CAA News Today
Committee on Women in the Arts Picks for April 2016
posted by CAA — Apr 15, 2016
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.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen: ‘SECOND SEX WAR’
155 Vauxhall Street, London SE11 5RH, United Kingdom
March 17–May 29, 2016
Gasworks presents ‘SECOND SEX WAR’, a multidisciplinary solo exhibition by the London-based Danish artist Sidsel Meineche Hansen. Born in Denmark in 1981, Hansen has led a research-based practice rooted in the exploration of nervousness and the body and its industrial complex in what the artist refers to as a “techno-somatic variant of institutional critique.” The visual outcome includes woodcuts, sculptures, and CGI animations often made by combining her own low-tech manual craft with outsourced, skilled digital labor. Hansen’s research is not only manifested as exhibitions, but also as cross-disciplinary seminars and publications.
‘SECOND SEX WAR’ includes several new works commissioned by Gasworks in partnership with Trondheim Kunstmuseum and supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, including a pornographic CGI animation, a series of laser-cut drawings, and a large-scale ceramic relief.
Between them, the animation DICKGIRL 3D(X) is presented on a virtual-reality headset, appropriating hypersexualised 3D models, “genitalia props,” and readymade “pose sets” that have been used for animating sex scenes to critique posthuman porn production from within. Also included is the CGI animation No Right Way 2 Cum (2015) and the ceramic sculpture Cite Werkflow Ltd (2016), which expand on the artist’s investigation and commentary on commodity status of virtual 3D models in relation to gender.
The exhibition also features a large-scale clay relief Cultural Capital Cooperative Object, made in collaboration with the artists Manuela Gernedel, Alan Michael, Georgie Nettell, Oliver Rees, Matthew Richardson, Gili Tal, and Lena Tutunjian. ‘SECOND SEX WAR’ incorporates and reflects on the artist’s working relationships—with her friends, the avatar EVA 3.0, and digital arts studio Werkflow Ltd.
Rebecca Warren: Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) & The Main Feeling
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood, Dallas, TX 75201
March 13–July 17, 2016
The Dallas Museum of Art presents Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) & The Main Feeling, a commission and a sculpture survey by the British artist Rebecca Warren. Born in London in 1965, Warren is one of Britain’s most vital contemporary artists. Her restless and sometimes contradictory work challenges us to engage with the aesthetic conventions of an earlier generation of male sculptors through a freshly feminist sensibility.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the first US museum to commission a sculpture from Warren, representing also one of the first commissioned works by a living female artist to be installed at the entrance of an American museum. Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) is the inaugural sculpture in a series of site-specific works located in the museum’s new Eagle Family Plaza, to be unveiled this April. Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) refers to the dynamic, fluctuating relationship between art history’s most persistent binaries: male/female, high/low, old/new, Dionysus/Apollo, classic/grotesque.
To coincide with the installation of the first US museum–commissioned sculpture by Warren, the Dallas Museum of Art will present an exhibition of her work: Rebecca Warren: The Main. This survey of twenty works selected from ten years of sculptural innovations, from 2003 to the present, will include work from a pivotal transitional phase in the artist’s practice characterized by the emergence of an increasingly abstract style in her work, evidencing a distinct shift from her earlier use of softer materials such as clay to steel, and then to bronze, where the artist referenced the work of canonical male artists such as Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, and Willem de Kooning. From mystical prehistoric sources up to the present moment—Warren’s ambiguous, figurative forms disrupt entrenched notions of the classical ideal.
Edith Dekyndt: Indigenous Shadows
WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre
Av. Van Volxemlaan 354, 1190 Brussels, Belgium
February 2–April 24, 2016
WIELS Contemporary Art Centre presents Indigenous Shadows, the first major retrospective of the Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt. Through associations with material, environment, and support, Dekyndt (born Ypres, Belgium, 1960) designs complex forms and surfaces applying biochemical, organic, or nonorganic processes on unusual supports, combining the abstract and the concrete, the particular and the universal. Thus, her works in permanent transformation appeal to us through their strong material and corporeal character.
Dekyndt has approached her first retrospective creating a dialogue between new creations and already existing works, faithful to her practice of inhabiting an exhibition location and its environment and taking as a starting point its substances, materials, and specific elements. The environment she has constructed for WIELS has been freely organized according to the nature of the location—a former brewery—and consists of works based on copper, yeast, earth, water from the local river Senne, and bacteria used to brew the Brussels specialty beer, gueuze. In this way, she links the specificity of the site with the characteristics and general qualities of natural elements while forging connections between the particular and the universal, the concrete and the abstract.
