Aerial Parts

by Anna Showers-Cruser
Randolph Street window display
July - September 2021


Aerial Parts is a site-specific installation by Anna Showers-Cruser for the Chicago Cultural Center’s Randolph Street window. The work can be seen from the street at all hours and attempts to queer the familiar form of a window display, inspired by local apothecaries that have long been sites of care and conversation. Aerial Parts (a botanical term for all components of a plant exposed aboveground) showcases a larger-than-life abstraction of a 1991 Polly Pocket toy container recontextualized in recycled paper alongside plaster, biological resin and medicinal herbs. The display cradles and showcases materials from the artist’s process of both learning holistic Appalachian folk medicine and navigating the mental healthcare system while quarantined in Chicago from 2020-2021. 

Corresponding hand-held meditative artworks from the artist’s “hardwares” series are also available for purchase through the Buddy retail space within the Cultural Center. Throughout the course of the exhibition, the artist’s profits from objects purchased through the Buddy display benefit The People’s Medicine Reclamation Project

In a cultural moment when access to comprehensive healthcare is precarious for so many, Aerial Parts invites Chicago passersby to meditate for a moment on the earnest, uncomfortable, and unexpectedly funny moments that accompany learning to take care.

Anna Showers-Cruser creates interdisciplinary sculptures to appeal to the senses and play on southern Queer Femme identity. Humor, sensuality, herbalism, hospitality, and the materiality of mental illness are intrinsic to their work. ASC holds their MFA from the University of Chicago, and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. In summer 2021, ASC is featured in Biennial 31 at the South Bend Museum of Art, and their solo exhibition, soft hardwares is on view at Monaco Gallery in St. Louis, MO., IG: @anna__s__c


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