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Antfarm artist Rachel Herrick‘s Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies installation, part of the MFA thesis exhibition at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, Maine. The show was up May 14 – June 12.

From Herrick’s exhibition statement:

My recent work on the Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies (MOCS) satirizes the social stigma around fatness through the legitimizing tropes of science and nature conservation. The project is loosely conducted as a scientific organization that coordinates obeast field investigations and educates the public about obeasts through museum exhibitions, nature documentaries, and awareness campaigns.

Among my roles for this project is performing as the North American Obeast, a fictitious genus of endangered mammals. By dehumanizing obesity and re-casting it as the obeast, the MOCS project exaggerates the everyday mistreatment of fat people to the extent that it becomes funny rather than merely requiring the viewer’s pity. My work asks viewers to begin participating in body-acceptance dialogs by first simply acknowledging the existence of cultural fat bias, and perhaps even recognizing their own presuppositions and judgments about body size.

For more information about MOCS visit the project’s website: www.obeasts.org

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