BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich — We live in a time that challenges easy distinctions on the subject of identity. Gender has become fluid as never before in Western society, and art-makers find themselves remarkably unconfined by medium in an era that values ideas articulated by the most effective means possible rather than with a more traditionally rigid separation between disciplines. This freedom to maneuver is fully evident in Him, a project Liz Cohen developed over the past year as artist-in-residence and head of the photography department at Cranbrook Academy of Art (a position she has held since 2008).
Cohen worked intensively with her subject, Eric Crosley, a male-presenting, self-described eunuch who has engaged in radical physical transformations in his search for a body that he feels appropriately reflects his identity — a topic he captures movingly in his own poetry. Cohen, who considers herself a documentary artist, uses her photographic eye to govern a practice that is hands-on and far-ranging, in terms of adopting skill-sets far outside photography.