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Purge: Doreen Garner

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Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

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Purge forces us as a collective society to face the reality of racism that J. Marion Sims’s legacy as the “Father of Modern Gynecology” was built upon.

Sims ​viewed Black people​’s bodies​ as disposable specimen​s​​, e​xploit​ing​ and tortur​ing​ ​them through experimental procedures for the purposes of medical research. ​I​n the 1800s, ​it was considered unethical to view beneath a woman’s skirt as a physician. When Sims accepted Anarcha​, a seventeen-year-old enslaved black woman​ ​as a patient,​​ ​he made her get on all fours atop his operating table while completely nude, and shoved a speculum inside her vagina. He invited crowds of townspeople to “see what no man had seen before.” Sims attempted to close Anarcha’s vesicovaginal fistula over 30 times without anesthesia between 1845 and 1850​, despite the fact that ​he had used the anesthetic ether for his white patients 5 years prior to Anarcha’s first operation.

As part of her exhibition White Man On A Pedestal with Kenya (Robinson), Garner recreated the seven-feet tall statue of Sims in Central Park, encasing it in a thin layer of silicone. Once peeled, his ‘skin’ lies in situ on an operating table. In Purge, Garner will perform a vesicovaginal fistula closure on the Skin of Poneros. Several body cast models featured in her work Rack of those Ravaged and Unconsenting will also assist in this procedure. Using dissection as a means​​ to get to the truth​, ​the symbolic mutilation of Sims’s body on a surgical table seeks to undo​ his ​historically ​praised posture.

Doors at 7:30pm

Performance at 8pm

Seating is limited.

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Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

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