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Press Release

Mary Coble: Aversion
May 18 – June 30, 2007

Conner Contemporary Art is pleased to present Aversion, a new performance by Washington, DC based Mary Coble. An installation of video and photographs of the performance and related work will be view on through June 30, 2007.


In her opening night performance, Coble will attach electrodes to herself to recreate the severe effects of electric shock aversion therapy. The artist will simultaneously present a video narrative of experiences of gays and lesbians to whom this psychiatric treatment was forcibly administered with the objective of re-conditioning their sexual orientation. 


Reorientation therapy was supported by the American Psychological Association until 1973, when homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder. Patients were subjected to repeated sessions during which they were shown a series of erotic images. Whereas opposite-sex images elicited no negative stimulation, shock was administered in conjunction with same-sex images.


In Aversion, Coble boldly calls attention to continued social pressures toward conformity which perpetuate the advocacy of reorientation therapy by extremist organizations today. 


Mary Coble's work is currently on view in Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York through July 1, 2007 and was recently seen in Passion/Provocation: photography and video in the collection of Teofilo Cohen (Mexico City, MX) and me, myself and I: artist self portraits from the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection (Virginia Beach, VA).


Recent performances include: Gender Mask (becoming) at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Binding Ritual Daily Routine at Artist's Space, New York, NY (Performa) and Marker at the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY. Coble's work is in the collection of The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.


There will be a live webcast of the performance, Friday, May 18th at 7:30 pm.


The gallery is also pleased to announce Discuss VIII with Mary Coble in conversation with Andy Grundberg, Chair of Photography and Photojournalism, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, DC. Discuss VIII will take place on Thursday, May 24th @ 7pm.


Now in its second year, the Discuss series continues to go beyond the typical artist talk format, pairing gallery artists in conversation with each other as well as their peers, outside curators and collectors.