A Sister History
A Sister History by Adam Milner explores bodily materials—blood, flowers, hair, belly button lint, false eyelashes—and closes gaps between natural and artificial, human and non-human, inside and outside.
The works, comprised of rigorously collected and mined material from himself, friends, strangers, and other living things, collectively ask questions about who or what has a body and who has control over those bodies. The acquisition of many of these materials hinges on complicated social contracts and negotiations, exchanges the artist has chosen to not overtly publish within the exhibition. Whose hair we see and how the artist obtained it, for instance, are left unknown but point to histories of power dynamics surrounding the control of bodies. Objects in the show become hard to place— are they sentimental mementos, exploitive trophies, or precious material?
A Sister History serves as a sequel to A History of Man, Milner’s recent exhibition at Casa Maauad. The first exhibition drew its title from Historia del Hombre, an extensive series of children's comic books from the 70’s designed to teach a world history. The illustrations are staggering in their masculinity: pages upon pages of men (either shirtless or fancily dressed), shouting, pointing, waving around sheets of paper, crossing bodies of water, and piercing each other with bullets, arrows, or swords. And there are few women depicted at all. This sequel continues a conversation about how bodies are controlled and utilized in a manner that is decidedly quiet and anti-masculine.
Adam Milner (b. 1988) has exhibited at the Aspen Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, David B. Smith Gallery, Gildar Gallery, Casa Maauad, Florin Christopher Zurich, and has a site-specific work at the Andy Warhol Museum up through January.