Molly Surazhsky (Art BFA 19) combines self-portraiture and performance art in Miss Americhka, her first solo exhibition with Lowell Ryan Projects. Running from Jan. 7 through Feb. 11, her exhibition utilizes sculpture, photography, installation, and digitally printed textile-based works to critique America’s current political landscape.
Based in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, New York, Surazhksky derives the title from her grandmother’s nickname for America—“Americhka.” Her work is an interplay of research and criticism around the corporatization of working-class lives, America’s interference in international and Russian affairs, the opposing philosophies of capitalism and socialism, and the themes of hypocrisy, propaganda, class, healthcare, and survival.
Miss Americhka is a dress made of satin and organza fabric that was first presented and performed on July 4, 2022, as a Fourth of July intervention at the Fort Hamilton Army Base in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Dermokratizatsiya (Shitocracy) is composed of digitally printed satin and organza ribbons, measuring 10 feet in height. The installation investigates America’s involvement in Russian politics after the fall of the USSR, specifically in the election of Boris Yeltsin, the globalization of American culture, and the upheaval of that era.
Slava Culture War! is a gown with a 40-foot train that hangs on a life-size model of the artist. The fabric is a visual display of numerous flags, symbols, cultural figures and moments, Mark Fisher’s essay, “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” and an image of Surazhsky re-enacting Sarah Palin’s infamous American flag and bikini photoshopped photo.
Freudian Slip features Surazhsky in a bondage-style costume, pulling back a red curtain on a collection of sadomasochistic social justice-informed phrases. She photoshopped Doomer Wojak’s face onto an image of Roy Disney revealing the original CalArts architectural model, now holding Sigmund Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.
Surazhsky’s work has been exhibited at ArtCenter Pasadena, The Wende Museum, Hunter Shaw Fine Art, Torrance Art Museum, and Havana, Cuba. Her work has been discussed in publications including Hyperallergic, LA Weekly, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, and KCRW.