAO: Attribution is an exhibition that centers around the life of Mary Lens (1901–1987), an American socialite, writer and art collector who engaged in radical gender play. The show brings together both new works by Cao and historic works from various collections, including Leslie-Lohman’s, to imagine a portrait of her overlooked life and work.
The exhibition, which partly takes the form of a 19th-century art salon, opens with an introduction to Lens’s biography and focuses on four themes with which Lens was preoccupied with both in her writing and art collection: the Greco-Roman dichotomy of Apollonian order and Dionysian excess; the relationship between pain and pleasure, and specifically how it plays out through queer sexuality and martyr iconography; the impact of African-American culture in the United States during Lens’s time, which saw the advent of the Harlem Renaissance; and finally, the symbolic and cultic properties of water throughout history.
In Attribution, these texts will be featured and fleshed out by the artwork and literature on display, including work by Paco Cao, Paul Preciado, Nella Larsen, Del LaGrace Volcano, Jean Cocteau, Francisco de Goya, Federico García Lorca, Andy Warhol and Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
Admission is free with a suggested donation $10