CAA Commons      Annual Conference    
Join Now      Log In

CAA News Today

CWA Picks for March 2020

posted by March 12, 2020

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for March below.

Lygia Clark, The Violoncellist (O Violoncelista), 1951
Oil on canvas, 105.5 x 81 cm
Private Collection
© Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

Lygia Clark: Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958

Guggenheim Bilbao
March 6 – May 24, 2020

This important exhibition examines the formative investigations of Lygia Clark (b. 1920, Belo Horizonte–d. 1988, Rio de Janeiro), the pioneering Brazilian artist and founding member of the avant-garde Grupo Frente in Rio de Janeiro, and places significant chronological emphasis on her primary transition from figuration to abstraction and major series of geometric and concrete abstractions between 1948-1958.  The exhibition traces the artist’s evolution in three organized sections: “The Early Years, 1948-1952”; “Geometric Abstraction, 1953-56”; and “Variation of Form: Modulating Space, 1957-58”.  In 1956, Clark delivered a keynote lecture and spoke of painting as an “experimental field.”  In her early experiments, she liberated the painting’s frame and explored space as an “organic and spatial line.”  Clark envisioned spatial divisions as elastic and indeterminate and reinvigorated the pure grid of Neo-Plasticism through bodily and “vital” surfaces, a process of restructuring the plane of the canvas as a locus of exchange with the viewer.  While much scholarly attention has been granted to her later therapeutic practices, Painting as an Experimental Field traces her formal painterly principles and early constructivist influences, ideas that will develop and mature in her profound contribution to Brazilian Neo-Concretism.

Gendering Protest: Deborah Castillo and Érika Ordosgoitti

Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Rutgers University – Mabel Smith Douglass Library,New Brunswick, New Jersey
January 21 – April 3, 2020

The exhibition features the work of two exiled Venezuelan artists, Deborah Castillo and Érika Ordosgoitti, who respond to the increasingly repressive government of Venezuela and question the rising nationalism, economic inequality, and worsening social problems. It is part of the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series and hosted by the Mabel Smith Douglass Library, the oldest continuous running exhibition space in the United States showcasing the work of emerging and established contemporary women artists. Castillo’s and Ordosgoitti’s artistic practice could be described as performance of protest. The female body featured in their work is imbued with agency and is able to effect social change. Their performative acts of disobedience and feminist social protests activate the body to challenge Venezuelan political regime and the country’s heteronormative patriarchal culture and canonical aesthetics.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for CAA 2020

posted by February 05, 2020

In lieu of the Committee on Women in the Arts’ monthly write ups on select exhibitions, programs and scholarship that explore gender issues, feminist practices and the work of women artists from around the world and the United States, this month’s picks will focus on local highlights during the 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago.

Among them we would like to highlight the performance program curated by Out of Site Chicago for CWA’s Reception at HAUS and the Hokin Gallery, Columbia College Chicago during CAA 2020 on Thursday February 13. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

The evening celebrates the centennial of US women’s suffrage and the 50%  women-centered content of this year’s conference, marking this monumental occasion while also acknowledging the discriminatory practices that limited voting rights for indigenous women and women of color, even after the passage of the 19th amendment. Seeking to extend conversations on gender, race, class and equality from a local and transnational perspective in light of the fraught history of inclusion in the US and this CWA-spearheaded initiative, Out of Site brings together two riveting, thought-provoking performances by Chicago-based artists Wannapa P-Eubanks and Alexandria Eregbu.

The 50/50 initiative’s spirit and the critical commemoration of US women’s suffrage underpin also several of the participatory projects and workshops of the 2020 ARTexchange program and exhibition that can be also explored during the CWA Reception. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 19th-century women’s suffrage address “Solitude of Self” is, for instance, the focus of Carol Flueckiger’s drawing workshop Solitude of Selfie, while the underside of the movement is addressed in UNDERBELLY, a participatory performance by Jennifer Natalya Fink and Julie Laffin. Click here to participate in this modern suffragette parade. For complete list of artists and workshops of 2020 ARTexchange click here.

