Through Aug. 19. PPOW Gallery, 392 Broadway, Manhattan; 212-647-1044, ppowgallery.com.
Walking into the gallery you might wonder: What sort of banquet does the large oval-shaped dining table serve up? It’s covered first in a tablecloth of white silk and lace wedding dresses, topped by lamps with exposed illuminated bulbs, with the rest of its surface crowded with mostly white trinkets including innumerable figurines, decorative objects like snow globes and functional ones like soap dispensers. A mannequin’s armless torso rises prominently from one end of this, the exhibition’s titular sculpture, “Bound Angel” (2021), its mouth and eyes wrapped and bound by butcher’s string, recalling the work of the German Surrealist Hans Bellmer.
It’s hard to pull off the alchemist’s trick of turning tchotchkes and kitsch into art gold, but the Catskill, New York-based artist Portia Munson manages this handily, as if a rigorous method were applied to a hoarder’s madness, with intuitive groupings and hints of classification discernible within the clutter. Several “serving tray” works achieve this effect on a smaller scale, and in the next room, the wry “Today Will Be Awesome” (2022) all but vibrates in a riot of pink within a turret of cabinets collecting everything from Hummel statuettes to My Little Pony and Bratz dolls.
Munson’s assemblages and the accompanying drawings and oil paintings on similar themes hit differently in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Either bound or reduced to cheap commodities, the femme body is offered up, fragmented and put on display, all but asking aloud: Whose bodily autonomy?