Femininity Beyond Archetype at Art Museum of the Americas Thursday, July 17

In much of her work, Colombian raised photographer and designer Natalia Arias challenges traditional cultural tropes of beauty, sexuality, and general propriety. Her series Taboo includes “Beauty” (shown), a pristine mannequin head that’s perfectly made up but completely bald, as well as “Corazon Roto,” a photo of a woman’s chest divided by a thick pink scar. The Venus series explores the role of that mysterious goddess and shows models recreating iconic images, including Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” Arias presents both series at the Art Museum of the Americas and encourages viewers to explore their own definitions of femininity. Is a blemish-free female form the only thing that can be considered feminine? What about small feet and dainty hands? Draw your own conclusions and don’t take things too seriously: As in “Child of Madonna,” an image from the Venus series that shows a baby doll resting on a gold footstool, Arias’ pieces serve up a fair dose of cheekiness. The exhibition is on view Tuesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., to October 5, at Art Museum of the Americas, 201 18th St. NW. Free. (202) 370-0147. museum.oas.org.

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