CWA PICKS FOR CAA 2020 IN CHICAGO

Woman Made Gallery 

Woman Made Gallery is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization founded in 1992. Its goal is to cultivate, promote and support the work of female-identified artists by providing exhibition opportunities, professional development, and public programs that invite discussion about what feminism means today.
Link

Vaginal Davis as G.B. Jones in Beggars of Life segment of The White to be Angry, 1999
Photo by John AES Nihil of Aesthetic Nihilism Pictorial

Vaginal Davis: The White to be Angry at the Art Institute Chicago
at the Art Institute Chicago
February 1 – April 26, 2020
Link

Mika Rottenberg: Easypiecesat
at the Bergman Family Gallery
October 2, 2019 – March 8, 2020
Link

Female Trouble: Amanda Joy Calobrisi, Lilli Carré, Qinza Najm, Kathryn Refi, Frances Waite
at Western Exhibitions
January 10 – February 22, 2020
Link

Margie Criner: Mind Over Matter
at Bert Green Fine Art
January 11 – February 22, 2020
Link

Candida Alvarez: Estoy Bien
at Monique Meloche Gallery
February 1 – March 28, 2020
Link

American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago
at Chicago History Museum
Link

Why women should vote
at Jane Addams Hull House
Link

True Peace: the presence of justice
at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Link

Facing Freedom in America 
at Chicago History Museum
Link

Beth Foley
at Gallery Victor Armendariz
January 10 – February 28, 2020
Link

Weaving Beyond the Bauhaus
at the Art Institute Chicago
August 3, 2019 – February 17, 2020
Link

Robyn O’Neil: The Tapestries
at Western Exhibitions
January 10 – February 22, 2020
Link

VISIT THE CONFERENCE SITE

Filed under: Annual Conference, CWA Picks

CWA Picks for December 2019

posted by December 03, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for December below.

…for Gloria Kisch

Gloria Kisch, …for Gloria, 2019, installation view. Courtesy: dieFirma, New York and Farzad Owrang

dieFirma, New York, New York
October 13, 2019 – January 5, 2020

The inaugural exhibition at dieFirma, a new gallery and arts space nestled in the bustling Bowery at 32A Cooper Square, New York, celebrates the life of multidisciplinary artist Gloria Kisch (1941-2014).  An impressive presentation reveals the range and significance of Kisch’s abstract sculptures and highlights her late series of metalwork constructions called Bells (2000-2003) and Flowers (2007-13); functional furniture and objects (benches and chairs); and early hard-edge paintings from the 1960s. Also displayed are ephemera from the artist’s extensive personal archive. A large body of drawings by British artist Jane Gifford accompanies the installation. Gifford turned to Kisch’s sculptures for inspiration and produced a collection of smaller watercolors that offer a fascinating interplay and homage; the gentle conversion of three-dimensional volumetric space through line and gesture encourages a subdued reciprocity between the two artists. Kisch’s metalwork equally invites multiple readings and comparisons to likeminded artists who crossed media and arbitrarily ignored traditional fine art, craft and design hierarchies. Utilizing hand-forged stainless steel, Kisch’s statuesque Bells take on a corporeal presence—linked geometric elements vertically hang, some extenuated and stretched, others widely berthed. But it is through their mythic presence that the viewer makes connections to sculptors who gloriously filled and emptied space, recalling the mobiles of Alexander Calder and totems of David Smith, the quasi-furniture of Isamu Noguchi, the calibrated wire constructions of Ruth Asawa or the scaled modular systems of Gego. Kisch’s series of wall-mounted Flowers bring a playful pop of color with their reflective metal petals and flexible use of materials. Kisch’s own history is equally as colorful.

For Neither Love Nor Money: Women’s Invisible Labor

San Marco Gallery in Archbishop Alemany Library, Dominican University, San Rafael, California
November 12, 2019 – January 17, 2020

Using real-life work data and personal narratives, artist Sawyer Rose highlights the pervasive inequalities working women face via visualization sculpture. Rose collects data herself from female-identifying workers from across the US, and translates it into large-scale installations that visualize the number of hours women log at paid and unpaid jobs, demonstrating the physical, emotional, and practical effects of disproportionate labor loads. With the installation, she photographs the women lifting and carrying her sculpture, visually bearing the real and physical burdens. Dawline, a teaching artist, teaches elementary school and balances multiple volunteer art tutoring positions. Rose’s installation for Dawline is dozens of gold and silver leafed objects hanging from the ceiling, made of linen, cotton, rope, gold and silver leaf, metal clasps and rings, wood, stones, acrylic, and enamel. Dawline is depicted in a photo next to the installation with the stones on her lap, representing the weight of both her paid and unpaid jobs. The accompanying text includes statistics around volunteerism, disproportionately falling on women. The multi-layered, educational, and visually driven exhibit, says the artist, “may not represent your life or your particular situation, but…definitely depicts the lives of many women you know and love, women who work with you or for you…The good news, though, is that everyone can reap the benefits of a gender-equitable workforce: increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more profitable businesses, and healthier, happier partners and children.”

