Tape #13 1975 (Circa.)

1975 (circa.), 10:13 min, b&w, sound

Maughan's direct-camera performances, most of which feature her in different guises and scenarios, bear comparison with the works of Cindy Sherman, William Wegman, and Michael Smith in their oblique approaches to self-portraiture, which are less concerned with biography than with their makers' roles as artists and public figures. This series of works juxtaposes the mystique of Ancient Egypt, perhaps by way of Hollywood, with the quotidian concerns of a modern woman. In Pyramids, models of the Pyramids, built out of such humble materials as toothpicks, foil and clay, are showcased sweetly by Maughan, who characterizes them as a hobby—a droll reduction of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Statue furthers the allusion to artmaking, with Maughan trying to make a plaster pharaoh knickknack look like an antique, to increase its value for sale to a museum, because she needs the money. In Henna Rinse, Maughan messily brings the cosmetic routines of Cleopatra and Nefertiti, and Lucille Ball, to her bathroom.

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