Encountering Ligia Bouton’s Understudy for Animal Farm, you are faced with choices. Twenty-eight brightly colored fabric hoods fashioned into pig heads are positioned on a rolling vendor’s cart. Each fabric design suggests a certain style, as they are crafted from pairs of humble domestic pillowcases. Next, you are invited to try one on—in a playful gesture of donning a character costume.
Once inside the mask, however, your vision is largely blocked, and suddenly you are no longer the viewer but the viewed. A playful child’s game of make-believe is now laden with references to a history fraught with power abuses and race conflicts. Bouton relishes these subversions of the idea of domesticity—inserting complications in the seemingly placid materials of home life.