The Ripple Effect
On the September cover of ARTNews, the oldest and most widely circulated fine-arts magazine in the world, is a detail from “Knotty but Nice,” the work of Egyptian-born Ghada Amer. In the full work, the outlines of four women are embroidered on a large canvas with heads thrown back, eyes closed and mouths open, limbs bent and folded; errant threads drip and dangle, obscuring parts of the female forms. Before reaching the masses as the lead image in the publication’s erotic-art issue, the piece was on view at New York’s Gagosian Gallery and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
But it was created in Kansas City.
Amer spent the spring 2005 semester as artist in residence at the H&R Block Artspace, working in collaboration with students and alumni of the Kansas City Art Institute, including Amalia Mariño, Heather Gutierrez and Peter Demos. The alliance has proved profitable: Demos, who’s pursuing an MFA at Hunter College, and Gutierrez have worked part time for Amer in New York, where she lives. Mariño now serves as the artist’s studio manager.
Clearly, we respect and admire her work, which she says is about the discovery of pleasure and the loneliness of the body. But she’s also helping talented Kansas Citians make it in that cutthroat world.
That’s why this week we love Ghada Amer.