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Brides of Frankenstein at San Jose Museum of Art
Heidi Kumao, Protest, 2004. Sculpture: aluminum, girl’s shoes, motors, custom electronics. 24h x 18w x 18d inches. Stands on wood table approx. 36h x 42w x 32d inches. Courtesy the artist.

SAN JOSE, CA.- Guest curated by Marcia Tanner, Brides of Frankenstein is an exhibition of experimental work by a new generation of female artists working with video, electronics, robotics, the Internet, computer games and animation, and other digital and traditional media to animate synthetic creatures with virtual life. Presenting visually and conceptually compelling pieces by approximately fifteen artists, the exhibition runs from July 31, 2005 through October 30, 2005.

In Brides of Frankenstein, the artists are the “brides." As metaphorical consorts of Mary Shelley’s fictional and archetypal scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, they engender lifelike creatures. Like his, their artificial progeny embody complex responses to the human implications of the technologies they use. And like Shelley's fiction, their projects question the unreflective drive to reconfigure nature that motivated Dr. Frankenstein and explore the profound social, cultural and moral issues his activities raise.

The "creatures" in Brides are strange hybrid forms that Frankenstein never dreamt of, mingling animal with vegetable, the organic with the inorganic, human-like intelligence with unconscious machinery. They exemplify the world we live in now, where contemporary digital, medical, and biological technologies - including the technologies of image-making and reproduction - are dissolving age-old distinctions between what's alive and what's not, what's conscious and what's not, what's human and what's not, and what's "natural" versus what's "cultural." Alluring, engaging and often humorous, the works in Brides of Frankenstein provoke questions about the ways we interact with these technologies, and how they challenge our understanding of what it means to be human. They also address the potential for transformation and inquiry, and the new forms of identity, perception, movement, presence, representation, meaning and expression that new technologies allow.

Participating artists include: Andrea Ackerman, Peggy Ahwesh, Erzsèbet Baerveldt, Kirsten Geisler, Elizabeth King, Heidi Kumao, Kristin Lucas, Amy Myers, Patricia Piccinini, Sabrina Raaf, Tamara Stone, Camille Utterback, Katherine Wetzel, Gail Wight, and Adrianne Wortzel.

The exhibition will be located in the Museum’s Gibson Family and Plaza Galleries on the first floor, and is accompanied by an illustrated, full-color brochure authored by the curator.

About the Curator - Marcia Tanner is an independent curator and writer who lives in Berkeley, California. The former Executive Director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Tanner organized the controversial exhibition Bad Girls West at UCLA’s Wight Art Gallery in 1994. More recent exhibitions include Location Location at the San Jose ICA; We Look and See: Images of Childhood in Contemporary American Photography at the Berkeley Art Museum; Mi Casa es Su Casa at the Noga Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel and Dromology: Ecstasies of Speed, and LifeLike at New Langton Arts in San Francisco. Her writings on art have appeared in Art+Text, ArtNews, Artweek, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

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