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CWA Picks for November 2018

posted by November 01, 2018

Visitors activate Tania Bruguera’s commission at the Tate Modern in London. Photo: Benedict Johnson

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for November below.

TAMMIE RUBIN: Solo Exhibition

November 17, 2018 – January 10, 2019
Women and Their Work (Austin)

Tammie Rubin’s handcrafted objects depict explorations of African American migration stories, particularly her own parents in the 1950s and 1960s, from the rural South to the Midwest. Timely in their haunting aura, the objects made of lab glass and sculptural material are made from found objects, appropriating familiar shapes like funnels, eggs, vases, candle holders, and, notably, cones. The artist then paints a series of 17-26 and intricately hand-etches a flask to emit a visual timeline of her parent’s journey, when the Civil Rights Movement was prominent and the Civil Rights Act was effective in 1960. Many of the objects are flanked with two holes that resemble eye holes, further indicating racial tension, unfortunately relevant still. Other elaborate adornments on the objects include pointillated maps or trails, lines and patterns. Grouped together the works release the nature of such moves; discomfort, uncertainty, but also auras of surreal and sensuality. This is a new body of work shown at the Women and Their Work Gallery in Austin, where Rubin currently resides, being raised in the Midwest.

Self-Confessed! The Inappropriately Intimate Comics of Alison Bechdel

September 1 – December 30, 2018
Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers 

Zimmerli Art Museum exhibits MacArthur Foundation “genius” grantee and author/illustrator of the renowned Dykes to Watch Out For comic (1983-2008, syndicated in over fifty alternative newspapers), Alison Bechdel’s primary bodies of work including original drawings and sketches, activist ephemera, large-scale self-portraits, and even a reconstructed model of the set for the musical Fun Home. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) is a graphic memoir Bechdel created exploring her relationship with her father, coming out, and his possible suicide. This New York Times bestseller was also the basis of the Tony-award winning musical of the same name from which the Fun Home model set was made. Dykes to Watch Out For precluded that, which explored the lives of a group of lesbian friends. Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama (2012) follows her relationship with her mother, girlfriends, and therapists, and examines psychoanalytic theory. All of her work is created with humor and style via universally relatable and personable stories on love, acceptance, community, and social justice. Her solo exhibit is complemented by a selection of work by contemporary graphic memoirists Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do) documenting immigration and assimilation; Ellen Forney (Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir), managing bipolar disorder while retaining passion and creativity; and Iraq veteran Maximilian Uraiarte (White Donkey: Terminal Lance), satirizing daily life in the United States Marine Corps. This unique juxtaposition of work resembles both the variety of timely topics explored in the medium with a breadth of relatable style, but also the ability of these artists to connect to broad audiences by bringing print to paper to the contemporary.

Deana Lawson: Planes

October 13, 2017 – February 17, 2019
The Underground Museum (Los Angeles)

A rare thunderstorm marked the occasion of Deana Lawson’s October opening at Los Angeles’s Underground Museum. A flash and a bang and the power in the galleries went suddenly out. Soon, people were holding up their cell phones and turning on their flashlight apps. It was like a scene out of a movie—each person’s sightline illuminated, as they swept and focused their glances on Lawson’s photographs. Primarily Lawson photographs black individuals in a range of interiors and exteriors, singly and in groups. A pictorial sharpness and a meticulous attention to the psychodynamics of everyday life circumscribe the boundaries of her engrossing practice. The people and props that appear in her photographs are often posed and placed with great care; the resulting effect is a studied naturalism, which might entrap an otherwise lazy viewer with its claims to “reality.” The title of the exhibition is “planes” which might suggest an altogether other reading of these photos, as spatial constructions wherein the social is imprinted. Eventually, the lights came back on, but Lawson’s photographs continued their troubling of photographic practice.

Marcia Hafif: A Place Apart

September 4 – December 22, 2018
Pomona College Museum of Art 

Rigorous eclecticism links the 100+ works running throughout this (now sadly posthumous) retrospective of the West Coast conceptual painter Marcia Hafif. Entitled A Place Apart, the artist’s solitary and meditative drawings are put into coordination with ephemera from her archive (notebooks and writings) and a few choice paintings. Building models, planting schedules, reflections on Chinese poetry, constellations of the zodiac, and spirals and mazes; these are but a few of the elements of Hafif’s practice as reflected in the retrospective’s organization. Throughout the survey there is an insistent focus on the creation and maintenance of the spaces for contemplation and retreat. In addition to shedding further light on this understudied artist, Pomona College honors one of its alumni—Hafif enrolled in 1947. The exhibition is accompanied by a handsome catalogue, and includes a new site-specific wall writing work, entitled Cooking Fish.

Liliana Porter: Other Situations

September 13, 2018 – January 27, 2019
El Museo del Barrio 

Liliana Porter moved from Buenos Aires (b. 1941) to New York in 1964 where she confounded the avant-garde New York Graphic Workshop and participated in its conceptualist reformation of printmaking. A still understudied yet highly acclaimed artist—recently hailed as one of Latin American Art’s “radical women”—Porter has worked in variety of media including works on canvas, photography, sculpture, installation, video and more recently theater, and has become widely known for her playful poetic mixture of the absurd with the lyrical and the dramatic through whimsical “theatrical vignettes,” enlivened by mass produced figurines, that variously comment on the fragility and brutality of the human condition with humor, compassion, philosophical and existential profundity. Collected from flee markets around the world, these figurines, says the artist, “are mere appearance, insubstantial ornaments, but, at the same time, have a gaze that can be animated by the viewer, who, through it, can project the inclination to endow things with an interiority and identity.”

Her first major museum survey in New York in 25 years, organized by SCAD Museum of Art, Other Situations brings together a variety of Liliana Porter’s works from 1973 to 2018 and focuses on the artist’s exploration of the conflicting line between reality and fiction, and the ways in which images are circulated and consumed. The exhibition highlights the fundamental distinction that Porter creates between the notions of “narrative” and “situation,” while bringing to the foreground the timely relevance of her provocation of representation, image dissemination and public life and recent series, such as Forced Labor.

Tania Bruguera:

October 1, 2018 – February 24, 2019
Tate Modern

Under a changing numerical title that is stamped on the visitors’ hands and reveals the ever-increasing figure of people who migrated from one country to another last year, added to the changing number of migrant deaths recorded this year—10,142,926 on October 1—Tate Modern unveiled the series of interventions by the Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera at the Turbine Hall and the institution around it comprising the 4th annual Hyundai Commission. An ambitious multifaceted project, this work not only thematizes migration but exceeds the boundaries of Tate to mobilize community in line with the artist’s sociopolitical concerns and ongoing honing of “useful art.” In response to the extent and crisis of migration, not to mention Britain’s changing relationship with its neighbors, Bruguera variously focuses on the meaning and role of the neighbor. The work invites visitors to take part in symbolic actions in the Turbine Hall, from revealing the portrait of a migrant’s face hidden beneath a heat-sensitive floor, to crying under the influence of an organic compound, in an enforcement of empathy critical of its lack and failures. An essential part of this work is her collaboration with a team of Tate Modern’s real neighbors to whom she has resorted in order to teach the museum how to adapt to its local community’s needs and to create direct action and institutional changes. One of the first actions ensuing from this multi-month interaction, whose results are expected to outlast the duration of the project, has resulted in the renaming of Tate Modern’s north building the Boiler House after local activist Natalie Bell, paradigmatically honoring her community work and positive contribution to the lives of others in SE1. Chosen in fact by Bell, the face to be revealed from the heat of the visitors’ lying bodies is of Yousef, a young man who left Syria in 2011 and found emotional and practical support through SE1 United, a local charity that Bell helps to run. Bruguera sees this image as a hidden ‘horizontal mural’ that can be made visible only by those within touching distance and collective action. Read CAA’s recent interview with Tania Bruguera.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for October 2018

posted by October 04, 2018

Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, The Scar, 2017. Film still. Courtesy the artists and Delfina Foundation.

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for October below.

Liliane Lijn: Cosmic Dramas

September 13 – December 7, 2018
Rodeo Gallery (Piraeus, Greece)

For its first show of the season in its new venue in Athens, Rodeo introduces the work of still understudied “un-feminist feminist” and kinetic-art pioneer, Liliane Lijn. The show includes a suite of drawings and a multimedia sculptural installation comprising two of the 1980s “goddesses” that exemplify Lijn’s multidisciplinary practice, interests, and radical exploration of the feminine, and resonates with the cultural background of Athens (a city where Liliane Lijn also lived in the early 1960s).

