CAA News Today

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

December 2015

Marks Made: Prints by American Women Artists from the 1960s to the Present
Museum of Fine Arts
255 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg, FL
October 17, 2015–January 24, 2016

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, presents Marks Made, examining women in printmaking. Featuring over 75 works, including those from the printmaking pioneers Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Anni Albers, the exhibition “conveys the breadth of innovation of both technique and conceptual approaches that have emerged in printmaking over the past 50 years.”

The exhibition draws on the private holdings and from the museum’s extensive collection of prints by American women, including Vija Celmins, Janet Fish, Ellen Gallagher, Yvonne Jacquette, Joyce Kozloff, Barbara Kruger, Hung Liu, Elizabeth Murray, Judy Pfaff, Susan Rothenberg, and Pat Steir. Limited-edition prints by the artists Elisabeth Condon and Jane Hammond were also created in collaboration with the University of South Florida and Bleu Acier Editions. Related programming events include film screenings, drawing workshops, and lectures.

“The printmaking process is an intensely collaborative one, between artist and printer. It is also a highly physical process, requiring strength, stamina, and technical prowess—Marks Made tells the story of what happens in the studio and the resulting artworks.” The themes of the exhibition vary from artist to artist and are loosely grouped, allowing interconnected exploration between themes of abstraction, realism, craft, appropriation strategies, and activism.

Linda Stein: The Fluidity of Gender
Noyes Museum of Art
Stockton University, 733 Lily Lake Road, Oceanville, NJ
September 21, 2015–January 3, 2016

The artist Linda Stein at the Noyes Museum of Art presents sculpture exploring “the continuum between the binaries of masculinity and femininity,” with her mixed-media figurative work. The leather and metal figures, along with use of pop0-cultural icons, embody both the essence of a warrior’s armor and comforting protection. Stein’s work concerns gender, oppression, bullying, strength, power, and justice in contemporary culture.

“My goal as an artist is to use my art to transform social consciousness and promote activism for gender justice,” Stein has said. “With my androgynous forms I invite the viewer to seek diversity in unpredictable ways, to ‘try on’ new personal avatars and self-definitions, knowing that every new experience changes the brain’s structure and inspires each of us toward a more authentic self.”

The tall, vertical sculptures of metal, wood, stones, leather, and images of Wonder Woman, among other materials, are wearable, body-swapping armor. “In my art,” Stein said in a June 2015 interview with A&U Magazine, “I place the female front and center for a social idealism that aims to transform violence, destruction, and fragility into strength for anyone who finds themselves bullied, harassed, or abused.” But while, the armor is distinctively female in many cases, with curves for hips and breasts, the body-swapping moment happens when a woman wears materials normally associated with male warrior attributes and a man wearing armor made to resemble a female form. Other creations by Stein, remain more androgynous, presenting what is normally associated as a male figure from behind, but female when viewed from the front.

what’s INSIDE HER never dies … a Black Woman’s Legacy
Yeelen Gallery
294 NW 54th Street, Miami, FL
December 1, 2015–February 28, 2016

Following Mariette Pathy Allen’s solo exhibition TransCuba, Yeelan Gallery continues its exhibition programming on gender with what’s INSIDE HER never dies … a Black Woman’s Legacy, in collaboration with Poets/Artists Magazine. The opening coincides with Art Basel Miami Beach. This group show features two images from Allen, as well as from twenty-four other artists and activists, including Sylvia Parker Maier, Tim Okamura, Joseph Adolphe, Jerome Siomaud, and Numa Perrier.

The exhibition showcases work in a variety of mediums—portraiture, drawing, photography, and installation—all seeking to “pay homage to the beauty and resiliency of the Black Woman,” said Karla Ferguson, the gallery owner and director. A reception for the artists will take place on Saturday, December 5, 2015, at 10:00 PM.

In her photographs, Allen gained access to photograph transgender peoples and friends in the privacy of their homes, as well as out in public during several visits to Cuba in 2012 and 2013. “The transgender people Allen depicts in TransCuba savor their new freedom to be able to be themselves publicly, while continuing to overcome challenges, such as health issues, and lack of steady work and money.”

