At his talk at the Harvard Art Museums last Tuesday evening, Barkley Hendricks, an American portraitist famous for his depiction of African Americans subjects in everyday life, presented a series of his paintings. “Give yourself a round of applause for coming out,” he said as he ascended the podium. “Enjoy and put your heads to work a little with some of the imagery that you’ll see.” As he presented a slideshow of his work, Hendricks maintained a light and friendly manner, telling stories, cracking jokes and introducing the audience to his subjects. Hendricks framed his presentation around the stories that defined his art.
“XX” uses the common trope of mothers in horror to call attention to the often-overlooked burdens of motherhood. This self-reflexive use of stereotype might be the film’s biggest contribution to the horror genre.
Richardson’s intentions are not immediately visible, so as casual viewers we cannot know whether he intended to establish a connection between any of these themes. Whatever the intention, it is remarkable that all of these stories and questions emerge from a set of drainpipes.