Animal Magnetism

Featuring Oreet Ashery, Karlos Carcamo, Andrea Frank, Scott Lifshutz, Douglas Kelley, Emma McCagg, Paul Mullins, Dan Perrone, Liselot Van der Heijden
Curated by Raúl Zamudio

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 11 from 4-6pm
Exhibition Dates: February 11 – March 25, 2006
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 12-5:30pm
Location: 120 Essex Street (inside Essex Street Market)

Animal magnetism, which has also been called mesmerism, was based on the therapeutic value of hypnotism. The term first appears in Franz Anton Mesmer’s 1874 dissertation in regards to the influence of heavenly bodies on humans and their physical, mental and emotional health by means of what he called “animal gravity.” This “energy” that he detected was different from physical magnetism in that Mesmer believed that he could “magnetize” paper, glass, dogs and all manner of animate and inanimate objects and substances. He regarded this force, which he said could be exerted by one living organism over another, as a means of alleviating disease. His propositions were as follows: “There exists a mutual influence between the celestial bodies, the earth, and animated things. Animal bodies are susceptible to the influence of this agent, disseminating itself through the substance of the nerves.” In the contemporary lexicon, animal magnetism also refers to sexuality in that a person can have such seductive qualities that he/she can bring out the carnal nature of a person via their animal magnetism.

Animal Magnetism explores these topics as well as the zoomorphic dimension of humans and the anthropomorphizing of animals.


Cuchifritos is a program of Artists Alliance Inc. This exhibit is sponsored in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and through the generous support of the following: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The New York City Economic Development Corporation, The Puffin Foundation, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, and the members of the Artists Alliance Inc.