Conjunction of Opposites combines two figures The Lady of the Wild Things (1983) and The Woman of War (1986) made separately, when, in the 1980s, Lijn turned to an exploration of the feminine through apparitions of feminine energy and power. Ahead of their time, but in line with Lijn’s interests in science, technology, language, light, movement, mythology, and eastern philosophies characterizing her pioneering contribution to the 1960s avant-garde, they are computer controlled, combining LED lights and laser beams with an array of traditional and everyday materials, such as smoke and brush fibers. The Lady of the Wild Things is a bird goddess representing the lunar archetype and a machine activated by sound. The Woman of War is a singing goddess, the embodiment of an angry song that the artist felt came straight through the earth to her mouth. Their hybrid (mechanic and organic) bodies, as described by the artist—were combined in 1986 in an interactive installation that created a mesmerizing spiritual and sensual drama, staging an exchange of poetry and light in a cloud of artificial fog. When together, a laser light connects these “performative sculptures” through a disembodied beam of red light bouncing between their heads, activated by the six minute drama unraveling in Lijn’s voice.

These figures are “drawing together our mythological past for an imagined future, ” the artist has eloquently reminisced about their making.  Underpinning her statement is a connection between the sacred and modern industry important to this work and Lijn who observes that many of the holiest places consecrated to the Goddess in ancient times, like Eleusis near Athens, are now transformed into oil refineries and power stations, wondering what archetypes might be hidden in the “bowels of steel mills or the endless intestines of oil refineries?” But while each sculpture distills symbolic references to female archetypes and mythological beings, embodying elements of seduction, power and spirituality, interacting in Conjunction of Opposites they shatter binary notions of gender “evoking femininity as a fluid cosmic fact,” conveying the radicalness and timeliness of Lijn’s exploration of the feminine that this show tries to show, and that variously connects the lasting manifestations of her feminist concerns with her “un-feminist” feminist turn away from fixed understanding of femininity through her turn to science and technology in the 1960s.

Liliane Lijn has lived and worked in London since the late sixties, after straddling the most radical and unexpected contexts and milieus of the postwar avant-garde—Paris, where she studied archeology, New York, and even Athens, where she lived with her then-partner Takis. She was born in New York to parents of Jewish Russian origins who escaped World War II through Cuban passports, and she grew up in various US cities and Switzerland.

RONNI KOMAROW: TENDER MERCIES

October 3-28, 2018
Galatea Fine Art (Boston)

Artist Ronni Komarow’s solo show is centered on an interactive installation, Diary of a Bake Sale Diva, comprised of 400 hand-made papier-mâché cupcakes juxtaposed against the walls lined with 120 feet of hand-written, multi-hued script of comments, queries and inner musings around her experience as bake-sale coordinator for her son’s middle school. The visual display emits a playful vibe, with a relevant examination of public school funding today. Visitors are also invited to write with chalk on a blackboard their own bake sale experiences, exuding the artist’s community-driven ideals.

Exploring motherhood in art isn’t new but certainly the narratives explored often involve early parenthood and pregnancy; Komarow, rather, looks captivatingly at raising adolescents and the maneuvering and intermixing of motherhood, community service, school activities and artmaking. The exhibit title reflects the “tender mercies that have enriched her life, even if given inadvertently,” as so many aspects of motherhood, relatably, are. The exhibit includes artist books related these themes, also combining imagery and text, an accessible, refreshing element of the entire exhibit, in contrast to the oft-highbrow conceptual exhibitions reserved for the few.

Contemporary Muslim Fashions

September 22, 2018 – January 6, 2019
de Young Museum (San Francisco)

From the abaya to the hijab to the ‘burkini’—this wide-ranging exhibition explores the dynamism of Muslim fashion—at a moment when social and political hostilities towards muslims is at an all time high. For this reason alone the exhibition should be required viewing. Following on the heels of other travelling ‘blockbuster’ fashion exhibitions at the de Young (Jean-Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood are two recent monographic examples), this show feels constituitively different, with its emphasis on religious life, culture, and expression. Curated by Reina Lewis, who teaches cultural studies at the University of the Arts London and the London College of Fashion, an in consultation with muslim fashion leaders in the Bay Area, the show is careful never to spectacularize the fashion on display (a mainstay of blockbuster fashion shows), but uses the garments as a jumping off point to consider religious life, Orientalism, subjugation and liberation (many of the mannequins wear hijabs, but some do not—reflecting the diversity of opinion as to whether or not the enforcement of the wearing of the hijab is an oppressive religious dictat).

Dian Pelangi is a recurring and innovative presence in the exhibition. One ensemble (pants, skirt, jacket, top, headscarf and cap) plays with different familiar Islamic forms—patterning commonly found in tiling and screens (mashribiyas). Pelangi’s designs as well as many others in the exhibition make the point with clarity that Muslim communities are not homogenous or monolithic.

Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler: The Scar

September 27 – December 1, 2018
Delfina Foundation (London)

“Inhaling patriarchy and exhaling wo(fem)inism,” is how Noor Afshan Mirza captures the importance and the gender revolution ignited in The Scar, the film she and Brad Butler produced during their Delfina Foundation residency in London in 2015. In this installation the film appears in the form of an immersive five-screen video installation.

Inspired by a true event and comprising three chapters (The State of the StateThe Mouth of the Shark and The Gossip), The Scar combines conspiracy, gangster, noir, politics, crash theory, fantasy and reality into a disrupted and disruptive narrative. Chapter one features four passengers on a journey in a black Mercedes, unaware of their significance as state archetypes. The fourth passenger is Yenge, the only female traveller, silenced by the genre conventions of women in film. Yenge’s noir voiceover begins to interrupt the male characters’ forced bravado in chapter two, as they are haunted by the Resistant Dead – the residual movements created from stories of people refusing to be forgotten. Tales of female emancipation and empowerment, are addressed in the last chapter, where a group of female activists transcend time, geographical borders and linguistic barriers to gather in a neutral nether-realm of conversation and mutual support. Like most of the work of this radical collaborative duo based The Scar takes on, and deconstructs, urgent and complex narratives around our relationship to state power engaging issues of inequality and corruption, while proposing a post-patriarchal near future.

Founders of the London-based center for artist film production no.w.here, and known for their fictional construct The Museum of Non Participation, (2008-20016) Mirza and Butler create work which spans the moving image, installation, sound, text and performed actions and explores themes of resistance, inequality, power and privilege, and (non) participation while questioning the deep state, narration, neoliberalism and investigating the use of women’s bodies as sites of resistance.

Suellen Rocca: Drawings

September 14 – October 27, 2018
Matthew Marks Gallery (New York)

“Suellen Rocca is one of the original members of the Hairy Who, the influential group of six Chicago artists who exhibited together for five years in the 1960s. This show, the first to concentrate on Rocca’s works on paper, presents thirty drawings she made between 1981 and 2017. Building on the unique graphic vocabulary and innovative compositions of her 1960s work, these drawings represent a turn toward imagery she describes as ‘more internal.’ Animals, trees, and unclassifiable creature are placed in densely patterned settings that carry a genuine emotional charge.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog. In the essay, Cat Kron notes Rocca’s “increased attention to the unconscious,” tracing parallels between the artist’s ‘anxious imaginings’ and the automatic drawing of the Surrealists. As Rocca puts it, ‘I just begin, and the drawing is a journey between me and the marks on the paper.’” (Matthew Marks; Press Release)

Alexandra Bachzetsis: An Ideal for Living

September 8 – December 9, 2018
Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris)

A choreographer and visual artist based in Zürich, Alexandra Bachzetsis is known for works in space that radically cut across the boundaries between dance, performance art, visual arts and theater and use the body as an artistic and critical apparatus. Her work investigates the choreographies of the body and how culture provides source material for its gestures. Through an interdisciplinary approach that often explores the role of popular culture and art play in the way in which bodies are inhabited and performed through choice and cliché, her works open emancipatory possibilities of transformation and communication.

An Ideal for Living, an exhibition specially conceived for Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris, focuses on Bachzetsis’ exploration of the subject of bodies over time and its subversive potential. Using various garments and accessories in a process of constructing imagination and desire, the artist explores ways in which bodies and objects are reversible, drawing inspiration from vogue culture. The exhibition comprises an installation of three simultaneous video projections in which a pair of teenagers, a boy and a girl with an uncanny resemblance, act out real-life situations and sing songs. It also includes low platforms that invite the visitors to strike poses or sing out loud, along with various gym equipment on which to warm up and shape up one’s body. Suggesting the potentially subversive ambiguities of body language, An Ideal for Living keeps posing the rather crucial question for efficient body politics, in the words of Paul B. Preciado: “Are you a Platonist of political anatomy or a Nietzschean of bodily movement? Are you more object or subject? How do you select your gestures? Have you ever stolen a gesture? Will you ever invent one?”

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for September 2018

posted by September 10, 2018

From the exhibition She – A Cathedral, Moderna Museet, 1966 Photo: Hans Hammarskiöld / Moderna Museet © Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Per Olof Ultvedt / Bildupphovsrätt 2018

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for September below.

