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CWA Picks for July 2017

posted by July 03, 2017

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.

Rineke Dijkstra, Amy, The Krazy House, Liverpool, December 23, 2008, 2008 (collection of the artist)

Rineke Dijkstra: An Ode
Stedelijk Museum
Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ, Amsterdam, Netherlands
May 20–August 6, 2017

In celebration of Rineke Dijkstra’s recent honor of receiving the prestigious Hasselblad Foundation’s International Award in Photography for 2017, the Stedelijk Museum has mounted a small but excellent curated exhibit of this lauded Dutch artist. Twenty-one photographs and four videos are included in An Ode, which showcases Dijkstra’s masterful technique and remarkable sensitivity to her youthful subjects and the delicate process of their coming of age. As the artist noted, “With young people everything is much more on the surface—all the emotions. When you get older you know how to hide things.” Under her keen eye and deft hand, portraits of adolescence become something intimate and lovely and compelling.

The exhibit, which draws from Stedelijk’s own extensive collection of her work, as well as loans from the artist, is meant to be a celebration as well as an amuse-bouche for later offerings in the season. Later this year, the museum will present Dijkstra’s work Almerisa (1994–2008), a series of portraits that follows the life of a young Bosnian refugee girl from her arrival in the Netherlands to her adulthood.

Acolytes of this contemporary photographer can also see an extensive retrospective of her work at the Louisiana Museum (Copenhagen, Denmark) this fall, and then at the Museum de Pont (Tilberg, the Netherlands) in early 2018.

Florine Stettheimer, photograph by Peter A. Juley & Son, ca. 1917–20 (image provided by Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC)

Fahrelnissa Zeid
Tate Modern
Bankside, London SE1 9TG
June 13–October 8, 2017

In the first major retrospective of her work, the Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, a pioneer in the European avant-garde of the 1940s and 1950s, dazzles. Trained in Paris and Istanbul (one of the first women to go to art school there), she produced work that synthesized historical and contemporary Middle Eastern and European artistic practices. Zeid, a princess and Muslim, cut an unusual figure in the midcentury art world. Her oeuvre is astonishingly diverse, ranging from large abstract paintings to smaller figurative pieces, and from traditional materials to new media such as chicken bones, which she painted, cast into polyester resin, and fashioned into stained-glass-like objects.

Zeid’s vibrant and energetic works were widely exhibited and enjoyed critical success, and yet her work fell into obscurity in subsequent decades. Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, told the Guardian of the rediscovery of her work on a 2008 trip to Istanbul, saying: “We were stunned to encounter for the first time in our lives, these huge, ornate, decorative, multifaceted, brilliantly coloured, swirling abstract paintings. We’d never seen her work in our lives and we’d never seen anything like it. It was a really exciting moment.” The retrospective of Fahrelnissa Zeid is part of the museum’s stated commitment to showcase artists of the modern era who have been overlooked and underrepresented in the art world.

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry

Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave, New York, New York
May 5–September 24, 2017

Writing for Art in America in 1980, the art historian Linda Nochlin made this assessment of Florine Stettheimer’s work: “Florine Stettheimer, the artist, existed in this world, it is true, but still somewhat apart from it––as her painting exists apart from the major currents of her time.” Stettheimer, who was born in Rochester and studied at the Art Student League of New York, is known for her affected paintings (sometimes with accompanying sculptural, scalloped frames), that reflect the comings and goings of her family—most notably her two other sisters—and a host of artists, writers, and other members of New York’s intelligentsia. Marcel Duchamp was a friend, and she was a frequent theater-goer, even designing the sets and costumes for the 1934 production of Gertrude Stein’s opera intended for an all-black cast, Four Saints in Three Acts. Oh, and she wrote poetry, which is a constant presence throughout this exhibition at the Jewish Museum. Reading her poetry, like looking at some of her works, can sometimes feel like an exhausting account of the pleasures of being one of the “haves”: “My attitude is one of Love / is all adoration / for all the fringes / all the color / all tinsel creation / I like slippers gold / I like oysters cold / and my garden of mixed flowers / and the sky full of towers / and traffic in the streets / and Maillard’s sweets / and Bendel’s clothes / and Nat Lewis hose / and Tappé’s window arrays / and crystal fixtures / and my pictures / and Walt Disney cartoons / and colored balloons.” Still, there’s a soulful seeing behind her spindly figures, especially her self-portraits and portraits of her closest family members. Taken together these paintings are a masterclass in forging an artistic path of one’s own.

Star Montana: I Dream of Los Angeles
Beta Main
114 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, CA
May 7–July 23, 2017

Star Montana’s photographs line the walls of the Main Museum’s Beta space—each a portrait of someone who the artist encountered on the streets or met through an open call. Some are friends. Most are strangers. Yet all are given a kind of monumental attention in Montana’s practice. Alongside each photograph is a small piece of writing, reflecting on the circumstances in which the picture was taken, the first time Montana met her subject, or a meditation on the vagaries of dailyness living in East and South Los Angeles. The viewer scans between words and picture, looking for the same vulnerabilities and strengths in the images that appear in the text. The colors of these photographs are lush, and the relationship between sitter and photographer is palpable, close. It is an ode to this great and complex city, as evinced through the people who live in it.

Gray Matters
Wexner Center for the Arts
Ohio State University, 1871 North High Street, Columbus, OH
May 20–July 30, 2017

Now on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Gray Matters brings together thirty-seven contemporary women artists exploring the practice of grisaille—the French term for working in shades of gray. “Ranging from emerging to well-established, these artists challenge an all-too-simplistic notion of colorless ‘neutrality’ as they reveal the variegated spectrum of black, white, gray, and everything in between.”

The more than fifty works include a variety of mediums and media, from sculpture to portraiture, video to graphite drawings. Among the works is Mickalene Thomas’s Hair Portrait #20 (2014). Known for her colorful canvasses, Thomas tones down her palette in Hair Portrait #20 “without relinquishing her celebratory use of rhinestones.” Also on view in the exhibition is Bethany Collin’s A Pattern or Practice (2015). In this piece the viewer is confronted with a wall installation of ninety-one blind-embossed portions of the US Department of Justice report on the Ferguson police department. “The show goes incredibly quiet with an idea that is incredibly loud,” Michael Goodson, senior curator of exhibitions, described arriving at the neatly spaced white sheets, with the words of the report pushing up the fibers of the paper.

Other artists in the exhibition include: Tauba Auerbach, Carol Bove, Gisele Camargo, Vija Celmins, Bethany Collins, Marsha Cottrell, Tacita Dean, Tara Donovan, Marlene Dumas, Michelle Grabner, Josephine Halvorson, Mona Hatoum, Roni Horn, Cristina Iglesias, Jennie C. Jones, Toba Khedoori, Laura Lisbon, Suzanne McClelland, Julie Mehretu, Katie Paterson, Joyce Pensato, Amalia Pica, Mary Reid Kelley, Michal Rovner, Nancy Rubins, Arlene Shechet, Erin Shirreff, Amy Sillman, Xaviera Simmons, Diane Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Avery Singer, Michelle Stuart, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Rachel Whiteread, and Carmen Winant.

A video of the exhibit, behind the scenes with artists’ interviews, can be found on YouTube here:

Melanie Yazzie, Gregg Deal, and Walt Pourier

Melanie Yazzie, Gregg Deal, Walt Pourier: Action X Community X Togetherness
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Avenue Pkwy, Denver, CO
May 6–September 7, 2017

Alumni of the Native Arts Artists-in-Residence program at the Denver Art Museum return for a summer of collaboration and creation. Melanie Yazzie, Gregg Deal, and Walt Pourier are cocreating through a project titled Action X Community X Togehterness X.

The Native Arts Artists-in-Residence program kicked off in 2012 with Yazzie and has gone on to host many established and up-and-coming artists working across media. Yazzie, a sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist, often collaborates with indigenous artists, including those from groups in New Zealand, Siberia, Australia, and Canada, among others. Her work is informed and shaped by personal experiences and tries to tell many stories about things both real and imagined. It follows the Diné dictum “walk in beauty” literally, creating beauty and harmony.