Natalia LL: I Record Common Events

lokal_30, Warsaw, Poland
November 29, 2019 – January 24, 2020

The widely recognized 1969 essay by Carol Hanisch, an American feminist activist, entitled “The Personal Is Political,” was not known in communist Poland in 1970s. And yet, many women artists, including Natalia Lach-Lachowicz, known as Natalia LL, were using their bodies and most intimate surroundings to explore what it meant to be and become a woman. In her 1972 manifesto “Transformative Attitude,” Natalia LL wrote that “Art is in the process of becoming in every instant of reality,” and that she “records common events.” Since her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland, and in her artistic career spanning almost 50 years, Natalia LL has been using photography and film to investigate everyday bodily activities such as sleeping, eating, or speaking. Her works engage with issues concerning the rise of consumer culture and the fetishization of objects and bodies. She is known as a pioneer of feminist avant-garde in Poland and has become one of the first Polish women artists to be influential in the international feminist art movement of 1970s. The exhibition in lokal_30 features some of the key works of the artist alongside photographs which Natalia LL sent for an exhibition in Paramedia gallery in Berlin in 1974 and which have never been displayed in Poland.

16th International Triennial of Tapestry: Breaching Borders

Central Museum of Textiles, Łódź, Poland
October 5, 2019 – March 15, 2020

Łódź, a city in central Poland, has been cultivating its textile industry traditions since the 19th century. The International Trennial of Tapestry is the oldest and most important presentation of phenomena connected to the medium of textiles. For the first time in its history, the formula of the Triennial has been opened and artists themselves could apply to participate. It has also been enriched by the introduction of the role of the curator, Marta Kowalewska, and focus on an overarching key theme, which for the 16th edition is “Breaching Borders.” The understanding of borders is multi-layered. Artists from 21 countries in 55 selected works explore the threats and fears marking our contemporary condition, historical references, and personal stories that question the concept of borders as sources of conflict and trauma. The theme also references textiles and their place as one of liberated arts on one hand, and their structure enabling interlacing and layering of meanings and perspectives. The exhibition includes works of many significant women artists, such as Dorte Jensen, Ola Kozioł, Lucy Brown, Lisa Palm, Caroline Achaintre, Agata Borowa, Dobrosława Kowalewska, Anne Wilson or Joanna Malinowska, among others. It also features the unique work titled Your Things, a 20-meter fabric created in the Center for Foreigners in Łuków, Poland by Chechen refugees Zaira Avtaeva, Zalina Tavgereeva, Liana Borczaszvilli, Makka Visengereeva, Khava Bashanova, and Alina Malcagova, who await international protection. The work was created as part of a mini-grant of the Feminist Fund implemented in cooperation with the For the Earth Association according to a concept developed by Pamela Bożek.

Margaret Jacobs: Steel Medicine

Boise Art Museum, Idaho
June 8, 2019 – April 26, 2020

Artist Margaret Jacobs couples her steel sculptures celebrating Indigenous culture with early twentieth century ironworking tools, exploring the tension and harmony between forces of nature and humans. Jacobs’ sculptures, such as Steel Medicine, depict medicinal plants with a strong aesthetic via the dark color and heavy materiality of the metal, complemented by the softness of the sinewy shadows of the sculpture on the wall, emphasizing too the resilience and fragility of nature. Jacobs, a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, created two new series, Steel Medicine and Survival Medicine, on view, especially for this exhibit. “My culture inspires me to create pieces charged with power, strength, and beauty,” writes the artist in her statement, and in turn, “I believe my work celebrates indigenous culture with a bold, powerful aesthetic.”

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for November 2019

posted by November 05, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for November below.

