Exhibit ‘Dress Up, Speak Up: Regalia and Resistance’ at Cincinnati’s 21c Demands to Be Seen


The figures within the 21c Museum Hotel’s Dress Up, Speak Up: Regalia and Resistance demand visibility as they lay out personal, social and political issues. The exhibition greets viewers when they first walk in to the hotel’s lobby, with works displayed on multiple floors.

Each piece grapples with contemporary identity by using elements such as costuming, makeup, self-adornment and embellishment. By reaching backward into history, these figures often seem to reach forward in an act of reclamation to a past denied by the white gaze.

Alice Gray Stites, chief curator and museum director, explained during a recent tour that this exhibit contains several references to history revealing experiences held by varying cultures that have been dominated or altogether erased by the legacy of colonialism.

Dress Up, Speak Up: Regalia and Resistance runs through July 2020. More info at 21cmuseumhotels.com/cincinnati. And check out our full review of the exhibition.

| Photos by Hailey Bollinger