“If you’re going to call most women crazy bitches anyway, why not light them that way?” asked artist Kate Hush in a statement, describing her current exhibition at Cooler Gallery in Brooklyn. A cutting examination of female experience and expectation, Female Behavior showcases Hush’s work, a series of violent film noir scenescapes in neon lighting. After working in a neon store, Hush began crafting pieces that analyze a woman’s role in society, while also exploring the fetishization of violence by inverting the typical damsel trope and making the woman the villain.
“Sometimes I think men’s biggest fantasy is not sexual, it’s a woman attacking them,” she said. “Just so they can be like, ‘I was right! They are crazy.’ I think their biggest fantasy is a woman getting behind the wheel of a car and running them over just so they can be like ‘Yes! Vindicated!’ as they’re dying.”
Though violent, Hush’s work also expresses a sort of seedy romanticism, the kind you’d find in a feminist remake of Miami Vice. But Female Behavior is also a love-letter to all the bad girls and nasty women who refuse politeness and purity, reject passivity for power, and balk at doing what they’re told.
“It’s funny, the way I came up with the name for my show, was that I was looking at websites about behavioral boarding schools for young women, and just reading the lists of all the things your teenage daughter is doing wrong,” she said. “I was like, ‘These girls sound fun.’ This is the female behavior we’re trying to get rid of?”
Female Behavior is on view now until tomorrow, at Cooler Gallery.
All photos courtesy of Cooler Gallery