College Art Association

CAA News Today

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

January 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Feminism
Aperture #225 (Winter 2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

December 2016

Bad Visual Systems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sabra Moore Openings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

November 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

September 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

July 2016

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling
Dallas Museum of Art
Hoffman Galleries, 1717 North Harwood, Dallas, TX
March 13–July 17, 2016 (and on permanent display in the Eagle Family Plaza)

The Dallas Museum of Art presents the British artist Rebecca Warren’s sculpture exhibition, The Main Feeling, featuring work from a pivotal phase in the artist’s practice with her shift to increasingly abstract forms. The display of works from 2003 to today shows Warren’s transition in materials from clay, to steel, and then to bronze. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum unveiled Warren’s newly commissioned sculpture, Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) (2016), which is installed in the museum’s Eagle Family Plaza, a new space for contemporary art and outdoor programming.

“The title Pas de Deux refers to the dynamic, fluctuating relationship between art history’s most persistent binaries: male/female, high/low, old/new, Dionysus/Apollo, classic/grotesque.” The sculpture consists of two bronze biomorphic forms, each more than fourteen feet tall and hand painted by the artist. “Warren is known for challenging Western sculptural traditions through her distinctive female nudes. She uses an earthy, unfinished look, and her figures often have exaggerated physical characteristics, such as very large breasts or buttocks. Warren’s figures challenge our ideas about what sculptures should be or look like, and they provide a wry commentary on the ways that so many male artists have distorted women’s bodies.”

This exhibition marks Warren as among one of the first living female artists to have commissioned work permanently installed at an entrance of an American museum.

Randy 2010–2013
Anthology release

The new publication by Capricious Press, Randy 2010–2013, collects three-hundred-plus pages of this queer/feminist zine into one anthology. The undertaking includes over one hundred interviews, conversations, and works that were featured in Randy from 2010 to 2013. Begun by the artist A. K. Burns and the publisher Sophie Morner, the experimental zine is described by Burns as “an intentionally irregular trans-feminist project celebrating the politics of art, sexuality and aesthetics.”

The zine brings together underrepresented voices in an intergenerational dialogue “as a means to examine multiple perspectives on queer identity and gender.” The anthology includes an extensive list of voices, including these artists: niv Acosta, Jess Arndt, Meriem= Bennani, Sadie Benning, Elizabeth Bethea, Ramdasha Bikceem, Cass Bird, Dana Bishop-Root, Pauline Boudry, boychild, Kathe Burkhart, Nao Bustamante, Jibz Cameron, Silvia Casalino, Christelle de Castro, Leidy Churchman, Jon Davies, Hayden Dunham, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Nicole Eisenman, Edie Fake, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Shannon Funchess, Mariah Garnett, Luke Gilford, Julia Gillard, Jules Gimbrone, Reina Gossett, Goodyn Green, Gordon Hall, Harmony Hammond, Onya Hogan-Finlay, Emily Hope, Katherine Hubbard, Amber Ibarreche, Mariana Juliano, Stanya Kahn, Sarah Forbes Keough, Pozsi B Kolor, Adam Krause, Lisa Lenarz, Katerina Llanes, Amos Mac, Lee Maida, India Salvor Menuez, Lessa Millet, MPA, Ulrike Müller, Sheila Pepe, Litia Perta, Cassie Peterson, Isaac Preiss, R.H Quaytman, Jen Rosenblit, Colin Self, Mel Shimkovitz, Amy Sillman, Tuesday Smillie, Jazmin Venus Soto, Matthew Stone, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Lanka Tattersall, Wu Tsang, Scott Valentine, Leilah Weinraub, Hanna Wilde, Martha Wilson, Io Tillett Wright, Geo Wyeth, and Yes! Association/Föreningen Ja!

Boushra Almutawakel

Boushra Almutawakel, Untitled, from the series The Hijab, 2001, chromogenic print, 47¼ x 39⅜ in. (artwork © Boushra Almutawakel)

She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC
April 8–July 31, 2016

Gallery Talk: July 27, 2016, 12:00–12:30 PM

The National Museum of Women in the Arts presents She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World. The landmark exhibition contains more than eighty photographs and video installations of the people, landscapes, and cultures of Iran and the Arab world as seen through the lens of female photographers. The title, derived from the Arabic word rawiya, is also the name of a photography collective of women, based in the Middle East and founded in 2009.

