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FRIDA SMOKED. at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS / NEW YORK

FRIDA SMOKED.

with:

Genesis Belanger, Anne Doran, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Ilse Getz, 
Irini Miga, and Amanda Nedham


May 13 –  June 19, 2016


INVISIBLE-EXPORTS 
89 ELDRIDGE STREET 
NEW YORK, NY, 10002 



Frida Smoked.Genesis Belanger
Installation View
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, 2016

Irini Miga
A Scratch on the Wall, A Moment Embedded In, 2016
Cigarette butt, marble dust, left overs of carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen and nitrogen
2 x .5 x .25 inches | 5 x 1 x 0.5 cm
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer
Mark the Floor, 2015
Oil on canvas
12 x 12 inches

Frida Smoked.
Installation View
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, 2016

Frida Smoked.
Installation View
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, 2016

Frida Smoked.
Installation View
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, 2016

Frida Smoked.
Installation View
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, 2016

Amanda Nedham
TIBO199502 (serbian volunteer guard/ aka: tigers and german shepherd), 2016
Sculpey, acrylic
dimensions variable

Amanda Nedham
They burn everything here, 2016
Graphite on paper
12 x 8.5 inches, 15 x 11.625 inch frame
(also comes with typewritten letter)

Amanda Nedham
Cigarette and soap ark , 2016
Graphite on paper
12 x 8.5 inches, 15 x 11.625 inch frame(also comes with typewritten letter)

Genesis Belanger
Best Blue arrangment #1, 2016
Steel, paint, concrete
24 x 8.5 x 6 inches

Anne Doran
Tomato Surprise, 1988
Color Photographs, aluminum
55 x 58 x 5 inches 
Genesis Belanger
Cigarette and Stairs, 2015
Steel, paint, concrete, oak wood
33 x 33 x 9 inches

Genesis Belanger
Peter the Last Drag is for You, 2016
Oil on canvas
30 x 24 inches

Genesis Belanger
Back Against the Wall, 2016
Oil on canvas
40 x 30 inches

ILSE GETZ (1917-1992)
Musical Nightmare, 1981
Cigarette collage
10 x 8 inches

ILSE GETZ (1917-1992)
Cigarette Collage VII, 1965
Cigarette collage
9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Genesis Belanger
Citrus arrangment #1, 2016
Steel, paint, concrete
13x 12 x 5 inches

Genesis Belanger
Bubble Gum arrangment #1, 2016
Steel, paint, concrete
11x 12 x 5 inches

INVISIBLE-EXPORTS is proud to present Frida Smoked, a group exhibition featuring work of women artists and their cigarettes.


The cigarette was a man’s thing, at first—even though it was thin, white, delicate, and cleaner-smoking than brown-leaf cigars and squat puffy pipes. But smoking at all was unladylike, and so, in 17th century painting, cigarettes appeared only in the hands of prostitutes and other “fallen women”; later, the cigarette became an important marker of Victorian erotic photography. When the femme fatale was photographed cigarette-in-hand in Boston, in 1851, it was a scandal, even for a performer who had made her name as a courtesan; as late as 1908 a woman was arrested for smoking a cigarette in New York City.

But with industrialization came the mass production of cigarettes, and with that came their mass marketing—first using women in advertising to entice men to smoke, then targeting women themselves as customers, once they had joined the workforce en masse during the first world war. Philip Morris sponsored lecture series to teach women, assumed to be incompetent smokers, the proper way to inhale. To truly eliminate the taboo, the American Tobacco Company hired Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, who consulted psychoanalyst A.A. Brill and was told that women were natural smokers, and therefore manipulate-able customers, because of their enduring oral fixation. “Today the emancipation of women has suppressed many of their feminine desires,” he told Bernays. “More women now do the same work as men do. Many women bear no children; those who do bear have fewer children. Feminine traits are masked. Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.” ‘Torches of Freedom’ became the name of Bernays’ extended campaign, in which, among other efforts, he paid hand-selected women — “while they should be good looking, they should not look too model-y” — to smoke while walking New York’s Easter Sunday parade in 1928. The phrase would be picked up almost 70 years later when American cigarette brands tried to engineer the same gender revolution in emerging markets in Asia and Africa, presenting cigarettes as symbols of freedom, upward mobility, and gender equality.

By then, smoking had long been surpassed as a marker of social ascendency, in America, by something almost like its opposite—a health-and-wellness cult that heralded the purity of women’s bodies even as it insisted that women devote more and more of their own time to remaking and maintaining those bodies for male approval and consumption. And so cigarettes became a different kind of assertive calling card—signaling a different kind of naughty female independence, one made up of disdain for do-gooder nanny-state-ism and self-help mantras peddled in the age of corporate yoga; and driven embrace of youthful indiscretion, downtown depravity, even a sort of sexual nihilism. Of course, all artists smoked—all the good naughty ones anyway. 

*All images courtesy the artists and Invisible Exports, NY