“My artwork is culturally based in my heritage of being a Diné (Navajo) person. The artworks stem from the thought and belief that what we create must have beauty and harmony from within ourselves, from above, below, in front, behind and from our core. We are taught to seek out beauty and create it with our thoughts and prayers. I feel that when I am making my art, be it a print, a painting or a sculpture, I begin by centering myself and thinking it all out in a ‘good way,’ which is how I was taught from an early age. My work speaks about travel and transformation.”

In the joint projects Yazzi, Deal, and Pourier will host talks, tours, and workshops at two Untitled Final Fridays, on July 28, and August 25. They will hold a hands-on artmaking workshop at the Friendship Powow and American Indian Cultural Celebration on September 9 also.

Filed under: Committees, CWA Picks, Exhibitions

CWA Picks for April 2017

posted by March 30, 2017

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.

Maria Sibylla Merian, Chinese Vase with Roses, Poppies and Carnations, ca. 1670–1680 (photograph © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz)

Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Illustration
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin
Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin, Germany
April 7–July 3, 2017

Städel Museum in Frankfurt
Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
October 11, 2017–January 14, 2018

Academic conference
University of Amsterdam
ARTIS Library, Plantage Middenlaan 45-45A, 1018 DC Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 7–9, 2017

In commemoration of the three hundredth anniversary of the death of the German-born illustrator and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian, the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin (April 7–July 2, 2017) and Städel Museum in Frankfurt (October 11–January 14, 2018) are sponsoring a joint show of approximately 150 of her works on paper and vellum. Known for her exquisite depictions of flowers and insects, Merian had an international reputation in her lifetime. Her illustrated texts include a volume of engravings of flora and fauna she produced while on a scientific expedition to the Dutch colony of Surinam in 1699. As a complement to this exhibition, the University of Amsterdam is sponsoring an academic conference titled “Changing the Nature of Art and Science: Intersections with Maria Sibylla Merian” (June 7–9, 2017), where her contributions to the history of printmaking, natural history, and botanical art will be honored.

Invitation for Kate Kretz’s #bullyculture

Kate Kretz: #bullyculture
39th Street Gallery and Corridor Exhibition Space
Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood, Maryland
March 11–April 15, 2017

#bullyculture represents the first phase of an ambitious in-progress series that Kate Kretz commenced in 2011 and will conclude later this year. In her quest to find the common denominator to all the crimes against women, children, “minorities,” animals, and the earth, she has produced a large corpus of works on paper, sculpture, paintings, textiles, and mixed media. Some of the themes she explores in this series include “trophy hunting, VIP culture and ‘the 1%’, corporate destruction of the earth, rape culture and sexual entitlement, the fetishization of guns and their use for intimidation.” The artist, who has received numerous awards and grants, including the Southeastern College Art Conference’s 2016 award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement and a position on the Fulbright Specialist Roster through 2021, will be giving a lecture on April 1.

Shagha Ariannia: Who Sings the Nation-State?
Vincent Price Art Museum
East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA
March 18–June 10, 2017

A little over fifteen years ago, and one week after 9/11, Shagha Ariannia and her family arrived to Los Angeles as migrants from Iran. Ariannia has mined this particularly potent history of travel, place-finding, and identity-in-transit throughout her artistic career by, for example, annotating her family’s photographic archives in a series called What would America/Iran do without Iran/America? (2012). This solo exhibition focuses on a series of works Ariannia has been creating using national anthems from various countries (Iran and the United States included, among many others). In this way she takes seriously the titular question posed by Gayatri Spivak and Judith Butler in their 2007 dialogue Who Sings the Nation-State? As Butler says in that text, in regard to hearing the US national anthem sung in Spanish in the streets of Los Angeles, “The monolingual requirement of the nation surely surfaces in the refusal to hear the anthem sung in Spanish, but it does not make the anthem any less sing-able in that or any other language” (60).

Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser
Blanton Museum of Art
200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Austin, TX
March 12 – June 11, 2017

A few years ago I recall seeing a dozen or so clickbait-y articles written about Nina Katchadourian’s Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style, a series in which the artist constructed toilet-paper and neck-pillow costumes during long-haul flights and photographed herself wearing them in the tiny, and poorly lit, spaces of onboard lavatories. This midcareer survey—the artist’s first touring museum exhibition—promises to flesh out Katchadourian’s wide-ranging work. The Flemish lavatory portraits, for example, are only one piece of a larger series of works using the airplane as studio space (Seat Assignment, 2010–ongoing). One of the works on display, and one of her most well-known, is the video Accent Elimination, wherein the artist hired a speech coach to teach her parents (both foreign born) to speak in a “standard” American accent, and, in turn, to teach her how to speak with her parents’ accent. Her collaborations with her family, other artists, international agencies, and even animals are potent reminders that the activity of art is almost never a solitary endeavor, and her interest in quotidian acts of creativity suggests that art can be found anywhere. One just has to know how to look.

May Stevens: Alice in the Garden
Ryan Lee Gallery
515 West 26th Street, New York, New York
February 23–April 8, 2017

May Stevens, a celebrated activist committed to the civil rights, antiwar, and feminist movements, used painting to combat social injustice and to revise women’s history throughout her seventy-year career. The exhibition Alice in the Garden comprises several large-scale paintings depicting Alice Dick Stevens, her elderly mother, during the final years of her life.

From 1983 and 1990, Stevens turned her attention to her mother and producing the five-panel painting Alice in the Garden (1988–89). “The mural-like images confront the viewer with the massive figure of Alice—fleshy, fragile, and vulnerable. In her hands, Alice manipulates flowers—dandelions Stevens had playfully thrown at her during an afternoon visit.”

In a conversation with the art historian Patricia Hills, Stevens explained the importance of Alice as a subject: “For me I think it means I want her [Alice] to be known, even for the individual person that she is, but it also means that I want people like that not to be forgotten. For me she’s not just a single person, because we all know this person. We all know her and we may become her. She’s a problem. As aging is a problem, as illness is a problem, as being a woman who does not fulfill herself is a problem.” (Patricia Hills, May Stevens [San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2005], 45.)

Today May Stevens, now 92, lives with Alzheimer’s disease in a memory-loss facility in New Mexico. She has received numerous awards including ten MacDowell Colony residencies, the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award (1990), a Guggenheim fellowship in painting (1986), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in painting (1983), an Andy Warhol Foundation residency (2001), and CAA’s own Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement (2001).

Terrains of the Body: Photography from the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High St, London
January 18–April 16, 2017

Featuring over seventeen contemporary artists working across mediums, Terrains of the Body: Photography from the National Museum of Women in the Arts assembles an impressive collection from Washington, DC, for display across the water in London. “By turning their camera to women, including themselves, these artists embrace the female body as a vital medium for storytelling, expressing identity and reflecting individual and collective experience.”

Many works in the display extend the scope of 1970s feminist art, including performance and video. This display celebrates their legacy today. Moving between photography’s ability to document and tell stories, these works present women as creator and subject of their work. Several artists in the exhibition, including Nan Goldin and Daniela Rossell, photograph women in expansive series that appear documentary in nature. Other artists include Marina Abramović, Rineke Dijkstra, Anna Gaskell, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Candida Höfer, Icelandic Love Corporation, Mwangi Hutter, Kirsten Justesen, Justine Kurland, Nikki S. Lee, Hellen van Meene, Shirin Neshat, Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation, Janaina Tschäpe, and Adriana Varejão.

Filed under: Committees, CWA Picks, Exhibitions

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.

March 2017

From the Collection: Sister(s) In the Struggle: Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver
Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Photographs of Angela Davis on view: January 18–March 5, 2017
Photographs of Kathleen Cleaver on view: March 7–April 9, 2017

Curated by Julie Crooks, Sister(s) In the Struggle: Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver features photographs of two leading female figures of the Black Panther Party taken from the Black Star Collection at the Ryerson Image Centre. “They were photographed excessively,” Crooks said in an interview with Flare, “and their images were ubiquitous. They were in newspapers, they were in journals, they were on posters and their representations, or likenesses, were all over the place and that created this kind of cult presence…. At times the photographs could be detrimental to one’s image, especially someone like Angela Davis, but I think they also fed into this kind of iconic status.”