Alice Miceli: Projeto Chernobyl

Americas Society/Council of the Americas, New York, New York
October 9, 2019 – January 25, 2020

Alice Miceli (born in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil) works with time-based tools, such as video or still camera, which she uses to produce works focused on time manipulated through mathematical formulas in order to represent its complex relationship with history and the body. Projeto Chernobyl (2006-2010), included in the 29th Bienal de São Paulo in 2010, includes a series of radiographs documenting the effects of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster following the Soviet nuclear plant explosion of April 26th, 1986. Apart from formal experimentation core to her artistic methodology, Miceli uses investigative travel and archival research to explore trauma inflicted on social, cultural, and natural landscapes. For the purpose of this project she developed a specific photographic processes that capture contamination caused by gamma radiation, invisible to the naked eye and to traditional methods of photography. Her radiographic technique makes the destructive radioactive contamination visible raising issues around the occupation of land but also the act of looking itself—how to look and by what means. Miceli’s work questions ways in which our bodies are affected in a biopolitical manner, and how they are militarized and economized in contemporary society.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

5th edition of Contemporary Art Program 2019 at Culture palace Ziemeļblāzma, Riga, Latvia
October 20 – December 12, 2019

Curated by Jana Kukaine, a feminist scholar from Riga, Latvia, the title of the exhibition references both a Latvian traditional folk song, executed during national celebrations of Mother’s Day in Latvia and Elvis Presley’s song Home Is Where the Heart Is. These cultural references present the home as a place of comfort and belonging. Yet, the utopian vision of home is disturbed by the still existing gender imbalance concerning responsibilities in the making of a home. It is usually the woman, often labeled a domestic goddess, who looks after the home. Six Latvian women artists, Anda Magone, Elīna Brasliņa, Eva Vēvere, Katrīna Gaile, Mētra Saberova, and Rasa Jansone, in their works presented in the exhibition (one of the events of the centenary program of the Latvian State) challenge the widespread gendered ideology of domesticity while raising issues concerning unpaid labor, social reproduction, and affective care. Home is associated with a number of rituals, objects, values, practices, duties, and responsibilities, inscribed into the division of the public and the private and the oppressive mapping onto gender roles. Social reproduction and sexual normativity is contextualized by the artists within neoliberal and late-capitalist frameworks to question and call for a shared responsibility in creating a home.

Works by Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, and Ann Hamilton, on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts through December 29th.

HERE: Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin

Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio
September 21 – December 29, 2019

Three Ohio-born visual artists exhibit together for the first time in HERE: Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer and Maya Lin at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The artists’ disparate styles and perspectives shown together create new connections and conversations between art, space, methodology, and the questions each of them pose through their work. Hamilton presents when an object reaches for your hand, using outmoded scanners creating ethereal images from Columbus campus special collections juxtaposed with her personal objects. The images are presented in book form stacks and visitors are welcome to take a print; two of the images are also large-scale murals in Columbus; both projects encouraging accessibility for university archives. Holzer presents a new installation of her renowned commonly-held slogan posters, Truisms (1977-79) and Inflammatory Essays (1979-82), statements influenced by diverse manifestos. Holzer’s vocabulary is screened throughout the city to further the impact of her work outside the gallery, too. Lin’s site specific installations were created with thousands of steel pins and glass beads resembling Ohio waterways, considering how rivers have both shaped and been shaped by humans, and questioning the impact of fracking and global warming. Lin’s permanent work, Groundswell (1992-93) greets visitors as they enter the Center, inspired by Native American mound landscapes from her youth. The accompanying gallery guide includes essays from writers, curators, and educators with Ohio connections, further contextualizing the far-reaching exhibit.

MARIA MAGDALENA CAMPOS-PONS: SEA AND SELF

Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Douglass Library, New Brunswick, New Jersey
September 3 – December 13, 2019

Curated by art historian and curator Tatiana Flores, Sea and Self presents artworks produced by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959, Matanzas, Cuba) from the late 1960s to present, ruminating on the sea. Campos-Pons draws on the rich Caribbean tradition of sea image while exploring self and the female body. Depictions in works such as She Always Knew of the Space In-Between (2019), include silhouette drawings of African sculptures, referencing female gender; and Nesting IV (2000), four large-scale Polaroids depicting the artist as split by the sea, connect through her uniting hair. Intersecting environmental humanities, personal history, and gender in beautiful, multi-colored and mixed media, Campos-Pons’ work exudes a unique and relatable perspective, provoking new inquiries around feminism and art.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for October 2019

posted by October 15, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for October below.