THE UN-HEROIC ACT: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the US

September 4 – November 2, 2018
Shiva Gallery (New York)

The representation of women’s rape by women artists in the US is the theme of this groundbreaking exhibition curated by independent curator Monika Fabijanska. The exhibition’s title, THE UN-HEROIC ACT, is an ironic evocation of Susan Brownmiller’s characterization of the rape scenes underpinning historic masterpieces by male artists as “heroic acts.” The exhibition puts the subject under a different feminist art-historical lens, while its subtitle redresses the lasting avoidance of the word rape in favor of all kinds of euphemisms, the most prominent  being “sexual abuse.”

Fabijanska claims rape as an understudied but central theme in women’s art. With this exhibition she seems to only begin sharing the results of her extensive research by illustrating and analyzing its rich iconography in light of works by a select roster of three generations of artists: Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Suzanne Lacy, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Carolee Thea, Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, Kathleen Gilje, Angela Fraleigh, Natalie Frank, Jennifer Karady, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Andrea Bowers, Ada Trillo, Kara Walker, Roya Amigh, Naima Ramos-Chapman, Bang Geul Han, and Guerrilla Girls Broadband.

What makes women’s works radically different, says the curator, is the focus not on the action but on the lasting psychological devastation of the victim: her suffering, silence, shame, loneliness, as well as regaining control over the victim’s sexuality and psyche, thereby reclaiming the cultural narrative manifested in the most recent works. The exhibition presents subjects specific to American culture, rather than the artists’ countries of origin, and explores key themes underpinning their representation of rape, such as fairy tales, art history, war, military culture, slavery, gendered violence in Indian reservations, trafficking, college rape culture, domestic violence, criminal trials, the role of social media, etc. While its focus is on iconography, THE UN-HEROIC ACT showcases the variety of media and visual languages employed by artists addressing rape and their different effects. Redressing an art historical gap, it also timely advances a much-needed conversation about one of the most detrimental threats and traumas of women’s lives across time and space.

For details on the upcoming symposium scheduled on October 3, and other educational events see the exhibition’s website.

Hayv Kahraman: Silence is Gold

September 8 – October 27, 2018
Susanne Vielmetter Gallery (Los Angeles)

In 1991, in response to a sequence of uprisings by Kurdish nationalists within Iraq, Saddam Hussein began a brutal bombing and chemical weapons campaign of majority Kurdish towns and settlements within his country. Almost a year after the atrocities began, Human Rights Watch issued a report that reported the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, “as security forces crushed the most serious internal threat of Saddam’s 12-year rule, and thousands more subsequently perished during one of the largest and most precipitous flights of refugees in modern times.” Hayv Kahraman was one of those refugees.

In Kahraman’s large canvases she grapples with the profoundly counterproductive ways in which rape and sexual violence survivorship is scripted into international appeals for asylum-seekers. What they reveal are the continuing violences of white colonial narratives concerning saving brown women from brown men (as per Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and miriam cooke) and the need for verifiable, “reliable” data so central to NGO human rights operations. The paintings in Silence is Gold deliver a scathing critique of such do-gooderism that nevertheless reinscribes these fundamental inequalities.

As Dr. Miriam Ticktin writes of Kahraman’s work: “Is there a way to represent suffering respectfully, to call people into solidarity with those in need on the basis of equality? The United States government clearly does not think so, as they refuse to allow their soldiers to be photographed dead or dying: there is no dignity in this. To me, Kahraman’s haunting work confirms this; she suggests that humanitarian imagery requires commodification, sexualization, hierarchy. But thanks to her, we can see this directly, stare it in the face; she exposes humanitarianism as both compelling and corrupt, beautiful in theory and dependent on racialized, non-innocent desires. But in so doing, she creates an opening, giving us a chance to take a different type of responsibility.”

Sondra Perry: Typhoon coming on

July 13 – November 4, 2018
Miami Institute of Contemporary Art

Sondra Perry (b. 1986, Perth Amboy, New Jersey) is an interdisciplinary artist who works with video, computer-based media, and performance. Her innovative work foregrounds the tools of digital production to critically reflect on new technologies of representation and remobilize their potential. She is known for multifaceted narratives that explore the imagining and imaging of blackness, black femininity, and African American experience as well as the ways in which technology and identities are entangled.  “I’m interested in thinking about how blackness shifts, morphs, and embodies technology to combat oppression and surveillance throughout the diaspora. Blackness is agile,” as put by the artist.

All the above surface in this exhibition—the first solo Museum exhibition of the artist in the US—initially installed at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The title work Typhoon coming on, 2018, is an immersive large-scale video and sound installation visually referencing the J. M. W. Turner painting The Slave Ship, 1840, which depicts the drowning of 133 slaves by the captain of the British slave ship, Zong, to claim compensation for these ‘goods’ under the salvage clause of the ship’s insurance policy. The exhibition also includes great examples of Perry’s idiosyncratic approach to sculpture, such as Graft and Ash for a Three-Monitor Workstation (2016), an interactive exercise machine mounted with monitors displaying renderings of the artist’s 3-D avatar as she questions the current productivity and efficiency culture. The video installation TK (Suspicious Glorious Absence), 2018, features Perry’s iconic Chroma key blue walls along a large video projection of an extreme close-up of the artist’s skin. Found footage of the artist’s family, protests, and body cams mingle in the accompanying video, interlacing the artists’ sources and concerns.

Remembering “She—A Cathedral”

June 3, 2018 – February 3, 2019
Moderna Museet (Stockholm)

In 1966 Niki de Saint Phalle, along with her collaborators Jean Tinguely, P.O. Ultvedt, and Pontus Hultén (the director of the still-young Moderna Museet), installed a colossal, architecturally-scaled sculpture of a reclining female figure. Viewers were invited to enter the body of the woman through her vagina—collapsing reproductive birth and recreational penetration. Inside viewers could watch a Greta Garbo movie, sidle up to a bar, view a small exhibition of paintings, and enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the figure’s pregnant belly. HonKathedraal (trans. “She—a Cathedral”) remains an icon of de Saint Phalle’s output, and an enduring touchstone for the institution that showed it. Now, a little over fifty years after its original installation, the Moderna Museet dedicates an exhibition to the archival materials related to the installation’s making and reception.

All that remains of Hon is her head, and this is the exhibition’s point of departure, which explores collaboration, experience, and labor. Models, artifacts, film footage, and original works are brought to bear on one another to evince a critical-visual history of an iconic work.

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Sunset, Sunrise

August 10 – November 25, 2018
Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin)

Titled after the eponymous first and last work of the show, Sunset, 2015 and Sunrise, 2015—in a poetic curatorial evocation of the sky that conjoins and separates West and East, the two cultures bridged through the artist’s life and career—this is the first major retrospective of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian in Ireland. Bringing together great examples of the nonagenarian artist’s practice ranging from painting, sculpture, jewelry, and embroidery to collages and works on paper, some previously unseen, it tracks a multifaceted multi-decade course punctuated by volunteer and forced exile in the US and several returns to Iran, including the loss of many of her works confiscated and destroyed during the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is presided over by Farmanfarmaian’s signature mirror-mosaic pieces that best encapsulate the idiosyncratic merging of traditional Persian techniques with Western geometric abstraction that characterizes her work, eloquently contextualized and framed by the diverse sources that have inspired her practice in the show and accompanying catalogue. While her early involvement with graphic design and experimental modern abstraction in New York City gave way to a period of intense research into traditional craftsmanship and folk art in Iran’s more remote regions, Western avant-garde principles were maintained when she delved into Persian mysticism, the socio-political Islamic landscape and the signature geometry of Iran’s artistic and architectural heritage.

Farmanfarmaian was born in Qazvin, Iran in 1924. One of the first Iranians to study in the US after the Second World War, she went to Cornel University and Parsons School of Design, joined the Art Students League of New York and befriended artists including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol whom she met during her early career as a fashion illustrator. In 1957 she returned to Iran, only to be forced leave during the 1979 revolution. While one of the most important living artists today in Iran, where she returned in 2004, acknowledged with a museum dedicated to her in Tehran last year, Farmanfarmaian has remained an understudied female pioneer and contributor to global modernism, and only in 2015 she had her first US museum exhibition at the Guggenheim.

Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the Justice System

August 25, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Evincing its title from the sage words of author and activist Angela Davis—“walls turned sideways are bridges”—the work in this wide-ranging exhibition addresses the justice system and its support and continuance of racist and classist ideologies. The artists included in the exhibition leverage strategies of institutional critique and social practice to illuminate, critique, and offer alternatives to a judicial system that inscribes those it contains as inhuman and unworthy. As guest curator Risa Puleo puts it, “Walls Turned Sideways asks if the museum is the repository for all that society values, how is the prison the repository for all society seeks to disown?”

