Mira Schor

As part of the “Dick” paintings from 1988-1993 that saw its first exhibition feature at the Frieze New York 2018, Schor’s MA(me)MA joins other works of phalluses presented alongside images of other symbols, such as the shape of ears, vulvae, sperm, and breasts, within unconventional compositions. Here, as a composition of twelve painted canvasses arranged in a perimeter the a five-by-three canvas work, the painting bears the appearance of a board game on which each panel is a separate, seemingly unconnected symbol. However, in this arrangement, the symbols join together to move in clear yet sometimes tense horizontals. From the left, the upper and lower symbols of breasts protrude forward and eject beams onto the symbols to right. However, on the opposite sides, while the bottom row of canvasses seemingly illustrate a successful translation between the breast on the left and the ear on the right, the row of canvasses on the top presents opposition. Whereas the breast appears to emit a beam of light onto the opposing phallus, the phallus faces the breast as sperm is released from it, moving further into the emitted beam enclosing it. On the center panel in the left, a miniature model of these connections/misconnections appears as if to normalize the narrative of the piece. As a result, the piece empowers this tension between receiving and rejecting that destabilizes expectations that favor one act over the other. Outside themes of the representation of the body, MA(me)MA further visits the theme of the representation of language, which can be seen in the bottom row. Encased between the breast on the left and the receiving ear on the right, the three canvasses in the middle faintly spell out the title of the piece. One syllable is painted per canvas, reflecting Schor’s belief, in her own voice, that “language as image operates slightly different in each space.” Combined with the symbols that run through the perimeter, the work presents a multidimensional space where each panel carries its own agency, a power that multiplies in this composition. Source: Vartanian, Hrag. "Six Questions for Mira Schor About Text and Image." Hyperallergic. May 18, 2012. Accessed May 21, 2018.….
Date of Birth
(b. 1950)
Oil on 12 canvases
overall: 48 x 100 in. (121.92 x 254 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
On View
On Loan