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CWA Picks for June 2017

posted by June 09, 2017

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed.

Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play; Playground of My Mind
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY
February 18–July 2, 2017

In her first major museum retrospective, artist Julia Jacquette unveils two exhibitions, Unrequited and Acts of Play and Playground of My Mind, at the Wellin Museum of Art in Clinton, New York. Curated by Tracy L. Adler, the Johnson-Pote Director of the Wellen Museum, Unrequited focuses on commercialized objects of desire, “exposing our seemingly insatiable longing for the ideal.” Known for taking her inspiration from cookbooks and contemporary food magazines, Jacquette presents “these material trappings … often close up, in crisply detailed paintings that both profess and resent such desires and the complications they present personally, socially, and culturally.”

“I feel the gender of food is an under discussed topic. The kind of food images I use are a kind of highly styled food, that I think was and is targeted at women—food that looks like it is achieving a kind of domestic perfection,” Jaquette said in an interview with Maxwell Williams.

Running simultaneously, Playground of My Mind is a graphic memoir based on the “adventure playgrounds” of New York City and Amsterdam during the 1970s. “These structures encouraged constructive, imaginative play and gave renewed life to utopian notions of American and European modernist architecture.” Jacquette’s father codesigned one for Central Park. The body of work, comprised of gouache drawings and an illustrated artist book, explores their influence on Jaquette’s aesthetic.

The exhibit also includes space for community-organized, play-oriented projects based on the project. A schedule is available online.

Michelle Vosper: Creating Across Cultures: Women in the Arts from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan
Book
ISBN9789881604705
Released February 2017 by Muse Press

Creating Across Cultures: Women in the Arts from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan presents essays by journalists, scholars, and artists celebrate the artistic achievements of sixteen visionary women. Edited by Michelle Vosper, formerly the Asian Cultural Council Representative, the 360-page, hardback book profiles contemporary artists such as Yin Xiuzhen 尹秀珍, visual artist, and Lulu Hou 侯淑姿, photographic artist.

“These courageous women often had to defy cultural expectations in order to heed their artistic drive. Their artworks delve into the social realities of their times, and their personal stories provide an intimate portrait of the historical trajectory of Greater China over three generations.”

Other artists profiled include Nieh Hualing 聶華苓, author; Liao Wen 廖雯, art critic and curator; Candace Chong 莊梅岩, playwright; Choi Yan Chi 蔡仞姿 , artist and educator; Jaffa Lam 林嵐, installation artist; Yang Lina 楊荔鈉, filmmaker; Bun-Ching Lam 林品晶, composer; Wang Xinxin 王心心, Nanguan performer; Tian Mansha 田蔓莎, Sichuan Opera performer; Wu Na 巫娜, guqin musician; Yang Meiqi 楊美琦, modern dance pioneer; Pisui Ciyo 碧斯蔚 .梓佑, dancer/choreographer/vocalist; Mui Cheuk Yin 梅卓燕, dancer/choreographer; and Wen Hui 文慧, dancer/choreographer.

The essay authors include Liza Bielby, Christina Yuen Zi Chung, Samantha Culp, Valerie C. Doran, Jennifer Feeley, Georg Kochi, Tina Li Ying Ma, Terry O’Reilly, Ralph Samuelson, Clare Tyrrell-Morin, and Sasha Su-Ling Welland.

Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA
April 8–August 7, 2017

Last year, Julia Meltzer (curator and director of the Clockshop) invited twelve artists and writers to mine the archives of Pasadena-based sci-fi writer Octavia E. Butler, who had passed away some ten years before. Because Butler gave her archive to the Huntington, much of the research for the new works and writings occasioned by Meltzer’s show happened in the Huntington’s library. Entitled Radio Imagination, that exhibition was a meditation on some of the key themes in Butler’s works (disenfranchisement, survival, the power of the mind) as well as the tricky business of re-presenting stories, documents, and a life that remains under recognized.