JUDY CHICAGO: THE END: A MEDITATION ON DEATH AND EXTINCTION

National Museum of Women in the Arts
September 19, 2019 – January 20, 2020

Judy Chicago (a feminist artist renowned for the 1970s mixed media installation, The Dinner Party), takes on her own demise in this exhibition, which includes 40 works of painted porcelain and glass and two large bronze sculptures in her hallmark bold, graphic style. Other themes captured in this exhibit are the five stages of grief and species endangered by the action or inaction of humans. Chicago’s ever-present feminist content challenges the culture that prizes youth and beauty, often over the suffering of other creatures. The Price of Love (after Kollwitz) (kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 2015) shows two figures in a tight kneeling embrace, hands covering their faces, with the script: “Grief / DESOLATION / Sorrow / LOSS” all painted with white on black, evoking the depth of sorrow. The imagery remarkably reflecting the style of Käthe Kollwitz’s prints depicting the sorrows of those left behind after World War I, notably in people tightly embracing. This tribute by Chicago to an artist who came before her exudes the layers of meanings in her work and refreshingly acknowledges the myth of the individual artist. Beyond content, her continued commitment to feminism is also echoed through her choice of media historically associated with women’s artistic endeavors, thus exposing the socially constructed ideals of high versus decorative art, as famously done in The Dinner Party.

CALL FOR WORK: UNDEFEATED: CANVAS(S)ING THE POLITICS OF VOTER SUPPRESSION

West Virginia University Libraries
Deadline: December 31, 2019

West Virginia University takes on a contentious topic on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution (granting women the right to vote), and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (enforcing voting rights for racial minorities) by looking at the efforts to suppress the votes of women and minorities since 1920. The WVU Libraries are calling for artwork using the template of a round button design (digital or otherwise; the Library has round canvases to disperse should artists need) around the major themes: Information/Disinformation, Access/Intimidation, Legislation/Legal Questions, Voter Fraud, and Advocacy/Action. Selected works will be on display at the University’s main campus Library from August 2020 through June 2021, and selected designs from the exhibit will be made into buttons/stickers. Located in Morgantown, artists have a great opportunity to make an impact in a local hub of arts activity in an otherwise underserved region of Appalachia.

MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ
THE CLEANER

Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia
September 21, 2019 – January 20, 2020

This is the first major European retrospective of Marina Abramović, a female artist renowned for her radical performances developed since 1970s. The location of the exhibition, the final on its tour (it was first shown in 2017 at the Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden), and then traveled to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk, Denmark), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Oslo, Norway), Bundeskunsthalle (Bonn, Germany), Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi (Florence, Italy) and the Centre of Contemporary Art ‘Znaki Czasu’ (Toruń, Poland)) is significant, as Belgrade is Abramović’s place of birth. It is also where her artistic career began.

The artist has experimented with performance art and used her body as a method and a medium, relentlessly testing its boundaries and limits and challenging social and cultural stereotypes. The exhibition reviews Abramović’s over fifty-year long career, focusing on chronological phases in her artistic practice and emphasizing her solo career from 1991 until 2017. It is a rich display of over 120 works including a range of objects, photographs, paintings, drawings, video installations, films, and archival materials. There is also a live segment presented through re-performances by local and international performers.

MONA HATOUM  
REMAINS TO BE SEEN

White Cube Bermondsey, London
September 12 – November 3, 2019

White Cube’s exhibition captures Mona Hatoum’s new and recent installation, sculpture and work on paper. Hatoum, a Palestinian multimedia and installation artist, throughout her career has created a rich aesthetic vocabulary that often references the grid and geometry as references to systems of social control. In the exhibition the artist reflects on surveillance systems and mobilizes issues concerned with mobility, conflict, and power. Once again working with the grid, Hatoum uses industrial materials such as steel, brick, concrete, rubble, and glass—but also human hair—and collapses them into light, a suspended cube. Her visual poetics tests spatial and spherical limits and explores possibilities for formal but perhaps also social and political collapse. The theme of the grid and its negotiation overarches the works presented at the exhibition, the new installation Remains to be Seen (2019), Orbital I (2018), A Pile of Bricks (2019), Hair Mesh (2013), or Cells (2014), among others. Hatoum tests different confinements while exploring the basic form of the globe and questions the different and multiple boundaries that are imposed on society.