In contrast, another artist in the exhibition, Judith Peck, often paints on broken plaster shards, “a world falling apart held together with the very same figure depicted within.” In her painting Pulled Over, a young woman sits in what appears to be the driver’s seat of a vehicle, her arm resting on the window and her head looking down, perhaps waiting. “The paintings are about the more universal message of meaning and preciousness of life healing a broken world.”

In addition to the exhibition, Yeelen Gallery will host a panel discussion at 1:00 PM on December 2, 2015, with Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, and Kadiatou Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo, who will share their stories and grief along with other activist women.

Ebony G. Patterson: Dead Treez
Museum of Art and Design
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

The Museum of Art and Design presents Dead Treez,the first solo New York museum show by the Jamaican-born artist Ebony G. Patterson. The exhibition, which spreads across the museum’s second floor, includes installations, floor tapestries, and a life-sized figural tableau of ten male mannequins dressed in a kaleidoscopic mix of floral fabrics.

Dead Treez is a meditation on dancehall fashion and culture, regarded as a celebration of the disenfranchised in postcolonial Jamaica. Borrowing from social media, her tapestries depict murder victims camouflaged in utterly adorned patterns to seduce viewers into witnessing the underreported brutality experienced by those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Furthermore, the artist fusions her collage sensibility with a selection of jewelry from the museum’s permanent collection, transforming the Tiffany Jewelry Gallery’s vitrines into gardenlike environment of poisonous plants, in which bodies wrapped in patterned fabrics have succumbed to the violence often present in marginalized communities. Here, Patterson addresses how choices in jewelry, clothing, or other forms of personal adornment are means of visibility of populations rendered invisible by poverty and racism. Noting that the names of impoverished communities in Jamaica often include the word “garden” in them, Patterson’s …buried again to carry on going… exacerbates the contrast between places that are designed to be about beauty, growth, life, and the hardships that are daily obstacles in her native country’s inner city.

Patterson, (b. 1981, Kingston, Jamaica) splits her time between Kingston and Lexington, Kentucky. Through her extremely adorned mixed-media installations, the artist seduces viewers, with the intention to challenge them to look closer. Throughout Dead Treez the artist explores and reflects on the concept of “visibility,” raising questions about body politics, performance of gender, gender and beauty, beauty and stereotyping, race and beauty, and body and ritual. Throughout this exhibition, Patterson suggests that the popularity of skin alteration, such as skin bleaching and tattooing, may mean a form of “erasure” motivated by the desire of presence rather than a simple adornment.

The Rocca Family Project

The Rocca Family (RTF) is an ongoing project located in the everyday gestures of togetherness. A togetherness that could be much broader than just two people, proposing not to separate art/work from daily life, while dreaming of not being attached. Defying the traditional concept of traditional family as a terrible structure that imposes the pressure to be happy and the feeling of shame otherwise, TRF proposes a series of moving spaces that encourage art to take on new forms and identities. One of its ongoing research projects, Family, is an examination of different family structures, dynamics, demands, and expectations, and in that offers a reflection of the reasons behind the strict assumption of the family as a core unit to community.

Named after a cat and with a base in San Francisco, TRF challenges also the identity of art, proposing “events” that are simply moments in the timeline of relationships: conversation, meals, and phone calls. Furthermore, displacement, transit, and immigration help form the core of TRF discussions, with a particular attention on personal politics and an international awareness, as well as a sensitivity for domestic, mundane, flashy, sustainable, and unexpected things.

As Amanda Eicher describes the prohect in Who is TRF Series, #1-b: “Round is another way to describe it—leaving the scientific and transportative world of paths, flights, lines, and planes, we can say that it is a space in which many people come around a table, and they are all not necessarily leading not following either but learning—all parts of something which turns or presses outward from a center to meet a margin-frontier. Or it might be they are pressing together from the outside.”

Women Speaking to Power: An Evening of Conversation with Tania Bruguera and Shirin Neshat

School of Visual Arts Theatre
333 West 23rd Street, New York, NY
December 11, 2015

Organized by SVA’s MA Curatorial Practice program, “Women Speaking to Power” will open a conversation between two of the most significant and influential international contemporary practicing today: Tania Bruguera and Shirin Neshat. They will speak with each other about their experiences as citizens and artists, reflecting on how their works approach to gender and politics in their respective homelands, Cuba and Iran, and beyond. This event, which starts at 7:00 PM, is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

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