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Arts / Museums

Lifelike Bodysuits Let You Step Into Someone Else’s Skin at Houston Museum’s New Jaw-Dropping Exhibit

The Health Museum Looks to Change the Way You Think About Beauty

BY // 08.28.18
photography Courtesy of The Health Museum

With recent lows in self-esteem stemming from today’s pervasive use of social media, it’s no surprise that when The Health Museum asked Houstonians what they wanted in a new museum exhibit, they replied with a call for an exhibit related to beauty, the human body, and self-esteem.

The Health Museum saw this request as an opportunity to address these recent issues, and change the way people use social media and think about beauty.

The Health Museum recently unveiled its new exhibit entitled “Body as a Work of Art: More Than Skin Deep.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that this exhibit is one that simply explains how the heart works, or shows what cells look like and what cells do. Instead, it takes a different approach to the more science-like explanation, rather showing the human body through a more artistic light.

This approach shows just how complex the human body truly is, and reveals how being human is more than just what you see on the outside.

The centerpiece collection of the exhibit is Bodysuits, created by artist Sarah Sitkin, a well-known Los Angeles-based artist whose artwork is known for displaying the human body in distorted and sometimes unsettling ways. Bodysuits features silicone molds of real human bodies (nude) to show the variety in body structures, physique, and age.

The interactive exhibit allows visitors close access to the extraordinarily lifelike molds, offering up-close views of every detail of the human skin. You can even try on two particular nude molds set inside a fitting room. One mold is of an average sized woman, and the other is of an average sized man.

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Though the experience may be uncomfortable for some, putting on these molds will literally allow you to step into someone else’s skin. Seeing and putting on these molds will give you a different sense of empathy, as you can see and feel what wearing these bodies is actually like.

Another central piece of the exhibit, Reflections, designed by Carol A. Feuerman, is made out of stainless steel and resembles a canopy. Reflections, which was donated by Carolyn Farb in honor of her late son, gives you time for self-reflection as you see yourself standing amongst your natural surroundings. Though the piece may seem simple and look just like a mirror, it actually presents a poetic way in which to see the human body surrounded by nature.

Genetics and Body Scars

In his collection of photographs in Positive Exposure, photographer Rick Guidotti gives us a new way of looking at people with genetic conditions. Instead of seeing these individuals as “different,” the portraits are meant to inspire us to see them through a more compassionate lens.

One particular portrait is of Kurtis, a child with vitiligo, the genetic condition in which white patches develop on the skin. The portrait of Kurtis is simple, yet artistic. It allows us to look past his vitiligo and see him as a normal child simply smiling for his picture

Photo-journalist Cody Duty continues Guidotti’s theme in his collection Body Scars. Through an interactive digital kiosk, it shares photos and the stories of six Texas Medical Center patients who bear scars from a variety of incidents. The scars come from surgeries, motorcycle accidents, and even plane crashes. This segment allows you to actually know the patients and understand them beyond their scars and wounds.

The exhibition includes additional components, each designed to capture the imagination and expand one’s perception of the human body. Hidden Beauty, for example, illustrates the microscopic beauty of even the deadliest diseases.

When others see a home,
We see a Work of Art
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