Chelsea Manning Is Going to Make an Art World Debut

Nathaniel Ainley, Vice, July 3, 2017

While incarcerated for violating the Espionage Act in 2013, former U.S soldier Chelsea Manning sent cheek swabs and hair clippings to visual artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, who turned those DNA samples into 30 3D-printed masks. Come August, reports ArtNews, New Yorkers will get the chance to see each one of those masks in the flesh at a new exhibition entitled, A Becoming Resemblance. The collaborative new exhibition coming to the Fridman Gallery marks Manning's art world debut. According to the gallery, the exhibition focuses on themes surrounding gender identity and emerging technologies, exploring how these concepts impact one another and how they are interpreted by modern day society.


In a statement to the gallery, Manning describes the collaboration: "Prisons try very hard to make us inhuman and unreal by denying our image, and thus our existence, to the rest of the world. Imagery has become a kind of proof of existence. The use of DNA in art provides a cutting edge and a very post-modern—almost 'post-post-modern'—analysis of thought, identity, and expression. It combines chemistry, biology, information, and our ideas of beauty and identity."