College Art Association

CAA News Today

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events 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 or touring.

December 2016

Bad Visual Systems

Ruth Buchanan, Judith Hopf, Marianne Wex: Bad Visual Systems
Adam Art Gallery
Victoria University of Wellington, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade, Wellington 6140, New Zealand 
October 2–December 22, 2016

Victoria University of Wellington presents Bad Visual Systems, a major new exhibition by the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist Ruth Buchanan. In order to position her thinking within a feminist history and discourse, Buchanan has chosen to work with two fellow artists of different generations that are also based in Germany: Judith Hopf and Marianne Wex.

The title of the exhibition draws on the idea, first articulated by the feminist theorist Donna Haraway, that “self-identity is a bad visual system.” Buchanan is drawn to this notion as it concisely articulates her sense that there are powerful forces vested in architecture, art, language, society, and the structural systems that take place within them.

Buchanan (born in 1980 in New Plymouth) has blurred the roles of artist, curator, and designer, playing all three to create a fully immersive installation with objects, materials, display systems, screens, images, and words. The artist creates situations she describes as “meetings with meaning,” where the systems utilized in the production of culture—display formats, collection protocols, museum structure—are interrogated, while exhibition and graphic design are reappropriated in order to manipulate the viewer’s experience.

In Bad Visual Systems, Hopf (born in Berlin, 1969) is represented by three film works that typify her irreverent approach to art practice. Wex (born in Hamburg, 1937) presents excerpts of the project Let’s Take Back Our Space: ‘Female’ and ‘Male’ Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures (1977–79), a compilation of thousands of images of men’s and women’s differing body language.

Ruby Rumié: Weaving Streets
NH Galería
Centro, Cellejón de los Estribos, Esquina Playa de la Artillería, Carrera 2 nO. 33–36, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
November 2–December 23, 2016

NH Galería presents Ruby Rumié’s Weaving Streets, an arresting exhibition born from a chance encounter between the artist and Dominga Torres Tehran, a woman who has walked the city streets selling fish for more than forty-five years.

Weaving Streets (tejiendo calles) was a phrase used by grandmothers to describe those who walked the streets of the city. Following Rumié’s captivation by Dominga’s unique and natural beauty, the artist worked on a series of projects for this exhibition, including photographs, video, poster, and five volumes on Cartagena’s ambulant street vendors. The collection is an attempt to rescue, from oblivion and invisibility, women like Dominga who have spent their lives as ambulant street vendors. While the artist’s goal is to present new views on the vendors and their environment to an audience, the portrayed women will have a meaningful encounter themselves with their own images in the gallery as well.

Rumié (Colombian, b. 1958) condenses the collected material into a corpus in a historical archival manner. Five volumes unfold spatially in the gallery: photo albums picturing each participant, stamp albums paying tribute to them, and a video of a ceremony held in their honor will frame the gallery space so that the images collectively transform into a fight against death and oblivion, thus becoming a legacy and memory to be heard by generations to come.

Rumié’s work includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation. She develops projects based on injustice and the impact of modern life in the daily lives of common people. She aims to provide a social and creative voice to women who suffered from domestic violence. In the artist’s words: “Problems such as gender violence, gentrification, social barriers and discrimination constitute a constant concern which I attempt to uncover through my work, by means of large installations where I use repetition as a platform for protest; bodies as objects of mass consumption that reveal the disappearance of our intangible heritage, and photographs to suggest the enigma of social stratification, all of these intend to stimulate reflection, playfulness, visual pleasure, emotion and inquiry.”

Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten and Josephine Pryde: 2016 Turner Prize
Tate Britain
Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG
September 27, 2016–January 2, 2017

This year, three women artists have been shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize, awarded annually to an artist under fifty, born, living, or working in Britain.

Anthea Hamilton (born in London, 1978) has a research-based practice that is strongly influenced by the early twentieth century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud, and his call for the “physical knowledge of images.” Hamilton wants visitors to experience a bodily response to an idea or an image when we encounter her work made of unexpected materials, scale, and humor. For the Turner Prize, Hamilton restages the exhibition Lichen! Libido! Chastity! for which she was nominated at New York’s SculptureCenter, with wallpaper “bricks” covering the walls, as well as new works specifically made for Tate including a floor-to-ceiling mural of the London sky at 3:00 PM on a sunny day in June.