The exhibition “refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today.” It features artists working in a range of genres from portraiture to documentary to staged narratives. “Each artist in She Who Tells a Story offers a vision of the world as she has witnessed. The photographers’ images invite viewers to reconsider their own preconceptions about the nature of politics, family, and personal identity in the Middle East.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will host a gallery talk with the chief curator Kathyn Wat, focused on selected works on display. The event will take place on July 27, 2016.

Mona Hatoum
TATE Modern
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, UK
May 4–August 21, 2016

TATE Modern presents a comprehensive exploration into thirty-five years of Mona Hatoum’s work in Britain. Born into a Palestinian family in Beirut in 1952, Hatoum has lived and worked in London since 1975. From her early performance and video works to her sculpture and large-scale installation, this artist creates a challenging vision of our world, exposing its contradictions and complexities. Juxtaposition of opposites, her work engages us in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination.

From her intimate traveling notebooks to large installations such as Homebound, Interior/Exterior Landscape, Hatoum’s survey takes visitors on a journey from her early drawings and documentation of performances to her most recent project throughout a series of encounters with the body and the world, confrontations that are at once intimate and global, personal and political. Through little drawings incorporating nail-pairings, sewing, and urine stains, and through records of performances that were self-exposing and abject, the artist balance the disjunctions between the grand statement and the whisper.

Throughout her distinguished career, Hatoum has questioned and explored themes of themes of home, displacement, and self, provoking strong psychological and emotional responses. In celebration of her internationally acclaimed work, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has recently honored Hatoum with the Medal Award for her commitment to a work that challenges us to rethink a world fractured by conflict and imagine new forms of connections.

Bouchra Khalili: The Mapping Journey Project
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
April 9–October 10, 2016

The Museum of Modern Art is presenting the Mapping Journey Project (2008–11), a video installation by the Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili. Eight individual screens are installed throughout the museum’s Marron Atrium, exposing the stories of individuals who have been forced to travel illegally by political and economic circumstances and whose journeys have taken them throughout the Mediterranean uncertain path.

Khalili (b. 1975) has encountered her subjects accidentally, in transit hubs across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Following an initial meeting, the artist invited each person to narrate his or her journey and trace it in thick permanent marker on a geopolitical map of the region. While their faces remain unseen, the videos feature each subject’ voice and hands sketching of their singular trajectory across the map. The formal elements chosen by the artists to narrate the stories are pared to necessities: a paper map of the world; a hand holding a marker, drawing lines on the map across oceans and borders; a voice of a man or a woman telling, voices in a first-person from the experience of illegal immigrants from the Middle East or Africa to Europe in search of a better life.

Witnessing the path of each subject, a complex portraiture of the network of migration emerges. Shown together, the videos function as an alternative geopolitical map defined by the precarious lives of stateless people. Khalili’s work takes on the challenge of developing critical and ethical approaches to questions of citizenship, community, and political agency. The Mapping Journey Project was acquired by MoMA, and the exhibition was possible by the Modern Women’s Fund.

Anohni: Hopelessness
Album launch and Performance tour

Hopelessness is the new album by the singer, songwriter, visual artist, and activist Anohni. Formerly known as Antony Hegarty (from Antony and the Johnsons), she decided a few years ago to utterly transform the sound and message of her music. She not only renamed herself with what she calls her “spirit name,” but also embarked on a new artistic course. “Subjugation of women and of the Earth are one and the same,” “Kill the mother and appropriate her power.” Anohni expressed as talking about the foundations of Hopelessness. This relentlessly political album and utterly emotional performance is a testimony of her process.

Here, Anohni’s voice is as beautiful and deep as ever bringing drone warfare, environmental catastrophe, government surveillance and capital punishment, the personal is political, as radical feminists used to say. The album includes “Four Degrees,” a single released to coincide with the Paris climate conference, and is a stunning meditation on our complicity in global warming. During the performance, twenty women artists and activists such as Shirin Neshat, Lorraine O’Grady, and Nola Ngalangka Taylor joined her in spirit throughout the performance. Their projected moving lip synching portraits seem to embrace Anohni’s voice on stage.

In 2013, Anohni spent ten days living with the Martu of Parnngurr in the Western Australian Desert, and she has since campaigned against a proposed uranium mine on their ancestral land. In early June, she joined her Martu friends Nola and Curtis Taylor on a 180-kilometer protest walk from their remote community to the site of Mitsubishi and Cameco’s proposed open-cart uranium mine in the Western Australian Desert.

