cara judea alhadeff



Critical Press Quotes:

In New City: Chicago and The Reader, January 2003.
About Thicker Than Water, two-person show, held at Flatfile Photography Gallery, Chicago.

"A surrealist after the fashion of Salvador Dali, Cara Alhadeff uses projections, reflections and plays of light to confect color scenario photographs that reveal her deeply ambivalent feelings about the human body. In "Another Discordant Sigh," which could serve as the title of her show, we see a pile of naked reddish-yellow torsos on a wooden table that look like so many chickens from the supermarket. The Scene is simultaneously erotic and repulsive, evoking the complex emotions that we experience in dreams or in the traumatic sexual events that generate them. Pathos, danger and desire mingle and separate in Alhadeff s symbolically freighted images; tangled bodies are visual metaphors of mixed motives. Alhadeff s photography cuts deeper than feminist criticism and post-feminist affirmation, penetrating the troubled psyche that Freud said knows no time."

From Tip of the Week, by Michael Weinstein.
In New Art Examiner, October 1999.
About Wall to Wall Nudes held at Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.

"Alhadeff's intimate [strange portrait photographs] of bodies, distorted twice over, first by multiple reflections in mirrors, and second by metal rods and leather pads that prod and obscure the body, question the body's fundamental integrity-and the wholeness of our concepts of it-in a manner related to recent performance art and computer-manipulated photographs."

From Varieties of Naked Experience: Particulars of the Human Body in Recent Art by Tom Csaszar
In The San Francisco Bay Guardian, June 1998.
About Inside the Visible, two-person show, held at Crucible Steel Gallery, San Francisco.

"It's easy to see why artists might want to subvert the standard gallery setup. By rejecting chaste white was and traditional display modes, an artist can hope to prod viewers toward new ways of seeing.Against this backdrop hang the haunting photographs of Cara Judea Alhadeff, which dangle from the ceiling and are illuminated from behind by bare bulbs. With their juxtaposition of diverse elements, Alhadeff's poster-size prints also challenge viewer' assumptions about beauty and order. A dead bird's foot sits next to a human armpit, swathes of brightly colored silk lie around the top of a shaven head. While these elements are decontextualized and shot in extreme close-up, the photographs' gorgeous orange and blue hues place them firmly in the realm of the sensual."

From Pretty on the Inside by Sarah Coleman.
In The San Francisco Chronicle, November 1997.
About Viscous Expectations, solo exhibit, held in San Francisco's City Hall.

"The best part of the exhibit is watching the reaction of politicos when their visitors see the display [29 color photographs by Cara Judea Alhadeff]. I walked by a couple of times before I actually stopped and looked,' rookie Supervisor Gavin Newsom said, shaking his head. All I can say is Jeez.' Give it time, Gavin, give it time."

From For Art's Sake by Matier and Ross
In The Plain Dealer, October 1995.
About Body of Evidence held at the Cleveland State University Museum, OH.

"The show contains 75 works by 13 artists, including nationally known figures such as Cindy Sherman, John Coplans and Joel Peter Witkin [Sally Mann, Alfredo Jarr, Dieter Appelt] Visitors are greeted to the exhibition by [Witkin's] photograph of two body-piercing masochists, and by a gruesome still life in which a severed foreleg with foot attached is depicted matter-of-factly along with a fish, a bunch of grapes and a loaf of bread. In a similar vein (no pun intended) Cara Judea Alhadeff is represented by 17 color photographs that focus closely on parts of living people juxtaposed with sharp pieces of metal and glass, bits of decaying organic matter and otherwise unidentifiable, creepy looking stuff. The images repel with their intimation of unpleasant physical sensations, while their quasi-abstract compositions elicit curiosity and hold a viewer''s attention. Witkin and Alhadeff push the envelope stabled by Thurmer's exhibition while other artists [such as John Coplans, Sally Mann, and Cindy Sherman] explore less painful territory."

From Bodies real and surreal, warts and all by Steven Litt.
In The Cleveland Free Times, October 1995.
About Body of Evidence held at the Cleveland State University Museum, OH.

"The most interesting young work is by.Cara Judea Alhadeff, whose surreal color photographs reward long looking. Blending tiny segments of human bodies with various organic materials, she creates new organisms that appear while under examination, accomplishing a recognition of the self in relations to nature that is also a critique of the objectifying, segmentizing eye of science--and art. If John Coplans' magnifying lens is the source of the exhibition, Alhadeff's microscope is its logical extension."
From The Subject: The Body by Frank Green
In People for the American Way, Censorship Anthology, 1995.
About Matter Adheres to Matter held at the Pennsylvania State University Library.

"A university official ordered the removal of five photos from the school library in State College, Pennsylvania in response to threats by library staff to strike unless works they claimed are sexually explicit were removed.

Matter Adheres to Matter is an exhibit featuring thirty large photographs by Cara Judea Alhadeff, an undergraduate at Pennsylvania State University. According to the artist, her work is a process of confronting, exposing, and undermining the different ideologies in society which are trying to control the body.' The large scale, ambiguous photos of male and female body fragments, which do not include genitalia, are intended to question what we choose to perceive as 'real' or 'truth'.

After reviewing Alhadeff's work, Jennifer Olson, who selects works for display at Penn State University Library, scheduled two shows featuring the artist's photographs. According to Alhadeff, Olson required her to sign an agreement barring works from the library's exhibition spaces that are 'one-sided displays on religious, political, or social issues or that may be considered sexually explicit or graphically offensive.'

After exhibiting eight works in the library without complaint, Alhadeff delivered thirty works for her second exhibit for Olson's review. Unable to approve one of the images in the series, Olson referred the photograph, which depicts pubic hair and pieces of metal, to her supervisor, Loanne Snavely. After Snavely approved the photo, the exhibit was installed in the East Corridor Gallery of the library. Two days later, in response to threats by library staff who refused to come to work until the exhibit was removed, Associate Dean for Collections and References Services, Salvatore Meringolo ordered Olson to remove five of the works. The staff claimed the works violated the exhibition policy and another recently enacted policy designed to keep pornography and sexually explicit' material from being posted in lockers or offices of that library. Meringolo justified the removal of the works by alleging that the installation was not yet complete, because the artist's statement was not yet in place. Yet after it was finally installed, Meringolo ordered the removal of an image which appeared on the artist's statement.

Not satisfied with partial removal, people continued to challenge the entire exhibit calling the works 'degrading the human body,' immoral,' and inappropriate for a library.'

According to Alhadeff, Snavely and Olson supported the exhibit, but felt that if they defended it they might lose their jobs. 'I had to hide out for a couple of days,' said Olson, who claimed that objector harassed her for allowing the exhibit to remain on display.

When Snavely informed the artist of the incident, Alhadeff responded in a campus journal. She wrote, 'Given that the term 'explicit' generally refers to what is perceived as 'clearly defined' and 'precise', I find it ironic that the protest demanding the removal of [the exhibit] labeled my work as 'sexually explicit'...Did those who found my photographs 'offensive' feel threatened by what they actually saw or by what they imagined they were seeing?' Alhadeff requested that school official conduct a forum to discuss the incident and revise the exhibition policy.

In response, library officials told Alhadeff that revising the exhibition policy would take too much time and energy and doing so may jeopardize the 'privilege' of the exhibition space and further restrict exhibit content. Alhadeff plans to conduct a forum and is scheduled to exhibit more works in the library."

Two years later, similar events occurred in San Francisco's City Hall and Oakland's Federal Building following Andres Serrano's censorship of "Piss Christ", Artistic Freedom Under Attack.