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New Video: Doreen Garner Probes History

In a new film from our New York Close Up digital series, Doreen Garner forces audiences to face the profound racism underlying the life and work of Dr. J. Marion Sims. Despite being hailed as the “father of modern gynecology,” Sims performed torturous procedures on enslaved Black women without anesthesia or consent.

As part of the two-person exhibition White Man On A Pedestal with artist Kenya (Robinson), Garner creates visceral, life-like sculptures that acknowledge the brutality endured by Sims’s subjects. In her performance Purge, Garner recreates the monument to Sims that stands in Central Park, enacting the very gynecological surgery that Sims became famous for upon the silicone body with a group of Black female performers.

The film is the third of five premieres from our 21st anniversary winter film series.

“I’m operating in a really weird place. I’m a Black woman horrified by these actions, and yet I have to show all these actions so that it’s not a situation where people are able to overlook this information anymore.”