Hopelessness was launched at Park Avenue Armory in New York on May 18 and 19, followed by an international tour.

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

June 2016

Facing the Self: Program 2

In this online database, the curated compilation Facing the Self: Program 2 bring together artists working with the female form, particularly the face. “Using at times elaborate, but more often very limited, visual means and divergent visual and theatrical strategies, each tape explores, asserts, withholds and/or claims power over the representations of the artist’s body, its appearance and experiences.”

Facing the Self is part of the Video Data Bank, founded at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976. Included in this compilation of early video works are: Hermine Freed, Two Faces (1972); Lynda Benglis, Now (1973); Steina Vasulka, Let it Be (1972); Linda Montano, Mitchell’s Death (1977); Susan Mogul, Take Off (1974); and Eleanor Antin, The Adventures of a Nurse (1976).

“I was writing an essay at the time comparing male artists’ representations of their sexuality with female artists,’” Mogul explains of Take Off. In response to Vito Acconci’s work Undertone, where the artist was supposed to be masturbating while seated at a table, the video that Mogul created posits the artist at the end of a table, directly confronting the viewer and “with a good deal of ironic humor, she transforms the ‘girl’ into a woman and an artist, who positions herself not under the table (as in Acconci’s Undertone) but directly across from the viewer’ alternately discussing the ‘history’ of her vibrator and occasionally using it.”

Louise Fishman: Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock
Institute of Contemporary Art
University of Pennsylvania, 118 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA
April 29–August 14, 2016

Conceived as a studio visit, Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia presents a selection of sketchbooks, miniature paintings, and small sculptures by Louise Fishman, known for her abstract paintings “with an athletic reach of scale and gesture.”

Miniature canvases, as small as two by three inches, accompany sculptures made from found objects, and cast in bronze from plaster models, along with books whose mark making “burst with narrative drive like Amazonian comics rendered abstract.”

Fishman describes her formative years in the 1960s New York scene: “Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning were big for me—Joan Mitchell too. Then Minimalism came along and I was looking at Sol LeWitt and making hard-edge grid paintings. My group encouraged me to see that everything I was doing as a painter—even using stretched canvas and a paintbrush—was male, and this was problematic.”

Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock concentrates on the intimate and potent concerns of the artist: her Philadelphia roots, her feminist and queer politics, her Jewish identity, her friendships with Agnes Martin and Eva Hesse, and her meditations on the grid.

Sama Alshaibi: Silsila
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale, AZ
June 4–September 18, 2016

Named for the Arabic word silsila, or “link,” the exhibition at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art by the Iraqi-born artist Sama Alshaibi represents the joining of individuals to one another, humans with the natural works, and the self to the divine.

Inspired by the fourteenth century explorer and scholar Ibn Batutah, Alshaibi retraced his path through the Middle East, North Africa, and the Maldives. Her large-scale photographs and videos “provoke contemporary questions about borders, migration, and environmental demise in relation to the human body.”

Working in predominantly Muslim countries since 2009, Alshaibi presents the feminine form as a “metaphor for humanity and the natural world, using jewel-like colors, geometric patterning, mirroring and symmetry to reference the formal qualities of Islamic art traditions.”

No play_Feminist Training Camp
neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK)
Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin, Germany
May 21–June 24, 2016

In 2013, the nGbK group investigated the pronoun “we” with the project WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY). Their practice is informed by the idea that the structure of HOW we come together strongly influences WHAT we can do together. Following the group statement and an urgent need to “revive old as well as to develop new feminist and anti-fascist strategies of resistance, survival, and collective action,”nGbK has turned into a Feminist Training Camp: No play, a proposal toward a new social structure seeking to spatially and thematically integrate the space of art as space for action.

This site for activity and exchange is organized in training units developed by international actors from the fields of art, literature, performance, activism, martial arts, health, and film, and includes formats dealing with language as a weapon in political resistance, employing both creative strategies and practice-oriented workshops such as self-defense courses and a feminist repair café. Knowledge exchange from lived experiences is the key. A radio broadcasting system is set up that will allow the recapitulation of the conversations going on in the training camp as form of dissemination.

Based on a queer understanding of feminism, whose issues go far beyond women’s equality, the Feminist Training Camp is structured by zones of different means of production, such as documentary and archival sound and video recordings, a work table, sports mats, and artistic installations. Works and materials are made available in the exhibition space during the course of the training camp and form an infrastructure for planning and training.

