Sometimes, at the exhibition of an emerging artist, it hits you: This artist is about to blow up, and you’re seeing it first. The last time I saw Shoshanna Weinberger’s art in Chicago was in 2007, where she showed her “Zulu Jew” series at the Spertus Museum. Her new exhibition, Potbelly Pin-Ups: Out of Many One, on view at Woman Made Gallery (through 6/26), reveals an artist on the cusp of a great career. See it in Chicago before it’s gone.
Weinberger was in London installing a new exhibit when reached for comment. She says the new drawings illustrate her experience as a Jamaican-American woman. She was born in Kingston and now lives in Newark. “In America I am considered ‘exotic,’” she says—“and not ‘Jamaican-enough’ in Kingston.”
With titles like “32AAA” (her late-mother’s bra size) and “Muffin Top Banana Bottoms,” Weinberger invites her viewers to laugh about the absurd depictions of female beauty in pop culture.
Weinberger reinvented 1940s-era pin-up girl photos for her new drawings. Still propped on pumps, the pin-up now extrudes flesh, has many breasts and hair shaped like intestines. She is a jewelry-wearing sex object, although Weinberger calls her “malformed.” These are complex girls: frightening and grotesque and desirable all at once, and that’s the point.