Diane Bush Steven Baskin
"Make a Merkin Great Again (Merkin #4)", 2019
Crocheted hand-spun pussy-cat hair, patriotic ribbons, veteran flag frame, spray paint
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art Collection
Gift of the artist. In memory of the Chinese Cat God, Li Shou.
The Make a Merkin Great Again series continues Diane Bush’s long engagement with political satire. Her previous projects include Mug Shots, a curated sequence of exhibitions leading up to the 2016 federal election, and Imbleachment, a set of works that criticized the federal government’s censorship of the Iraq War by altering photographs of politicians with bleach. Merkin points the viewer towards a more complicated cluster of associations, setting up references to the United States flag and using woven cat hair to hint at a connection to the colloquial term, “pussy.” The title of the work, which was chosen by Bush’s husband Steven Baskin, combines an allusion to a contemporary political slogan with the word for a pubic wig. (DKS)
The artists have asked us to include this explanation of merkins:
“What is a Merkin?
As early as the 1400s sex workers, and others would shave their privates to prevent lice. To beautify themselves, merkins, or genital wigs, were created. Today they are used in film and on stage to obtain a desired 'look'.”
To watch our Virtual Tour of this piece, please click on the following link: Barrick Museum of Art Virtual Tour - Diane Bush & Steven Baskin.