Doreen Garner

Steal, Kill and Destroy: A Thief Who Intended Them Maximum Harm

Doreen Garner’s (1986, Philadelphia, lives in New York) sculpture and performance work engages the history of medical experimentation on Black women’s bodies in America. By refusing to relegate this history to a depoliticized record of the past, Garner emphasizes the problematic relationship of medicine and race that persists today.

Made of silicone, fiberglass insulation, plastic, hair weave, crystals, and beads, among other materials, Garner’s figurative works resemble fragmented, even amputated body parts or human remains. The site of these fragmented bodies alludes to the process of cutting open a body and suturing it back together, a representation of the dehumanization that Black bodies have experienced throughout history, specifically at the hands of James Marion Sims (1813–83), an important reference for the artist. Sims was an American physician who specialized in gynecological surgery and performed gruesome experiments on enslaved and purposefully unanesthetized women.

The exhibition at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, curated by Cathrin Mayer, is the artist’s first in an institutional context in Europe and features a newly commissioned work, among others. Despite the exhibition’s focus on American history, the exploitation of the Black body is not unique to America and will also be discussed in the local context as part of the supporting program.



Burgring 2, 8010 Graz  ♿

Tue–Sun 11:00–18:00

Free admission

Curated by Cathrin Mayer 

Supported by the U.S. Embassy Vienna
Part of the steirischer herbst ’21 parallel program