Sara Greenberger Rafferty

Gloves Off

By Sara J. Pasti, Andrew Ingall, Corinna Ripps Schaming, and Jonathan Thomas
Edited by Jeanne Finley

Subjects: Art
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9780998207537, 83 pages, May 2017

Table of contents

Sara J. Pasti
Power Grid Failure: The Shocks and Disruptions of Sara Greenberger Rafferty
Andrew Ingall

Jokes On Us
Corinna Ripps Schaming

First as Farce, Then as Tragedy: A Conversation with Sara Greenberger Rafferty
Jonathan Thomas

Exhibition Checklist

Selected Biography and Bibliography

Presents recent work by the Brooklyn-based artist known for unsettling works that contend with such topics as domesticity, the body, consumer culture, fashion, and violence.


The boxing term "gloves off"—frequently used as a metaphor to characterize brutal political campaigns and post-9/11 military interrogation—aptly describes the subtle aggressions in American popular culture that Sara Greenberger Rafferty lays bare. Blurring the lines between two and three dimensions, Rafferty attaches her wall-mounted works using custom-painted screws that break up the images. She also deploys cracked paint resembling viscous bodily fluids, further "wounding" the objects. Over the past decade, Rafferty has referenced the language, gestures, and props associated with stand-up comedy. This exhibition includes a new large-scale work entitled "Jokes on You," featuring images of ephemera from the collections of the National Museum of American History, which was part of Rafferty's study during her Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Index cards from the Phyllis Diller "Gag File," scanned and recontextualized by Rafferty, underscore the trauma associated with cultural mores that assert control over women's bodies, such as marriage and consumerism.

Sara J. Pasti is the Neil C. Trager Director of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Andrew Ingall is an independent curator, scholar, and producer. Corinna Ripps Schaming is Associate Director and Curator at the University at Albany, State University of New York, Art Museum. Jonathan Thomas is editor-in-chief of The Third Rail. Jeanne Finley is a fiction writer, poet, and freelance editor.