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CWA Picks for December 2017/January 2018

posted by CAA — Jan 09, 2018

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. After this combination post, updates will resume monthly. 

 

December Picks

Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism

December 15, 2017–March 25, 2018
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street
Southbank Victoria
Melbourne, Australia

In the newest exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminist critical and underrepresented practices and debates are examined within contemporary Australian art and society. New commissions, recent works and historical projects are presented from art historians, artist, and theorists from the 1970s to the present.

The exhibition includes painting, performance, photography, film, community engagement and cultural activism to name several mediums. Focusing on the “dynamic formal invention and social engagement of feminist artists,” the exhibit explores gender identity, representation,  and intersectional politics through performance, text and media technologies, humor and critique.”

“Asking why feminism is still relevant, necessary and critical, Unfinished Business explores trans-generational legacies, inheritances and shifts, alongside contemporary conditions and concerns – to stimulate new debates and discussions around the ‘unfinished business’ of feminism today.”

 

Clarity Haynes: Baba Na Gig

November 13, 2017–February 16, 2018
Artist’s Lecture & Reception: January 17, 5 – 8 pm
The Kniznick Gallery
Brandeis University
Women’s Studies Research Center
Epstein Building
515 South Street, Waltham, MA

In this solo exhibition by Clarity Haynes at the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University, large-scale painted portraits depicts the history of displaying social power through the painted portrait.

In Haynes’s paintings she features the torso as the site for storytelling, paying homage to women, trans and gender nonconforming people. “”Tattoos, scars, evidence of illness, aging, exposure to sun, childbirth, surgeries, synthetic hormones, moles, birthmarks, stretch marks and veins, all tell a story of a body’s life, and Haynes seeks to portray them larger-than-life and divine.”

The name of the exhibition, Baba Na Gig, or “Old Woman of the Breasts”, is in honor of Baba Yaga, the old woman goddess of Eastern Europe, and the goddess Sheela Na-Gig, or “Sheela of the Breasts.”

In acknowledging the social history and social power of the portrait, Haynes seeks to redistributes power to people outside of cultural norms. “Her years-long process of making each work contributes to a reverence for the way bodies change and redefine what power can be.”

In addition to the artist’s lecture on January 17, 2017, the gallery will hold an event with art historian and museum educator, Annie Storr. Storr will lead an “Exercise for the Quiet Eye” on January 30, 2017 to encourage patient reflection, appreciation, and interpretation.

 

Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection

September 30, 2017–January 21, 2018
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
925 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA

In the exhibition Soliday & Solitary at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art the history of art is reinterpreted through African-American artists from the 1940s through the present. The Joyner/Giuffrida collection is primarily focused on abstract art, a “meaningful political focus, rather than stylistic preference.

“For black artists, abstraction is charged with the refusal of representation that is socially dictated, both by racist stereotypes of the dominant culture, and the pressure from within the black community to create positive imagery. Abstract art as a practice embodies the possibility of individual freedom and autonomy, even within larger social identities.”

Among the artists in the exhibition are sonic and visual artist Jennie C. Jones, painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, painter and sculptor Shinique Smith along with Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Leonardo Drew, Melvin Edwards, Charles Gaines, Sam Gilliam, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Tavares Strachan, and Jack Whitten.

 

Lynda Benglis

[closed] October 26–December 16 
Blum & Poe
2727 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

“Lynda Benglis’ legendary practice began in 1960s New York City, her commitment to merging content and form, subverting the paradigms of Minimalism and Modernism, established her formidable role in contemporary art history as a leader in the Post Minimalism movement. Her iconic works have been coined “frozen gestures”—referencing the body and the landscape, sexual and gender politics—realized in poured latex, wax, polyurethane, ceramics, bronze, paper, video, glass, neon, and more.

Spanning two levels of exhibition space and including the outdoor gardens, here Benglis presents works from a sculptural practice that engenders hybrid compositions, embracing the subjective touch of the artist’s hand and the inextricable link between process, material, and form. Each room features a distinct body of work, showcasing the artist’s multifarious range—including glazed ceramics; examples from her bronze fountain series; large-scale biomorphic aluminum sculptures; a constellation of recent paper wall works; and the eleven-foot phosphorescent cast polyurethane HILLS AND CLOUDS (2014).”

 

Woman with a Camera

July 8, 2017–January 14, 2018
Museum of Contempoary Art
220 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Woman with a Camera presents photographs by 14 women artists who come from a diverse set of backgrounds and generations, and address various artistic concerns. This intimate show includes established masters of the medium—such as Catherine Opie, Laurie Simmons, and Carrie Mae Weems—alongside exceptional younger artists—including Anne Collier, Xaviera Simmons, and Mickalene Thomas—who use photography to explore facets of politics, history, and identity. Though their practices are disparate, their works draw on three central themes in photography: rendering the human figure, capturing public or private spaces, and commenting on our media-saturated culture.”

