Interfacing Femininities: Performance, Critique, and the Events of Photography in Amalia Ulman's Excellences & Perfections Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Henze, Kimberley
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History, Art History
  • Over the course of four months, Amalia Ulman performed “types” of femininity through Instagram’s vernacular of selfies, fashion shots, food porn, and cheeky quotes in an effort to challenge socially constructed and bound ideas of gender. Ulman’s adopted personas, all formulaic to social media spheres, developed over three consecutive episodes: the “artsy-tumblr girl,” the “sugar baby,” and the “life goddess.” In this thesis, I critically analyze Ulman’s images to illuminate the hegemonic norms of femininity with which she is dealing, explore the meanings of the work that were born and are still-changing on the networked interface, and examine how those meanings shift when the performance is moved into static form on a gallery wall. I ultimately argue that, through its richest form on the interface, Excellences & Perfections destabilizes and critiques not only normative representations of women but also the spaces in which these representations are regularly reinforced, online and off.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Magee, Carol
  • Levine, Cary
  • Douglas, Eduardo
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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