At the end of the year a publication of the outcome of the Feminist Training Camp will be released. No Play aims to be developed as a poetic-political manual compiling the strategies, discussions, and experiences of the project.

Michèle Lemieux: The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films
Canadian Cultural Centre
5, rue de Constantine, Paris, 75007 France
April 15–September 2, 2016

The Canadian Cultural Center in Paris presents The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films, an exhibition of work by Michèle Lemieux, an illustrator of children’s books, an animated filmmaker, and an educator. The project proposes a reflection on the representation of reality, time, and the human condition.

The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films invites the viewer to discover the visual experimentations, working methods, and aesthetic of an exceptional artist, the director of films, the latest of which, Here and the Great Elsewhere, was produced at the National Film Board of Canada between 2010 and 2012 with a remarkable instrument—the pinscreen—that was invented in France by the filmmakers Alexandre Alexeïeff and Claire Parker during the 1930s.

Born in Quebec in 1955, Lemieux is a world expert in the technique of pinscreen and will share process and devices in the show. Ephemeral images of the pins and shadows are projected onto a white surface. A fixed camera photographs each drawing and then transmits it to a computer, which records the successive images produced by the tiny changes made to the support. The pinscreen naturally lends itself to morphing one image into another but within the confines of a fixed frame.

This exhibition is both a reflection on Lemieux’s practice and an introduction to her creative process, aiming to open a wider debate beyond the use of drawing in art making, and in film animation in particular, addressing the implications of the use of an archaic tool in contemporary art and design.

Andra Ursuţa: Alps
New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
April 27–June 16, 2016

The New Museum presents Alps, the first museum exhibition in New York of Andra Ursuţa.
Born in Romania in 1979, Ursuţa immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s, and yet many of the narrative facets of her upbringing, such as folk traditions and nationalist propaganda, remain evident throughout her work. Since her early practice, Ursuţa has used a fatalistic dark humor to expose power dynamics that inquire the vulnerability of the human body and examine modes of desire.

For her exhibition at the New Museum, Ursuţa debuts a new sculptural installation, Alps (2016), presented in dialogue with the artist’s recent sculptures, including her series Commerce Exterieur Mondial Sentimental (2012) and Whites (2015), which will have their American premiere in this show.

Alps evokes a specific geographical feature, Europe’s major natural barrier that has taken on a new significance in light of current efforts by migrants to cross into Western Europe. The installation seen alongside Whites—a squadron of forlorn obelisks patrolling the premises like ghosts of bygone imperialist ambitions—suggests a commentary on the impulse to guard and fortify borders.

Commerce Exterieur Mondial Sentimental (2012) includes life-sized marble figures adorned with coins glare. Informed by a socialist-realist aesthetic and inspired by a news image of a Roma woman being deported from France, these sculptures evoke lifeless women trapped in an economy in which the value of both human beings and commodities is determined by foreign powers.


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

May 2016

Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016
Hauser Wirth & Schimmel
901 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA
March 13–September 4, 2016

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opens its inaugural exhibition at its new Los Angeles space with Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016. On view is one hundred works made by thirty-four artists over the past seventy years. The show traces how women have “changed the course of art by deftly transforming the language of sculpture since the post war period.”

“Works on view reveal their makers inventing radically new forms and processes that privilege solo studio practice, tactility, and the idiosyncrasies of the artist’s own hand.” The exhibition explores a variety of artistic approaches such as stacking, hanging, and intertwining, examining the role of this work within current practices and expanded definitions of sculpture.

In addition to known artists from the prewar era to today, the exhibition contains commissioned works by a new generation of sculptors, including Phyllida Barlow, Karla Black, Abigail DeVille, Sonia Gomes, Rachel Khedoori, Laura Schnitger, Shinique Smith, Jessica Stockholder, and Kaari Upson.

“Perhaps most significant of all, the discreet human body—a central preoccupation of women abstract sculptors in earlier decades—has now disappeared. In its place, the artists in the final section of ‘Revolution in the Making’ offer an empty space for the viewer’s own body. Moving through, under, around, and within these new sculptures, the visitor becomes partner and participant in the continuing quest to articulate the female experience through art.”