Artists included: Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, Josh Begley, Zach Blas, Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun, Luis Camnitzer, Jamal Cyrus, James Drake, The Estate of Chris Burden, The Estate of Martin Wong, Tirtza Even, Andrea Fraser, Maria Gaspar, Danny Giles, Sam Gould, Michelle Handelman, Coco Fusco and Paula Heredia, Suzanne Lacy with Julio Morales and Unique Holland, Alexa Hoyer, Ashley Hunt, Improvers, Richard Kamler, Titus Kaphar, Kapwani Kiwanga, Autumn Knight, Deana Lawson, Shaun Leonardo, Glenn Ligon, Sarah Ross and Damon Locks, Lucky Pierre, Mark Menjivar, Trevor Paglen, Anthony Papa, Mary Patten, Jenny Polak, Carl Pope, Jr., Laurie Jo Reynolds, Sherrill Roland, Gregory Sale, Dread Scott, Sable Elyse Smith, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for August 2018

posted by August 02, 2018

Bouchra Khalili, The Tempest Society, 2017. Video. © Bouchra Khalili / ADAGP, Paris, 2018. Courtesy Bouchra Khalili and Galerie Polaris, Paris.

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for August below.

Pussy, King of the Pirates

July 14–September 8, 2018
Maccarone Gallery
300 S. Mission Road
Los Angeles, CA

By now the summer gallery group show is a well-worn and fairly stale exhibitionary trope. Guest curators are brought in to align artworks from the gallery’s roster of artists alongside a few choice loans. Pussy, King of the Pirates is perhaps the most vibrant example of the summer group show—one that attempts to put politics into coordination with a summer holiday.

The show, which gets its moniker from the Kathy Acker novel of the same name, is a collection of twenty “non-male” artists. That distinction is important as not all the artists share in an embrace of “womanhood” (whatever that may be), but each interrogates feminism’s expansive boundaries from their own conceptual and material practices. Highlights include the sublime, small, dark Monica Majoli painting of an ex-girlfriend (Black Mirror (Judie), 2012) and Laura Schnitger’s spangled pantyhose processional totems. Eleanor Antin’s sculptural portraits are brilliant, evocative, and alive; while Alison Saar’s sculptures hold the stoic center of the installation.

This vacation, for all its noise, is a respite for the politically engaged—a life-giving show full of possibility.

Banu Cennetoğlu

June 29–August 26, 2018
Chisenhale Gallery
64 Chisenhale Road
London E3 5QZ

If you visited Kassel during documenta 14, you will remember the insightful warning “Being Safe is Scary” on the Fridericianum by the Istanbul-based artist Banu Cennetoğlu.  The quote comes from the posthumously published diary of a female Kurdish fighter that was the subject of the artist’s other documenta—this one shown in Athens—that better captured her interest in collecting, classifying, archiving and the politics of memory and knowledge. Idiosyncratically summing up the major concerns of her practice, along with their underlying obsession with “speaking for the others,” as recently described by the artist, her current exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery comprises Cennetoğlu’s first commission by a UK Institution in the form of a major two-fold solo exhibition.

For her commission, Cennetoğlu has produced a new moving-image installation consisting of the artist’s own archive of digital images and videos sourced from various devices, such as mobile phones, computers, cameras and external hard drives. The work presents a continuous stream of unedited content, ordered in a chronological format from 2006 to 2018, and lasting 128 hours and 22 minutes. It is presented as a different six hour-long file each time the gallery is open. Tracing over a decade of personal, social and political change from the banality of life’s inconspicuous and conspicuous moments to salient moments of recent history, it comprises an important archive of our times marked by linearity and circularity that captures both the intersection of self and history as well the changes in image production and circulation. In conjunction with her installation Cennetoğlu also facilitated the distribution of The List in The Guardian newspaper on June 20, 2018, World Refugee Day. Compiled each year by UNITED for Intercultural Action, The List traces information relating to the deaths of 34,361 refugees and migrants who have lost their lives within, or on the borders of Europe since 1993. Since 2007, in collaboration with art workers and institutions, Cennetoğlu has facilitated updated versions of The List using public spaces such as billboards, transport networks, and newspapers. As a whole the exhibition thus effectively shows the impossibility of a complete separation of one’s own life from that of the other’s, and this drives Cennetoglu’s artistic explorations and its politics.

Huma Bhabha: We Come in Peace

April 17–October 28, 2018
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY

On the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art two monumental figures face off. One, a janus-faced twelve-foot-tall alien, and the other, one of the artist’s signature Benaam—a prostrate, crumpled figure which she often uses to stand in for the nameless dead in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Although the works look like they’re made from plastic, Styrofoam, and earth, they are cast in bronze to withstand the elements.

Other artists have approached the Met’s rooftop with bombastic aplomb, topping its paving stones with flashy trinkets (Jeff Koons) or complex structures (Doug and Mike Starn). Bhabha is spare, restrained, and as a result leaves the space—which otherwise serves as a picturesque lookout onto Central Park—charged with the lingering inhumanity of the United States’s protracted international incursions.

Walking around and between the figures one feels caught in a crossfire—between recognition and strangeness, life and death, possibility, and certitude.

Laure Prouvost: Ring, Sing and Drink for Trespassing

June 22–September 9, 2018
Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson
Paris

The French, and now Antwerp-based, winner of the 2013 Turner Prize, Laure Prouvost has continued to do what she was originally distinguished for: the awesome, often seductive, complexity with which she enjoins objects, multimedia images, and sound with language, in surreal combinations of life- and art-inspired story telling, often directly addressing the viewer. Prouvost’s work adopts the form of independent stories where action mixes with reality in immersive installations that invite escapism through an evocative combination of films, sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and performances. Imaginative, sensuous and full of humor, her work examines the relationships between language, image and perception, trapping the visitors in situations of pleasure, doubt and incomprehension evincing a delectably intense—both intellectual and multisensorial—wonder underpinned from a radically feminine excess.

For this typically exuberant return home, her first solo show in a Parisian institution, Prouvost responds to global warming and transforms Palais de Tokyo into a space where nature is purported to have taken over from humanity. Inviting both intimate and expansive exploration and a polyvalent meeting of paradise and wasteland, the exhibition begins through a curved corridor covered in woven tapestries that lures the viewer into an unknown territory. This eventually evolves into a metallic network of manufactured objects, interwoven with branches, car mirrors, her signature raspberries, collages, newspaper clips as well as vases in the shapes of bottoms. Flowers indicate that nature has annexed the building’s architecture and the outside world has broken in. At the center of the exhibition, a large fountain of breasts is waiting to feed the viewer, a respite where one can reflect after discovering the atypical panoramas conceived by the artist. There, a new video reflexively incorporates some of the physical elements present in the exhibition, complementing the multifaceted confounding that the rest of her works achieve, and inviting the viewer to question her/his preconceptions of the world at large.

Bouchra Khalili: Blackboard

June 5–September 23, 2018
Jeu de Paume
1, place de la Concorde
75008 Paris

Bringing a large selection of her work from the past ten years, this extensive survey introduces the radically experimental multimedia and documentary practice of French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili (born in Casablanca, 1975 and now living in Berlin). Khalili is known for films, video installations, photographs and silkscreens that enable members of minorities to perform strategies of resistance against power, while systematically seeking for a new collective voice by articulating subjectivity and collective history.

The exhibition premiers Twenty-Two Hours, a new film that investigates Jean Genet’s commitment to the Black Panther Party, reflecting on the essential connection between poetry and collective emancipation, as well as The Tempest Society a work produced for documenta 14 in Athens, illuminating the artist’s long term reflection on radical equality and art as a civic platform. It also brings together older works that capture a variety of central topics underpinning her critical exploration of past and present, marked by all kinds of borders and their crossing, a critique of history and the present condition of civic society and the rescuing of all kinds of silenced voices. Among them stands out her look at globalized trade from the perspective of migrant laborers (The Seaman, 2012); displacement and forced journeys whether in the Mediterranean (The Mapping Journey Project, 2008-2011 and the “Constellation” series, 2011) or from the Caribbean to the US (as in the photographic series “Wet Feet,” 2012), as well as different modes of belonging (the
“Speeches”, 2012-3), and in the multimedia installation Foreign Office, 2015, unexpected contexts of liberation movements, such as Algiers.

Pia Camil: Telón de Boca

August 11, 2018–
Museo Universitario del Chopo
Dr. Enrique González Martínez no. 10
Mexico City, Mexico

For years now Mexican artist Pia Camil has employed used t-shirts as a primary material in her practice—elegantly tying together nostalgia, global capital, and architectural intervention. For her installation at the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art (Bara Bara Bara, 2017) the shirts were sewn together into large quilts and floated from the museum’s cavernous ceiling Viewers could poke their heads through these colorful “clouds,” effectively separating their heads from their bodies, and becoming the inhabitants of a surreal topography.

