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CJ Hendry, "Nathan," 2021, courtesy of the artist.
Portrait of CJ Hendry Joe Ruckli.
Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.
Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.
Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.
Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.
Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.
Art

Treat Yourself to Chocolate and a New Do with CJ Hendry at Brookfield Place

By Pearl Fontaine

December 10, 2021

CJ Hendry’s “Blonde” is no ordinary exhibition. Visitors at New York’s Brookfield Place are in for a treat—literally. Upon entering the installation, onlookers will find themselves inside of a picture-perfect chocolate shop, which the artist has conceived with Tony’s Chocolonely’s, especially for the occasion.

On its shelves are a selection of six custom-made flavors, which have been fittingly named for styles one might discuss with a hairdresser. If you prefer milk chocolate, you’ll want the Bottle Brunette bar; those who like a little zest should order the Platinum Blonde, with raspberry popping candy; and if you ask for a Toffee Braid, you’ll end up with a mixture of sweet and salty. After browsing the treats—with profits donated to the Ali Forney Center for the benefit of LGBTQ youth—visitors will find a speakeasy door, leading the way to the main event.

Open Gallery

Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.

Once inside, a dramatically monochrome barbershop environment sets the scene for Hendry’s artworks in a sea of pink—which might stir up some recognition of the artist’s previous installation, “Monochrome.” While the eye is drawn around the room from the plushy flooring and the matching bubblegum walls to the tall squiggly mirrors and the floor-to-ceiling shag reception area, the focal point is very clearly a center gallery wall bearing a series of framed images of wigs.

Varying in length, color, and style, each of the images is, in fact, hand-drawn in the artist’s hyper-realistic signature. Through her detailed strokes and precise use of color and light, Hendry employs styles like a dusty blue shag, a blonde bob with bangs, and a curly peach ombre to make her final statement on the transformative power of the wig.

Open Gallery

CJ Hendry, "Nathan," 2021, courtesy of the artist.

“’Blonde’ is an exploration of wigs as visual language—self-expression, actualization, or façade. There is an undeniable interwovenness between identity, ego and appearance, which is never fixed!” said Hendry in a statement. “Wigs, in their transformational impermanence support this fluidity, and the duality between one’s inner and outward self, and how we choose to show up in the world, in varying contexts and iterations.”

Open Gallery

Portrait of CJ Hendry Joe Ruckli.

Open and free to the public from December 10—12, those who venture into the experiential “Blonde” will not only find themselves leaving with some chocolate and a feeling of childlike wonder but a piece of the exhibit, too. Encouraged to take part in their own metamorphosis, visitors are invited to try on one of the 5,000 wigs waiting for them on-site, offered up as a souvenir and a reminder of the meaning behind the art long after their departure.

Open Gallery

Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.

Open Gallery

Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.

Open Gallery

Installation view of CJ Hendry's "Blonde," at Brookfield Place, courtesy of the artist.
Brookfield PlaceCJ Hendry

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