Edgy feminist artist Leah Schrager will debut new works this Fourth of July weekend during Unprotected Specs at The Montauk Beach House.
We recently caught up with Schrager to learn about her work, the exhibition, a special Independence Day weekend presentation, and more.
Tell us a little bit about the pieces featured in Unprotected Specs?
LS: There are four new works that I made specifically with Montauk in mind… Two were taken on the beach and two were taken in a condo there that I was staying in during a photoshoot. There is also a series that I created earlier this year called Not Your Mother’s Porn. Then there are a couple recently made stand-alone works.
Could you speak a bit about the process of how your pieces are digitally manipulated, embellished, and/or censored?
LS: I basically open a huge folder of images on my computer or iPad and look at them. When one feels right I’ll open it in Photoshop or another program or app (depending on what I’m thinking I will do with it), and I start experimenting. Often a direct task is to censor an image so it can be seen as non-naked. But also sometimes the works are non-naked to begin with and I am embellishing them in some other way. I really follow my instinct here. I like to experiment with a bunch of different methods, and then when I find a method that feels and looks good I’ll employ a similar process on a different image. As I develop a series, a selection criteria for the base and embellished images will emerge naturally and definitively.
When creating your work, you typically travel to hotels or home shares like Airbnb to document the pieces. How does travel/new surroundings influence your works?
LS: Very much so! I love new colors and settings and environments. And sometimes I’ll integrate elements from the space directly into the work. I find it really inspiring to photograph in different locations.
You’ll be performing in-person for the first time Angles on a Woman, an investigation of Jacques Derrida’s Copy, Archive, Signature: A Conversation on Photography, in which he states that photography is “as much production as recording of images, as much act as gaze, as much performative event as passive archivization.” What can attendees at at The Montauk Beach House expect?
LS: There will be three stages: Act I – Photoshoot; Act II – Processing; Act III – Posting. I’ll be wearing the same costume in one setting but will embody three different kinds of women using different camera angles, physical poses, and capture moments. People should come by as they wish and also be sure to check out the posts online on the IG accounts @leahschrager, @hotspot.studio, and @onaartist.
What are you working on at the moment?
LS: I’m focusing on developing images and increasing the profile of my art Instagram, @leahschrager.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
LS: I’m excited to have my work for the first time in the Watermill Center Benefit! So you can find me there too.
Unprotected Specs will be on view from Friday, July 5 through Wednesday, July 17. There will be an artist reception on Friday, July 5 from 6 to 10 p.m., while the performance will take place on Saturday, July 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. and an artist talk will take place on Sunday, July 7 at 12 p.m.
The Montauk Beach House is located at 55 South Elmwood Avenue in Montauk. For more information, visit thembh.com.