In this installation Camil has sewn together hundreds of black concert t-shirts, obtained through a sequence of events at the museum and the nearby tianguis. Markets, formal and informal, thus structure the creation and display of the piece—as value is exchanged both through the activity of trade and the transformation of the humble t-shirt into a large-scale work of art. That the t-shirts “speak” their own message (the “mouth” of the exhibition’s title) is a necessary complication to the artist’s gesture. In this way the work exists somewhere, as per the exhibition’s press release, between “the fetish, the ritual, and the everyday.”

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CWA Picks for July 2018

posted by July 05, 2018

Otobong Nkanga, In Pursuit of Bling, 2014, on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago through September 2nd. Photo: Eva Broekema

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for July below.

Teresa Burga: Aleatory Structures

May 26—August 18, 2018
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
CH-8005 Zurich

Teresa Burga: Aleatory Structures, is the first retrospective in Switzerland of this arguably feminist Peruvian conceptualist –a central figure of the 1960s Peruvian avant-garde– whose recent rediscovery has gained her both international recognition and a second wind after a three-decade hiatus from art making.  The exhibition brings together a large number of works that range from early paintings, modular sculptures and  Pop environments to the drawings and multimedia, often cybernetic, installations which mark the complexity of her conceptualist practice, as well as its silent unfolding while working as a Customs employee when the dictatorship limited the exhibition possibilities of her vanguard proposals. In effect the show captures not only the diversity of her practice but of the ways in which it records and challenges the social realities and power structures of her changing times in Peru both as an artist and a woman.

Burga’s gendered concerns and depersonalized aesthetics coalesced through Pop experimentation with painting collages, objects and environments in a  milieu of anti-modernist rebellion that breached the gap of Limanese art and life with ephemeral art environments and happenings. Indeed she positioned herself as a female Pop artist in 1967, devoting her solo exhibition at Cultura y Libertad Gallery to a critical representation of middle-class womanhood—both a testament as well as a feminist critique of  the developmentalist euphoria of 1960s Peru. The situation of women in patriarchal society surfaces at another brief moment of hope in Peru, the return to democracy after General Alvarado’s military regime, through her collaboration with psychotherapist Marie-France Cathelat for the radical research-based work for the Perfil de la Mujer Peruana (Profile of the Peruvian Woman), 1980-1 that  surveyed anonymously  the living conditions of 129 middle-class women living Lima in their twenties about a wide assortment of issues structured along twelve “profiles” (physiological, psychological, social, educational, cultural, religious, professional, economic, etc). Between these two landmarks, Burga’s representation of women underwent transformations textured by the conceptualist turn of her work before and after her graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1968-1970), as manifested by her now celebrated multimedia self-representation Autorretrato. Estructura. Informe. 9.6.72. (Self-Portrait, Structure, Report, 9.6.72), 1972 through which  Burga combined her critique of subjectivity and systems of representation, making the body matter for a critical exposure and ground for escaping its biopolitical control.

Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma

April 6—August 11, 2018
Pulitzer Arts Foundation
3716 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108

Originating from the Menil Foundation and bringing more than 30 major works from European and US collection, this is the first large-scale solo exhibition in the US in 20 years of the celebrated London-based Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum.

Merging the languages of Minimalism and Surrealism, through a feminist lens, while having experimented with a variety of media that range from performance to film, Hatoum is  istinguished for a potent sculptural and installation vocabulary that–drawing often from everyday domestic objects and engendering conflicting emotions of fear/revulsion and attraction/fascination–critically investigates ideas of home and displacement, while engaging with conditions of timely global instability and political upheaval, as well as timeless human questions.

Nairy Baghramian: Breathing Spell

May 17—October 14, 2018
Reina Sofia, Palacio de Cristal
Paseo República de Cuba,
Madrid, Spain

Large forms remeniscent of prosthetics and cartilagenous body parts lie scattered inside Madrid’s Crystal Palace, a 19th century iron and glass paean to industrialized progress. Made by Nary Baghramian, these sculptures complement the rigid organicism and transparency of their architectural setting. Trussed to columns and hugging the walls, Baghramian’s installation emphasizes contingency—the body supported, and molded by its surrounds. Born in Isfahan, Iran, the artist’s work has, in the past, focused on “the political implications of interior design,” pointing out that both women and gay men were made to culturally demur from the realm of architecture proper in favor of design and the domestic sphere. Semi-transparent tubular structures abound here—some quietly take up residence by the curving walls like banquettes of seating, and others crawl over the top of the Palacio de Cristal’s roof, like skeletal grubs.

Kim Zumpfe: outside the length of a room | or | dividing into the blue sun

May 5—September 9, 2018
Grand Central Art Center
125 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA

In the heart of Santa Ana’s arts district, Kim Zumpfe has created a bifurcated space evoking both shelter and disaster site. Upstairs the vision is bleak—a couch, stripped of all its plush, offers the only seating; photographs of discarded fruits are pinned to stacks of plywood, and a video monitor plays a loop of a seemingly bucolic lake view. Below, bedrolls made of fabric featuring rejected objects designed for prisons are spread about—small monitors play a blue, slow-motion video of what appears to be the sun’s surface. A tea kettle and a stash of bottled water serves as a welcome convivial gesture in this tunnel-like space. Recently Zumpfe enacted a performance, reminiscent of the anarchitectural gestures of Gordon Matta-Clark, in which she “drew” a linoleum bisecting the space vertically. Using a yellow crowbar to make her marks in plywood, drywall, plaster, and linoleum—this seemingly simple task proved herculean. The remaining marks from this performance remind us that space can be transformed, but only with great effort.

Penny Siopis: This is a True Story, Six Films (1997-2017)

February 14—July 15, 2018
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Silo District, S. Arm Road
Cape Town, South Africa

Best known for her “cake” and history paintings of the 1980s and 1990s, over the past twenty years Penny Siopis has also made films. Strung together from many bits of found footage, My Lovely Day, 1997, Obscure White Messenger, 2010 and The Master is Drowning, 2012, emphasize how cultural and political realities (such as apartheid in South Africa), shape personal narratives. Siopis subtitles her videos with the voices of a variety of characters; whether these people are real or imagined, it might not matter much, for each has a complicated relationship with their context. This exhibition, at the newly built Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, provides the first opportunity to view the artist’s video output at once.

Otobong Nkanga: To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again

March 31—September 2, 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL

Interrogating how a raw material or natural resource is made into a product, for example soap or makeup, is at the heart of Otobong Nkanga’s artistic efforts. In her work, which is by turns sculptural, performative, olfactory, and wall-based, Nkanga opens out the histories of manufacture and production (and thus the extended legacies of colonialism and imperialism) so that we might determine the human and environmental costs of such processes. The body is the primary metaphor through which invasive incursion and extraction are imagined in this collection of wide-ranging works. In large-scale tapestries like Infinite Yield, 2015, glittery minerals cover the breast, face, and genitals of an androgynous, brown figure, who stands in the midst of a draining funnel. In the center of this exhibition, black soap is stacked in circular constructions—it is manufactured by the Carved to Flow Foundation (which Nkanga founded) in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. Performers on hand describe the process of the soap’s creation, thereby amplifying the themes running throughout the show. Available for purchase in the exhibition, the circuits of capitalism serve to support the artist’s social practice.

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CWA Picks for June 2018

posted by June 07, 2018

Sophia Narrett, Right Before (detail), 2017-18, on view at BRIC in Brooklyn, NY, through June 17, 2018.

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for June below.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg

June 6–September 9, 2018
Moderna Museet
Exercisplan 4, 111 49
Stockholm, Sweden

This retrospective exhibition brings together the large-scale film, sculpture, and sound installations created by Nathalie Djurberg and her frequent collaborator, the composer and musician Hans Berg. Djurberg’s work—by turns comical and horrifying—demands close attention: power is exchanged unevenly, humans (and animals) preen, beat, and eat one another. In this situation a feminist politics may be difficult to discern, but it is there. At the heart of Djurberg’s endeavors is the uncompromising questioning of systemic power structures—whether that be religion, the state, or gender hegemony. In The Parade (2011), Djurberg populates five synced videos with birds who flock, fight, and mate; meanwhile, on the ground, dozens of free-standing bird sculptures are lined up in a procession that recalls both biblical fable and ritualistic pageantry.

New work will accompany this presentation, and it marks the first major exhibition for the artists, who were both born in Sweden.