The Sister Chapel: An Essential Feminist Collaboration
Rowan University Art Gallery at Westby Hall
201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, New Jersey
March 28–June 30, 2016

Rowan University Art Gallery presents The Sister Chapel, a series of paintings celebrating a “nonhierarchical, secular commemoration of female role models from a female perspective.” Originally conceived by Ilise Greenstein in 1974, The Sister Chapel, which takes its name from Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, was last show in 1980 before the pieces drifted into different collections.

The exhibition is presented for the first time in the initially conceived, twelve-sided fabric structure that was designed by the artist Maureen Conner and that includes work by twelve other women. Greenstein’s eighteen-foot abstract ceiling is suspended above a circular arrangement of eleven nine-foot canvases, each depicting a figure of a heroic women. The subjects of these portraits were determined by the individual artist: Bella Abzug – the Candidate, a portrait of the American Congresswoman and social reformer, painted by Alice Neel; Betty Friedan as the Prophet, a portrayal of the influential author of The Feminine Mystique, by June Blum; Marianne Moore, the American poet, by Betty Holliday; Frida Kahlo, the celebrated Mexican artist, by Shirley Gorelick; Artemisia Gentileschi, the seventeenth-century Italian Baroque artist, by May Stevens; Joan of Arc, the sainted fifteenth-century French military heroine, by Elsa M. Goldsmith; Lilith, the rebellious first wife of Adam, by Sylvia Sleigh; God, a female manifestation of the creator of the universe, by Cynthia Mailman; Durga, the powerful Hindu goddess, by Diana Kurz; Womanhero, a conceptual embodiment of female strength and power, by Martha Edelheit; and Self-Portrait as Superwoman (Woman as Culture Hero) by Sharon Wybrants.

The exhibition at Rowan is only the third time the individual components of this work has been shown together.

A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Northwestern University, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL
January 16–July 17, 2016

“This exhibition replaces the indelible image of Charlotte Moorman (1933–1991)—playing the cello topless save for a pair of strapped-on miniature television sets—with a more complex but equally powerful portrait of the girl from Little Rock, Arkansas, who metamorphosed into a seminal and barrier-breaking figure in performance art and an impresario of the postwar avant-garde.”

The Block Museum of Art transforms its two-story building, with its ground-floor gallery transformed into a double viewing room for screenings of videos, including rare footage from the Charlotte Moorman Archive. With loans from private collections, including that of Yoko Ono, the exhibition presents Moorman’s commitment to taking the avant-garde to the streets. Through an assortment of artworks, film clips, music scores, audio recordings, documentary photographs, snapshots, performance props and costumes, ephemera, and correspondence, Moorman’s career takes shape in full form.

“I have asked myself why Charlotte Moorman is largely missing from the narratives of 20th-century art,” says Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philips Katz Director and curator of modern and contemporary art. “She is mainly remembered as a muse to Nam June Paik, but she was much more. In light of her influence on contemporary performance and her role as an unequaled popularizer of the avant-garde it is long overdue for her to be appreciated as a seminal figure in her own right.”

The companion exhibition Don’t Throw Anything Out, the scope of the Charlotte Moorman Archive at Northwestern University is explored with selection of objects and media ranging from Moorman’s double-barreled, heavily notated Rolodex to audio recordings of greetings and voice messages saved from her telephone message machine.

A Feast of Astonishments will travel in fall 2016 to New York University’s Grey Art Gallery in Manhattan and to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Austria in spring 2017.

Teresa Jaynes: Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind
Library Company of Philadephia
1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
April 4–October 21, 2016

The Library Company’s Louise Lux-Sions and Harry Sions Gallery presents Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind, a multimedia exhibition of new works by the Philadelphia-based artist-in-residence Teresa Jaynes. Common Touch explores the nature, foundations, and limits of perception through the juxtaposition of Jaynes’s multisensory artwork—in which sight does not dominate—with historical materials documenting the education of visually impaired people in the nineteenth century. At its heart, Common Touch is the story of an artisan, a mathematician, a composer, and a surveyor. Drawing on their accomplishments, the artist developed “first person constructions” for each, infused with the geometric and abstract forms that were fundamental to the education of the blind in the nineteenth century. These forms were tools used to navigate and perceive the physical world—a radical approach years before the beginnings of modernism.

