Margaux Crump’s show The Lure is strikingly beautiful at first sight. There is a millennial pink glow that bathes the space that lures you in. However, after a few moments of viewing I began to notice a fissure – something is off, but off in the best way possible. A phallic, pale pink little knob is demurely sticking out of a corner winking at me. What? The piece is humorously entitled a Dicklette and there are numerous dicklettes peeking about the show as if asking the viewer to play a game of “Where’s Waldo?” By the end of the night, my eyes were darting around the space, playing Where’s the Dicklettes.
Penises spring out of many of the works including Rock Hard which has them erecting out of various minerals that were once consumed as aphrodisiacs – history’s Viagra.
Crump is challenging the notion of the male gaze by unabashedly objectifying male genitalia. I find this refreshing in this day and age when women’s genitals are openly objectified in “good ‘ole” locker room talk. Why not give men a taste of their own medicine?
Materials fascinate Crump and this is noticeable in her use of sex-safe silicone, makeup pigments, salt crystals, steel spikes, and silk rope. Preserving My Desire displays her keen sense of materiality through 18 handmade cotton panties splayed like animal hides with steel spikes holding up the corners. Salt crystals grow from the frilly lace making the panties sparkle when light hits them.
The arrangement of the pastel panties reminds me of a hunter’s trophy wall like these are postcoital tokens he has creepily taken from his one-night stands. Inherently sexual and perverse in tone, the panties present an animalistic fetish that pervades Crump’s work — beauty mingles with the perverse while the natural mingles with the artificial. Count me as lured and trapped by the dynamic world of Margaux Crump.