Curated

Curated: Breasts on Display in ‘Lady Part Follies’

the Intersection of ARTS and MEDICINE


By Britni R. McAshan | September 29, 2016

Breasts. Several shapes, sizes and colors are on display in Lady Part Follies at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Thedra Cullar-Ledford’s mixed media works examine this touchstone of female beauty, leading viewers on her personal journey through anger, vanity and new-found freedom.

In 2013, Cullar-Ledford was ready to donate a kidney to a dear friend when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital performed a double mastectomy and removed all of the cancer.

It was what happened next that left the artist reeling.

“I was told by my doctors that it was standard for women to receive implants after a double mastectomy,” Cullar-Leford said. “So I had it done, but almost immediately I felt like I had a sliver and my body was trying to get the implants out of me.”

When she voiced these concerns, she was met with resistance—made to feel like she needed therapy.

“It was really hard because I knew that I did not want the implants and it didn’t bother me, but it really seemed to bother a lot of other people,” Cullar-Ledford said.

Ultimately, she had the implants removed, with support from Barbara Bass, M.D., the head of her care team at Houston Methodist. Cullar- Ledford also found a network of women online who made the same decision.

“During that time, I became more obsessed with boobs than a teenage boy,” she said. “I began documenting what was happening with my own body and began documenting what was going on with some of my friends.”

Lady Part Follies was the result.Cullar-Ledford’s mixed media work features paintings, disfigured dolls (one of the artist’s trademarks,) silver trays with painted breasts in an homage to St. Agatha (the patron saint of breast cancer), even a collection of 5,000 trashy novels.

The gallery also houses a giant breast-shaped piñata. Cullar-Ledford invited other women who opted not to reconstruct their breasts after mastectomies to help her smash the piñata and, in so doing, shatter the belief that women need breasts to be beautiful.

“My happiest work is when people who know nothing about contemporary and conceptual art get it,” Cullar-Ledford said. “I did this work to help others not have to go through what I went through and to understand that they don’t have to reconstruct if they don’t want to.”

Lady Part Follies will be on display through Nov. 27 at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5126 Montrose Blvd.; 713-284-8250 or camh.org.




Social Posts

profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

At @TexasChildrens, we know all about helping children and their families through stressful times like surgeries. Take a look at these helpful tools to use as you prepare for your child's surgery: https://t.co/4wyHxbjcxe https://t.co/xBp95faWly

31 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @BCMHoustonJobs: This job might be a great fit for you: Medical Assistant II - https://t.co/msa6Jg7Kxz #MedicalAssistant #MedicalAssista…

32 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @TXMedCenter: Because Alzheimer’s is a slowly progressing disease, life doesn’t stop the day of a diagnosis. It’s a very gradual goodbye…

33 mins ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

Even though this lightweight material is full of holes, it's nearly as hard as diamond and stops bullets better than solid materials: https://t.co/N1QBG6C6yz https://t.co/XKyesrwt6c

33 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Do you ever feel like the humidity wreaks havoc on your productivity levels as well as your hair? Well, there's science to back it up. https://t.co/OStOkaDahz #humidity #productivity

34 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@ShirleyHelenTx We're sending good vibes your way, Shirley. Please let us know if your husband needs anything while he's here.

45 mins ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

A "silent heart attack" is caused by ischemia, a temporary blood shortage. Sometimes the shortage causes the pain of angina pectoris. But in other cases, there is no pain. These cases are called silent ischemia, or "silent heart attacks." https://t.co/UKu4mglkKJ

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

After seeing photos of herself from a family celebration, Adriana Mercado was shocked at how unhealthy she looked. Now, thanks to a walking routine, she’s lost 70 pounds and improved her overall health: https://t.co/dx7z4STihG @FocusedonHealth #endcancer https://t.co/NVmGyo6r8W

1 hour ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

Coogs, we love you ❄️SNOW❄️ much! Happy #CougarRedFriday https://t.co/d43lBGfJBX

1 hour ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

@debadrita_j Thank you!

2 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@EstopinalCathy We're sorry to hear about your brother, Cathy. You're in our thoughts.

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VA, Prostate Cancer Foundation seek solutions for aggressive prostate cancer https://t.co/uGXX5vPImo via #VAntagePoint

2 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

@debadrita_j This is beautiful! Can we share this on Instagram and credit you?

2 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTH_CVSurgery: Congratulations to Dr. Anthony Estrera @estrera_md, honored and appointed the Hazim J. Safi, MD, Distinguished Chair in…

4 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VA News brings you the latest updates from the department. In this week’s episode, learn about the Veterans Legacy Memorial and a new telehealth program for Veterans in rural areas. https://t.co/vTTreXluWT

4 hours ago