Patricia Cronin: Shrine for Girls

Chiesa di San Gallo, Venice, Italy
09 May 2015 - 22 Nov 2015

Patricia Cronin: Shrine for Girls

Patricia Cronin, Shrine for Girls, 2015. Installation view. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy Patricia Cronin.  

A collateral event of the Venice Biennale presented by The Brooklyn Rail Curatorial Projects curated by Ludovico Pratesi.

Although the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, women and girls around the world continue to be among the most vulnerable members of our global society. Often facing violence, repression, and enforced ignorance, this young female populace is subjected to a horrifying existence on earth.

Inside the exquisite 16th-century Church of San Gallo, where Bill Viola showed in 2007, New York-based conceptual artist Patricia Cronin has created a shrine in their honor. For over two decades, critically acclaimed artist Patricia Cronin has created compelling works, many with social justice themes focusing on gender. Here, she has gathered hundreds of girls’ clothes from around the world and arranged them on three stone altars to act as relics of these young martyrs. Commemorating their spirit, this dramatic site-specific installation is a meditation on the incalculable loss of unrealized potential and hopelessness in the face of unfathomable human cruelty; juxtaposed against the obligation and mission we have as citizens of the world to combat this prejudice.

The central altar exhibits brightly colored saris worn by girls in India, three of who were recently gang raped, murdered and left to hang from trees. The left altar displays hijabs representing the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And the third altar presents a pile of aprons and uniforms symbolizing those worn by girls at the Magdalene Asylums and Laundries, forced labor institutions for young women without options in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States as recently as 1996. A small framed photograph from each of these three tragic events will accompany each sculpture proposing a new and reflective dialogue between gender, memory and justice.


Patricia Cronin has presented one-person exhibitions at the Musei Capitolini’s Centrale Montemartini Museo and the American Academy in Rome, Italy; and the Brooklyn Museum, Deitch Projects, Brent Sikkema, White Columns, and Woodlawn Cemetery, New York, and ConnerSmith, Washington, DC, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome; Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship and two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants. Her works are in numerous collections including Deutsche Bank, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the Perez Art Museum Miami, FL and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland. She has taught in the Graduate Art Programs at both Columbia University and Yale University and is currently Professor of Art at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York as well as a trustee of the American Academy in Rome.

Ludovico Pratesi is one of Italy’s most respected Contemporary Art Curators and has organized numerous museum and gallery exhibitions. His is currently the artistic director of Fondazione Pescheria in Pasero, Vice President of Associazione Musei Arte Contemporana Italiana, former President of AICA Italy, and Art Critic for La Repubblica newspaper.  

Founded in October 2000 and currently published ten times annually, The Brooklyn Rail is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides an independent forum for arts, culture, and politics throughout New York City and far beyond. The Rail further fulfills its mission through their newly launched initiative Rail Curatorial Projects, which gathers the work of artists that reflect the complexity and inventiveness of the artistic and cultural landscape. Patricia Cronin: Shrine for Girls is the fourth Rail Curatorial Project, and their international debut.

Major support is provided by Lead Sponsors, The FLAG Art Foundation and The Fuhrman Family Foundation.


Private view: Tuesday, 5 May, 7–8pm

Preview: 5–8 May, 10am–6pm

Chiesa di San Gallo
Campo San Gallo


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