Now the Huntington has entered the fray with their own exhibition, this one tightly focused on the contents of Butler’s archives. It includes some of the early writings (and a really wonderful drawing of two horses) the author composed while still a child, as well as drafts of books and stories. Butler had a habit of color coding her documents, making notes with brightly colored highlighters—so these pieces of paper often have a striking visual quality. But it is the words, the prose, and the bare-bones reflections of an author working arduously to always do better that are really the stars here. In a letter sent to her mother from a pit of despair while at (what would be the first of many visits to) the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Workshop, Butler beats herself up for being blocked, and for not getting more accomplished. For a writer who was fairly private while she lived, these documents can be a revelation regarding the vulnerabilities of process, the messiness of affect, and the rigor of a brilliant mind and storyteller.

Pia Camil: Bara Bara Bara
Dallas Contemporary
161 Glass Street, Dallas, TX
April 8–August 20, 2017

“Bara! Bara! Bara!” is the cry that vendedores make in the markets in Itzapalapa, one of the sixteen boroughs of Mexico City, to lure in buyers with the promise of cheap (“barato”) goods. For her solo exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary, Mexico-based artist Pia Camil transforms some of the most ubiquitous materials from these markets, T-shirts, into expansive fields of color. These shirts are often made in Mexico (and many other countries outside the US), sold to US consumers, and then, after trickling through second-hand stores, they are eventually shipped by the tonnage back to Mexico and Central America, where they are sold to new markets. The global circuit of vestments is well-trod ground in contemporary art, one example being Shinique Smith’s Bale Variants series (2009–14). But Camil’s project is differently expansive, both formally and conceptually.

Suspended from the vast ceiling of the Dallas Contemporary’s warehouselike space, Camil’s t-shirt sheets look like low-hanging clouds, droopy body parts (bellies, breasts, asses), or, in a call-back to the site of acquisition, the informal coverings of outdoor markets. Because each of these works is called Divisor Pirata, they bear some relation to Lygia Pape’s Divisor, first performed in 1967–68. In that performance, participants from the streets of Rio de Janeiro filled in the holes of a large white piece of fabric and then travelled as a communal body through the streets. Indeed, Camil’s sheets are full-up with performance potential: viewers are invited to stick their heads through the neck holes, thus changing their perspective and relationship to these forms. What once operated like a covering now functions as a shifting new ground, rolling and roiling.

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052
April 21–September 17, 2017

After almost fifty years after the groundbreaking show of contemporary black women artists, Where We At, the Brooklyn Museum has organized a landmark exhibition to honor and extend the work of these art activists. As its organizers proudly proclaim, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 “is the first exhibition to highlight the voices and experiences of women of color—distinct from the primarily white, middle-class mainstream feminist movement—in order to reorient conversations around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history in this significant historical period.” Featuring a wide array of media—film, performance, conceptual and video art, as well as painting, sculpture, photography, and print media—We Wanted a Revolution captures the energy and vitality of these critical interventions into the art practices of this formative era. Simply put, this exhibition is a must-see.

The artists represented in the exhibition include Emma Amos, Camille Billops, Kay Brown, Vivian E. Browne, Linda Goode Bryant, Beverly Buchanan, Carole Byard, Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ayoka Chenzira, Christine Choy and Susan Robeson, Blondell Cummings, Julie Dash, Pat Davis, Jeff Donaldson, Maren Hassinger, Janet Henry, Virginia Jaramillo, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Lisa Jones, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Dindga McCannon, Barbara McCullough, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Alva Rogers, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.

The exhibition is accompanied by a sourcebook, edited by Catherine Morris and Rujeko Hockley and published by Duke University Press, which reprints important essays, correspondence, critiques, and manifestoes from key figures in this movement. Authors include Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Lucy R. Lippard, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Lowery Stokes Sims, Alice Walker, Michelle Wallace, and others.

Peju Alatise: Flying Girls, Nigerian Pavilion, 57th Venice Biannale
Scoletta dei Battioro e dei Tiraoro
Campo San Stae, 1980 30135, Venice, Italy
May 13–November 26, 2017

In this historic exhibition, the first-ever Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biannale, artist Peju Alatise takes the theme “How About NOW?” seriously. Her contribution to the Nigerian pavilion is an installation titled Flying Girls. Made over a three-year period from 2013–16, it is composed of eight black-painted and life-sized figures of girls, standing in a circle, who appear to have sprouted wings. Above them hovers a flock of birds. The work is a clear reference to the ongoing kidnapping and sexual enslavement of the Nigerian girls by Boko Haram. Flying Girls alludes to a character in one of Alatise’s books, a Yoruban girl who has been sold into domestic servitude and who dreams she belongs to no one but herself and can escape her imprisonment through flight.