In choosing to pull photographs from the Black Star Collection from the civil rights area, Crooks explained that she wanted to humanize the representation of Davis and Cleaver, selecting images that offered a previously unexplored way of looking at them. The exhibition creates comparisons to many other women behind the scenes—those who are not remembered. “I wanted to highlight these photographs because the Black Power statement was, ‘black is beautiful’ and that was kind of a relentless message: that we are beautiful, despite hundreds of years of representation that told us otherwise, Crooks told Flare.

This exhibition is part of a collaboration between the Ryerson Image Centre and Black Artists’ Networks Dialogue, called Power to the People: Photography and Video of Repression and Black Protest, which will run until April 9.

Amy Jorgensen: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Elizabeth Houston Gallery
190 Orchard Street, New York, NY
February 8–March 12, 2017

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue by Amy Jorgensen is a series of delicate handkerchiefs emblazoned with historic images of suffragettes. In fact, displayed on each piece of linen is the surveillance images of eighteen women taken from the 1913 Criminal Records Office of Scotland Yard.

“Recognizing in this episode a peculiar confluence of gazes, Jorgensen re-contextualizes and re-situates these images into the wider question of how women’s identities are constructed, and how they are obstructed…. The gift of the handkerchief is a matrimonial tradition passed from mother to daughter, woman to woman. This work investigates the search for, or the making of, identity that draws upon the plurality and fraction of the self, and the span of influence that is made from generation to generation.”

These discrete portraits of women suffragettes were taken and cataloged by Scotland Yard after a series of acts of civil disobedience, including arson, window breaking, and other public disturbances, which in turn created a national scandal. Jorgensen, who transferred the photographs to the handkerchief using cyanotype, an early-nineteenth-century photographic process pioneered by a woman, first discovered the images while researching Edna Berg, her great aunt and an impassioned suffragette from New York.

“The juxtaposition of these two histories—that of the matrimonial ceremony and that of the women of the suffragette movement—provides a jarring collision point for the examination of patriarchal structures both in history and contemporary culture.”

Jennifer Brea: Unrest
SXSW, Austin, Texas
March 10–19, 2017

After making its debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Unrest by the director Jennifer Brea travels to SXSW in Austin, Texas, this March. The film focuses on the life of Brea, who was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, commonly referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome. Brea, a PhD student at Harvard University, found that she could not sign a check at a restaurant, becoming progressively worse in the months before her wedding. When doctors told her it was “all in her head,” Brea turned her camera on herself, filming from the confines of her bed.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a systemic neuroimmune condition characterized by post-exertional malaise—a severe worsening of symptoms after even minimal exertion. The root causes and physical effects are not fully understood, especially in women. As Brea described in a TED Talk, her neurologist diagnosed her with conversion disorder and said her physical symptoms were the result of some distance emotional trauma. “It is a perfect custom prison,” Brea observed. “How can a disease this devastating be forgotten by medicine?”

“As I got sick, I found myself as part of cohort of women in their late 20s whose bodies were falling apart,” Brea explained, “and how hard it was to be taken seriously.” Her film explores her own diagnosis but also seeks to address the millions of others with the same condition.

As SXSW nears, screening days and times for Unrest will be posted on the schedule page. The full TED Talk with Brea can be found online.

Suor Plautilla Nelli, Lamentation with Saints (1550)

The Art of Suor Plautilla Nelli
Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, Florence, Italy
March 8–April 30, 2017

In the first of an open-ended, annual series of exhibitions dedicated to women artists—what the Italian press is calling “pink exhibitions”—the Uffizi Gallery will showcase the work of Suor Plautilla Nelli (1523–1587), an artist nun who was Florence’s first known female Renaissance artist. Works culled from her Domenican convent, as well as from churches and museums across central Italy, will go on display on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day; they will remain on view until April 30. The Florence-based organization Advancing Women Artists Foundation, which has been instrumental in facilitating the restoration of Nelli’s works, published the exhibition catalogue. Eike Schmidt, the Uffizi’s current director, was motivated to pursue this initiative after a conversation with the Guerrilla Girls.

Leila Alaoui: No Pasara
Musée des Beaux-Arts
1380, rue Sherbrooke O, Montreal, Canada
Through April 30, 2017

On January 18, 2016, a young French-Moroccan photographer named Leila Alaoui was killed in an attack in Burkina Faso. Alaoui, who had been in the West African nation on assignment for a report on women’s rights for Amnesty International, used her photography to highlight issues related to migration, displacement, and cultural identity. The twenty-four images of No Pasara, which means “no entry,” depict young Moroccans who dream of a better life on the other side of the Mediterranean. The series was commissioned by the European Union in 2008.

In a review of her work last year, a critic for the Economist wrote: “Alaoui’s photojournalism drove the reasons for the movement of humans—before and beyond today’s crises—home, by turning a lens on those who have been and continue to remain unseen between world crises. Economic migrants in the regions she captured, including young Moroccans, Lebanese and Sub-Saharan Africans willing to make perilous crossings for a life in Europe were the consistent thread through her projects.” Alaoui’s hauntingly beautiful images offer a trenchant and poignant vantage point from which to consider the global immigration crisis.

Walled Garden in an Insane Eden
Sara Zanin Gallery
Via della Vetrina, 2, Rome, Italy
February 9–March 25, 2017

“Is it only the external landscape which is altering? How often recently most of us have had the feeling of déjà vu, of having seen all this before, in fact of remembering these swamps and lagoons all too well. However selective the conscious mind may be, most biological memories are unpleasant ones, echoes of danger and terror. Nothing endures for so long as fear.”
—J. G. Ballard from The Drowned World (1962)

Borrowing its title from J. G. Ballard’s science-fiction novel and one of its dystopic tales, this exhibition brings together a contingency of London-based artists whose work engages with the political uncertainties introduced into the European landscape in 2016. Their responses, which include drawings, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and performance, range from skeptical to hopeful. Organized by Marcelle Joseph, the exhibition features mostly women artists, including Rebecca Ackroyd, Gabriella Boyd, Kira Freije, Marie Jacotey, Florence Peake, and Zadie Xa.


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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.

February 2017

Susan Hiller: Lost and Found
Pérez Art Museum, Miami
1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL
October 14, 2016–June 4, 2017

Commissioned by the Pérez Art Museum and making its debut, Lost and Found, by the London-based artist Susan Hiller, features an audio collage of voices speaking in twenty-three different languages, including Aramaic, Comanche, Livonian, and other extinct or endangered idioms. A pioneer in video installations, Hiller creates immersive, psychologically charged environments. In Lost and Found a translation appears as subtitles to the anecdotes, songs, arguments, memories, and conversations. Oftentimes the themes revolve around language itself.

“A constantly shifting oscilloscopic line gives visual form to the work’s soundtrack, suggesting the poignant idea that individuals separated by time, geography, and worldview remain linked by the physical experience of sound as it resonates through the human body during verbal communication.”

See Red Women’s Workshop Feminist Posters 1974–1990
Published by Four Corners Books
ISBN 978-1-909-82907-7

Released in September 2016, See Red Women’s Workshop Feminist Posters 1974–1990 collects sixteen years of posters, calendars, silkscreens, and more from the See Red Women’s Workshop. Founded in 1974, the group “grew out of a shared desire to combat sexist images of women and to create positive and challenging alternatives. With humor and bold graphics, they expressed the personal experiences of women as well as their role in wider struggles for change.” The 184-page book is written by See Red members and features the history of the group, including all of their original screenprints and posters commissioned for radical groups and campaigns.

“Ambitiously, See Red were not about selling a product or even getting over a party political message,” writes the British socialist feminist Sheila Rowbotham in the book’s foreword. “They were up to something far more complex and far more difficult. They aimed to convey ideas about a transformed society in which relations of gender, race and class would no longer be marked by inequality and subordination.”

Ambreen Butt: I Need a Hero
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 
25 Evans Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
January 11–June 26, 2017

Ambreen Butt is the ninth artist in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, invited to create a temporary site-specific work for the museum’s façade. Throughout this project, Butt explores the ways in which women struggle to find and make use of their own power. Paying tribute to a fellow young Pakistani woman, I Need a Hero is inspired by the story of Mukhtar Mai, who was brutally raped in 2002 by order of her village tribal council as punishment for speaking out against archaic codes of justice. Refusing to be silenced, Mai not only became a spokesperson for women’s rights in Pakistan, but she also created two schools for girls and a crisis center for abused women.

