Thanks for the Mammaries

Inspired by her breast cancer, artist Bettina Hubby organizes an irreverent art show.

Thanks for the Mammaries installation shot. Photo by Steven Rimlinger

It’s already heartbreaking enough to be diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer as Los Angeles-based artist Bettina Hubby was last January. But Hubby found that the toughest thing was the dour reactions of her friends, all of whom treated Hubby’s recovery with kid gloves or, worse, pity. To break the ice, the fun-loving Hubby started a Facebook page dedicated to bosom humor.

Soon, submissions to the page started flowing in, and Hubby saw a unique opportunity to turn something that often prompted sympathy into something that induced laughter. She organized Thanks for the Mammaries, a breast-themed exhibition, at ForYourArt, an arts organization based in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Ashton Allen, Airy-Oh-La (2014), Temporary installation on ceiling: balloons, string, acrylic paint. Courtesy the artist and Klowden Mann.

The press release for the show reads: “What began on Facebook as a unique and smile-inducing way for Hubby to announce her own diagnosis and the double mastectomy (etc.) that soon followed, is now coming to fruition in the form of a singular exhibition only four months later. Thanks for the Mammaries evidences an art community at its kindest. She didn’t want pity, she wanted to laugh, and so Hubby asked for people to send her boobs, not sadness, and it worked. Every day people flowered her with images, videos and verbiage of a boob-variety unimaginable, and this helped her through, and inspired her to pay it forward. Then she sent out a call to artists to submit works for an actual exhibition and accepted all entries. The resulting array of breastishness is boggling and delightful, eerie and powerful.”

Brianne Latthitham, Boobly b (2014). Print, 14 inches x 11 inches. Courtesy the artist and Klowden Mann.

Some of the proceeds from a sale by auction house Paddle8 and her gallery Klowden Mann will help back the Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center in Los Angeles, which helps cancer patients with counseling, free support groups, and educational symposiums.

Marcella Ruble, Tit Sign (2014). Neon, epoxy resin breast cast on a formica base, 24 inches x 25 inches. Courtesy the artist and Klowden Mann.

The artworks on display are utterly hilarious, from ribbing photographs (“Portrait of My Friend Bettina,” 2014 by John Knuth, shows a graffiti’d hydrant with hand-painted boobs and the words “SPRING BREAK”) to amazingly simple and sincere (Bobbi Woods' coconut oil painting of the word “Boobs” with hearts replacing the letter o’s). The list of artists contributing to the show is duly impressive, detailing the vast support system of the arts community in Los Angeles, as well as the apparent need to bust out some laughter in the face of adversity.

John Knuth, Portrait of My Friend Bettina (2014). Polaroid photograph, 11 1/4 inches x 9 1/4 inches (framed). Courtesy the artist and Klowden Mann.

Artists in the show include Suzanne Adelman & Keith Walsh, Adler & Edmark, Ashton Allen, Skip Arnold, Joshua Aster, Chad Attie, Virginia Broersma, Kristin Calabrese, Gary Cannone, Jamison Carter, Bernard Chadwick, Angel Chen, Alice Clements, David Cull, William Dailey, Jill Daves, Gerald Davis, David Deany, Michael Dee, Mara De Luca, Ruben Diaz & Rebecca Lofchie, Bob Dornberger, Shannon Durbin, David P. Earle, Rebecca Farr, Susan Feldman, Christine Frerichs, Dwora Fried, Barbara Gillespie, Paula Goldman, Emma Gray, Rachel Grynberg, Karin Gulbran, Joe Hardesty, Jacqueline Haut & Nicolo Messina, Micol Hebron, Toby Burke Hemingway, Bettina Hubby, Tyler Hubby, Tomi Hurtado Sher, Jessica Huston, Charles Irvin, Kristin Beinner James, Pamela Jorden, Savannah Kingsley Smith, Janet Klein & Robert Loveless, John Knuth, Alison Kudlow, Tessa Laird, Brianne Latthitham, Cathy Lightfoot, Kristi Lippire, David Lloyd, Karen Lofgren, LuLu LoLo, Omar Lopex, Marne Lucas, Randi Malkin Steinberger, Daphne Mangin, Luiga Martelloni, Alexis Mendez, Rebecca Niederlander, Chris Oliveria, John Orvis, Adrian Paules, Adria Pauli, Terri Phillips, Pat Pickett, Norah Plum, Linda Pollack, Olivia Primé, Stephanie Pryor, Steven Rimlinger, Rebecca Ripple, Jennifer Rochlin, Marcella Ruble, Ed Ruscha, Amy Russell, Ander Sanborn, Esteban Schimpf, Julia Schwartz, Danny Shain, Susan Silton, Mike Slack, Joe Sola, George Stoll, William Stone, Paula Tiberius, Dani Tull, Gabriela Tollman, Spike Dolomite Ward, Nicki Wicker, Alexandra Wiesenfeld, Saskia Wilson-Brown & Micah Hahn, Bobbi Woods, and Austin Young.

Kristin Calabrese, Thinking of you (2014). Oil on linen, 13 inches x 16 inches. Courtesy the artist and Klowden Mann.

Micol Hebron, In Decent Exposure: Café (2010). Archival inkjet photograph, 20 inches x 20 inches (framed). Courtesy the artist and Klowden Mann.

Mr. and Mrs. Hahn (Micah Hahn and Saskia Wilson-Brown), No. 28 (2014) 5318008 (2014). Foil on paper, 11 inches x 17 inches, Edition of 1. Courtesy the artists and Klowden Mann.

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