For more than twenty-five years, Jaynes has created installations and artist’s books based on extensive research in special collections and libraries, including the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Newberry Library. Common Touch follows The Moon Reader, Jaynes’s interactive art installation that invites participants to learn through touch a raised-letter writing system for the blind invented by the blind educator William Moon in 1845. Designed as a primer, the book begins with an exercise for learning Moon that is then followed by “lessons” related to geometry, geography, botany, and astronomy. The stories and diagrams are taken from the Michael Zinman Collection of Printing for the Blind at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

As in previous Jaynes’s research-based projects, through art and artifact, Common Touch examines transformations in our understanding of sight while exploring the nature and limits of perception. The experience as a whole is intended to expand the “readers” understanding of historical and contemporary connotations of sight through curiosity, humor, and empathy.

Claudia DeMonte, Sarah Hinckley, Hayv Kahraman, Toyin Odutola, Lisa Ruyter, and Laurie Simmons: Making her Mark
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT 06702
April 17–June 5, 2016

The Mattatuck Museum presents Making Her Mark, a multimedia exhibition of work by six female contemporary artists curated by Lauren P. Della Monica. The artists featured in the exhibition—Claudia DeMonte, Sarah Hinckley, Hayv Kahraman, Toyin Odutola, Lisa Ruyter, and Laurie Simmons—range from emerging talent to renowned international artists. Such diversity bears witness to their experiences as female artists over the past few decades in an art world often criticized for undervaluing the contributions of deserving women artists. Their professional successes are testament to their talents and are especially compelling at a time of heightened interest in women’s roles in the arts and their presence on the walls of museums.

This show includes a range of diverse work from abstract and representational paintings to drawings, sculpture, and photography created by artists at various stages of their careers, each of whom is making a significant contribution to the overall cannon of contemporary art, all making their marks as leaders in the field. These artists address their personal experiences and backgrounds through their work, drawing upon an array of geographic and cultural influences—such as DeMonte’s Italian American heritage, Odutola’s African and African American upbringing, Kahraman’s childhood in Iraq, or Hinckley’s New England roots—and presenting these influences with an understanding of their continuing impact on their work. Ruyter and Simmons document popular culture’s influence by transforming pop-culture images into works of fine art. Viewing this spectrum of work collectively allows the audience to form a broader view of the contemporary social context as the works themselves also address global issues such as feminism, cultural identity, and universalism.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Connecticut Community Foundation with promotional partnership from Saint Mary’s Hospital’s Spirit of Women program.

Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, Stephen Petronio: Ally
Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
April 21–July 31, 2016

The Fabric Workshop and Museum is presenting Ally, a series of works combining sculpture, installation, film, and performance created through the Artist-in-Residence Program. The art and dance project conceived and performed by Janine Antoni was initiated by herself in collaboration with the choreographer, theater, and community artist Anna Halprin and the pioneering choreographer Stephen Petronio.

In Ally, Antoni pursues her interest in bodily presence, touch, and movement through a series of unique collaborations in which the trio investigates the translation of ideas across forms and the vast potential that lies in their relations. The encounter between these artists from diverse practices and generations becomes a means of unearthing unknown affinities and historical entwinements, forging a new visual language and tactile experiences within processes of transformation.

Conceived by Antoni “as a kind of retrospective of my art making told through dance,” the project has evolved into a truly collaborative creation that allows the three artists to find a way to continue making new work while reflecting in their previous practices. The exhibition comprises four projects: Rope Dance, Swallow, The Courtesan and the Crone,and Paper Dance. Once a week for fourteen weeks Antoni will perform Paper Dance, an improvised movement performance that draws on images and concerns which have long preoccupied her as an artist. Antoni (born in the Bahamas, 1964) uses rolls of brown paper originally employed by Halprin (born in Winnetka, Illinois, 1920) in her seminal work Parades and Changes (1965). These performances take place within an installed arena of many wooden packing crates containing artworks by Antoni. Each iteration calls for Antoni to begin by unpacking one of her earlier works from a crate, whether it be a sculpture made of chocolate and soap like Lick and Lather (1993) or a photographic image like Mortar and Pestle (1999). Throughout the series of performances, a “retrospective” of Antoni’s previous works slowly emerges, remaining for a week, then disappearing as they are repacked into the installed crates.

Ally, in Petronio’s words, means a project “fundamentally about connection. And part of that is three distinct artistic languages coming together to meet in the gap between art and dance.”