In the Gardner façade piece, the heroine fights a dragon and a monkeylike creature (her inner and outer demons?). The wrestle is set against the background of a dollar bill as a reminder of today’s global economy, while other young women look at her from below and above, expectant on the results of the battle and a possible emergence of their hero(ine).

Butt was born in 1969, in Lahore, Pakistan, where she trained as a miniature painter. As a storyteller, the artist makes use of dramatic imagery from this traditional art form to comment on contemporary issues.

Tschabalala Self
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road,London N1 7RW
January 17–March 12, 2017

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents the first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom by the New Haven–based artist Tschabalala Self. Curated by Ziba Ardalan, the exhibition brings together paintings, prints, collage, and sculptures drawn from the first five years of Self’s artistic career. The young artist (born New York, 1990) is concerned with the study of the black female body within contemporary culture. Self examines the confluence of race, gender, and sexuality through a variety of forms and narratives, in which each of her “characters,” as she calls them, explores the emotional, physical, and psychological impact of the black female body as icon.

Self’s paintings play boldly with figuration, deconstructing and reconstructing the black female body, sewing together pieces of African or African-inspired cloth, given to her by her mother, with fragments of unresolved pieces of work. Self’s fractured figure seems to assert its own self-defined identity, while mixed media allows her to explore how the black female body functions as a social and political symbol.

In addition to painting, collage, and sculpture, Self presents at Parasol unit her most recent animation work, My Black Ass (2016). Through a series of GIF portraits of abstractly drawn black female figures in a motion that suggests they are twerking, the black female character comes to life, displaying her buttocks and genitals in an energetic dance. Although based on a particular ethnicity, Self’s innovative works nonetheless speak universally of all humanity and its collective concerns.

Elena Dorfman: Syria’s Lost Generation
Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613
January 18–March 12, 2017

The Mills College Art Museum presents the Los Angeles–based artist Elena Dorfman’s Syria’s Lost Generation, a humanistic perspective to the ongoing Syrian conflict that has claimed more than 470,000 lives and forced the displacement of 6.5 million people.

Dorfman (born Boston, 1965) was on assignment with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2013. While documenting exiled Syrians in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, she was drawn most strongly to Syrian teenagers, a small fraction of a population that has been disproportionately affected by the war. As Dorfman explains, “They seemed particularly shell-shocked and bereft…. [T]hey spoke to me of powerful longing and frustration.”

Dorfman has specialized in documenting extreme circumstances and unusual subjects. Syria’s Lost Generation builds on her previous work as a documentarian—in particular, The C-Word (1998), a series of photographs of teenagers living with cancer. Through visual and audio portraiture, Dorfman brings into exposure their voices, the physical and psychological ills suffered, their uncertain futures, and the fearful of retaliation. Displaced teenagers spoke about the powerful longing and frustration, where the dispossession seems absolute, and the future, lost.


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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.

January 2017

The Future is Female
21c Museum Hotel
700 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky
November 2016–May 2017

The Future is Female at the Louisville, KY, 21c Museum Hotel, features feminist art from the 21c collection, including painting, video, photography, and installation. Works on view include pieces by Carrie Mae Weems, Jenny Holzer, Nandipha Mntambo, Kiki Smith, and Frances Goodman, among many others. “Gleaming acrylic fingernails glued into patterned, reptilian forms that emerge from the wall; barnacles and ceramic teeth encrusted in life-size human figures in decay; cement seeping through lace and paint; haunting words about the present overlaid on imagery of the past: surface tension abounds in this exploration of contemporary feminist art.”

Curated by Alice Gray Stites, chief curator and museum director, the exhibition fuses celebration and critique through engaging and evocative art. In Alison Saar’s work on view, Hades D.W.P., five glass jars are filled with water to varying levels. Each jar is “tagged with lines of poetry, their surfaces etched with figures that float between life and death.” While the work hints the water is meant for drinking, its toxic colors indicate otherwise, alluding to the drinking water disaster in Flint, Michigan.

Pat Oleszko: Fool for Thought
Women’s Studies Research Center/Kniznick Gallery
Brandeis University, Epstein Building, 515 South Street, Waltham, MA
November 21, 2016–March 3, 2017

The visual and performance artist Pat Oleszko brings her signature style to the Kniznick Gallery, which presents an exhibition of her costumes, inflatables, videos, and props. “With elaborate handmade costumes and props, Oleszko utilizes the body as armature for ideas in an array of lampoons that call her audience to action.” Through humor and the absurd, Oleszko touches on issues from the personal to the political. Fool for Thought highlights her performances, including Hello Folly: The Floes & Cons of Arctic Drilling, Oldiloks and the Bewares, Stalking Walking Topiary, and the Pat and the Hats. Self-identified as the Fool in question and the questioning Fool, Oleszko fans the flames with rousing absurdity and maintains that she who laughs, lasts.

The exhibition also includes several events, including an artist’s lecture with Oleszko and a reception on January 25 and a lecture on February 2 with Barbara Bodenhorn. The lecture will focus on the combination of art and science as it seeks to engage young people in ecologically vulnerable regions.

A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
Starting December 15, 2016

Through new research and scholarship, the Egyptian artifacts in A Woman’s Afterlife explore the gender transformation of deceased women and the difference between male and female access to the afterlife. The exhibition is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong project celebrating a decade of feminist thinking at the institution.

“Egyptian medicine taught that a woman, once in her tomb, faced a biological barrier to rebirth. Because the ancient Egyptians believed that in human reproduction it was the man who created the fetus, transferring it to the woman during intercourse, rebirth was impossible for a woman alone.” It was the priest’s role to magically transform the woman’s mummy into a man, thus creating a fetus. This was accomplished through incanted spells with masculine pronouns, graphic representations of those spells on the coffin, and adding red skin—a color assigned to men. The centerpiece, a painted coffin and mask of Weretwahset, exemplifies these steps and depicts her fleeting transformation from female to male.

The exhibition was sparked by researched published by the scholars Kathlyn M. Cooney (University of California, Los Angeles), Heather McCarthy (New York University), Gay Robins (Emory University), and Ann Macy Roth (New York University). “This research has led to a better understanding of the logic behind this unexpected gender transformation by discovering that women were intentionally represented with red skin and with masculine pronouns. Previously, these representations were regarded as mere mistakes,” said Edward Bleiberg, curator of Egyptian art. “Feminism has changed the questions we ask of ancient history as well as the answers we offer. This is a striking example of how feminism has provided a basis for new scholarship that reinterprets an ancient puzzle.”

Catalina Schliebener: Growing Sideways
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York
Open until January 22, 2017

The Bureau of General Services Queer Division presents Growing Sideways, an exhibition of new work by the Buenos Aires–based Chilean artist Catalina Schliebener (b. Santiago, 1980). Organized by the independent curator John Chaich, the exhibition takes its title—and somewhat its conceptual and formal inspiration—from the queer scholar Kathryn Stockton Bond’s notion that rather than the normative view of “growing up,” the nonstraight child grows sideways through life-long, lateral interactions between childhood motivations and adult identifications, formed by sly intentions, blurred chronologies, and animalistic attachments.

Growing Sideways presents over five dozen drawings on collage that frame the space and culminate in a floor-to-ceiling mural, growing across two- and three-dimensional surfaces and creating a disjointed narrative exploring gender formation and erotic curiosity through Schiebener’s combination of cuttings from found children’s books with abstract drawings and vinyl mural recalling organic sensual shapes in nature and the body. An artist-curated selection of books accompanies the site-specific installation.

A dialogue with the artist, Chaich, and Kris Grey will take place on January 12, 2017, at 7:00 PM.

On Feminism
Aperture #225 (Winter 2016)

Aperture’s winter issue has focused “On Feminism.” In a moment that the very idea of gender is central to local and global conversations about equality, this approach arrives at a right moment to address the power and influence that women hold on the stage of the art world and beyond.

This issue focuses on intergenerational dialogues, debates, and strategies of feminism in photography, acknowledging the immense contributions by artists whose work articulates or interrogates representations of women in media and society. “On Feminism” features include a lively roundtable with curators from Paris and New York on modernist photographers between the wars, Nancy Princenthal on the feminist avant-garde of the 1970s, Eva Díaz on protest and visual politics, Laura Guy on lesbian erotica as critical rebellion, Eva Respini on abstraction, Julia Bryan-Wilson on visions of trans feminism, and a conversation with Renée Cox about black feminist icons, plus contributions from Martha Rosler and Maria Nicolacopoulou, among others, as well as portfolios by Farah Al Qasimi, Jennifer Blessing, Zackary Drucker, Catherine Morris, A. L. Steiner, Zanele Muholi, Yurie Nagashima, Elle Pérez, Laurie Simmons, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Gillian Wearing.

