Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

An exhibition of French artist Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal is on view at the New Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side Tuesday – Sunday from September 4, 2018 – January 6, 2019.

Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

Humeau is showing a new sculpture and sound installation that channels the goddess inspired by prehistoric Venus figurines.

God in prehistoric times was female. Venus figurines are believed to be fertility objects that show the first connection between art and religion. Some say they are prehistoric porn.

Venus figurines are from the upper Paleolithic period, the Late Stone Age, of about 50,000 to 10,000 years ago. It was the end time of the hunter-gatherer culture when people gathered in the first settlements. Farming and civilization came next.

Venus figurines are best known from Europe, although they are found everywhere, including in the Valdivia culture (of modern Ecuador), one of the oldest settlement cultures in the Americas.

One of the really strange things about Venus figurines is that the older layers in the ground hold intact figurines. Then there are layers where the all the figurines are broken. Then we start to see God represented as a man.

Certainly God is the ultimate transgender character, but the layers of broken Venus figurines are odd. What inspired the violence? Why did God change from female to male?

So the last 10,000 years have been the age of men. We messed things up pretty badly. Given the changing role of women in advanced societies, maybe the next 10,000 years will bring back the age of Venus.

The exhibition is curated by Natalie Bell, Associate Curator.

Marguerite Humeau

Marguerite Humeau was born in Cholet, France in 1986. She lives and works in London.

Humeau has had recent solo exhibitions at the Tate Modern, and been in group exhibitions at MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and elsewhere.

She won the Zurich Art Prize in 2017 and the Battaglia Foundry Sculpture Prize in 2018.

Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal Tickets


General: $18
Seniors: $15
Disabilities: $15 (care partner free)
Students: $12
18 and under: Free (with an adult)
Members: Free

Pay-as-you-wish: Thursdays 7 – 9 pm


Visit Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

New Museum of Contemporary Art

235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
(at Prince St)
Lower East Side, Manhattan (near SoHo)

(212) 219-1222

New Museum Hours

Tuesday-Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm (Thursdays until 9 pm)
Closed on Mondays


  • (F) to Second Ave
  • (B) (D) (M) to Broadway-Lafayette St
  • (4) (6) to Spring St
  • (N) (Q) (R) (W) to Prince St

For more information, visit

Cover Image: Marguerite Humeau, 35000 A.C (Sphinx Death Mask), 2018. Bronze, 18 1/8 × 8 1/4 × 18 1/8 in (46 × 21 × 46 cm). Courtesy the artist and CLEARING New York/Brussels. Image Credit: Marguerite Humeau – Battaglia Foundry Sculpture Prize #02. Photo: © Virginia Taroni. Courtesy Archivio Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Milan


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