Liz Cohen: Zwickau Routine is the artist’s latest body of prints documenting her ongoing exploration of lowrider custom car building. Cohen’s multi-media performance work subverts positions of power within the subculture through post-feminist self-creation. She sculpts and adapts herself to embody the mechanic, bikini model, photographer, and promoter while altering an East German Trabant into an El Camino lowrider.
Cohen turns the social order upside down with calculated intent by analyzing the minutia, from car to coif. Performing all manual labor as the custom mechanic, from welding to lifting and wiring, she asserts herself as an equal among the exclusively male car building community. She documents aspects of the process often posing in a bikini in front of the converted Trabant, emphasizing a self-reliance that challenges the hegemonic masculinity of lowrider culture.
Liz Cohen was appointed Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art in July of 2008. She has won numerous awards and grants including: a Studio Residency from The MacDowell Colony in 2001; a Studio Fellowship in 2002 from the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; a Creative Capital Foundation Project Grant in 2005; an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission for the Arts in 2007; and a 2008 Traveling Scholars’ Award from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.