The issue’s contents are organized in two main sections that underscores how photography has shaped feminism as much as how feminism has shaped photography. Use #OnFeminism to join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Nairy BaghramianDéformation Professionnelle
Jan Hoetplein 1, 9000 Ghent, Belgium 
November 26, 2016–February 19, 2017 

S.M.A.K. presents Déformation Professionnelle, a solo exhibition by influential Iranian sculptor Nairy Baghramian. Born in 1971 in Isfahan, Iran, Baghramian is currently living and working in Berlin. She has become internationally known for her contextual approach to exhibition-making via sculpture and photography. Focusing in a site-responsive practice, her works explore the body and its supportive functions.

Déformation Professionnelle is a new production which builds on eighteen works in the artist’s oeuvre from 1999 to 2016. Baghramian alludes to existing work from discarded ideas to working material. In the artist’ words, she is “surveying the survey.” This body of work formulates fundamental questions about progress and economy, while interrogating what happens when something ceases to exist, and how something new comes into being.

The exhibition includes several large-scale works such as Class Reunion (2008), Retainer (2012), and French Curve (2014). Both inside and outside the museum,the display evidences the artist complex engagement with the transformation and consequent deformation of form, language, and meaning in its translation from one series into the other.

Nairy Baghramian | Déformation Professionnelle is organized by S.M.A.K. and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where the exhibition will travel in October 2017.


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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
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.”


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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.

November 2016

This is Political (painting): Kajsa Dahlberg, A K Dolven, VALIE EXPORT, Claire Fontaine and Alexandra Pirici
Kunsthall Trondheim
Kongens gate 2, 7011 Trondheim, Norway
October 20, 2016–February 26, 2017

Kunsthall Trondheim is inaugurating its new permanent space with the international women exhibition project this is a political (painting). The exhibition, curated by Helena Holmberg, borrows its title from A. K. Dolven’s work this is a political painting (2013) and presents work by Dolven (Norway), Kajsa Dahlberg (Sweden), VALIE EXPORT (Austria), Claire Fontaine (France), and Alexandra Pirici (Romania) that reflects on the complex relationship between the individual human body and the social backgrounds that support it from diverse perspective and visual languages.

Dolven presents a personal and politically meaningful fingerprints pattern-work that speaks about a body that perseveres to remind of its existence, its place and conditions in society, and the carried identity along the boundaries for its potentials. Fontaine’s large neon work series Foreigners Everywhere addresses to us all as being foreigners in most places, with the exception of a very limited part of the world. For the exhibition, Foreigners Everywhere has been translated into the fifteen most spoken languages, including the local minority language South Sami. EXPORT’s presents Body Configurations (1972–82) and Body Sign Action (1970), two emblematic images of the female body’s relation to society, a critical oeuvre that is constantly scrutinizing the societal structures from a feminist and conceptual viewpoint that always proposes resistance. In her film Reach, Grasp, Move, Position, Apply Force (2015), Dahlberg revisits the early history of film and film’s appliance in experiments and research on the systemized movement of the working human body. In Monument to Work, Pirici has undertaken interviews and research on movements performed by industrial workers through their working life, movements that will be choreographed by the artist herself and enacted by a group of people forming a living monument at the Kunsthall Trondheim exhibition space.

Root Connection: 20 Years of the Patti Smith Collection
Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94613
September 14–December 11, 2016

Mills College presents an expansive display of rarely exhibited and unique materials from the special collections of the Mills F. W. Olin Library. The exhibition includes photographs both of and by Smith, publications, recordings, and ephemera that are showcased together to highlight the breadth of Smith’s artistic experimentation across disciplines, including (and not limited to) poetry, music, and photography.

Displayed throughout both the art museum and the library and curated by three people—Stephanie Hanor, Mills College Art Museum Director; Janice Braun, Library Director and Special Collections Curator; and Robert Byler, Smith donor and collector—this double exhibition presents an intimate examination of Smith’s work from multiple perspectives that unveils in a comprehensive approach the artist’s ongoing innovativeness and inspirational influences.

The exhibition includes a screening room hosting short films in which Smith introduces places, people, and cultural moments that have inspired and informed her practice, including Jean Genet, Robert Frank, and the punk eclecticism of 1970s New York’s “Downtown Scene,” as well as listening stations featuring music and readings. The displayed collection of ephemera includes broadsides and concert announcements, personal effects from her childhood, and international versions of releases of her published works. The intimate installation is conceived in such a way that visitors to the library and museum are welcome to hang out and spend time in the lounge of the museum and in the library reading rooms, digging into the evocative spread of materials presented.

Mary Reid Kelley: Two solo exhibitions in Europe
A Marquee Piece of Sod: The WWI Films of Mary Reid Kelley
Kunsthalle Bremen
Am Wall 207, 28195 Bremen, Germany
September 10, 2016–February 19, 2017

Kunsthalle Bremen presents the first solo exhibition in a European museum of work by the American artist Mary Reid Kelly. Her four-part film cycle on the First World War, A Marquee Piece of Sod, is contextualized by a selection of works on paper from the Kunsthalle Bremen’s collection of prints and drawings, opening an artistic discourse with Reid Kelley’s videos.

Interweaving her films to form total works of art that are rich in both innuendo and punning wordplay, Reid Kelley (Greenville, South Carolina, 1979) creates performances, drawings, and sculptures in collaboration with her partner, Patrick Kelley. Her narratives examine cultural gender roles and struggles, reflecting on the realities of women’s lives during historical periods of political, social, economic, and cultural upheaval, such as the French Revolution and WWI.

In Reid Kelley’s first solo exhibition in a European museum, her black-and-white films, based on extensive research, oscillate between drawings that are brought to life and stop-motion animation that combines the artist’s concise aesthetic, which ironically synthesizes art-historical styles such as Cubism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. In this way, Reid Kelley explores how dramatic historical events have affected and inform the changes in identity, gender roles, behavior, sexuality, and speech.

Mary Reid Kelley
M – Museum Leuven
Grote Markt, B, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
September 30, 2016–August 1, 2017

Coinciding with Kunsthalle Bremen, the M – Museum Leuven presents the first Belgian solo exhibition of work by Mary Reid Kelley. Under the curation of Valerie Verhack, the artist features her video trilogy about the myth of the Minotaur—Priapus Agonistes (2013), Swinburne’s Pasiphae (2014), and The Thong of Dionysus (2015)—along with The Syphilis of Sisyphus (2011) and drawings. Playing with these historical figures, Reid Kelley utilizes costumes, masks, and poetic wordplay to create black-and-white films that are strongly reminiscent of the graphic novel, reflecting on gender, desire, and vanity through the connection of classical tragedies with pop culture and contemporary literature.

Patty Carroll: Anonymous Women
Paper over Board, 10 X 10 In. / 112 Pages / 50 Color
ISBN 9781942084198

Released this year, Anonymous Women is a new collection of fifty photographs by Patty Carroll depicting models heavily camouflaged in drapery and household objects.

The beginning of the work coincided with the start of the Iraq War, as Carroll explains in an earlier publication, as issues of vulnerability, trust, and safety were present daily. “Anonymous Women presents images that symbolize the psychological states of women around the world by showing them hidden behind, and intertwined with, visually stunning domestic scenes.”

Although the women are obscured by often colorful, and sometimes flamboyant surroundings, the photographs are more than commentary on oppression. Instead, Carroll likens them to portraits, “because some women like very flowery, fussy things, and other women like very stark, modern things, so in a way they’re like portraits of people that you know even though you don’t see their faces.” (Guardian, January 25, 2014).

Likewise, the photographs consistently reference classic draped statues, nuns in habits, the burka, the Virgin Mary, priests’ robes, ancient Greek and Roman dress, as well as covered furniture.