Bahar Behbahani, All water has a perfect memory. (Octagon), 2019, hard-carved pinewood panels, Lapis Lazuli pigment, mosaic, tile, plastic barrel, lashing strap, sandbag, 12 x 12 x 3 feet, Wave Hill, Bronx, NY. On view at Wave Hill through December 1st. Photo: Stefan Hagan

Bahar Behbahani, All water has a perfect memory.

Wave Hill, Bronx, New York
September 15 – December 1, 2019

Bahar Behbahani’s (b. 1973, Tehran, Iran) site-specific installation titled All water has a perfect memory. [the period is intentional] is settled somewhat precariously along the eight-acre wooded expanse at Wave Hill, the Bronx public garden and cultural center known for supporting dynamic contemporary art projects and exhibitions. The installation’s primary feature is the large presence of a land-bound raft constructed in the shape of an octagon, ornamented with inlaid mosaic and tile, and supported on plastic barrels. Behbahani’s structure fosters multiple discussions about the garden’s surrounding woodlands and ecosystems and engages in prescient ecological debates. At the same time, the artist’s centerpiece addresses the historical flux of migration and the restriction of geographical borders. The title aptly recalls a poetic line from writer Toni Morrison’s essay, “The Site of Memory”: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” In her research-based practice, Behbahani heavily layers and builds upon her cultural and aesthetic references, and water plays a central biographical and performative role in her videos and paintings. Likewise, water functions as a primary visual and spiritual element in the Persian Gardens of Iran, the majestic walled paradises and civilian sanctuaries dating back to the sixth-century BC. Water was a foremost compositional cornerstone of these historic gardens that were organized on a fourfold plan around central pools or fountains from which flowed four channels. At Wave Hill, the manifestation of the octagonal pool, raft or “fountain,” accessorized with botanical panel designs, forges further connections to eight of the world’s contested rivers: the Euphrates, Ganges, Hudson, Karun, Mississippi, Rio Grande, and Wouri. Moreover, the octagon appears as both a sheltering and perilous object. As a stationary structure, it conjures the urgent political narratives on mobility and circulation that underline the fraught experiences of migrants and refugees. In the accompanying pamphlet, the artist explained these multifold references, stating that “the project made her think about the ‘complexity’ of building a ‘worthy raft,’ one that would be able to ‘move people, food, belongings as well as culture and memories to safety…” The project also questions broader horticultural concerns about what determines “native” flora and species. Additional technological components activate river sounds, a meditative element arranged by musician Maciek Schejbal. In the near future, the octagon will hopefully find a way to reach water, holding with it a bounty of new and old memories.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for September 2019

posted by September 12, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for September below.

FAST FASHION/SLOW ART

Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
August 9 – December 15, 2019

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry are serious timely questions around waste and consumerism in the garment industry, which is what the contemporary artists and filmmakers explore in Fast Fashion/Slow Art. The diverse group of emerging and established contemporary artists and filmmakers from China, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and the United States includes Julia Brown, Carole Frances Lung (Frau Fiber), Cat Mazza, Senga Nengudi, Martha Rosler, Hito Steyerl, Martin de Thurah, Rosemarie Trockel, and Wang Bing, who collectively encourage scrutiny of today’s garment industry. For example, Bing’s documentary installation, 15 hours, was shot in a factory in China, capturing the labor of some of its 300,000 workers, emitting a meditation on the contemporary meaning of work in present-day China.  Also available during the exhibition are two web programs, ”Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt” and “Sweatshop—Deadly Fashion.”

Her Own Way
Female Artists and the Moving Image in Art in Poland: From 1970s to the Present

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
August 14 – October 14, 2019

The exhibition of artworks by Polish women artists features moving image, which has a rich history in Polish art scene. Women artists have used video and photography even though during the Cold War those working “behind” the Iron Curtain had little access to equipment and training. Despite hardships, women experimented with video expression. Following democratization of the country after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the introduction of the free market economy, Poland welcomed economic growth and material affluence. This contributed to deepening income gaps and rapid changes in value. Polish critical art of the 1990s addressed those contradictions in society. Those who were born under the Communist regime and brought up after democratization started looked back with a critical distance to explore new perspectives and question complex social and political conditions. This has driven a rich and diverse landscape for moving image, including the use of more accessible media. The exhibition features works from 1970s onwards questioning contradictions of the global economic system. It includes some of the key figures in Polish art scene including Bogna Burska, Izabella Gustowska, Zuzanna Janin, Katarzyna Kozyra, Anna Kutera, Natalia LL, Ewa Partum, Agnieszka Polska, Joanna Rajkowska, and Alicja Rogalska, among others.

