All Dressed in Pink—Femininity, Consumerism, and Sexuality in Portia Munson: The Pink Bedroom
Museum of Sex
January 25 – March 18, 2023.
Exhibition Review by Barbie Kim
Portia Munson (b. 1961)’s latest solo exhibition, The Pink Bedroom at the Museum of Sex, takes on maximalist visualization of desire, pleasure, femininity, and taboo dressed entirely in pink. The Pink Bedroom derives from the thematic thread that weaves through Munson's decades-long career exploring the relationship between consumerism and the construction of femininity and sexual objectification. Munson’s exhibition showcases a series of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and a site-specific iteration of the Pink Project: Bedroom (1994 – ongoing).
Located at the back end of the gallery space, The Pink Project: Bedroom crowns as the centerpiece glowing in shades of pink. Through a small passage against the wall, the viewer can walk past the Bedroom, examining Munson’s collection with great curiosity. The viewer now finds themselves immersed in pink, other than the walking passage with a pink carpet. Munson’s camp approach to an essentialist satire has a sense of familiarity with Judy Chicago and Mimi Shapiro’s Womenhouse(1972) project. The Bedroom uses pink to connect the conflicted yet often associated themes between innocent child-oriented products and objects regarding sexuality. The selection creates an experience where disturbance takes over the initial wonder when entering the space. Is the work a sexual liberation where Munson refabricates the socially constructed femininity, or is Bedroom an installation that cautions the fetishization of girlhood?
In many ways, the experiences of viewing the Bedroom display a metaphor for sexual violence. The viewers spend extensive time in the installation, preoccupied while taking photographs of the object or themselves. Rarely had one stopped and realized the connection between sexualizing girlhood objects.