June 2013

Nora Howell + Holly Bass | Spotless

Nora Howell and Holly Bass investigate the issues of race, whiteness and labor in Spotless, an exhibition on view at Hamiltonian Gallery from June 22 – July 27, 2013. Please join us for an opening reception on Saturday, June 22 from 7 - 9 pm and an artist talk at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

Artist and Hamiltonian Fellow Nora Howell will explore the racial construct of ‘whiteness’ with an emphasis on the racial and socio-economic transitions currently taking place within the U Street corridor. Through performance-based sculpture and video, Howell will focus on daily cleansing rituals such as tooth brushing, bathing and house cleaning as metaphors for the equivocation of whiteness to purity, cleansing and superiority. Howell will use her interactive performative work and collaboration with community leaders Mark Andersen (We are Family Co-Director), Dominic T. Moulden (ONE DC, Resource Organizer), Natalie Hopkinson (writer and scholar), Tim Kumfer (ONE DC, Organizing Apprentice) and Beverly M. Pratt (University of Maryland, Sociology PhD student) to initiate dialogue, reflection and action around the implications of whiteness. Howell’s performance Rub-A-Dub-Dub will take place during the exhibition opening on June 22 from 7-9 pm.

Guest artist Holly Bass will present her sculptural Penny Bank series and a new durational performance Pristine, on Tuesday, July 9 2013 from 4 - 8 pm. In Pristine, Bass challenges the privilege whiteness affords by reversing normal hierarchies of labor, race and class. Bass will place advertisements for an assistant who must be “white, pretty and petite.” During the performance, the new assistant-for-a-day must carefully sort through piles of marble rocks for several hours in search of the whitest, most pristine specimen while Bass indulges in leisurely activities such as a mani-pedi and “liquid lunch,” in between checking the assistant’s progress.


*Special thanks to Ada Pinkston, Jess Wyatt and Gabrielle Phoenix for their performance of Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Battle, Anthony Morgan, Jr. and Sarah Edelsburg for their assistance with the production of Whitening U, and Alberto Gaitan for his work on the Penny Bank series.


click here to download a copy of the press release


June 22 – July 27, 2013

Opening Reception: 
Saturday, June 22, 2013
7-9 pm

Artist Talk: 
Tuesday, July 16
7 pm

Hamiltonian Artists:
Nora Howell

Guest Artists:
Holly Bass