Helene Herzbrun, Entrances (detail), 1977. Acrylic on canvas, framed: 52 5/8 × 52 3/4 × 1 5/8 in., image: 52 × 52 in. American University Museum, X1639.

Grace Hartigan & Helene Herzbrun: Reframing Abstract Expressionism

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
September 3 – October 20, 2019 

The past few years has witnessed an urgent reappraisal of the Abstract Expressionist canon in the United States. Recent game-changers, such as the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition and catalogue (2016), and steady growth in the art market, have turned a sharp eye on the women whose careers received little critical and financial support during and after the heyday of heroic gesturalism and figurative abstraction in the 1950s. Norma Broude, the distinguished feminist art historian and professor emerita at The American University, has organized an exhibition that argues for a reframing of the geographic center of New York, and presents a two-person show on Grace Hartigan (1922-2008) and Helene Herzbrun (1922-1984). Both artists, who had a cordial friendship, had lived and exhibited for many decades around the Baltimore and Washington, DC region, and many of the paintings on view are drawn from local private collections and museums. Hartigan, the more celebrated of the two, has received considerable scholarly attention. Her early career in New York was shaped by social relationships with the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning (a seminal influence), and the seductive riffraff of modern life in the fifties around her studio on the Lower East Side. Hartigan often incorporated the popular and material subjects—the “vulgar and vital”—from her surroundings, and Baltimore eventually proved to have much to offer. Her early artistic development was also largely influenced by her own study of paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and transformative friendships with poets Frank O’Hara and Barbara Guest. By 1953, she had the attention of Alfred Barr, Jr. and curator Dorothy C. Miller, who accessioned her Baroque-inspired masterpiece, Persian Jacket (1952), into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art; this was followed by her participation as the only woman artist in MoMA’s groundbreaking exhibitions, 12 Americans (1956) and The New American Painting (1958-1959). Broude’s catalogue essays purposefully consider the negative impact on Hartigan’s career after leaving New York City for Baltimore, and the artist’s serious disappointment in the regional artistic scene. This shifted to some degree when she found support in her new intellectual community as a revered professor and mentor at the Maryland Institute of Art (MICA), Hoffberger School. Comparably, Broude develops a fascinating biographical sketch of Helene Herzbrun, whose archives are held at American University. Herzbrun experienced similar challenges in her desire to establish critical recognition outside the parameters of New York and beyond the stylistic popularity of Color Field painting practiced by her male contemporaries in Washington. Herzbrun maintained an important correspondence with Ab-Ex artist Jack Tworkov, with whom she worked as a MFA student at AU. She was a faculty member in the University’s art department until her death in 1984.  Addressing the limited opportunities for artists in the area, Herzbrun co-founded an important cooperative space called Jefferson Place Gallery in DC. Hartigan and Herzbrun make exciting visual partners in Reframing Abstract Expressionism. Their painterly dialogues on nature and the landscape interrogate the creative process and explore the persistent motivations to paint abstractly while negotiating representation, structure, and spontaneity, all essential components of the living language of Abstract Expressionism. This exhibition expands our understanding of the networks of production and distribution of ideas and resources on Abstract Expressionism to the regional centers of the country.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for Summer 2019

posted by July 16, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for July and August below.

Figure: Jamie Okuma (Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock, born 1977), Adaptation II (2012), shoes designed by Christian Louboutin, leather, glass beads, porcupine quills, sterling silver cones, brass sequins, chicken feathers, cloth, deer rawhide, buckskin, 8 5/8 x 3 ¼ x 9 3/16 in. (each). Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bequest of Virginia Doneghy, by exchange 2012.68.1a,b

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

Minneapolis Institute of Art
June 2 – August 18, 2019

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists is the first-ever museum retrospective of Native American and Canadian female artists. It is guided by three key themes: legacy, relationships, and power, and includes works by more than seventy women artists made in a variety of media, from textiles and bead work to digital arts. The show welcomes visitors with a parked customized 1985 Chevy El Camino fabricated by the mixed-media artist Rose Simpson. It pays homage to Maria Martinez, a potter and the first self-identified, non-anonymous Native artist. The car is outfitted with decals inspired by Pueblo ceramics often designed by women, yet typically unacknowledged. This work, among others on display in this exhibition, addresses the silenced narratives and forgotten, uncredited works of Native American women, offering multiple perspectives on othering, colonization, cultural appropriation, and victimization of practices considered feminine.

