Curated by John Knuth and Ben Lee Ritchie Handler
Brody Albert • Roger Ballen • Matthew Barney • Keith Boadwee • Genesis Breyer P-Orridge • Lou Cantor • Cristopher Cichocki • Jamie Felton • Elizabeth Ferry • Silas Inoue • Kyla Hansen • Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor • Richard Jackson • Mi Kafchin • John Knuth • James Krone • Jessie Makinson • Paul McCarthy • Jeffry Mitchell • Cassi Namoda • Katherina Olschbaur • Joel Otterson • Șerban Savu • Allison Schulnik • Margie Schnibbe • Andres Serrano • Cristian Răduță • Ecaterina Vrana • Ambera Wellmann • Hugo Wilson • and more…
Girl, it's a hard, hard world
If it gets you down
Dreams often fade and die
In a bad, bad world
I'll take you where real animals are playing
And people are real people not just playing
It's a quiet, quiet life
By a dirty old shack
That we called our home
I want to be back there
Among the cats and dogs
And the pigs and the goats
— “Animal Farm,” The Kinks
Nicodim Gallery is pleased to present BioPerversity, an exploration of humanity’s darker and lighter perversions as told through the personification of the rest of the animal kingdom, creatures who exist a few rungs beneath us on the evolutionary ladder.
Conscious humans have a tendency to attribute animal characteristics to one another in terms of cliché: work like a dog; like a fish out of water; a wolf in sheep’s clothing; happy as a clam; etc. What happens when we push beyond these trite truisms? By starting with our base animal instincts, we are able to descend deeper down the rabbit hole of our social complexities and psychological neuroses, and we can properly celebrate our feral desires.
The moralistic condition of the United States is biologically perverse. We claim divine inspiration and manifest destiny as we bulldoze forests in the name of fossil fuels and the commodification of natural resources. We stripfarm the oceans and swallow their bounty raw, and yet we’re terrified of its mysteries. The president of the United States said, “I hope all sharks die.” We hope the sharks live. We honor their frenzies and rejoice in their raw energy.
Our addiction to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et al is biologically perverse. We scroll, click “like,” and share photos of each other eating, sleeping, fucking, and shitting, divorcing the imagery from the acts themselves, so that these basic life functions become algorithmic content for ad sales. Eating, sleeping, fucking, and shitting is what animals do best. We want to eat, sleep, fuck, and shit like the animals do.
Our obsession with gel hand sanitizer, spotless bathrooms, and antiseptic kitchens is biologically perverse. We’ve become germaphobes, terrified of microorganisms, afraid to touch a shopping cart that another animal has touched. Domestic house cats and cats in the wild lick their bodies clean just the same. Los Angeles mountain lion P-22 was a prisoner trapped on an urban island, surrounded by freeways, scouring for a mate. We’re right there with P-22. Whatever this impulse is, we want to get out of our cage and back into the wild where real animals are playing, where the people can stand at the precipice and envy our freedom.
Werner Herzog said, “nature is vile and base. I wouldn't see anything erotical here. I see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival, and growing, and just rotting away.” It is in this spirit that we present BioPerversity.