Renée Green: Facing
Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124, Toronto, Canada
October 6–November 25, 2016

For the first time in the history of Prefix ICA, they have dedicated all of their exhibition spaces to one artist, the writer and filmmaker Renée Green. Facing, curated by Betty Julian, is anchored by the digital film projection Begin Again, Begin Again (2015) and built upon previous aspects of the artist’s journey, including Spacing in Lisbon, Placing in Berlin, and Tracing in Lake Como.

“Her excavation of locations, perceptions, memory and movement is developed as a series of ‘nodes,’ which refer to her own private acts and processes as an artist. Once transformed into a public exhibition or other presentation, each node is given a name and an association with a specific location, which has its own forms of resonance for both the artist and audience.”

The exhibition includes more than four hours of time-based work, featuring sound works, space poems, prints, and digital films from ongoing work.

NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
September 30, 2016–January 8, 2017

Featuring work by thirty-seven artists from fifteen countries, No Man’s Land is comprised of work collected by the Rubell Family, one of the largest privately owned collections of contemporary art.

In No Man’s Land, curators worked with both new acquisitions and those that had been in the collection for decades to present a conversation focused on the process of making and images of the female body. “Many artists in the exhibition use labor-intensive techniques to alter conventional notions of ‘women’s work’ and handcraft. Some sculpt or paint semi-abstract shapes that reference the body obliquely, while others depict the female form directly, forcefully reclaiming its visualization and interpretation.”

The inspiration for the title of the exhibition comes from a visit Don and Mera Rubell made to the studio of the painter Kaari Upson in 2008. As explained in the audio guide by Mera Rubell: “We went to visit the artist’s studio and it turned out that the way she made these paintings was about Larry, who she had an obsession about, and she painted herself and then what she did is merge the two paintings face to face with each other as though they were actually kissing … she invented a way for these two figures to merge into something different … what she found in this merger was a new territory of identity, of maybe compromise, maybe psychological interactiveness.”

Works on display range from more traditional examples of painting and sculpture to artists who use a variety of raw materials in their assemblages, from painting with neon to weaving with Carnival beads.


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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.

October 2016

Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia
Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane
Woldenberg Art Center, No. 202, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
August 20–December 30, 2016

The Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane presents Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, which offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the diverse practices of Aboriginal Australian women artists today. The exhibition features works by Nonggirrnga Marawili, Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Yukultji Napangati, Angelina Pwerle, Carlene West, Regina Pilawuk Wilson, Lena Yarinkura, and Gulumbu Yunupingu. Coming from remote areas of the island, these respected matriarchs and leaders use art to empower their respective communities.

Immersed in ancient cultural traditions, the presented artworks speak with individual voices to universal contemporary themes. Their subject matter range from remote celestial bodies and native flowers to venerable crafts traditions and women’s ceremonies. Each work is unique in facing fundamental questions of existence, asserting both our shared humanity and differences in experiencing and valuing the same planet. As a whole, this exhibition of contemporary women artists from Aboriginal Australia emerges as an evidence of the relevance of indigenous knowledge in the twenty-first century.

Contemporary Aboriginal Australian women’s painting emerged later than the men’s practice, attracting global attentio—especially since the 1990s. Since women began to paint later, they were exposed to a broader range of global cultures. As Hetti Perkins mentions in her catalogue essay for Marking the Infinite, “While cultural activity has always been central to the secular and sacred lives of women, art making in recent decades has offered a key means for women to also maintain their social and economic independence.”

Eleni Panouklia: Its Luminous Saying Must be Left a Conjecture
Palaio Elaiourgeio
Eleusis, Greece
September 4–November 15, 2016

Palaio Elaiourgeio presents Its Luminous Saying Must be Left a Conjecture, a large-scale installation by Eleni Panouklia. Throughout this site- and time-specific mixed-media intervention that is meant to be experienced at night, Panouklia (born in Agrinio, 1972) converts industrial ruins of Palaio Elaiourgeio (Old Oil Mill) of Eleusis into an evocative earthy soundscape of dark paths and inaccessible sanctuaries.

The installation begins and ends in the backyard of the derelict factory, and it consists of two cyclically communicating outdoor and indoor environments allowing individual and collective explorations. The work immerses the viewer in a contrapuntally structured experience of darkness by transforming the backyard of Palaio Elaiourgeio into a disorderly, pulsating landscape of powerful sonorous enclosure and combining that with a lonely ritual itinerary through the silent passageway of a long building, where an interactive event awaits each viewer. Together, the two environments seek to affectively advance both timely critical and timeless existential realizations through distinct bodily and reflective enlightenments, or, better yet, “un-concealments” of the wholeness of being in darkness.

Curated by Kalliopi Minoudaki, Its Luminous Saying Must be Left a Conjecture orchestrates the awakening of multisensory explorations through the creative collaborations with the sound designer Coti K., the light designer Katerina Maragoudaki, the photographer Vassilis Xenias, and the production organizer and design consultant Georgia Voudouri.

Candice Lin: A Body Reduced to Brilliant Colour
155 Vauxhall Street, London SE11 5RH, UK
September 22–December 11, 2016

Gasworks presents A Body Reduced to Brilliant Colour, the first UK solo exhibition by the American artist Candice Lin. Born in Massachusetts in 1979, Lin makes work that engages with notions of gender, race, and sexuality by examining discrepant bodies, vibrant material, and disobedience. In A Body Reduced to Brilliant Colour, the artist explores how histories of slavery and colonialism have been shaped by human attraction to particular colors, tastes, textures, and drugs. Drawing from scientific theories, anthropology, and queer theory, Lin traces the materialist urges at the root of colonial violence.

The exhibition includes a low-tech installation of tubing, plastic and glass containers, porcelain filters, hot plates, and other hacked household objects; her work boils, ferments, distils, dyes, and pumps liquid containing colonial trade goods such as cochineal, sugar, and tea. Transforming prized, historically loaded commodities into a stain reminiscent of murder, feces, or menstrual blood, the exhibition speaks to these fraught histories of conquest, slavery, torture, and theft, while exploring what happens when materials so loaded with history and meaning are situated in new systems of relations.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of events, including Eating the Edifice, an illustrated lecture/demonstration by the food historian and artist Ivan Day that will outline the evolution of edible table art from the early Renaissance to the nineteenth century.

Complaints Department: Workshop operated by the Guerrilla Girls
Tate Exchange / Switch House
Level 5, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
October 4–9, 2016

From October 4 to 9, the Guerrilla Girls will operate a Complaints Department. Individuals and organizations are invited to Tate Exchange to conspire with the girls and to post complaints about art, culture, politics, the environment, or any other issue they care about. Throughout the week, a series of workshops and thematic discussions will be presented, encouraging participation and assisting the public in creating statements to post on rolling bulletin boards. The week culminates in a special public event documenting and exploring what has been collectively complained about.

Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s
Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, London, UK
October 7, 2016–January 8, 2017

Featuring forty-eight international female artists, the Photographers’ Gallery opens its new exhibition, Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s, wholly curated from the Verbund Collection in Vienna. “The exhibition highlights groundbreaking practices that shaped the feminist art movement and provides a timely reminder of the wide impact of a generation of artists.” Works in photography, collage, performance, film, and video by well-known feminist trailblazers such as Cindy Sherman and Martha Rosler will be on view, along with overlooked artists such as Katalin Ladik and Birgit Jürgenssen. In fact, the exhibition includes many artists from areas of the world lesser known for feminist art.

“Through radical, poetic, ironic and often provocative investigations,” these artists used their work to question identities, gender roles, and the sexual politics of the 1970s. The exhibition is curated by Gabriele Schor from the Verbund Collection and Anna Dannemann of the Photographers’ Gallery.

The Listen Conference 2016: Feminist Futures
Bella Union
Level 1, Trades Hall, 54 Victoria Street, Melbourne, Australia
October 14–16, 2016

The three-day feminist music conference Listen returns this October with presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and live performances. “The Listen Conference provides a unique opportunity to engage in constructive discussion on ideas relating to gender, feminism, creativity, intersections within communities, writing, and performance.” Keynote speakers include the writer and feminist activist Clementine Ford and the New York–based performer and activist Alok Vaid-Menon (from the trans South Asian performance art duo Darkmatter).