The first floor welcomes visitors with a large surface of “domestic” dust, accompanied by a soundtrack with the song from a Native American rain dance. A carpet of dust collected at WIELS over the course of a year shines underneath a spotlight, which shifts like a shadow throughout the day. Following this nomadic, shifting frame the dust is meticulously brushed back under the light. This in-situ installation One Thousand and one Nights sets the tone for her first major retrospective in Brussels. On this carpet we are invited to enter her alchemist universe of projections, painterly abstracts and drawings, visual objects, and installations as embracing our permanent state of transformation.
Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson: Nothing Personal
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Through May 1, 2016
Nothing Personal, at the Art Institute of Chicago, presents works by three feminist artists, Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, and Lorna Simpson, in an exhibition “about the passage from personhood to persona.”
The piece The Fae Richards Archive is a culmination of Leonard’s meticulous work to create an archive around Fae Richards, a woman who did not exist. Instead, her persona exists through a mix of eighty-two publicity shots, film stills, and personal photographs that Leonard prints on historically appropriate papers. “The results show happiness tinged with melancholy and ask us to think about what it means to go through life behaving as a credible facsimile.”
In her well-known series Untitled Film Stills, Sherman enacts the role of actress during publicity shoots. While not re-creating any particular film or mimicking any particular actress, the artist stages scenes modeled on European art-house cinema, postwar genres, and female roles. “The characters weren’t just airhead accesses,” Sherman has said. “The clothes make them seem a certain way, but then you look at their expression and wonder if maybe ‘they’ are not what they clothes are communicating.”
Completing the triptych is Simpson’s video work Corridor, which features another accomplished female artist, Wangechi Mutu, playing the role of both a mid-nineteenth-century household servant or freed slave and a mid-twentieth century homeowner. In the video, the “two characters, each alone in her domestic world, bring these moments to life, moving in parallel or in tandem through their respective daily routines,” creating a dialogue across time. Accompanying the visuals is a soundtrack, composed by John Davis, with “echos of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ Chopinesque piano, New Orleans dirges, and free jazz.”
Laurie Simmons: In and Around the House
Addison Gallery of American Art
Phillips Academy, Corner of Route 28 [Main Street] and Chapel Avenue, Andover, MA
February 6–April 17, 2016
In In and Around the House (1976–78), Laurie Simmons pushed the boundaries of photography into the realm of Conceptual art, while focusing on stereotypical chores of a 1950s housewife. “I was simply trying to recreate a feeling, a mood … a sense of the Fifties that I knew was both beautiful and lethal at the same time,” Simmons said in describing the work.
The Addison recently acquired a complete set of fifty-nine photographs in Simmons’s series, created at the threshold of her career. “These poignant and melancholy black and white photographs reflect concerns and themes—artifice, and fiction, gender and identity, and memory and nostalgia—that continue to inform her work today.” The images reflect both an attention to the daily details of a housewife, as well as those of a photograph—whether through Simmons’s intentional use of lighting to cast shadows across the compositions or her shallow depth of field, directing attention.
In her photographs, the painstakingly wallpapered rooms are arranged with furniture, utensils, and other ephemera in a recognizable yet distinctly unnerving form. As the review in the Boston Globe by Mark Feeney commented, “Most unsettling of all is ‘Falling Off Chair,’ which shows a piece of furniture hanging on a tow truck hook—odd enough, but so far so good—near a doll lying on the ground: far too odd, and not good at all.” (February 17, 2016)
Sophie Barbasch’s: Training to Be a Girl
Avenida Central – Calle 11, San José, Costa Rica
March 3, 2016–onward
Now on view both at Despacio and online are two book sets by the New York photographer Sophie Barbasch who, among other artists, was invited to curate and create a selection of books in Despacio’s Library in Residence. The library is an “ever-evolving selection of artworks, artist books, and unique handmade publications that together not only reimagine ingrained librarian systems but also examine literature’s role in contemporary art.”
Barbasch began by asking men on Craigslist questions such as: “Are you lonely?” “Is there anything you’ve never told anyone?” “Tell me why I’m a good girl,” “Please send me a picture of your bed,” and “Please write me a love letter.”
The questions led to two projects, a six-book set called Hello I Am Lonely, and the ten-book set titled Training To Be A Girl. Both projects contain original photography generated from her questions posted on Craigslist as well as photographs taken from Chat Roulette, transcribed dreams, reprinted psychic readings, and pictures from ads on Craigslist of wedding rings and dresses for sale. The full PDF files of her work can be found at http://sophiebarbasch.com/pdfs-of-books-with-full-text/.