Nancy Davidson’s ‘Dustup’ is a Study of the American Cowgirl

NEW YORK—Suspended above a splash of sawdust, adorned with fringe and wearing cowboy boots, the bulbous inflatables at Betty Cunningham Gallery are a definitively Western-themed sight, but the concept behind the festive installation by Nancy Davidson requires some explaining.

According to the gallery, “Nancy Davidson’s ‘Dustup’ offers a humorous, absurdist critique of the American cowgirl as a spectacle to admire, a tall tale fantasy of western legend. Like enormous puppets, the Dustup inflatables, suspended in midair, measuring 21 x 16 x 16 feet, combine playfulness and grandeur with a rodeo spirit. Davidson draws attention to the overblown, using satire to expand on the American fascination with the overly large, the ‘super sized.’”

“Dustup” is on view from Sept. 6 to Oct. 6, 2012.

All photos © Arts Observer

“Dustup,” 2012 (vinyl coated nylon, rope, leather, blowers, sawdust, sandbags), with “RowdyAnn” in the background.

“RowdyAnn,” 2012 (fabric, foam, wood, plastic, metal).

Detail of “RowdyAnn.”

Detail of sandbag used to secure “Dustup,” the cowboy boot inflatable.

Detail of “Dustup.”

Detail of “Dustup” cowboy boot.

“Carnivaleyes,” 1998-99 (latex, fabric, rope).

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