Persona: A Body in Parts

  • Sep 17, 2011 – Dec 11, 2011
  • The Bob & Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery
Gillian Wearing, "Self Portrait as my Sister Jane Wearing" (from
"Album"), 2003, 55.125 x 45.25 in. Image courtesy Regen Projects, Los
Angeles © Gillian Wearing.

Did you know?

The expression of multiple versions of the self is discussed in Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity and the Self  by Rita Carter, who writes that our interactions with different social groups (friends, family, lovers, business colleagues) heavily influence the way we choose to present ourselves. We naturally adapt to our surroundings, sliding from one identity to another as the situation demands.

Persona: A Body in Parts explores alternate and multiple representations of the self in current visual art. Organized by Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions, Xandra Eden, the exhibition includes a striking selection of work in which the body, whether the artist’s own or another’s, becomes a plastic surrogate form from which multiple and complex identities are projected. Artists participating in the exhibition include Barbara Probst, Nikki S. Lee, Carter, Kate Gilmore, Nick Cave, and Gillian Wearing.

The artists in Persona adopt chameleon-like personas, don self-made “second skins,” and project fragmented views of the body, to create a view of identity similar to the effect of light shining through a prism, each part separating out into different, though often enigmatic, representations of the self.
The work in Persona: A Body in Parts has its historical roots in early body and performance art of the 1970s, such as that of Ana Mendieta and Rebecca Horn, and later artists who explored more artificial or media-driven selves, including Cindy Sherman and Yasumasa Morimura. Each artist in the exhibition provides valuable insight into thinking about the body as participating in a series of knowledge-producing relations, rather than as a distinct, static entity.

Performances of Kate Gilmore’s Wall Bearer are scheduled for the opening and closing Saturdays, first Thursdays and Saturdays of each month, and for Persona related events. See Event Calendar for dates + times.


Related programs:

Preview party + artist talk with Kate Gilmore • Fri Sept 16 @ 6pm (NO REMAINING TICKETS)

Film: Erased James Franco • Thu Sept 22 @ 6:30pm

Fall Community Day • Sat Sept 24 @ 1pm

Noon @ the 'Spoon • Tue Oct 11 @ 12pm

Lecture: Liquid Selves: Buddhism, Desire + the Reality of Virtual Worlds • Thu Oct 20 @ 6:30pm

Lecture: Manly Crafts: Mike Kelley’s (Oxy)moronic Gender Bending • Tue Oct 25 @ 5:30pm

Film: a.k.a. Nikki S. Lee • Thu Oct 27 @ 5:30pm

Masquerade presented by the Weatherspoon Art Museum Association • Fri Oct 28 @ 7pm

Lecture: The Body in Art | The Art of the Body • Wed Nov 2 @ 4pm

Art After Dark | Mask Magic • Thu Nov 3 @ 6:30pm

Lecture: The Drama of Identity • Thu Dec 1 @ 5:30pm


Persona: A Body in Parts is organized by Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions. This exhibition and related public programs are made possible through the support of the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, and Jaguar Land Rover of Greensboro, a Flow Automotive Company. Special thanks to Heather Flow and to Carol Cole and Seymour Levin.


We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.