CAA News Today

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

January 2016

Carolee Schneemann, Eye Body: 36 Transformative Actions for Camera, 1963, action in the artist’s studio, 122 West 29th Street, New York, NY, US, 18 gelatin silver prints, 24 x 20 in. each (61 x 50.8 cm), Edition (2008): 8 of 8 + 2 AP Courtesy of C. Schneemann and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, Photo: Erró © Carolee Schneemann, © Bildrecht, Wien, 2015, © Erró (*1932)

Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting
Museum der Moderne
Mönchsberg 32, 5020 Salzburg. Austria
November 21, 2015–February 28, 2016

Work by the groundbreaking artist Carolee Schneemann takes over two floors of the Museum der Moderne in the retrospective, Kinetic Painting. More than 350 works spanning six decades, some unseen before now, present Schneemann’s oeuvre from her early career in the 1950s through the present.

“Schneemann, as a pioneer of performance art, and her seminal engagement with gender, sexuality, and the use of the body, has been a major influence on generations of younger artists,” the museum explains. The works included in Kinetic Painting explore Schneemann’s Painting Constructions, her early use of movement, and her artistic contributions through experimental film, performance, and choreography. The exhibition also offers works on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, and the artist’s archives in the special collections of the Stanford University Libraries.

Through experimental work such as Fuses (1965) and Interior Scroll (1975/77) and her pioneering “kinetic theater” piece Meat Joy (1964), Scheenmann focuses on the female body in context, while exploring sexual pleasure. In Interior Scroll, she pulls a paper scroll from her vagina “inch by inch” and reads a monologue decrying the sexism and disparagement that women confront in the worlds of art and experimental film.

The exhibition catalogue, Carolee Schneemann. Kinetic Painting I Carolee Schneemann. Kinetische Malerei, is available in English and German. Edited by Sabine Breitwieser for the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, the book includes essays by Breitwieser, Branden W. Joseph, Mignon Nixon, Ara Osterweil, and Judith Rodenbeck, as well as selected writings by the artist.

Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East (Parts One and Two)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Part One: February 1, 2015–January 3, 2016
Part Two: January 24, 2016–ongoing

The two-part exhibition Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East features LACMA’s growing collection of Islamic art. Part one focuses on twenty-five works from artists from Iran and the Arab world, including Shirin Neshat, Susan Huefana, Lalla Essaydi, Mitra Tabrizian, Mona Hautoum, Hassan Hajjaj, Wafaa Bilal, Barbad Golshiri, and Youssef Nabil, among others.

The exhibition explores the creative connections between the past, present, and future in Islamic art as artists draw inspiration from their own cultural traditions played out through each artist’s techniques and mediums. Among the works on display is Neshat’s photograph Speechless (1996) from her Women of Allah series. The photograph depicts a woman dressed in a black chador with a gun poking out from the folds and directionally toward the camera. Neshat then uses ink to inscribe Persian texts across the image.

“The Western view is that Iranian women or Muslim women are very repressed, but the reality is that in my country, women are far more radical and rebellious than men are,” Neshat says in an interview with the Washington Post on May 21, 2015. “My work is an allegorical sort of remark on the reality as I see it, as I feel it.”

The exhibition’s second part begins in late January and will feature artists from Turkey and Azerbaijan, such as Shoja Azari, Lulwah Al Homoud, Burhan Doǧançay, Fereydoun Ave, Shirin Guirguis, Newsha Tavakolian, Shadi Ghadirian, Hassan Hajjaj, Ahmed Mater, and Faig Ahmed, among others.

Us is Them
Pizzuti Gallery
632 North Park Street, Columbus, OH 43215
September 18, 2015–April 2, 2016

Us is Them at the Pizzuti Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, presents seventy-five paintings, sculpture, photographs, and video by forty-two international artists, including Carrie Mae Weems, Shirin Neshat, Michalene Thomas, and Kara Walker, among others. All works belong to the private collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti.

According to the gallery, “the exhibition is organized to reflect timely and potent issues of social justice and current affairs across the world,” where artists create “enlightening and thoughtful works that challenge and rearrange stale notions of identity and obsolete notions of difference.”

Through presenting aspects of the common human condition through the distinct styles and mediums of each artist, the gallery creates a connection to the title, “us” is “them,” and “our shared human condition and our hope for social justice no matter who or where we are.”

Presented among the work is the Iraqi-born artist Hayv Kahraman’s Kawliya.2 (2014), depicting a woman in a boldly patterned dress, arms uncovered and hair flying. In Slow Fade to Black, Set II (2009–10) by Weems, seventeen photographs of African American women—female performers who remain underrecognized despite their achievements—present moments of glamour, entertainment, and civic engagement. The images, however, are out of focus, with many details lost. “Slow Fade to Black is a celebration but also a warning—that we must stop the established historical pattern of diminishing the significant contributions of women and particularly African American women.”

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