Aurel Schmidt’s works walk that line between being fascinating and mildly repellent. She’s a cool-kid artist (a 31-year-old messy blonde with Woody Allen glasses) who’s become known for mixed-media pieces that are peppered with everyday objects and painstakingly rendered illustrations that are both girly and perverse.
Past series, such as Drug Voodoo Dolls and Burnouts & Party Monsters, featured works on paper depicting the detritus of her Lower East Side life: cigarette butts, dildos, tampons, pill bottles, condom wrappers, dirty underwear, and even her boyfriend’s real chest hair. As Irina Aleksander of the New York Times once put it: “It can be difficult to tell which parts of Ms. Schmidt are sincere and which are meant to be a clever comment, a joke that we’re all missing.”
For the last few years, Schmidt has been on a roll: She landed her first solo show with Jeffrey Deitch in 2008, and was featured in the Whitney Biennial in 2010 (her submission was a painting of a large-penised Minotaur made out of cigarette butts and Budweiser cans.) Now, she opens Fruits, a subversive new collection of body parts sprouting from different fruits — from banana penises to cabbage vaginas — set against the backdrop of a former bodega at 200 Stanton Street. (She described the venue as “derelict but kind of classy.”) She answers our questions by e-mail.
Why did you choose to make fruits the subject of your show? What drew you to them?
Fruit of thy womb, fruit of the loom, the forbidden fruits … There are actually vegetables in the show too, and a fruit of the sea. I don't think one necessarily chooses their subject matter as much as it just becomes, a small idea or mishap grows into something bigger, like an accidental baby you decide to keep.
You once said: “I draw dicks a lot, but it’s more of the feminine kind of wanting it or thinking about it.” What did you mean by that? Is that still the case?
I must have been ovulating when I said that! What I probably meant was that I was drawing penises in a simple loving way instead of as a symbol of power or threat. The penises in this show are much more body-parts then symbols of desire, a hand giving a thumbs up or a boner are both meant to be viewed equally.
How do you think these pictures would be different if you were a male artist, coming at this from a male perspective?
Probably the same I would imagine, I don't feel the work is particularly gendered. With some of my work I have wanted to comment on gender, whether broader issues of sexism or my own identity, but not with this show.
Similar to seeing body parts in certain fruits, is there anywhere else you look in the world – like on the subway or when you’re walking down the street – where you see a lot of penises, boobs, or other body parts?
The subway just looks like one huge accelerating metal penis to me. The rats are the crabs, you and me the herpes.
Aurel Schmidt's 'Fruits' runs November 10-30 at 200 Stanton Street in New York; Friday and Saturday 12-6 p.m.BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Viewed Stories
The President of the United States Had a Big Day of Playing With Trucks
Report: Donald and Melania Trump Don’t Sleep in the Same Bed
GOP Senator Apologizes After Mocking Breast-Cancer Screening Coverage
52 Percent of Men Say They Haven’t Personally Benefited From Women Having Access to Birth Control
Cate Blanchett on the Judgment of Women, Face Mists, and How She’s Moisturized for Over a Decade
Former Thinx Employee Accuses Miki Agrawal of Sexual Harassment
Amy Schumer’s Boyfriend Ben Hanisch Has a Trick for Shooing Away Unwanted Photographers
Am I Cheap If I Hate Splitting the Check Equally?
Kate Middleton Opens Up About Her Struggles With Motherhood
Am I Finally Done With White Guys?
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.