Tala Madani Shit Mom Animation 1


Ruby City is pleased to announce the acquisition of Tala Madani’s 8-minute animation, Shit Mom Animation 1 (2021). Madani (b. 1981, Tehran, Iran) is an LA-based artist who works primarily in painting but since 2007 has expanded her practice to include stop animation. With humor and painterly prowess, Madani creates figures engaged in often absurd situations that metaphorically address gender stereotypes, power dynamics, political critique as well as the underlying violence that power imbalances engender. 

Tala Madani Shit Mom Animation 1
Tala Madani, Shit Mom Animation 1, (2021), Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City, San Antonio, Texas. © Tala Madani

The Shit Mom series of works, which include this animation and several stand-alone paintings, derives its title from the British slang expression used to describe a bad mom. “Shit Mom” is just as described, always appearing as a smear of brown paint, who ruins everything, no matter how hard she tries. Comprised of thousands of hand-painted cells that are then photographed and digitally stitched together, Shit Mom follows the eponymous character through various lavish rooms in her home, but she leaves filth wherever she goes and on whatever she touches. Her attempts to clean up the smears, however, just make it worse. Even masturbating is a wasted effort as she’s unable to come to climax. It’s all too much and in a moment of utter frustration “Shit Mom” simply bangs her head on the table.

Tala Madani, Shit Mom Animation
Tala Madani, Shit Mom Animation 1, (2021); single channel color, stop motion animation, 7:54 minutes. © Tala Madani

The character of “Shit Mom” first appeared in 2019 after the artist, in a fit of irritation, attempted to remove a mother figure she had painted and was unhappy with. “So I started wiping it off, smearing the mother figure away.” as she recounted.  “The children were still pristine, but the mother became quite shitty-looking, and I thought, ‘Wait a second where did that come from? It’s Shit Mom!’” Madani’s work taps into the common, but often unspoken fears mothers have about failing as a parent and the impossibility of living up to society’s unrealistic visions of motherhood. 


Madani’s strong feminist associations and painterly prowess brought her work to the attention of the Foundation in the past and two other works by the artist are currently in the collection. Young Medusa (2017), is a painting that pictures the back of the mythical woman and her wild hair. A once beautiful maiden, Medusa was unfairly punished for being raped and was turned into a Gorgon, a monstrous figure with snakes for hair and capable of turning to stone anyone who looked upon her. Depicting her from behind, Madani paints a loaded moment, when Medusa could simply turn around and unleash her power and rage. An earlier work, a print, Man Choking His Shadow (2013), was a gift of Hare & Hound Press. This work is more aligned with her initial bodies of works which first brought her international attention and featured satirical images of anonymous, nude pudgy men. They bumble about and appear mystified, even fearful of women or overly concerned with their position or power, often symbolized by their genitalia. Shit Mom Animation 1 rounds out representation in the Foundation’s collection of this innovative contemporary artist who continues to challenge our perceptions of society and gender.

Tala Madani has been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of museums worldwide, including Tala Madani: Biscuits, the artist’s first North American survey at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2023). Other solo exhibitions include Start Museum, Shanghai (2020); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2019); Secession, Vienna (2019); Portikus, Frankfurt (2019); La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2017); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2016); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2016); Nottingham Contemporary, England (2014); and Moderna Museet, Malmö and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2013). She recently participated in the 16th Istanbul Biennial: The Seventh Continent, Istanbul, Turkey (2019); Whitney Biennial 2017, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, among many other international group exhibitions. Madani’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions including Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.