Shrine For Girls is a series of site-specific sculptural installations in different cities around the world created by artist Patricia Cronin, reflecting on the global plight of exploited women and girls. Originally conceived for the 2015 Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, the show continues on an international tour including the United States, India, Ireland and Nigeria.
Photo credit: Doug Schwab
Shrine for Girls, New York
FLAG Art Foundation
545 West 25th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001
The FLAG Art Foundation is pleased to present Patricia Cronin: Shrine for Girls, New York from June 9 – July 29, 2016, on FLAG’s 10th floor gallery. Originally presented as a Collateral Event for the 56th Venice Biennale, Shrine for Girls is a poetic sculptural installation and a meditation on the global plight of exploited girls and women who have been victimized, brutally silenced, and written out of history simply because of their gender. After its New York presentation, the project will travel in 2017-18 to India, Ireland, and Nigeria – the locations of the events that inspired the work.
Cronin gathered hundreds of articles of women’s and girls’ clothing from around the world to represent three specific tragedies: brightly-colored saris symbolize two Indian girls who were kidnapped, gang-raped, and lynched from a tree at the edge of their village; hijabs signify 276 Nigerian Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014 – over 200 of whom still remain missing; and gray and white aprons & uniforms symbolize those worn by “fallen women,” in forced labor at the Magdalene Asylums and Laundries in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the U.S.
Moving from the marble alters and sacred architecture of Venice’s sixteenth-century Chiesa di San Gallo to the secular gallery context of FLAG, Cronin will present the same three fabric sculptures, here piled on top of their shipping crates to now address human trafficking as well as human rights issues. The installation of clothing, of what the missing bodies would have inhabited, provokes an emotional and visceral response to what is absent. Small photographs of each tragedy accompany the sculptures and provide very real context for the work. A new series of watercolor portraits place a human face on tragedy and amplify the “identifiable victim effect,” drawing our attention away from statistics to the magnitude of the individual loss and unrealized human potential.
Cronin asks: “What is the role of contemporary art in our 24-hour news cycle society? What can an artist do if they are not a politician, a policy maker or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Hopefully the artist looks out, keenly observes the world, reflects, and responds in a way that shakes us out of our numbness. We cannot be silent.”
Join the conversation online and follow FLAG’s Instagram (@flagartfoundation) and Twitter (@FLAGartNYC), and use the #ShrineforGirlsNY hashtag when posting.
 “Identifiable victim effect” refers to the tendency of individuals to offer greater aid when a specific, identifiable person (“victim”) is observed under hardship, as compared to a large, vaguely defined group with the same need.
Shrine For Girls, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, Installation View
Shrine For Girls (Uttar Pradesh), saris, framed photograph and wood crate
Shrine For Girls (Uttar Pradesh), saris, framed photograph and wood crate (Detail)
Shrine For Girls (Chibok), hijabs, framed photograph and wood crate
Shrine For Girls (Chibok), hijabs, framed photograph and wood crate (Detail)
Shrine For Girls (United Kingdom), aprons, framed photograph and wood crate
Shrine For Girls (United Kingdom), aprons, framed photograph and wood crate (Detail)
Magdalene Laundry Girl, Pushpa and Chibok Student, watercolor on paper, 41 x 30 inches EACH, 2016
The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, Installation View
Patricia Cronin is a New York based conceptual visual artist. Since the early-90's, Cronin has garnered international attention for her photographs, paintings and sculptures that address contemporary human rights issues of gender and sexuality. Slyly reinvigorating traditional images and forms with social justice themes, her critically acclaimed statue, "Memorial To A Marriage," a 3 ton Carrara marble mortuary sculpture of her life partner and herself was made before gay marriage was legal in the U.S., and has been exhibited widely across the country and abroad. Cronin began her career working for the Anne Frank Stichting installing the traveling exhibition "Anne Frank in the World" in Europe and the U.S.
Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at museums and galleries; including American Academy in Rome, Italy, Brooklyn Museum, Deitch Projects, Brent Sikkema, Woodlawn Cemetery, New York, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, and ConnerSmith, Washington, DC. In 2013 she was honored as the only contemporary artist ever invited to have a one-person exhibition at the Capitoline Museum's converted powerplant, Centrale Montemartini Museo in Rome, Italy.
Important international museum shows include: Massimiliano Gioni's NYC 1993: Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum, New York; Sean Glashan's Sh(OUT): Contemporary Art and Human Rights, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; and Frank Wagner's Just Different, Cobra Museum, Amsterdam.
Her work is in numerous permanent public collections including; Deutsche Bank, New York; National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Collection, Washington DC; Perez Art Museum Miami, FL; Gallery of Modern Art; and Kelvingrove Art Galleries and Museum, Glasgow, and many private collections including David Zwirner and Chuck Close.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Rome Prize in Visual Art from the American Academy in Rome, where she is now a trustee, an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, an Anonymous Was A Woman Award, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, and two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants, among others.
A compelling speaker, Cronin has lectured internationally, including: Smithsonian Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Victoria and Albert Museum and Christies. She is also the author of two books; Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found, A Catalogue Raisonné (Milan: Charta, 2009) and The Zenobia Scandal: A Meditation on Male Jealousy (New York: Zing Books, 2013).
She received a BFA from Rhode Island College, was awarded a Battell Stoeckel Fellowship at Yale University, studied at Skowhegan School of Art and received a MFA from Brooklyn College. She has been on the graduate faculty at both Columbia University and Yale University, and is Professor of Art at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York since 2003.
Cronin lives and works in New York City.
To view recent press, click on these links :
Please help bring awareness of the international importance of girls and women by supporting Shrine For Girls with your tax-deductible donation. Your generosity will ensure the success of this project.
Here are three organizations where you can get more information and make a donation.
The Gulabi Gang (from Hindi "pink") is a group of Indian women activists responding to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women in India. Recently they have gained international attention for taking matters into their own hands while the police and male-dominated society ignore and reinforce the plight of women in their country.
Justice For Magdalenes seeks to promote and represent the interests of the Magdalene women, to respectfully promote equality and seek justice for the women formerly incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and to seek the establishment and improvements of support as well as advisory and re-integration services provided for survivors.
Camfed - Campaign for Female Education is an international non-profit organization tackling poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change. Camfed invests in girls and women in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls face acute disadvantage, and where their empowerment is now transforming communities.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Patricia Cronin: Shrine For Girls, Venice exhibition catalogue, published by SilvanaEditoriale (Milan) with essays by Phong Bui, Ludovico Pratesi and Maura Reilly.