Although essentially a show acknowledging the gifts of particular collectors (Sandra and Jack Guthman), the works provide an opportunity to reflect on the heterogeneous practices of a generationally diverse array of artists. Other artists represented: Emily Jacir, Michele Abeles, Marina Abramović, Sophie Calle, Leslie Hewitt, Melanie Schiff, Eve Sussman/Rufus Corporation, and Anna von Hausswolff.

 

Engender

November 11, 2017–January 13, 2018
Kohn Gallery
1227 North Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

A group exhibition featuring seventeen contemporary artists who are revolutionizing the way we visualize conventional gender as exclusively male or female. Through painting, a medium that has traditionally embraced this binary, these artists are pushing the genre in new, unprecedented directions, challenging the ways in which paintings can be used to deconstruct and rewrite conventional notions of personal identity. The exhibition highlights the inter-blending of traditional and figurative abstraction as the foundation for more fluid and inclusive expressions of identity, engendering a new visual pronoun.”

The exhibition attempts to get “beyond the binary” of figurative representation, and the visual hailing of particularly gendered bodies. Painting is the medium of choice, and works like Emily Mae Smith’s Abyss, 2017, challenge easy associations with masculine or feminine imagery. Other works in the show, such as Christina Quarles’s paintings, which are filled with bendy and androgynous bodies, highlight how the figurative can be transformed through formal applications of paint—itself a sometimes viscous and sticky goo.

Artists included: Mequitta Ahuja, Firelei Báez, Hernan Bas, Zoë Charlton, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Nicole Eisenman, Natalie Frank, Heidi Hahn, Loie Hollowell, Sadie Laska, Jesse Mockrin, Jennifer Packer, Christina Quarles, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Tschabalala Self, Emily Mae Smith, Jansson Stegner

 

January Picks

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today

October 13, 2017–January 21, 2018
January 17, 2018: Gallery Talk, Get the 411 on Abstraction
January 19, 2018: Artist’s Talk with Maren Hassinger
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave NW
Washington, D.C.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts presents a look at abstract works by twenty-one black female artists. Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction 1960s to Today features artists born between 1891 and 1981, cutting across generations to unveil under-recognized leaders in abstraction.

“Artists in Magnetic Fields dispel the notion that figurative art is the only means for visualizing personal experience. The titles of their works and their construction methods evoke intense associations. Mary Lovelace O’Neal’s use of allusive titles, such as Racism is Like Rain, Either it’s Raining or it’s Gathering Somewhere (1993), informs the reading of her monumentally-scaled painting while Maren Hassinger similarly uses socio-politically inflected titles and materials—specifically New York Times newspapers—in her textural floor sculpture Wrenching News (2008).”

Artists presented in Magnetic Fields include Candida Alvarez, Betty Blayton, Chakaia Booker, Lilian Thomas Burwell, Nanette Carter, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Deborah Dancy, Abigail DeVille, Maren Hassinger, Jennie C. Jones, Evangeline “EJ” Montgomery, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Howardena Pindell, Mavis Pusey, Shinique Smith, Gilda Snowden, Sylvia Snowden, Kianja Strobert, Alma Woodsey Thomas, Mildred Thompson, and Brenna Youngblood.

Exhibition programming includes a short gallery talk on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, exploring highlights with NMWA Senior Educator Adrienne L. Gayoso, as well as an in-depth artist’s talk with Maren Hassinger about her work, Wrenching News, created in response to Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.

 

LSFF: Radical Softness Through a Haptic Lens: Barbara Hammer and Chick Strand + Q&A

January 13, 2018, 4pm, Cinema 1
The ICA
The Mall
London

The retrospective by the ICA Cinema of the work of experimental filmmakers Chick Strand, and Barbara Hammer, a pioneer of queer cinema, explore the idea of ‘radical softness’- “the power in being both abrasively feminine and openly vulnerable, subverting emotion from weakness to strength.”

“Thematically, my work deconstructs a cinema that often objectifies or limits women,” Barbara Hammer says on her website. “My work makes these invisible bodies and histories visible. As a lesbian artist, I found little existing representation, so I put lesbian life on this blank screen, leaving a cultural record for future generations.”

“Strand (1931-2009) played a vital role in the 1960s Bay Area filmmaking community both through her work and her involvement in the co-founding of Canyon Cinema—which would become the San Francisco Cinematheque—with friend Bruce Baillie in 1961. Strand also taught film for twenty-five years at Occidental College in Los Angeles, influencing a generation of filmmakers.” (http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/films/2016marmay/strand.html)

The screening will feature Dyketactics (1974, 4 mins), Superdyke Meets Madame X (1975, 20 mins) both by Barbara Hammer, and Soft Fictions by Chick Strand (1979, 54 mins).

