Idol Worship

Installation view of Idol Worship, curated by Emily Colucci, at Smack Mellon (Image courtesy of Smack Mellon; Photo by Etienne Frossard)

Idol Worship at Smack Mellon (November 16-December 29, 2019)

Participating Artists: Rebecca Baldwin, Loren Britton, Anna Campbell, Liz Collins, Alexandria Deters, Jamison Edgar, Jason Elizondo, Cara Erskine, Caroline Garcia, Patty Gone, Kris Grey, Tatyana Gubash, Michelle Handelman, Tenaya Izu, Aaron Krach, Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, Emily Lombardo, Helina Metaferia, Sophia Narrett, Brice Peterson, Jennifer Quinones, Gwen Shockey, Pacifico Silano, Anna Skarbek, Tiffany Smith, ariella tai, and Conrad Ventur

Dear role models, muses, mentors, problematic faves, and last but certainly not least, filth elders,

It’s you. It’s you. It’s all for you. You are our sources of possibility, creativity, courage, subversion, self-fashioning, and sometimes transgression.

In honor of you, our idols, Idol Worship celebrates the ongoing cultural, social, and political significance of role model adoration as an essential survival strategy. In particular, self-identified women are often overlooked as figures to be emulated, exempt from the label of “genius” so readily bestowed upon men. Partially inspired by John Waters’s Role Models, a pseudo-autobiography through his own influences or what he calls, “filth elders,” the artists use their work to create conversations—both actual and imagined—with their women and women-identifying role models.

While teens’ fanatical impulse to paper their bedroom walls with imagery of their favorite stars is presumed as merely an adolescent phase, identification with idols becomes especially significant for those alienated from dominant social institutions, whether the biological family, history, or mainstream culture.

As John Waters asserts, “Life is nothing if you’re not obsessed.” All forms of devotion are encouraged: prayer, ugly crying, supplication, etc.

With all our love (do you love me like I love you?),

Your biggest fans

As featured in:

Frontrunner Magazine