A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Egypt

Ongoing
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Access to the afterlife in the Egyptian ancient world was limited to those believed to have reproductive capacities—and astonishingly this trait was assigned solely to men. It was believed that men gestated a fetus and then, through sex, transferred it to a woman’s womb. When women died, they were depicted with male traits (red skin), and had protective spells (meant for men) incanted above their corpse and written on their coffins. This exhibition explores these gender transformative practices and more, through the choice of twenty-seven objects from the museum’s collections. As Kathlyn M. Cooney related in a recent lecture associated with the exhibition, it is not enough to consider how one of the most “totalitarian” societies treated gender and sexual difference, but to also reflect on how Egyptology is methodologically wrestling with a similar set of concerns: “Feminism in Egyptology is a strange thing, because women are encroaching to take over the field. Females are on the forefront […] What I find is often missing […] is we look for the women who had power and highlight them, in a way to make ourselves feel better about women not having power, without asking the question, more systematically, why are women excluded from power so regularly and what are the mechanisms in place?”

Décor: Barbara Bloom, Andrea Fraser, Louise Lawler

April 28—July 15, 2018
MoCA Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069

The centerpiece of this exhibition is the reinstallation of Barbara Bloom’s The Reign of Narcissism (1988-89), a faux period room decorated all over with the artist’s likeness. But for Bloom this was not an entrée to self-aggrandizement, but a way to work through what Mieke Bal has termed “biographism” alongside the meaning, content, and politics of design. Three tombstones, set comically in a glass vitrine, memorialize the artist before she’s dead, and chairs are upholstered with designs derived from the Bloom’s dental X-rays.

Supporting the themes of the installation (which, is also about the politics of museological display), are works by Andrea Fraser and Louise Lawler. Fraser’s Little Frank and His Carp, finds the artist sensually humping the walls of the Guggenheim Bilbao’s atrium, a response to a sycophantic audio guide. Photos by Lawler highlight the conflation of the aesthetics, display, and markets of art.

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016

April 9– July 22, 2018
The Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

Adrian Piper’s (b. 1948) first museum retrospective in the US in a decade, and the first living artist’s show to occupy MoMA’s entire sixth floor, Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016 is a timely and moving feat for a female artist of color, even though of Piper’s caliber.

Bringing together over 290 works, including drawings, paintings, photographs, mutlimedia intallations, videos and performances, it offers a powerful and exhaustive exploration of Piper’s multifaceted contribution to contemporary art, illuminating the nuances of her Conceptualism and the intricacies of her combined critique of sexism, racism and xenophobia.

The show begins twice.The installation Vote/Emote (1990), comprising a row of voting booths where museumgoers are invited to respond to various prompts—like listing “the fears of how we might treat you”—precedes its chronological unfolding, highlighting both the centrality of the audience and emotions in the artist’s conceptual and often performative critical practice. A neo-realist self portrait, featuring a black girl with a white doll from 1966, stands out among the earliest works of the first room of the exhibition that focuses on her early experimentations with painting, poignantly marking the origins of the identity politics underpinning her work. Together they make a timely statement about the little changed state of race in America in the age of Trump, and initiate a several-hours worth familiarization with the development of Piper’s multimedia practice in the past forty years that leaves the viewer mesmerized by its profound complexity, sensitivity and acumen, as well as confronted with his/er complicity with the injustices and prejudices of the world we live in.

Eija-Liija Ahtila

May 18 – June 19, 2018
M Museum Leuven
Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, 3000
Leuven, Belgium

Bringing together 7 major works by Eija-Liisa Ahtila (b. 1959) in multiscreen configurations especially reconceived for the M Museum in Leuven, along with several series of drawings, this exhibition surveys the filmic work of the acclaimed Finnish master of cinematic installation.

Known for her experimentation with narrative story telling,  begun with unsettling human dramas at the center of human relations, in her recent works Ahtila questions the processes of perception and attribution of meaning under the light of larger cultural and existential thematics like colonialism, faith and ecological or humanitarian crisis. Encouraging us to explore how the film might enable us to narrate the very life of the planet as well as our own, a timely eco-cinematic question underpins several of her more recent works: how and with what kind of technology, drama and expressive devices can we build the image of our world in this present moment of ecological crisis?

Along with signature works produced since 2001, the exhibition includes her latest sculptural filmic masterpiece, Potentiality for Love, 2018. With a floating maternal body as its epicenter, the work questions, from a feminist posthumanist perspective, the potential for empathy and love towards other living beings, turning attention to those human emotions that could serve as a foundation for dismantling the hierarchical structures between living things, thereby engendering a turn towards non-humans and the recognition of others.

Sophia Narrett: Certain Magic

May 12- June 17, 2018
Project Room at BRIC House
647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Recipient of the 2017-8 ArtFP—an open call for Brooklyn-based visual artists to exhibit at BRIC House—and the 2018 Krasner Pollock Foundation Grant, Sophia Narrett is a recent graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design, distinguished already for her mesmerizing, quite painterly and often quite tiny, embroideries and the complexities of her story telling.

Not to miss, her solo exhibition in New York at BRIC House brings together examples that thematize the power of intimacy and desire in the digital age, by casting figures culled from the Internet into lusciously embroidered scenes, in response to a world of immediate, often treacherous media. Through undulating embroidered surfaces, and edges that dissolve into loose threads or sculptural flora, Certain Magic tells a disconcerting narrative of modern longing that layers the surreal with the mundane in a manner characteristic of the artist’s story telling intricacies. While her practice exceeds the traditional parameters of embroidery, the traditional and gendered associations of the medium are crucial to its content, and feminist fragility. As put recently by the artist “Embroidery and its implicit history help specify the tone of my stories, one characterized by obsession, desire and both the freedoms and restraints of femininity.”

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CWA Picks for February 2018

posted by February 08, 2018

Howardena Pindell, Untitled #4D, 2009. Mixed media on paper collage; 7 × 10 in. Courtesy of the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See February’s picks below.

Soul of a Nation

February 3–April 23, 2018
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville AR, 72712

In this exhibition featuring the work of 60 artists, Soul of  Nation, brings together painting, sculpture, photography, and more in an exhibition of “era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in American.”

The exhibition originated at the Tate Modern in London and will debut in the United States at Crystal Bridges. Artists Alice Neal, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Ming Smith, Alma Thomas are joined by Romare Bearden, Barkley Hendricks, Noa Purifoy, Martin Puryear, and William T. Williams, among many others.

With over 150 works spanning 1963-1983 the exhibition explores a time when “Black Art” was being defined and debated across the country in vibrant paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures.”

Crystal Bridges is one of only two United States venues to host this important exhibition, described as both powerful, and at times, challenging. Following its debut in Bentonville, the exhibition travels to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

On starting another conversation about comparative feminism

December 2, 2017–April 2018
WhyWhyArt Art Center
Nanjing City, Pukou District
Zijin Special Creative Zone
88 Pubin RD, 2F

In the exhibition On starting another conversation about comparative feminism at WhyWhyArt, 17 artists from China and internationally “explore the nature of comparative feminism, the existence of differing perceptions and trajectories of feminist identification that coexist as a result of a world that is globally connected, yet widely disparate regarding other influential factors, such as social mobility and economic development.”

Artists include: Abby Robinson (USA), Alexandre Ouairy (France), Daniele Mattioli (Italy), Guanyi Ming (China), Hazal Firat (Turkey), Inga Bruvere (Latvia), Island6 Arts Collective (International), MATE (China), Monika Lin (USA), Panos Dimitropoulos (Greece), Steven An (China), Susanne Junker (France), Cao Tongliang (China), Virginie Lerouge Knight (France), WeAre (International), Zane Mellupe-Goutard (LV/FRA), and Zhu Ye (China).

Hazel Meyer: Muscle Panic objects

January 26, 2018—March 10, 2018
Art League Houston
1953 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006

Toronto-based performance and installation artist Hazel Meyer has been exploring the intersection of sports and gender since 2001 (with her bombastic Unnecessary Roughness—an audio-intestinal sports opera), and this exhibition represents the latest iteration of the artist’s locker room shenanigans. For opening night, Meyer, and a group of “local women, trans, and/or non-binary artists, athletes and activists” will end a five kilometer run to the gallery, depositing their sweaty garments in and amongst an immersive installation.

From the press release: “Leading the viewer through the space, the works offer an extended consideration regarding the performative nature of the athletic as it intersects with queerness. The exhibition instigates an arena of sweat and queer desire, evoking the imagery of momentous sports history, the bodily gestures and actions of a drill or warm-up and the aesthetics of the gymnasium. Simultaneously an installation and a performance, the exhibition transforms the banal and austere white cube into a hot physically charged site for emotional and physical exchange.”

Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen

February 24, 2018—May 20, 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

For over fifty years Howardena Pindell has been pressurizing process and politics in her wide-ranging work. Best known, perhaps, for her video Free, White, and 21 (1980) in which the artist performs the daily racial aggressions she experienced as a person of color working in the artworld, all while wrapping her head in gauze, Pindell’s output also encompasses painting, collage, print-making, and photography. Throughout her career Pindell has explored the possibilities of abstraction, often collaging tiny pieces of paper (hole punches) onto fields of subtly undulating color, and sometimes adding perfume or talcum powder, engaging a viewer’s olfactory sense alongside the visual. The exhibition includes work from the past two years—large biomorphically-shaped canvases in bright, bold colors, evoking snails, whirlpools, and galaxies.

Victoria Gitman: Taktisch

January 11, 2018—February 17, 2018-01-23
Garth Greenan Gallery
545 W. 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

From the exhibition’s press release:

“The exhibition focuses on Gitman’s recent paintings—meticulously rendered abstractions based on the supple fur surfaces of vintage handbags. Gitman works in oils, hair by hair, creating surfaces that are delicately painted from close, direct observation. Many of the paintings feature abstract patterns evocative of early and mid-twentieth-century stylistic traditions. Evoking modernist compositional techniques, Gitman’s new works are resolutely frontal, their imagery extending edge-to-edge. Each composition is tightly cropped, further intensifying both the haptic quality and the inherent sensuousness of the artist’s chosen subjects.

“The title of the exhibition is a neologism introduced by Vienna School art historian Aloïs Riegl to describe a kind of close-up perception or “visual touching.” Taktisch can at once signify “tactile,” “tangible,” “palpable,” or “textural,” as well as “tactical.” It implies an intimate exchange with art objects, an intermingling of the experiences of seeing, feeling, and knowing through sensory perception.”

Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment Grant

2017 Winners

With grants totaling $105,000 the Kentucky Foundation for Women has awarded 32 artists and arts organizations in the state enrichment grants, allowing them to “further their own artistic development while creating art for positive social change throughout the state.” Artistic mediums include photography, book projects, painting, sculpture, films, performances, and poetry among others.

Individual grants range from $1,000 to $7,500, and include assisting an artist with class fees to further her metal-working skills and “help normalize welding as an art form practiced by women,” to funding an independent film to increase the “acceptance of lesbians and all women who love women romantically.

“The foundation is pleased to support the work of these talented artists. Their projects show a commitment to expanding the scope of feminist art in Kentucky, through their innovative approaches and thought-provoking subject matter,” said Judi Jennings, director of the Foundation for Women. Read more here.

The artists include: Sylvia Ahrens (Lexington), Leslie Anglin (Louisville), Carrie Billett (Harlan), Tasha Cotter (Lexington), Shannon Davis-Roberts (Murray), Rachel Grimes (Milton), Vanessa Grossl (Lexington), Aaisha Hamid (Louisville), Julie Hensley (Richmond), DaMaris B. Hill (Lexington), Jenny Hobson (Berea), Rebecca Gayle Howell(Hindman), Trish Lindsey Jaggers (Smiths Grove), Karen Jones (Lexington), Karen Lanier of KALA Creative (Lexington), Amira Karaoud (Louisville), Lori Larusso (Lexington), Jaqui Linder (Versailles), Looking for Lilith Theatre Company (Louisville), George Ella Lyon (Lexington), Kristen Renee Miller (Louisville), Marie Mitchell (Richmond), Mary K. Morgan (Chappell), Jill Robertson (Hazard), Savannah Sipple (Lexington), Rainbow Star (Berea), Jamey Temple (Williamsburg), The Local Honeys (Linda Jean Stokley & Montana Hobbs) (Versailles), Tanya Torp (Lexington), Tucky Williams (Lexington), Lindsey Windland and Meg Wilson (Berea), and Whitney Withington (Big Hill).

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for December 2017/January 2018

posted by January 09, 2018

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

 

December Picks

Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism

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

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

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

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

 

Clarity Haynes: Baba Na Gig

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection

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

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

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

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

 

Lynda Benglis

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

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

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

 

Woman with a Camera

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

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

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

 

Engender

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

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

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

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

 

January Picks

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Feminine Sublime

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

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

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

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

 

Esther Ferrer: All Variations are Valid, Including This One

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

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

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

 

Polly Apflebaum: Dubuffet’s Feet My Hands

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

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

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

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

 

Sexuality Stories
October 20, 2017—February 14, 2018

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

MASP
Av Paulista, 1578
São Paulo, Brazil

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

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

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

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for October 2017

posted by October 05, 2017

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship.

Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism

Tatiana Parcero, Cartografia Interior #43 , 1996. Lambda print and acetate. 43 x 31 in. Scripps College. Photo credit: jdc Fine Art.

October 22, 2017–January 14, 2018
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Avenue Pkwy
Denver, CO

Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism features works created by women in Paris from 1850 to 1900, including well-known artists Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Rosa Bonheur, to lesser-known painters such as Anna Ancher and Paula Modersohn-Becker.

At a time of great cultural change, women were barred from attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and it was socially unacceptable for a woman to be unaccompanied in public spaces. The exhibition at the Denver Art Museum  traces “how, despite societal challenges women embraced their artistic aspirations and helped create an alternative system that included attending private academies, exhibiting independently, and forming their own organizations, such as the influential Union des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs.”

Her Paris is organized by the American Federation of Arts, curated by Laurence Madeline, independent curator and formerly chief curator of Fine Arts at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva, and curated locally by Angelica Daneo, curator of painting and sculpture at the DAM. Following its run at the DAM, it will travel to The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky (February 17–May 13, 2018), and to its final destination at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts (June 6–September 3, 2018).

 

Sobey Art Award Exhibition
October 24–December 9, 2017
Art Museum at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto Art Center
15 King’s College Circle
Toronto, Ontario

The winner and four finalists for the prestigious Sobey Art Award will be on exhibit at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto from October 9 through December 9, 2017. The 2017 finalists for the award, promoting Canadian contemporary art, are Ursula Johnson, Jacynthe Carrier, Bridget Moser, Divya Mehra, and Raymond Boisjoky. The shortlisted artists question and challenge preconceived notions of diversity and identity and performance.

Installation and performance artist Ursula Johnson, of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry, often deploys a collaborative process in her place-based performances. “At this time when Canadians are celebrating and  challenging the memory of nationhood, Johnson’s work embodies a considered, critical, yet generous lens through which multiple histories and communities may be considered,” juror Sarah Filmore writes.

Finalist Jacynthe Carrier uses photography and video to explore “the different relationships the body has with the environment and ways of conceptualizing and appropriating the land.” Bodies and objects are assembled as intervention in the landscape.

Bridget Moser, selected for the William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists, hits “all the bewildering emotional registers of internet culture,” writes juror Sarah Robayo Sheridan. “Moser’s singular voice joins a sentinel species of millennial artists alerting audiences to the new paradoxes of commodity culture gone wild, and offers tragicomic remedy in excess of even the most bombastic late night infomercial.”

“Divya Mehra’s work is an astute example of how art can destabilize our collective and individual perceptions about race and gender,” Jenifer Paparo writes. Mehra explores diasporic identities, racialization, otherness and the construct of ‘diversity’ through a variety of mediums,  addressing the effects of colonization and institutional racism re-contextualizing references found in hip hop, literature and current affairs.

The fifth finalist, Indigenous artist of Haida descent, Raymond Boisjoly’s practice “concerns the deployment of images, objects and materials, in and as, Indigenous art, using a reflexive approach to foreground the discourses that frame and delimit the work produced by Indigenous artists.” Boisjoly works in various media, from photography to installation, murals and video.

 

Revolution and Ritual: The Photographs of Sara Castrejón, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Parcero
August 26, 2017–January 7, 2018
Scripps College
Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery
251 E. Eleventh Street
Claremont, CA

Celebrating three Mexican woman photographers, Revolution and Ritual features work by Sarah Castrejón, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Pacero. Through the work of the three women, the exhibit explores notions of Mexican identity and considers how photography has been transformed over the past century in Mexico and “responds to the artists’ interest in representing present and past, self and other.”

From documentary photography to more poetic photography, the women in the exhibition explore themes of war, indigenous culture, body and self. Castrejón’s images portray people under the intense pressure of war during the Mexican revolution, while Iturbide’s images reflect the daily life of Mexican Indigenous cultures, and Pacero places herself within the frame through self portraits that “incorporate spliced images of her body with cosmological maps and Aztec codices.

The exhibit is accompanied by a catalog with essays Latin American photography scholars John Mraz, Marta Dahó, and Esther Gabara. Revolution and Ritual is a part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, exploring Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles.

