HairBrained At The PPL Downtown

Long hair, crew cuts, braids, afros, fades, mohawks, dreads, facial hair, fake hair, weaves, perms, dyes, relaxers — shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen. Learn all about the cultural history of hair at HairBrained, the new exhibition at the Providence Public Library downtown. From Rapunzel to Angela Davis: it’s all here. This is an extensive survey and hair enthusiasts will want to make several trips.

Hair is simultaneously frivolous and serious, personal and universal. It’s a means to communicate complex messages to everyone we encounter. In this exhibition, we focus on hairstyles around the world and throughout history via a selection of items from the Providence Public Library’s collections: postcards, photographs, pochoir prints, magazines, historic children’s books, advertising trade cards, and more.

There are several related programs on tap.

March 11, Sunday: Big Nazo Headdress Workshop

March 12, Monday: “Cutting Along the Color Line: Black Barbers and Barber Shops in America” with historian Quincy Mills.

March 14, Wednesday: “Like a Girl Being Pretty, No. 031418” with artist Kenya (Robinson)

Even the cabinets around the perimeter of the room (seen here) have become part of the show. And don’t miss the interactive pillar where visitors are encouraged to share their “Most Vivid Hair Memory.” I had a few episodes I was going to contribute but they were already up there. And yes, vivid hair memory is code for traumatic hair disaster.

HairBrained runs through June 30, Room 132, Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street, (directions)

Do not miss . . . The Toilet of Death!

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