Focusing on raising awareness and equality in the Australian music industry, “Listen” will cultivate “conversations from a feminist perspective around the experiences of marginalised people in Australia music.” Panels will encourage conversations on issues ranging from music making, the pros and cons of “call out culture,” race and sexism in music, and gender binaries in music and art, among other topics. The conference also features three nights of live music and movement-based performances, including experimental punk, Aboriginal mixes, dark techno, and poetry.

Adriana Marmorek: Love Relics
Nohra Haime Gallery
730 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor, New York
September 14–October 15, 2016

Love Relics at Nohra Haime Gallery features photographs and videos by the Colombian artist Adriana Marmorek that document the ceremonial burning of twelve treasured objects associated with love. Most notable is the burning of Relic #16 and Relic #17, both wedding gowns, “showcasing the destruction of these institutional flags.”

The project originated at the end of another exhibition Reliquia, for which Marmorek exhibited fifty-one donated relics or treasures that represented memories of love or loved ones. When the exhibition finished, the artist chose to burn several of the relics, “digging deeper into the concept of eternity and ephemerality.” A ceremony was conducted for the owners of the objects, as she burned each and filmed them. “Some treasures—of love, happiness, sorrow and anger—had associated memories so deep that they had replaced the physical and enveloped an intense spiritual being.”

In addition to the videos, photographs are also on view, “capturing a split second in time,” while mementos such as an appointment book, a box of condoms, a matchbook, and a bridal bouquet are engulfed in flames.


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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.

September 2016

Simone Leigh: Hammer Projects
Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
September 17, 2016–January 1, 2017

In her first solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles, the award-winning artist Simone Leigh presents a selection of recent ceramics and a site-specific installation. Organized by the Hammer Museum’s assistant curator Jamillah James, the exhibition includes public programming related to Leigh’s ongoing research and work in public engagement.

“Working across ceramics, sculpture, video, installation, and social practice, Simone Leigh examines the construction of black female subjectivity and economies of self-preservation and exchange.” Her research-based methods include ethnography, feminist discourse, folklore, and histories of political resistance. In her ceramics the “vessels, cowrie shells, and busts are reoccurring forms, each making symbolic reference to the black body,” as well as referencing the vernacular visual traditions from the Caribbean, the American South, the African continent, and the black diaspora experience.

Leigh’s social practice includes work inspired by the outreach work of the Black Panther Party. In The Free People’s Medical Clinic (2014) and The Waiting Room (2016), Leigh locates her practice within institutions that are geared toward underserved communities, focusing on the rights of women of color as a central concern. “These free workshops empower visitors to take back the care of their bodies from agents of capitalism.”

Southern Accents: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art
Nasher Museum of Art
Duke University, 2001 Campus Drive, Durham, NC
September 1, 2016–January 8, 2017

This September, the Nasher Museum of Art opens its newest exhibition, Southern Accents: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, which investigates “the complex and contested space of the American South.” The show will feature the work of sixty artists, including several celebrated and emerging female artists. “The art reflects upon and pulls apart the dynamic nature of the South’s social, political and cultural landscape.”

On exhibition is work by Catherine Opie from her Domestic series, which was a journey to photograph lesbian couples. Through two photographs taken with an 8 x 10 inch camera, Melissa & Lake, Durham, North Carolina (1998) and Tammy Rae & Kaia, Durham North Carolina (1998), Opie “documents the many different iterations of family, making visible an often underrepresented and misrepresented sector of society.”

Belle (2010), by Stacey Lynn Waddell, depicts a portrait of a southern belle, a term often used to refer to a wealthy, white Southern woman, with her head obscured by a replication of the bell from the British trade ship Henrietta Marie, known to transport both slaves and goods between Africa, the West Indies, and England. “By placing the ship’s bell, a symbol of the slave trade, upon the southern belle’s head, Waddell implicates her in the South’s slave-owning past. Leaving a disfigured portrait to be contemplated.”

Artists include: Kara Walker, Sally Mann, Deborah Luster, Xaviera Simmons, Amy Sherald, Ebony G. Patterson, Tameka Norris, Jessica Ingram, Deborah Grant, Minnie Jones Evans, Sonya Clark, Rachel Boillot, Jing Niu, Beverly Buchanan, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others.

Women of Abstract Expressionism
Denver Art Museum
100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, CO
June 12–September 25, 2016

Women of Abstract Expressionism at the Denver Art Museum features more than fifty major paintings by female artists from the mid-twentieth-century art movement. Featured are works by Mary Abbott, Jay DeFeo, Perle Fine, Helen Frankenthaler, Sonia Gechtoff, Judith Godwin, Grace Hartigan, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Deborah Remington, and Ethel Schwabacher.

The exhibition “focuses on the expressive freedom of direct gesture and process at the core of abstract expressionism, while revealing inward reverie and painterly expression in these works by individuals responding to particular places, memories, and life experiences.” The twelve female artists, from the East and West Coasts during the 1940s and 1950s, contended with gender politics in relationship to their work, as well as issues affecting women at the time. A video accompaning the exhibition explores these creative and political narratives in the artists’ lives.

In October 2016 Women of Abstract Expressionism will travel to the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then to the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs, California, in February 2017.

Bharti Kher: Matter
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada
July 9–October 10, 2016

Matter is the first survey of Bharti Kher’s work in North America. As the title of exhibition presented at Vancouver Art Gallery implies, her diverse practice is represented here throughout a variety of material, sensibility, and subject matter that explores human relationships, spirituality, the animal world, and gender merging as a whole experience.

Born and educated in London, Kher moved in the early 1990s to New Delhi, where she has lived until today. Her iconic bindi paintings unveil a personal language that speaks movingly about ritual and repetition. During the last two decades, the artist investigated ideas of hybridity through photography and sculpture by creating images that merge “classical” stereotypes of beauty with contemporary domesticity and female empowerment.

Based on everyday objects such as saris and domestic furniture, the absence of the body becomes notable in her sculptures. Kher comments on the complexities of personal and societal norms with particular emphasis in identity and gender that touches both local and global discourses. Though in Six Women (2013–15), her most recent project included in this survey, the physical returns through the artist confrontation of perceptions about the aging female body.

She: International Women Artists Exhibition
Long Museum
Xuhui District, 3398 Longteng Avenue, Shanghai, China
July 23–October 30, 2016

The Long Museum presents She, the first exhibition in China that features women artists from such a vast region and extensive history. Throughout the display of artworks by 105 artists from thirteen countries and that spans over ten centuries, the exhibition narrates the rise of women from a macro perspective. Divided into four chapters—self-annihilation, self-liberation, self-introspection and self-expression—this exhibition is a reminder to the visitor: learn what “she” has achieved, care about what “she” is pursuing, and support what “she” is longing for.

“The Annihilation of Self” evokes the anonymous talent and lives of women artists gone with the current of history in a male-dominated art system. “The Liberation of Self” touches on the discourse of women liberated from oppression and discrimination during early twentieth century. Under the influence of Western culture, a new generation of women advanced from household to society and actively participated in political and cultural events. “The Introspection of Self” presents the work of women artists who began to explore their own mode of expression from personal experience. “The Expression of Self” focuses on open discussions of “self” that, based on feminist discourses, will deepen our understanding of it. These expressions of “self” will eventually connect everyone.

Virginia Maksymowicz: Architectural Overlays 
SACI Gallery in Florence 
Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Via Sant’Antonino, 11, 50123, Florence, Italy
September 5–October 16, 2016 

SACI Gallery in Florence presents Architectural Overlays, an exhibition by the Philadelphia-based sculptor Virginia Maksymowicz (b. 1952, New York). The project explores the link between the human body and architecture through a variety of media: photography, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Over the past two decades, Maksymowicz has created site-sensitive work for very particular architectural spaces such as gallery corners, small rooms, and parlors with fireplaces. Informed by architectural theories of Vitruvius, Jacques-François Blondel, and Joseph Rykwert, the artist attempts to connect them visually in metaphorical and narrative contexts.

These conceptual and aesthetical explorations have led Maksymowicz to follow a complex visual trail of architecture and figurative elements. Her work considers the metaphorical implications of the female body, especially when tied to place—buildings, fountains, and other structures. The Erechtheion caryatids and the cult of Demeter, with their legacy in architectural ornamentation that extends into contemporary times, continue to symbolically undergird the material and social character of human society.

