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May 6, 2019

Take a Journey of Identity in Self, Made at San Francisco's Exploratorium in 2019

"Self, Made: Exploring You in a World of Me" is the Exploratorium's new summer exhibition for 2019, on view May 23 through Sept. 2. "Self, Made" invites visitors of all ages to explore how we form and perform identity through dozens of new interactive experiences, works of art, and curated collections of cultural objects.

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Exhibition Information

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are your cells "you," and are they still you if they live on after your death? Can a change of clothing change your way of thinking? "Self, Made" helps visitors question their assumptions (and others'), weigh their psychic and cultural baggage, and even try on new personas.

"Self, Made" features a selection of artworks expressing different facets of identity. Highlights include Academy Award-winning costumes created by Ruth E. Carter for the superhero King T'Challa and his sister Shuri in Marvel's celebrated film "Black Panther"; work by contemporary artist and fourth-generation Na Dene/Navajo weaver Melissa Cody, which explores identity, urban life, and the indigenous experience; and work by Afro-Arab and Canadian artist Esmaa Mohamoud examining gender and race through sports identities.

Also included is work by Kehinde Wiley, painter of the official White House portrait of President Barack Obama, and "Humanae" by Angelica Dass, a compelling photographic work-in-progress of an inclusive challenge to racial categorization.

Interactive exhibits made at the Exploratorium especially for "Self, Made" draw from biology, psychology, history, race, gender and feminist studies, and popular culture. Visitors can combine different visual elements derived from playful references to clothing, hair, and bearing to challenge themselves on whether the resulting characters are masculine, feminine, or both, in "Gender Blender". In "Mixed Bag," visitors choose weighted bags that are marked with identity-related outcomes, and compare the weight of their sack with others', pondering the effect of gender, spoken language, religion, and other markers in each sack.

The work of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose life shaped biological research, is represented in "HeLa line," asking visitors to consider the complex narratives of race, science, and human nature that these living cells personify.

Also presented in "Self, Made" are thought-provoking and eclectic collections of objects with commentary, chosen by special guest curators, including anthropologist Duana Fullwiley, Ph.D., sports journalist Howard Bryant, Earth historian Lauret Edith Savoy, Ph.D., and American Studies scholar Ramzi Fawaz, Ph.D. These objects prompt exploration of how identity is at play across a range of topics from cosplay and sports to science and law, and more.

"Self, Made" provides an opportunity for parents and children, students and teachers, and visitors of all ages to enter into conversations about how we see ourselves and others, how others see us, and to reflect on how identity categories constructed by larger social and historical forces affect us all. Find more information on "Self, Made" online here.

General Information

"Self, Made" is presented as part of the Exploratorium's 50th anniversary celebration in 2019, and is available to view with general admission ticket purchase. Find more information on the Exploratorium's 50th anniversary events, and how you can participate and experience all things Exploratorium online here.

Rated the #1 museum in San Francisco on TripAdvisor, the Exploratorium is conveniently located on the Embarcadero along the San Francisco waterfront between the Ferry Building and PIER 39. Tickets can be purchased online or on-site.


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