Ick Art: Why a Rising Generation of Female Sculptors Is Embracing Body Horror

Mire Lee, "Black Sun" (Installation View), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and New Museum.

Imagine a meat locker or a mad scientist’s lair: that’s what the New Museum’s fourth floor looks like today. Plastic-lined scaffolding forms a dank, fetid room within a room that appears to sweat. Inside, a torqued rod wrapped in ropy limbs—entrails, perhaps, or tentacles—twists slowly and menacingly, tangling in on itself until it looks like it’s about to break. Then, all of a sudden, the appendages snap free and spray clay on anyone there to bear witness. The sense of release is orgasmic—and gross.

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