One Sin, Seven Stories
Installation by Adrien Broom
Hudson River Museum June 6 – September 26, 2015
|Above: Adrien Broom. Envy and Temptation, 2015. Digital Print.
Envy, the most corrosive of the seven deadly sins, makes its appearance at the Hudson River Museum from June 6 to September 26, 2015. Envy is interpreted by multimedia artist Adrien Broom in photographs and life-sized scenes from fairy tales, the stories of passion, evil, and redemption that have thrilled us for centuries.
Fairy tales show us as we are and as we should be. “Once Upon a Time,” a fairy tale’s time-honored opener invites us to begin the story that lays before us on the page, but the fairy tale has another dimension — it is eerily similar to today’s Google Search, where we can see into the lives of others without being seen, not on a page, but on a screen. Fairy tales record, colorfully, the strivings and errors of others, and then they give the fairy tale clue — the moral, the right way, to act. Connivers for riches or for the love of someone promised to another are sure to be ruined by evil envy, just as the person envied gets the prince or wins the princess.
Snow White’s Evil Queen, the great archetype of Envy appears in two guises —the White Queen and the Black Queen — the heart of the exhibition Envy. The Queen wears custom gowns – one, white, one, black, and appears in two separate photographs standing before her mirror: in the white gown (and still morally redeemable),and, in the black (holding a blood-red heart and consumed by Envy). The two magnificent costumes also appear on stylized mannequins that float, suspended, in the Museum Atrium.
A Web of Envy ensnares the Queens, both white and black, embodied as heads locked together in a dance — the Dance of Death. Cocooned and caught within the poisonous Web, too, are famous fairy tale symbols made real as objects: Tempting apples, gold coins, mirrors, all connoting the age-old envious thirst for beauty, wealth, and power. Artistic signifiers of Envy are seen throughout the exhibition. In particular, an illuminated plinth showcases a hand-blown glass apple that appears in Broom’s photographs.
Envy is a Museum-wide exhibition that includes a photographic Portrait Gallery of Fairy Tale Characters, among them Cinderella and Snow White, and in other not well known, but nonetheless chilling, for the envy they show: The Singing Bone, The Black Bride and the White Bride, The Three Little Birds, and Beauty and the Beast. We may not recognize the names of all the characters that Broom shows us in her photographs but some of the faces in her portraits are straight from today’s media — such as the Firestone Sisters, Mary and Lucy, travelers and lifestyle enablers, who, here, are the Black and White Brides, from the Grimm fairy tale, or, Chef Mario Batali, as “King,” ever- present, benevolent or not ruler in the fairy tale. Broom also creates three dimensional Storytelling in a Box “stage sets”: the first, the Dwarf’s Cottage where Snow White is protected and tempted; second, the dressing room of Cinderella’s envious stepsisters.
Adrien Broom lives and works in Brooklyn and is an artist with a penchant for the bizarre and beautiful. She took a degree in computer animation from Northeastern University and studied fine art in Florence and art history in London. Broom's photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions in Connecticut and New York City, as well as in the American Dreamers exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence in 2012. The exhibition Envy is organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated by Bartholomew Bland, the Museum’s Deputy Director.
Envy at the Hudson River Museum is part of a The Seven Deadly Sins, the inaugural exhibition of the Fairfield/Westchester Museum Alliance (FWMA), a cultural collaboration begun in 2009. Each member organization presents one of the seven deadly sins, with exhibitions beginning spring 2015 and continuing through that fall. Sin, the favorite subject of poets and painters, also provides grist for FWMA’s provocative summer programming, offered to the public and FREE to the members of FWMA organizations.
The Hudson River Museum, easily accessible by Metro North, Yonkers Station, and by car, Saw Mill River Parkway is opened additional evenings in the summer: Friday and Saturday 5 to 8 pm FREE admission.
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Friday & Saturday Evenings 5 to 8 pm. FREE Admission.