 

Roots of “The Dinner Party”: History in the Making
October 20, 2017–March 4, 2018
Brooklyn Museum of Art
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY

Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party has been a touchstone for feminist thinking about representation, research, and the politics of identity in art history (and history, broadly conceived). Ten years ago the Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art opened in the Brooklyn Museum; a triangular gallery, its centerpiece was, and remains, The Dinner Party. This has no doubt been a challenge for the Center’s curator, Catherine Morris—to know that any exhibition will alaways be read in dialogue with Chicago’s monumental work. Yet for an exhibition like this, the gallery’s organization is a boon. This exhibition plumbs Chicago’s process and the processes of her collaborators. Test plates, notebooks, preperatory drawings, and research documents that will be on display attest to the staggering amount of research and prototyping that went into creating The Dinner Party, a work that does its political work– visiblizing women’s contributions to art, science, myth, and all the rest.

Roots of “The Dinner Party”: History in the Making is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong series of exhibitions celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

 

Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell
September 16, 2017–February 10, 2018
Vincent Price Art Museum
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Los Angeles, CA

This exhibition provides the first opportunity to view a diverse sampling from photographer Laura Aguilar’s complex and rich oeuvre. Raised in the San Gabriel Valley, where her family traces its roots back generations, Aguilar was dogged in using her camera to render herself and her various communities visible. You see this in the touching portraits of the women who populated the Plush Pony, a working-class Chicana/Latina lesbian bar. Or in the series “Latina Lesbians” series, wherein Aguilar’s subjects have added their own handwritten words to their portraits. Throughout the show one can follow the various ways Aguilar deploys her own body in her photographs—as bounded to national and ethnic lines of identification, as the repository for the unruly affects of depression, as something solid like a boulder. In one self portrait Aguilar stand between two small table-top displays of toys and catholic ephemera. A Pee-Wee Herman doll shares space with the Virgen de Guadalupe. These heterogenous objects, bespeaking both spirituality and pop culture, are emblematic of just a couple of the many thematics that can be drawn out from this remarkable retrospective.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog that is equally impressive, containing essays by: Mei Valenzuela, Christopher A. Velasco, Deborah Cullen, Amelia Jones, James Estrella, Tracy M. Zuniga, Stefanie Snider, Macarena Gómez-Barris, and Sybil Venegas, the curator of Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell and Aguilar’s former mentor.

 

Filed under: CWA Picks

Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art, & Technology 1968-1985

October 8-December 8, 2017

Exhibition:

Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts
333 S Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA

Screening:

Lightbox Film Center at International House Philadelphia
September 28th, October 5th, and October 12th at 7pm
3701 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA

Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art, & Technology 1968-1985, is a multi-venue survey focusing on a generation of pioneering female new media artists, reconsidering their role as technology innovators.

Curated by Kelsey Halliday Johnson and initially supported by a $60,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the exhibition engages with early computer art, painting, video art, experimental photography, copy machine art, electronic music, and publication projects, among other disciplines.

The exhibition will include visual artists such as Jennifer Bartlett and Lynda Benglis, and video and media art pioneers Sonia Landy Sheridan, Joan Jonas, Lynda Benglis, Shigeko Kubota, and Dara Birnbaum. To accompany the exhibition, Johnson will create a reading library that will place these artists into direct dialogue with a broader history of women in technology, with the aim to “further the scholarship of technology and art surveys in which women are under-represented or not contextualized in the field of their peers,” Johnson says. Featured technologists include Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer; Katherine Johnson, NASA’s “human computer;” Mary Allen Wilkes, inventor of the operating system; and Rebecca Allen, the first Emmy Award-winning computer animation artist; among others.

The core of the exhibition will be held at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, with auxiliary screenings at Lightbox Film Center and Vox Populi. The opening reception is October 8, 2017, from 4–7pm at Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery.

 

Tom Thomson & Joyce Wieland : Passion Over Reason

July 1–November 19, 2017

McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Ave
Kleinburg, Ontario

In Passion Over Reason, curator Sarah Stanners brings together work by Tom Thomson and Joyce Weiland and takes a critical approach to Canada’s fascination with Thomson, his status as a cult figure of masculine mystique, and the mystery and mythology of his life story that has cast a virile, woodsy painter as the embodiment of quiet, Canadian resilience.

Interwoven with the work by Thomson, Wieland, whose playful use of sex and humour addresses issues of ecology, patriotism and the pitfalls of nationalism, celebrates a feminist perspective on Canada through her films, collage, and embroidery.

“Wieland’s deep fascination and love for Thomson and for Canada is revealed through the bookwork published alongside her 1971 True Patriot Love exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada (its first solo exhibition for a living Canadian woman artist). In it, Wieland effectively subsumed a government-issued compendium of arctic flora by infiltrating it with needlework, annotations, and photos taken by Tom Thomson.”

With a focus on a play with nationality, gender and sexuality, Passion Over Reason will present a new perspective on two iconic, trailblazing Canadian artists.

 

Lisa and Janelle Iglesias: Re:Sisters

July 8–October 21, 2017

Arizona State University Art Museum
51 E. 10th St.
Tempe, Arizona

Lisa and Janelle Iglesias, known as Las Hermanas Iglesias, present the fruits of their artist residency at the ASU Art Museum through a new collaborative body of work, Re:Sisters.

Using sculpture, prints and site-specific interventions the sisters focus on both collaboration and resistance and “create artworks that disrupt borders, engage absurdity and promote the benefits of working together. As the title suggests, the works in the exhibition engage the artists’ own familial relationship, resist categorization and speak to processes and gestures of disobedience.

The ASU Art Museum Artist Residency, established in 2011, encourages emerging and established artists to develop and experiment with new bodies of work. Artists selected for the residency have a multi-disciplinary practice with a strong record of process-based, community and collaborative projects in order to explore forms of engagement and to develop socially-based, laboratory-type art projects.

 

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985

September 15–December 15, 2017

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

Boasting a roster of over one hundred artists from fourteen Latin American countries (including the United States), Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 demonstrates the rich artistic practices located in, and in dialogue, with Latin America. Radical Women’s co-curators, Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta, have put together a path-breaking exhibition, one which promiscuously pursues . Of course, well-known figures are represented here (Marisol, Marta Minujín, Ana Mendieta, etc.), but many artists will be new to a U.S. viewing public. Importantly, the curators decided to include Chicana and Latina artists in their roster, making an important argument regarding the (in)visibility of these artists within U.S.-based art histories as well.

In the catalog, which is an indispensible volume for both scholars of Latin America and neophytes, the co-curators list hundreds of interlocutors and collaborators—each entrenched in the visual and political histories of their respective regions. The exhibition’s strength is predicated on this highly inclusive, collaborative ethos, and will also be a model in terms of how it troubles curatorial authorship and expertise.

Throughout the three-month run of the exhibition local artists, art historians, and curators will be giving walk-through tours of the show, illuminating threads and lines of thought that might otherwise go unnoticed. October 7th brings a concert of contemporary musicians reimagining the music of Peruvian American singer Yma Sumac (née Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo). The exhibition travels to the Brooklyn Museum of Art after it closes in Los Angeles.

 

Cassils: Monumental
September 16–October 28, 2017

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
31 Mercer Street
New York, NY

The centerpiece of this exhibition is likely to become the focal point of a flurry of think-pieces come mid-September. That’s because Cassils, who is well-known for their work highlighting and extending the themes of bodily endurance in performance, has been collecting nearly 200 gallons of their own urine since Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era executive order allowing transgender students to use whichever restroom matches their chosen gender identity. Part protest, part quantifying gesture, Cassil’s pee will be gathered in a new cubic sculpture entitled PISSED—think Hans Haacke’s Condensation Cube (1963-65) but filled with slowly circulating urine. Accompanying this sculpture will be other works that focus on embodied breath, the trans body, and the conditions of duress and memory. Together, these works have much to say to the current administration whose callous disregard of the poor, of people of color, and of queer people (LGBTQIA). If we are living through another culture war—and indeed it seems we are—Cassils has drawn sharp and useful battle lines.

Cassils will present a live performance, Fountain, at the opening reception on September 16, 6-8pm, wherein they will be cathetered to PISSED, evincing the ways in which the trans body is almost always a medicalized body—ammended and abutted by systems of care, treatment, and pathology.

 

Melike Kara: Köpek
September 7–November 3, 2017

Peres Projects
Karl-Marx-Allee 82
Berlin, Germany

Melike Kara’s paintings represent the latest permutation of the figural group painting genre. Her cast of characters, rendered abstractly and with ambiguous gender and racial characteristics, play, eat, sleep, and have sex. Oftentimes large tongues loll out of their mask-like faces, looking more like diminutive speech balloons than anything else. Throughout these works you can see that Kara is attempting a re-visioning of Modernist painting, a bastardization of Matisse’s arabesque line and color with the more contemporary figural groupings by painters such as Sue Williams, Leon Golub, and Chris Ofili. Recently Kara has begun to play with spatializing her paintings, putting them on glass and using them as room dividers. What this show will bring is a mystery, but given Kara’s bombastic, if short, track record, it will no doubt provide grist for the art historical mill.

Filed under: CWA Picks