New exhibit at Houston Health Museum shows beauty is more than skin deep

HOUSTON — If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, starting this weekend, Houstonians can behold an all new installation at The Health Museum.  It takes a deeper look into what`s beautiful about the human body.

“One of the exhibits that`s really interesting is the exhibit called 'Body Suits,'" HHM President and CEO John Arcidiacono said. "It's all synthetic and it's all created, but it's all done by hand [...] based on an individual literally a certain person and it replicates them. Somebody can literally try on somebody else's body.”

“It's extremely realistic, every crease and the skin looks real," museum visitor Meredith O'Neal said. "It's definitely an out of body experience."

Across the way, visitors see "Positive Exposure,” a collection of photographs by an award-winning fashion photographer who is using his lens to capture the beauty of individuals with genetic conditions.

“As an artist, I don't see beauty just on the cover of magazines. I see beauty everywhere around me. So I started working with kids and adults living with a variety of differences, so we can all have the opportunity to see beauty in human diversity,” artist Rick Guidotti said.

“I'm Alex and I have Alopecia Areata, which is an autoimmune disease that causes people like me to have sudden hair loss. As a person with hair or without hair that defining feature is not just right back at you, its what the person truly is and what's within and not what's on the outside,” Alex Schoener, one of the subjects in the exhibit, said.

That exhibit just alongside is “Beautiful Affliction,” a collection of dresses patterned after the captured microscopic images of biological afflictions.

“This is melanoma. It also has two different scales of the photographs so the cells are larger with a satin finish and then the chiffon that comes over,” explained artist Cherie Acosta, who is also Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Lamar University.

“There`s definitely beauty in all kinds of biological processes but simple things like some of these photographs like gall stones they`re actually beautiful here but obviously if you have gall stones it`s not a very pleasant experience,” explains artist Norman Barker, who is also a Professor of Pathology and Art as Applied to Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

And that's only three of 10 exhibits in "The Body as a Work of Art: More than Skin Deep."

The installation opens Saturday to the general public and runs through Jan. 11.

Watch the above web exclusive where Cherie Acosta expands about how her designs are used in an interpretive dance choreographed by Travis Prokop.