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The Real Housewives get a feminist pop art show in Brooklyn

The Real Housewives are taking over the gallery at THNK 1994 Museum with an art show about humanizing celebrities and feminine power.
Nene Leakes Pointing at Sheree, by Laura Collins

After 11 years of Real Housewives getting white girl wasted, talking poop and even stealing houses — seriously, there’s nothing that doesn’t happen on these shows, now numbering nine — they’ve earned an art show.

What you didn’t expect is’s an exhibit that delves into these women’s power and how they wield it called Real Housewives Pointing Fingers.

“When we watch Housewives, the fights that they have are a kind of warfare but emotional, and it takes skill to do that,” explains Matt Harkins, who along with Viviana Olen curates Brooklyn’s pop culture art gallery, the THNK1994 Museum.

“For us, seeing the paintings of them pointing, they’re presented in a very strong, powerful way that encourages you to look at it and think about it, which is how we feel when we watch the show: total respect, but also a little fear.”

Real Housewives Pointing Fingers opens Oct. 7 and finds them collaborating once again with painter Laura Collins, whose work inspired their immersive show Olsen Twins Hiding from the Paparazzi in a disused Brooklyn dentist’s office.

The show consists of about 40 paintings, including a few cameos by a Housewives-themed Last Supper and the only stars who occasionally upstage these women: their pets.

It’s typical Olen and Harkins fare: The two twentysomethings consider pop culture more than just disposable entertainment. Their exhibits (free, with ticketed special events) are always a deep dive that breaks down celebrities into their components and asks the viewer what it means that they enjoy them.

In the case of the Housewives, it was Collins who proposed using the pointing gesture as a way to humanize them through absurdity, but also to create empathy.

“Unlike history’s propensity to paint women as vulnerable and mild-mannered nurturers, these muses emblaze the canvas in echoing displays of rankism and dominance,” she explains. “Their accusatory gestures deflect to point out their own egotism and insecurities.”

Judge them at your own peril though: Criticizing how these women express themselves forces you to ask, could you do better?

Those who feel adequately chastised can enter a Tamra Judge-ment Zone and confess their sins in front of a shrine to Orange County Housewife Tamra Judge (and become part of the museum’s Snapchat).

And to deepen your knowledge of all things Housewives, THNK1994 will also be hosting special events, including a costume party for Halloween and an essential primer on the series.

“You will walk away prepared for brunch,” Olen promises. What other art show can do that?

Real Housewives Pointing Fingers runs Oct. 7-Nov. 12. Hours are Wed-Sun, 12-7 p.m. at the THNK1994 Museum, 1436 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn. Entry is free, with special ticketed events.
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