Maksymowicz has been a member of the Women’s Caucus for Art for nearly thirty years and was a writer for Women Artists News and New Directions for Women. Read more about the artist from the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Her work was included in Reconstructing the Feminist Past: Art World Critique, 1960 to Now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


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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.

August 2016

Danger Came Smiling: Feminist Art and Popular Music
Franklin Street Works
41 Franklin Street, Stamford, CT
July 23, 2016–January 1, 2017

Danger Came Smiling, the new exhibition at Franklin Street Works, a nonprofit contemporary-art space, unites works by artists who “use popular music as a medium, subject, and reference point for activist messages.” Curated by the feminist art and popular-music historian Maria Elena Buszek, the exhibition takes its name from the feminist punk band Ludus, among the first wave of punk in the 1970s.

The band, led by Linder Sterling, reflects the approaches of the exhibition, uniting the ties between visual artists and musicians. “By the late 1970s, visual artists like Robert Longo, Barbara Kruger, and Jean-Michel Basquiat started bands, and musicians like DEVO, Talking Heads, and Ann Magnuson treated their music as performance art, blurring the lines between popular music and visual art in ways that have profoundly affected contemporary art ever since.”

Exhibiting artists in Danger Came Smiling include Damali Abrams, Alice Bag, DISBAND, Wynne Greenwood (a.k.a. Tracy + the Plastics), Eleanor King, Ann Magnuson, Shizu Saldamando, and Xaviera Simmons. The Franklin Street Works café will also include an audio portion that serves as a “curated mixtape” of music that relates to the artists and history on display in the exhibition.

Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures
Henry Art Gallery
University of Washington, 15th Ave NE and NE 41st St, Seattle, WA
July 16–October 9, 2016

Senga Nengudi’s newest exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery surveys sculpture, performance, and video work from the 1970s to the present. Trained as a dancer, Nengudi makes work that is inspired by ritualistic performances, including traditional African ceremonies, Japanese Kabuki theater, and the events of the 1960s, among other influences. Her art melds the body in movement with everyday materials, and her collaborations include performances with Maren Hassinger, Ulysses Jenkins, Franklin Parker, Houston Conwill, David Hammons, and Barbara McCullough.

Working in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Nengudi created work that engages with political movements, including Black Power feminism. Best known for her works R.S.V.P. (1975–present), the artist offers sculptures constructed from pantyhose that she manipulates and fills with found materials. “These works evoke the human body, its elasticity and durability, and invite viewers to imagine their own bodies stretching in unexpected ways.” The sculptures have been used by dancers, who have interacted with and entangled their bodies in the materials in performances.

Lili Reynaud Dewar: I Sing the Body Electric
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63108
May 6–August 21, 2016

Taking its title from a Walt Whitman poem, I Sing the Body Electric features the French artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar dancing in the empty Arsenale and Central Pavilion after the fifty-sixth Venice Biennial in 2015. Covered in red body paint, Reynaud-Dewar galloped and sashayed through vast spaces, “her gestures recalling modern and folk dance as well as yoga poses.”

Reynaud-Dewar’s performances and installations evoke notions of femininity and the body in space, moving and still. The CAM installation features bright red carpet—strewn with silk scarves with images of the artist in various performative gestures, lending a further materiality to the video works.

“Her nude figure hovers between object and subject. Though appearing lighthearted and playful, the artist evokes disparate references ranging from the art historical, such as Henri Matisse’s dancers, to the sociopolitical, in the image of a bloodied body.” Still images are interposed in the video, suggesting themes of beauty and memento mori.

Lili Reynaud-Dewar: I Sing the Body Electric was organized by Kelly Shindler, associate curator for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

Lucy’s Iris. Women African Artists
Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart
Place du Château, 87600 Rochechouart, France
July 8–December 15, 2016

The Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art presents Lucy’s Iris, an exhibition of works by twenty-five women artists from Africa. Initiated at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León in Spain, the exhibition offers a unique glimpse of the diversity and noteworthy originality of African women artists’ practice today.

The title of the exhibition refers to Lucy, who was for a long time thought to be the oldest ancestor of the human race and whose skeleton was discovered on Ethiopia by the palaeo-anthropologist Donald Johanson and a graduate student, Tom Gray, in 1974. Her body, dated to 3.2 million years ago, was considered by scientists as evidence of the missing link in human evolution, a theory that lasted several decades. Lucy, named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” has became known in popular mythology as the Mother of Mankind, representing two underconsidered groups of humans, namely Africans and women.

In times when questions of feminism and female African artists are now rightly being raised ever more tenaciously, this exhibition project adopts Lucy’s point of view as its symbolic teenage grandmother of Mankind to underline the roles of twenty-five female artists who are putting Africa back on the art-world map. Artists included range from the Maghreb to South Africa, as well as across the vast African diaspora. Over forty works presented include painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture alongside video, performance, tapestry, and installation. The exhibitions represents diverse cultural and artistic contexts and unveils recurring themes, such as identity, body, environment, historical legacy, memory, postcolonialism, migration, the past, and the future.

Lucy’s Iris includes works by: Jane Alexander, Ghada Amer, Berry Bickle, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Loulou Cherinet, Safaa Erruas, Pelagie Gbaguidi, Bouchra Khalili, Amal Kenawy, Kapwani Kiwanga, Nicene Kossentini, Mwangi Hutter, Michele Magema, Fatima Mazmouz, Julie Mehretu, Myriam Mihindou, Aida Muluneh, Wangechi Mutu, Otobong Nkanga, Tracey Rose, Berni Searle, Zineb Sedira, Sue Williamson, Billie Zangewa, and Amina Zoubir.

Ici Eviner: Who’s Inside You?
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri Sahası Antrepo No: 4, 34433 Karaköy/İstanbul, Turkey
June 22–October 23, 2016

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective by the pioneering Turkish artist İnci Eviner called Who’s Inside You? From drawing, painting, and sculpture to installation, photography, and video, the exhibition showcases the artist’s creative process from the 1980s to the present.

Born in Turkey in 1956, Eviner has developed a visual language that spans from art-historical allegories, iconographies, illustrations, and mythologies to contemporary ideograms and pictograms. In this retrospective, her projects are presented as interweaving past and present, appearing simultaneously contemporary and timeless. Her practice merges “the violence at the heart of the beautiful, the potential of the repressed, and the unmatched creativity of the unconscious” in a unique mode of expression that reflects on the different states of womanhood, gender, and the politics of identity in their collective, political, and sociocultural aspects. Here the artist defines womanhood as a field of limitless possibility that does not fit any single image or concept.

Eviner explores the gestures of women in everyday life, questioning the modes of representation judged appropriate for women and challenging the prohibitions that engender these representations. Who’s Inside You? brings together an inventory that spans close to forty years and reveals the rich and profound connections the artist establishes both with herself and with the unity of art, culture, history, nature, and the unconscious that makes us human.

Without Restraint: Works by Mexican Women Artists from the Daros Latinamerica Collection
Kunstmuseum Bern
Hodlerstrasse 8–12, 3000 Bern, Switzerland
June 3–October 23, 2016

Without Restraint presents together for the first time the contemporary Mexican women art collection from the Daros Latinamerica Collection in Zurich, Europe’s largest and most important collection of its kind. Multifaceted and thought provoking, the works provide an overview of the most characteristic features of the Mexican contemporary-art scene from a female point of view, evincing their protagonistic role in the recent decades.

Photographs, videos, objects, and installations take a subversive look at Mexico’s national identity. They reflect on dominant hierarchies of power, engage with the concept of national identity (mexicanidad), and challenge the traditional roles and social spaces assigned to women and minorities. As a whole, the exhibition offers the opportunity to reflect upon and contextualize women artists’ production in contemporary Mexico.

The collection includes the representation of internationally acclaimed women artists such as: Teresa Serrano (born 1936), Ximena Cuevas (born 1963), Betsabeé Romero (born 1963), Teresa Margolles (born 1963), Claudia Fernández (born 1965), Melanie Smith (born 1965), and Maruch Sántiz Gómez (born 1975). Life and death, the violated body, identity and migration, and nature and the metropolis are critically examined and discussed in their works.

The program includes the screening of a film series by Mexican women in front of and behind the camera. In addition, an illustrated catalogue with texts and interviews will be published by Hatje Cantz in German and English.


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