CAA News Today

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following symposium, conference sessions, and exhibitions should not be missed. Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view.

November 2010

Lynda Benglis

Lynda Benglis, The Graces, 2003–5, cast polyurethane, lead, and stainless steel, dimensions from left to right: 103 x 26 x 26 in.; 113 x 21½ x 23 in.; 95 x 30 x 27 in. (artwork © Lynda Benglis, DACS, London/VAGA, New York)

Lynda Benglis
Rhode Island School of Design Museum
224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903
October 1, 2010–January 9, 2011

Most people know Lynda Benglis from her infamous advertisement in the November 1974 Artforum, in which she stood completely nude holding a dildo at her crotch, but her career spans more than forty years. The traveling exhibition Lynda Benglis, now at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, presents the extraordinary creative output of an important but often overlooked artist, offering key and representative works: wax paintings and poured latex and polyurethane foam sculptures from the late 1960s; innovative videos, installations, and “knots” from the 1970s; metalized, pleated wall pieces of the next two decades; and twenty-first-century works such as The Graces, three monumental mixed-media sculptures. The exhibitionalso features documentary material underscoring the artist’s interest in performance and self-promotion through magazines and invitation cards.

“Difficult Dialogues II”
National Women’s Studies Association Conference
Sheraton Hotel, 1550 Court Place, Denver, CO 80202
November 10–14, 2010

Two sessions at this year’s National Women’s Studies Association Conference, both held on Friday, November 12, explore contemporary art and issues. Kryn Freehling-Burton of Oregon State University will moderate the morning panel, “Women and Public Art,” which offers presentations on Kara Walker and Lynda Benglis, and on “yarn bombing” and “knit graffiti” (8:00–9:15 AM). In the afternoon, four panelists will discuss “Rethinking Documentary and Experiment in Feminist Art from the 1970s,” moderated by Michael Eng of John Carroll University (5:10–6:25 PM). There, two papers cover Mary Kelly and Marina Abramović, with two more addressing broader themes.

Jonas Holman

Untitled portrait attributed to Jonas Holman, ca. 1830–35, oil on canvas, 28 x 24 in. American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Jacqueline Loewe Fowler. 1995.17.1 (artwork in the public domain)

“Fall Symposium: Focus on Women in Art”
American Folk Art Museum
45 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
November 13, 2010

This full-day symposium at the American Folk Art Museum, taking place 9:30 AM–5:00 PM, examines the changing roles of women in culture as seen through artworks of and by women. General topics for discussion include Renaissance women as art patrons and female artists in ancient Greece and Rome, along with specific focuses on American folk art by and about women, the artists Ruth Henshaw Bascom and Orra White Hitchcock, and American masterwork quilts. After the symposium, which is organized by Lee Kogana, the museum will present a theorem painting demonstration and a panel discussion.

Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740–1840
Connecticut Historical Society Museum and Library
1 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105
October 5, 2010–March 26, 2011

Curated by Susan P. Schoelwer, Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740–1840 presents about seventy-five examples of rare, colorful, and imaginatively designed needlework by early American women and girls. Their shoes, purses, bedspreads, and fire screens depict farmsteads, family gatherings, furnished rooms, and flora. Resisting a strictly quaint presentation, the Connecticut Historical Society exhibition at the demonstrates that, in the words of a New York Times reviewer, “Young embroiderers … did not learn much at their mothers’ knees by the fireside, nor did they diligently copy designs that were fed to them.”

Chandle rFamily

Chandler Family, canvas work with pastoral scene, 1758, wool and silk on linen, 15¾ x 22 7/8 in. Woodstock, Connecticut. Private Collection (artwork in the public domain)

With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley
Florence Griswold Museum
96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371
October 2, 2010–January 30, 2011

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Connecticut River Valley produced an abundance of needlework artists—especially girls and young women in private academies. As the first exhibition to extensively examine the subject, With Needle and Brush contributes to the understanding of needlework traditions and provides insight into the nature of women’s schooling before widespread public education. Curated by Carol and Stephen Huber, the exhibition features about seventy works in embroidery and related mediums drawn extensively from private collections—many never before seen publicly.

Sally Mann: The Flesh and the Spirit
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 North Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220
November 13, 2010–January 24, 2011

The American photographer Sally Mann specializes in obsolete film and darkroom processes, and her recent work at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which includes abstracted self-portraits, pushes the limits of her medium to dig deeper into themes of mortality and vulnerability. Curated by John B. Ravenal, Sally Mann: The Flesh and the Spirit consists primarily of new photographs, but the museum will also present several early series that have rarely been seen. On Saturday, November 13, Vince Aletti of the New Yorker, Melissa Harris of Aperture, and Brian Wallis from the International Center of Photography will join Mann to discuss her work and the current state of photography. The conversation will take place 10:00 AM–1:00 PM on the show’s opening day, preceded by a book signing and coffee at 9:30 AM.

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