Alatise, who was trained as an architect and is a renowned poet and novelist as well as a visual artist, is committed to producing works that addresses the social, political, and gender issues facing her country, with particular attention to what womanhood means within these contemporary contexts. She said this of her contribution to the Nigerian Pavilion: “I thought I would give a voice to the most vulnerable, which is the young black girl—especially in Nigeria,” she says. “It’s not necessarily focusing on that label, but the vulnerability of the girl child and the fact we do not have the government, cultural knowledge and aspiration to do something to help the girl child.”

Filed under: Committees, CWA Picks, Exhibitions — Tags:

CWA Picks for May 2017

posted by May 01, 2017

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed. 

Louise Lawler: A Movie Will Be Shown Without a Picture
Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53 Street, New York, NY
May 2 and 10, 2017

Marquee for A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture, Aero Theatre, Santa Monica, California, December 7, 1979 (photograph by Louise Lawler)

An appropriately deadpan announcement, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for Louise Lawler’s cinematic event A Movie Will Be Shown Without A Picture (1979), reproduced the work’s title on a flat black card. Indeed, this is what viewers to the Aeron Theater in Santa Monica would have encountered on the night of Lawler’s event: a film shown without its flickering image. We might understand Lawler’s gesture as a riposte to Laura Mulvey’s influential text “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” published five years before in the British film journal Screen. The filmic performance deprives audiences of the picture of the chosen film (the film changes with each iteration), instead asking them to rely on sound and soundtrack. Thus viewers are left to imagine and project their own fantasies (if they haven’t seen the film) or cobble together their memories of the film (if they have). As an arm of the programming for Louise Lawler’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, A Movie Will Be Shown Without a Picture will be screened two times.

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
Project Row Houses
2521 Holman St., Houston, TX
March 25–June 4, 2017

Usually the curatorial and programming staff at Project Row Houses determine a theme and invite a series of artists to make installations and public programming inside the block of row houses in Houston’s Third Ward. This time Public Art Director Ryan Dennis and artist Simone Leigh cocurated the round to be exclusively for Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, a collective group that Leigh founded during her residency at the New Museum last year, and which now has chapters in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Performances, installations, platforms for dialogue and activation—these are the things that tie Project Row Houses and Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter together. What began with an incubation period to get Houston’s chapter of BWA for BLM started, and was inaugurated with a processional performance, is now a full-tilt community platform for building generative ideas and actions for entering into the movement. As if to sum up the sentiments of the current round, one of the row houses is emblazoned with a supergraphic of the following sentiment: “YOU’VE GOTTA LOVE US OR LEAVE US ALONE.” 

Katharina Fritsch: Multiples
Walker Art Museum
725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 11–October 15, 2017

Katharina Fritsch’s sculpture, which seeks to defamiliarize the familiar and query the boundaries between the natural and the symbolic, will be on view at the Walker Art Museum for the next several months. Animals, religious figurines, body parts, and other objects drawn from the history and fairy tales of her native Germany take one new meanings when color, scale, and materials of everyday objects are altered. The show will include some forty objects, ranging from her early work as a student to her more recent pieces, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection. Katharina Fritsch: Multiples is a companion exhibition to the installation of her monumental, ultramarine blue Hahn/Cock in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in June. Described by the artist as “a feminist sculpture,” this work was first displayed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in the summer of 2013.