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

April 2016

Sidsel Meineche Hansens

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, DICKGIRL 3D(X), 2016, CGI animation, HD video with sound, 3 min loop (artwork © Sidsel Meineche Hansen; photograph by Andy Keate)

Sidsel Meineche Hansen: ‘SECOND SEX WAR’
155 Vauxhall Street, London SE11 5RH, United Kingdom
March 17–May 29, 2016

Gasworks presents ‘SECOND SEX WAR’, a multidisciplinary solo exhibition by the London-based Danish artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen. Born in Denmark in 1981, Hansen has led a research-based practice rooted in the exploration of nervousness and the body and its industrial complex in what the artist refers to as a “techno-somatic variant of institutional critique.” The visual outcome includes woodcuts, sculptures, and CGI animations often made by combining her own low-tech manual craft with outsourced, skilled digital labor. Hansen’s research is not only manifested as exhibitions, but also as cross-disciplinary seminars and publications.

‘SECOND SEX WAR’ includes several new works commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with Trondheim Kunstmuseum and supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, including a pornographic CGI animation, a series of laser-cut drawings, and a large-scale ceramic relief.

Between them, the animation DICKGIRL 3D(X) is presented on a virtual-reality headset, appropriating hypersexualised 3D models, “genitalia props,” and readymade “pose sets” that have been used for animating sex scenes to critique posthuman porn production from within. Also included is the CGI animation No Right Way 2 Cum (2015) and the ceramic sculpture Cite Werkflow Ltd (2016), which expand on the artist’s investigation and commentary on commodity status of virtual 3D models in relation to gender.

The exhibition also features a large-scale clay relief Cultural Capital Cooperative Object, made in collaboration with the artists Manuela Gernedel, Alan Michael, Georgie Nettell, Oliver Rees, Matthew Richardson, Gili Tal, and Lena Tutunjian. ‘SECOND SEX WAR’ incorporates and reflects on the artist’s working relationships—with her friends, the avatar EVA 3.0, and digital arts studio Werkflow Ltd.

Rebecca Warren: Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) & The Main Feeling
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood, Dallas, TX 75201
March 13–July 17, 2016

The Dallas Museum of Art presents Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) & The Main Feeling, a commission and a sculpture survey by the British artist Rebecca Warren. Born in London in 1965, Warren is one of Britain’s most vital contemporary artists. Her restless and sometimes contradictory work challenges us to engage with the aesthetic conventions of an earlier generation of male sculptors through a freshly feminist sensibility.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the first US museum to commission a sculpture from Warren, representing also one of the first commissioned works by a living female artist to be installed at the entrance of an American museum. Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) is the inaugural sculpture in a series of site-specific works located in the museum’s new Eagle Family Plaza, to be unveiled this April. Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) refers to the dynamic, fluctuating relationship between art history’s most persistent binaries: male/female, high/low, old/new, Dionysus/Apollo, classic/grotesque.

To coincide with the installation of the first US museum–commissioned sculpture by Warren, the Dallas Museum of Art will present an exhibition of her work: Rebecca Warren: The Main. This survey of twenty works selected from ten years of sculptural innovations, from 2003 to the present, will include work from a pivotal transitional phase in the artist’s practice characterized by the emergence of an increasingly abstract style in her work, evidencing a distinct shift from her earlier use of softer materials such as clay to steel, and then to bronze, where the artist referenced the work of canonical male artists such as Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, and Willem de Kooning. From mystical prehistoric sources up to the present moment—Warren’s ambiguous, figurative forms disrupt entrenched notions of the classical ideal.

Edith Dekyndt: Indigenous Shadows
WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre
Av. Van Volxemlaan 354, 1190 Brussels, Belgium
February 2–April 24, 2016

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre presents Indigenous Shadows, the first major retrospective of the Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt. Through associations with material, environment, and support, Dekyndt (born Ypres, Belgium, 1960) designs complex forms and surfaces applying biochemical, organic, or nonorganic processes on unusual supports, combining the abstract and the concrete, the particular and the universal. Thus, her works in permanent transformation appeal to us through their strong material and corporeal character.

Dekyndt has approached her first retrospective creating a dialogue between new creations and already existing works, faithful to her practice of inhabiting an exhibition location and its environment and taking as a starting point its substances, materials, and specific elements. The environment she has constructed for WIELS has been freely organized according to the nature of the location—a former brewery—and consists of works based on copper, yeast, earth, water from the local river Senne, and bacteria used to brew the Brussels specialty beer, gueuze. In this way, she links the specificity of the site with the characteristics and general qualities of natural elements while forging connections between the particular and the universal, the concrete and the abstract.

