Women’s History Museum Biennale: Poupées Gonflabes

March 2nd – April 20th, 2019



Exclusive, lonely retail Pear

Gargantuan Passageway,

   throng ,  orb Collage of Space

     For a Jewel.s

Your infinite facet

revealed as a gem opening on every hinge

In Women’s History Museum Biennale: Poupées Gonflabes, Mattie Barringer and Amanda McGowan propose a realm of possibility through an artificial boutique. A semi-abandoned storefront of mysterious origin features overlapping symbols of fashion retail, department stores, beautification, cinema palaces, peep shows, and womanish commoditization in all its forms. As these visual details co-mingle, a world of fantasy and aspiration emerges, but these seductive symbols of desire have attached to them the polluting intention of making money at any cost. The “Magazine Stand,” a collaboration with photographer Tyler Jones, features  magazine layouts leading into endless menageries of display that are detached from temporal reality or clear intent. The layouts were inspired by fashion and sex publications throughout many eras, but the imagery presents a feverishly clothed body.

As we continue to hurtle into an ever- accelerating internet capitalism, featuring an endless reel of new brands, new seasons, and new items to buy on our screens, a physical space where something is for sale feels like an artifact. However, the WHM “storefront” leading to the group show also represents a dubious barrier to community — and makes visible the seductive obsession with materialism, vanity, advertising, delusion, and ego. This is a constant conflict that leads to the failure and inability to break free from the ties to capitalism and the obscured violence it yields. The hollow boutique looms as a dead-end reminder of the lure of these forces, and Fashion’s Failure under capitalism.

To avoid the alienation of commerce, and in keeping with the project’s collaborative origins, WHM’s retail center functions as a gateway to the Biennale, a group show bringing together artists that have all contributed their practice to WHM in one form or another. The Biennale features works from across genres, mediums, and methods, yet however divergent the works remain, they intersect in their expressionism, lack of apathy, and defiance of societal limits imposed upon bodies. This is significant within a capital driven art scene that usually rewards abstraction, minimalism, and obfuscation. Much of the work concerns fashion, or perhaps other forms of corporeal compromise. Women’s History Museum Biennale: Poupées Gonflabes hopes to elaborate on the glittering contradictions behind every institution.


Featuring works by:

Ada O’Higgins

Ajakia Smith

Alma María Arias

Aran Shanmugaratnam

Bryn Barnett

Candice Saint Williams

Dachi Cole

Daffy Scanlan

Firpal Jawanda

Gabriela Rivera-Morales

Gogo Graham

Hu Diè

Keke Hunt

Kelley McNutt

Kip Kirkendall

Loren Mindak

Mati Hays

Mountain Pollen

Noel Freibert

Odessa Straub

Sean- Kierre Lyons

Tyler Jones

Yves B. Golden


Women’s History Museum, founded in New York City in 2015, is the moniker under which Mattie Barringer and Amanda McGowan make work. WHM began in its initial iteration as a series of experiential fashion shows that existed as ephemeral artworks in and of themselves. These fashion shows were created in close collaboration with other artists who often doubled as models, including contributions such as music, makeup, sculpture, hair, nails, shoes, and video. Women’s History Museum engages with Fashion as a medium that has the potential to exist beyond regurgitative spectacle but has the ability to change the fabric of reality. WHM was founded to foster community through making clothing and art, to react against feelings of isolation, powerlessness, and emotional instability, as well out of the desire to create novel and previously unseen images of beauty.

Recent solo shows: Her Bed Surrounded By Machines at Luma Westbau, Zurich (2018), OTMA’s Body at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, NY (2018).

Group shows include: Session Vessels at AirSpace Projects (2018) Marrickville, Australia, Autour de ma chambre at The Community, Paris, France (2018), Kathy Acker: Who Wants to Be Human All the Time at Performance Space, New York, New York (2018), Genre-Nonconforming: The DIS Edutainment Network at de Young Museum, San Francisco, California (2017), To Let Things Slide at Lovaas Projects, Munich, Germany (2017), Prick up Your Ears by Taylor Trabulus at Karma International, Los Angeles, California (2017), SMK Fridays: Institute for Success 2.0 at Staten Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017), Crumbling World Runway with Ser Serpas at Moma PS1 Sunday Sessions, New York, New York, Tales of a Drippy Realm with Will Sheldon at Cleopatra’s, New York, New York (2017), Baby I’m A Star at Romeo Gallery, New York, New York (2016), World Industries: a group exhibition organized by Monica’s Gallery at Punk Cafe, Melbourne, Australia (2015), and Echo Implant with Donna Huanca at Joe Sheftel, New York, New York (2015).

Performances include: WHM 005: Calico Svetlana at Performance Space, NY (2018), WHM 004: Mew+ at Romeo Gallery, NY (2017), WHM 003: Frauveldt at Ukrainian National Home, NY (2016), WHM 002 at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, NY (2016), WHM 001 at Allen & Broome Street, NY (2015).

Recent Press:

Artforum Centerfold
The Brooklyn Rail
Topical Cream