 

The Feminine Sublime

January 21, 2018–June 3, 2018
Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 East Union Street
Pasadena, CA

In the exhibition, The Feminine Sublime, the Pasadena Museum of California Art presentes a counter-narrative “that upends previous ideas of the sublime in painting with a unique feminist perspective.”

“With their large-scale artworks, the artists situate the viewer within the annihilating and terrifying effects of global climate change, nuclear catastrophe, 9/11, consumerist environmental degradation, and even post-apocalyptic landscapes. Though they articulate ideas of dystopian insecurity, fragmentation, and collapse, all of the works paradoxically invoke transformation, transition, and the possibilities for painting to still promote the kind of skepticism instrumental for the renewal of human consciousness.”

Artists include Los Angeles-based painters Merion Estes, Yvette Gellis, Virginia Katz, Constance Mallison, and Marie Thibeault.

 

Esther Ferrer: All Variations are Valid, Including This One

October 26—February 25, 2018
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Calle Santa Isabel, 52
Madrid, Spain

A member of the avant-garde performance-based group Zaj, Ferrer’s artistic output is experimental (ranging across many media) and focused (prime numbers and education are recurring themes). In this exhibition, which privileges archival materials and Ferrer’s installations alike, the Museo Reina Sofia gives the monographic treatment to an artist well-known in Spain, but underrecognized abroad.

One of the central figures in Spanish performance art, Ferrer’s engagement with the conceptual structures of chance and repetition are enduring concerns. This exhibition also gathers together a group of Ferrer’s theoretical writings and speeches in the accompanying catalog.

 

Polly Apflebaum: Dubuffet’s Feet My Hands

November 24, 2017—February 2, 2018
Frith Street Gallery
17-18 Golden Square
London

“This exhibition is the latest in a series of installations that incorporate hand-woven carpets, ceramics, and immersive colour. […] Curator Kate McNamara has noted that carpets are the logical conclusion of Apfelbaum’s longstanding engagement with the floor, with pliable supports, fabric and decorative art traditions.

“For this installation, Apfelbaum worked with weavers in Oaxaca, Mexico, where the Zapotec people have been weaving textiles for over 2,000 years. Entitled Dubuffet’s Feet, this floor work is based on a small drawing titled Footprints in the Sand by Jean Dubuffet from his 1948 sketchbook El Golea II, which the artist saw at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Apfelbaum has translated the image into a series of hand-woven rugs, each depicting an enormous footprint of a figure who would be over 100 feet tall. There are four carpets, two with left feet and two with right, aligned as parallel pairs, implying the trace of two giants. While Apfelbaum’s carpets are woven in earth tones that may evoke the 1970s, they also correspond with the sand in which Dubuffet’s footprints may have been left, and thus the natural landscape […]

“The parallel series My Hands has evolved from Apfelbaum’s ongoing experiments with glazed ceramics. They take their inspiration from the ‘floating hand of God’ in the mosaics of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, which she visited during a residency at the American Academy in Rome in 2013. Apfelbaum was fascinated by this image of the disembodied hand as the symbol of creation and intervention. Apfelbaum has used her own hand as a template for these works, creating a relationship to the artist’s touch while also dealing with ideas about craft and making, from prehistoric times to children’s pre-school handprints […].”

 

Sexuality Stories
October 20, 2017—February 14, 2018

Guerrilla Girls: Graphic, 1985-2017
September 29, 2017—February 14, 2018

MASP
Av Paulista, 1578
São Paulo, Brazil

There’s something delicious about a Guerrilla Girls retrospective holding space with a much more broadly conceived exhibition on sexuality—as the group of anonymous gorilla-mask-wearing feminists have had much to say about sexuality (and the depiction of it) across art’s histories and in the contemporary moment. Staged in the museum Lina Bo Bardi built in 1968, these shows serve as counterpoints, with the Guerrilla Girls retrospective underlining the radicality of the team-curated collections exhibition, Sexuality Stories.

In one of the new works on display at MASP, the Guerrilla Girls update their famous Do Women Have To Be Naked… poster, this time addressing São Paulo’s Museum of Art (where 60% of the nudes are women, but only 6% of the artists are). The catalog for the exhibition does the important work of translating the Guerrilla Girls’ mostly text-based work into Portuguese. The exhibition is curated by Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director of MASP, and Camila Bechelany, curator of Latin American Art.

For Sexuality Stories Pedrosa and Bechelany curatorial efforts are combined with those of Lilia Schwarcz, adjunct curator of MASP stories, and Pablo León de la Barra. Together they have programmed a variety of solo shows in advance of this installation (the Guerrilla Girls exhibition is only one). The intent, according to the curators, is to affirm a “respect for the other, difference and artistic freedom.” In gathering together historical works from across MASP’s collections, as well as those from contemporary artists, Sexuality Stories addresses sexuality as one of the enduring concerns of representation.

Filed under: CWA Picks