Helen Marten (born in Macclesfield, 1985) uses sculpture, screen printing, and her own writing to produce installations that are full of references, from the contemporary to the historical, and from the everyday to the enigmatic. For the Turner Prize, the artist brought together a range of handmade and found objects in collagelike gatherings that have a playful and poetic approach. Marten’s exhibition at the Tate Britain space is divided into three sections. Each suggests a workstation or terminal where some unknown human activity has been interrupted. She encourages viewers to look very closely at the objects she makes, as well as the materials she uses, inviting them to reconsider the images and objects that surround us in the modern world.

Josephine Pryde (born in Alnwick, 1967) explores the nature of image making and display through photography and sculpture. For the Turner Prize she has created new works using domestic kitchen worktops. Placing objects on the back of the worktops and then exposed them to sunlight in London, Athens, and Berlin, Pryde offers resulting marks that are reminiscent of photograms, a cameraless photographic technique developed by early photographers as well as by experimental twentieth-century photographers. Resembling fashion or advertising images, her photographs in the ongoing series Hands “Für Mich” are closely cropped and focus on the models’ upper body and hands touching objects such as phones, computer tablets, and notebooks. Our attention is drawn to the point to the gestures the hands perform when body and the object meet.

Sabra Moore Openings

Sabra Moore: Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970–1992
Book
Available from New Village Press

Released in October, Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970–1992 is an illustrated trip through Sabra Moore’s art, life, and collaborations with other female artists at the center of New York City’s “second feminist wave.” Thanks to Moore’s penchant for journaling, personal narratives and historical details bring the era to life, providing “thoughtful introspection about art, writing, identity, family, and dreams.”

“Through Moore’s witty, nuanced, and poignant narration, readers follow the stories of these bold, trailblazing women as they find ways to create personally and politically meaningful artworks, exhibitions, protests, and institutions in response to war, environmental degradation, violence against women, struggles for reproductive freedom, and racial tension—all while fighting for greater opportunities for women in the art world.”

Moore, an artist, writer, and activist, moved to New York in 1966. She was president of the NYC/Women’s Caucus for Art, a key organizer of the 1984 demonstration against the Museum of Modern Art for excluding women and minority artists. Moore was also a core member of the influential Heresies Collective, an active member of Women Artists in Revolution and Women’s Action Coalition, and a leading organizer/creator of several large-scale women’s exhibitions in New York, Brazil, Canada, and New Mexico. Her memoir boasts 950 color and black-and-white illustrations and is accompanied by forewards from Lucy Lippard and Margaret Randall.

Elizabeth Stone: 40 Moons
Granary Art Center
86 N Main Street, Ephraim, Utah
October 5, 2016–January 27, 2017

The visual artist Elizabeth Stone’s photographs 40 Moons at the Granary Art Center in Ephraim, Utah, recontextualize journal writings into circular, lunarlike photographs depicting the final forty months of her mother’s life.

A Montana-based artist, Stone makes work that explores identity, impermanence, and mark making while combining her study of photograph and drawing with biology and digital technology. In 40 Moons, the daily journals written by her mother’s caregivers are photographed and layered, each final photograph a representation of a month in her mother’s final stages with Parkinson’s disease and the dementia associated with this illness.

“Science has taught us that the gravitational pull of the moon tugs on the surface of our big, blue oceans until its surface rises up and outward,” Stone writes in her artist statement. “Mythology and astrology has taught us that the moon is a symbol of subtlety, a luminary that provides light through reflection. The moon waxes and wanes, shifting and progressing through a cycle of light and dark.”

Mary Maughelli: Abstract Expressionism and Feminist Artwork
Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery
Henry Madden Library, Fresno State, 5200 N. Barton Ave., Fresno, CA
November 4–December 16, 2016

The posthumous exhibition Mary Maughelli: Abstract Expressionism and Feminist Artwork at the Fresno State Henry Madden Library presents the artist’s early abstract work and explores the first California art movement. A Fulbright scholar and feminist artist, Maughelli died in October 2015.

A founding member of Gallery 25, Maughelli taught for thirty-six years at Fresno State and set the foundation for the arrival of the visiting artist Judy Chicago, leading to the formation of Fresno State’s feminist art program. The exhibition is aimed at educating viewers about Abstract Expressionism and the feminist art movement during the cultural and political environments of those times, integrating augmented reality and allowing the community a unique interaction with the content.

“Mary Maughelli is a trailblazer, and we are all indebted to her artistic vision,” said Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “She transcended her own historical space and forged a new meaning for the female body, one that challenged the typical binary model that made use of an essentialist nature in order to limit the creative process and value of womanhood. She created a legacy that epitomizes the generosity inherent in art—the creative process envisions a new perspective of a better world.”

 

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