Musée Camille Claudel
Musée Camille Claudel
10, rue Gustave Flaubert, 10 400 Nogent-sur-Seine, France
Opened March 26, 2017

At long last, the beloved nineteenth-century French sculptor and feminist art icon Camille Claudel is receiving her due with a museum devoted to her work. Located in the small town of Nogent-sur-Seine, the Musée Camille Claudel is built around the family home where she spent her early adolescence. After a temporary exhibition of her work in 2003 brought over forty thousand visitors to Nogent-sur-Seine (pop. 6,000), it was determined that a museum dedicated to its most famous resident was in order. The Musée Camille Claudel now houses the world’s largest collection of the sculptor’s work. Visitors, who will be gratified to see such well-known pieces as The Waltz and The Gossips, will also be able to discover similarly remarkable works such as Abandon and Fortune. It takes under an hour by train to reach Nogent-sur-Seine from Paris. 

Power: Work by African American Women from the Nineteenth Century to Now
Sprüth Magers
5900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
March 29–June 10, 2017

The exhibition Power at Sprüth Magers features thirty-seven African American women artists from the nineteenth century until now. Works span fine-art and folk-art traditions covering multiple mediums, including painting, photography, video, sculpture, and installation. The title of the exhibition takes its name from a 1970 gospel song by Sister Gertrude Morgan, a self-taught, musician, poet, artist, and preacher. The works, engaging in issues of race, gender, and class, trace the threads of the craft-based folk traditions to a newer, academically trained generation of artists, depicting the “struggle to establish themselves as equal players on the uneven field of the American republic.”

In a review of the show published in the Los Angeles Times on April 11, 2017, the author Leah Ollman writes, “Artists here treat the physical body and the emblematic body of the nation as contested sites. Historical trauma persists within both, and both serve as ready—if not always willing—vehicles for self-determination.”

Artists in the exhibition, which was curated by Todd Levin, include: Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, Sonya Clark, Renee Cox, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Karon Davis, Minnie Evans, Nona Faustine, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ellen Gallagher, Leslie Hewitt, Clementine Hunter, Steffani Jemison, Jennie C. Jones, Simone Leigh, Julie Mehretu, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Sondra Perry, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Joyce J. Scott, Emmer Sewell, Ntozake Shange, Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Renee Stout, Mickalene Thomas, Alma Woodsey Thomas, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Kara Walker, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Carrie Mae Weems, and Brenna Youngblood.

Power will also include an installation of over one hundred African American vernacular photographs from the early twentieth century on loan from the Ralph DeLuca Collection. They offer a diverse view into everyday lives of African American women, from images of positive change to difficult scenes of negative stereotyping and violence. Offered as an exhibition-within-an-exhibition, these images from a century ago encourage reflection upon the continued struggles of black lives in America today.

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85
Brooklyn Museum
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia Gallery of Contemporary Art, Fourth Floor, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
April 21–September 17, 2017

The exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 explores the intersections of avant-garde art worlds, radical political movements, and profound social change through photography, sculpture, printmaking, photography, performance, film, and video. Examining the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism, this exhibition is the first “to highlight the voices and experiences of women of color—distinct from the primarily white, middle-class mainstream feminist movement—in order to reorient conversations around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history in this significant historical period.”

The artists represented in the exhibition include: Emma Amos, Camille Billops, Kay Brown, Vivian E. Browne, Linda Goode Bryant, Beverly Buchanan, Carole Byard, Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ayoka Chenzira, Christine Choy and Susan Robeson, Blondell Cummings, Julie Dash, Pat Davis, Jeff Donaldson, Maren Hassinger, Janet Henry, Virginia Jaramillo, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Lisa Jones, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Dindga McCannon, Barbara McCullough, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Alva Rogers, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.

A host of events accompanied the exhibition. In addition to the DJ reception on April 20, which paid tribute to the revolutionary music of black women, the week-long opening celebration also included a symposium on April 21, a Julie Dash film marathon on April 22, and a Black Lunch Table on April 23.

We Wanted a Revolution, organized by Catherine Morris, Sackler Family Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and Rujeko Hockley, former assistant curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum, is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong series of exhibitions celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

CWA Picks for April 2017

posted by March 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invitation for Kate Kretz’s #bullyculture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filed under: Committees, CWA Picks, Exhibitions

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

March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suor Plautilla Nelli, Lamentation with Saints (1550)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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.

February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

January 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt
t
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
S.M.A.K. 
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
Book
Available from New Village Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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
Book
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.

 

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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.

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
Gasworks
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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