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Rubin Museum of Art exhibition reveals Nepal's impact on the art and life of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
In her work, Breyer P-Orridge questions the very nature of identity, and she invites transformation of both herself and her audience through her wide range of artistic endeavors.

NEW YORK, NY.- Incorporating new works produced in Nepal this fall, as well as two site-specific installations, The Rubin Museum of Art is presenting “Try to Altar Everything,” a selection of paintings, sculptures, and installations by the artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. On view from March 11-August 1, 2016, the exhibition explores the ways that Hindu mythology and Nepal’s Kathmandu valley have impacted the artist and h/er work, and offer opportunities for visitors to personally connect with the artist.

In her work, Breyer P-Orridge questions the very nature of identity, and she invites transformation of both herself and her audience through her wide range of artistic endeavors. Her paintings and sculptures emerge primarily from a mythology of creation, re-creation, and sublimation of identity, and upon closer inspection, also include visual elements that relate to traditional Himalayan art.

Until now, Breyer P-Orridge’s connection to Nepal has never before been explored in a comprehensive exhibition. Organized by Rubin Museum curator Beth Citron, “Try to Altar Everything” features more than 30 works of art that tie together Nepalese approaches to identity and religion with Breyer P-Orridge’s own mythology and approach, itself grounded in devotion and ritual. Hybrid traditions are a fixture of life and culture in Nepal, as people may even identify as Hindu and Buddhist at the same time. This idea resonates with Breyer P-Orridge and her late wife Lady Jaye, who each underwent physical alterations to create an elective and creative gender-bending identity through their project of pandrogyny. In addition to these connections in her art, Breyer P-Orridge is invested in broader community efforts in Kathmandu. She has lived and worked in the Kathmandu Valley at various points over the past thirty years, and her contributions in Nepal have included social and philanthropic efforts such as funding clean water for a monastery and running a large soup kitchen at Bodhnath Stupa that fed 300-400 people daily.

Citron and the artist visited Nepal in October 2015 to create new works in Kathmandu for the exhibition.

“Like much of the art in the Rubin collection, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s work bridges the spiritual, material, and physical and conveys how these often overlap,” Citron said. “With both serious and playful takes on religious iconography, her work deftly connects concepts of physical presence and absence, individual beliefs, and what it means to be devoted to an ideal. Though her work is deeply personal, it also demonstrates the universal nature of these questions and encourages us to confront them as well.”

At the Rubin Museum, visitors will also have opportunities to personally interact with the artist and engage with the exhibition’s provoking themes of self-expression and devotion through participatory elements. As part of a new site-specific installation, titled “Try to Altar Every Thing,” the exhibition space itself will become an altar of sorts, where visitors can bring small personal offerings to contribute, and receive a token from Breyer P-Orridge in return. Another work, “Listen Here,” plays on the idea of a religious confessional, and the artist will personally answer telephone calls in the gallery at spontaneous times.

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