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Faux Pubes Fashion Show: “Merkin Dream” at MAP

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What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day during a time when our rights to bodily autonomy are under assault than a fashion show of pubic hair wigs? I am seriously not kidding. On March 7, Maryland Art Place rolled out the red carpet for “Merkin Dream 2024,” a unique and body-affirming fashion show featuring original wig designs worn by local models.

What’s a merkin, you ask? It’s a pubic wig. The Oxford Companion to the Body dates the origin of the merkin to the 1450s. According to the publication, women would shave their pubic hair for personal hygiene and to combat pubic lice and would then wear a merkin. In addition, sex workers would wear a merkin to cover up signs of STDs, such as syphilis.

Nowadays, a merkin is considered more of a decorative erotic device worn by both men and women and this is the second iteration of Merkin Dream at Maryland Art Place. This year, it was hosted in conjunction with their current figurative exhibition Embodiment.

The event featured Baltimore designer Ken Hall, with participating artists Phyllis Mayes, Joan  Cox, Hunter Dobson, Laure Drogoul, Dan Van Allen, Bonnie  Crawford, Student III,  Lydia  Ethem, Caitlin Gill, Tiffany  Lange, Katie  O’Keefe, Trisha  Kyner, Nadia Lezcano, Christine Wolfe-Strong, Trevon Crawford, and Meital Abraham.

 

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