The first floor welcomes visitors with a large surface of “domestic” dust, accompanied by a soundtrack with the song from a Native American rain dance. A carpet of dust collected at WIELS over the course of a year shines underneath a spotlight, which shifts like a shadow throughout the day. Following this nomadic, shifting frame the dust is meticulously brushed back under the light. This in-situ installation One Thousand and one Nights sets the tone for her first major retrospective in Brussels. On this carpet we are invited to enter her alchemist universe of projections, painterly abstracts and drawings, visual objects, and installations as embracing our permanent state of transformation.

Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson: Nothing Personal
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Through May 1, 2016

Nothing Personal, at the Art Institute of Chicago, presents works by three feminist artists, Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, and Lorna Simpson, in an exhibition “about the passage from personhood to persona.”

The piece The Fae Richards Archive is a culmination of Leonard’s meticulous work to create an archive around Fae Richards, a woman who did not exist. Instead, her persona exists through a mix of eighty-two publicity shots, film stills, and personal photographs that Leonard prints on historically appropriate papers. “The results show happiness tinged with melancholy and ask us to think about what it means to go through life behaving as a credible facsimile.”

In her well-known series Untitled Film Stills, Sherman enacts the role of actress during publicity shoots. While not re-creating any particular film or mimicking any particular actress, the artist stages scenes modeled on European art-house cinema, postwar genres, and female roles. “The characters weren’t just airhead accesses,” Sherman has said. “The clothes make them seem a certain way, but then you look at their expression and wonder if maybe ‘they’ are not what they clothes are communicating.”

Completing the triptych is Simpson’s video work Corridor, which features another accomplished female artist, Wangechi Mutu, playing the role of both a mid-nineteenth-century household servant or freed slave and a mid-twentieth century homeowner. In the video, the “two characters, each alone in her domestic world, bring these moments to life, moving in parallel or in tandem through their respective daily routines,” creating a dialogue across time. Accompanying the visuals is a soundtrack, composed by John Davis, with “echos of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ Chopinesque piano, New Orleans dirges, and free jazz.”

Laurie Simmons: In and Around the House
Addison Gallery of American Art
Phillips Academy, Corner of Route 28 [Main Street] and Chapel Avenue, Andover, MA
February 6–April 17, 2016

In In and Around the House (1976–78), Laurie Simmons pushed the boundaries of photography into the realm of Conceptual art, while focusing on stereotypical chores of a 1950s housewife. “I was simply trying to recreate a feeling, a mood … a sense of the Fifties that I knew was both beautiful and lethal at the same time,” Simmons said in describing the work.

The Addison recently acquired a complete set of fifty-nine photographs in Simmons’s series, created at the threshold of her career. “These poignant and melancholy black and white photographs reflect concerns and themes—artifice, and fiction, gender and identity, and memory and nostalgia—that continue to inform her work today.” The images reflect both an attention to the daily details of a housewife, as well as those of a photograph—whether through Simmons’s intentional use of lighting to cast shadows across the compositions or her shallow depth of field, directing attention.

In her photographs, the painstakingly wallpapered rooms are arranged with furniture, utensils, and other ephemera in a recognizable yet distinctly unnerving form. As the review in the Boston Globe by Mark Feeney commented, “Most unsettling of all is ‘Falling Off Chair,’ which shows a piece of furniture hanging on a tow truck hook—odd enough, but so far so good—near a doll lying on the ground: far too odd, and not good at all.” (February 17, 2016)

Sophie Barbasch’s: Training to Be a Girl
Avenida Central – Calle 11, San José, Costa Rica
March 3, 2016–onward

Now on view both at Despacio and online are two book sets by the New York photographer Sophie Barbasch who, among other artists, was invited to curate and create a selection of books in Despacio’s Library in Residence. The library is an “ever-evolving selection of artworks, artist books, and unique handmade publications that together not only reimagine ingrained librarian systems but also examine literature’s role in contemporary art.”

Barbasch began by asking men on Craigslist questions such as: “Are you lonely?” “Is there anything you’ve never told anyone?” “Tell me why I’m a good girl,” “Please send me a picture of your bed,” and “Please write me a love letter.”

The questions led to two projects, a six-book set called Hello I Am Lonely, and the ten-book set titled Training To Be A Girl. Both projects contain original photography generated from her questions posted on Craigslist as well as photographs taken from Chat Roulette, transcribed dreams, reprinted psychic readings, and pictures from ads on Craigslist of wedding rings and dresses for sale. The full PDF files of her work can be found at


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