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The Art of JAMA |

Parallel Manipulation Christina Ramberg

Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2013;310(9):884-885. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5288.
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The tight bun of a hairstyle in the left panel of Parallel Manipulation, by the American artist Christina Ramberg (1946-1995), has two long tresses of three plaits each tied together by another tress of hair at the nape. Short tufts of hair on the back of the scalp peek out around the tresses. Evidently the hair was grown quite long in the front and short in the back for this unusual style. In the right panel of the painting, the pattern is repeated in the design of a dress with ropy over-the-shoulder sashes bound at the waist. Ramberg’s primary visual interest was body image as reflected in the ways that women wear clothes and style their hair. Her compositions conceptualize textiles, hair, and soft tissue as if they were artistic media like marble or paint. In a tone that was nonjudgmental but occasionally bemused, Ramberg’s art explored how women shape their bodies to achieve a certain look.

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Christina Ramberg (1946-1995), Parallel Manipulation, 1977, American. Acrylic on hardboard. 33.5 × 60.5 cm. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago (http://www.artic.edu/), Chicago, Illinois; gift of Robert A. Lewis Fund in memory of William and Polly Levey, 1982.398. © Christina Ramberg.



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