Amazonki

Galerie Gmurzynska Zürich, Switzerland
June 8 – September 8, 2019

The title of the exhibition, Amazonki, refers to the Russian word for “Amazons,” in Greek mythology a tribe of women warriors known for their courage. Benedikt Livshits, a poet and a writer, first used this term to address the female Russian avant-gardes, who were described as “real Amazons, Scythian riders.” This exhibition features a selection of remarkable works across different media by women artists of the Russian vanguard, including Maria and Xenia Ender, Natalia Goncharova, Liubov Popova, Olga Rozanova, Nadezhda Udaltsova, and Varvara Stepanova. Their pioneering works from the early 20th-century Russia were significant to the formation of new art movements and redefined the status of female artists.

Filipa César. Quantum Creole

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal
May 31 – September 2, 2019

Filipa César’s installation and essay documentary film are featured at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and raise issues about colonialism and gentrification on the Bissagos Islands. The project explores the dynamics of Creolization and the subversive dimension of linguistic codes. César’s moving images are characterized by tensions between oppositions: reality and fiction, present and past, stillness and motion. In this exhibition her cinematographic language concerns poetics of resistance within colonial occupation. It is used to investigate notions of weaving and acts of writing in relation to new digital economies. She engages various spatialities and agencies to investigate a subversive potency of quantum weaving against the engineering of binary extractive epistemologies.

Lee Krasner: Living Colour

Barbican Art Gallery
May 30 – September 1, 2019

Figure: Krasner, Self-Portrait, c. 1928, The Jewish Museum, New York. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Courtesy the Jewish Museum, New York

“To whom shall I hire myself? What beast must one adore? What holy image attack? What hearts shall I break? What lie must I maintain? In what blood must I walk?” These ferocious lines from Arthur Rimbaud’s poem A Season in Hell were transcribed on Lee Krasner’s (1908-1984) East Village studio wall at 51 East Ninth Street in Manhattan and still pack a punch.  They demand our attention just as the formidable career of this legendary Abstract Expressionist artist. The Barbican’s Lee Krasner: Living Colour is the first traveling retrospective on the US artist organized in Europe, curated by Eleanor Nairne. Krasner’s first survey presentation was at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1965. The accompanying exhibition catalogue, edited by Nairne with essays by Katy Siegel, John Yau, and Suzanne Hudson, brings further attention to Krasner’s multifaceted personal history, education, and artistic relationships. While significant art historical scholarship was previously established in publications on Krasner, including Ellen Landau’s catalogue raisonné (1995) and Joan Marter’s Women of Abstract Expressionism (2016), this catalogue assesses broad connections and cuts a swath through the artist’s extensive oeuvre, consuming discourse, and marriage to Jackson Pollock. Krasner was renowned and likewise criticized for her perpetual desire to change artistic styles (a problematic issue highlighted in Abstract Expressionist criticism) and tendency to recycle earlier works in the process of remaking new ones. Living Colour is an ambitious curatorial enterprise and offers that there is always room for periodic review and assessment of the depth of women’s creativity and tenacity negotiating the modern male environment of New York in the mid-1940s and 1950s. As much as Krasner looked to the past to clarify her vision, Living Colour affords us the chance to appraise her vast development, rethink her vernacular and personally direct expression, repetition of cycles, utilization of collage, and influences of language and narrative.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for June 2019

posted by June 11, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for June below.

Sara Cwynar, Tracy (Cezanne), 2017. Dye sublimation print. Courtesy of the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Foxy Production, New York. © Sara Cwynar

SARA CWYNAR: IMAGE MODEL MUSE

March 8 – August 4, 2019
Milwaukee Art Museum

Sara Cwynar (b. 1985, Canada) explores both process and the power of the media in a variety of media including photography, collage, book-making and installation. Her first solo exhibition in the US, IMAGE MODEL MUSE at the Milwaukee Art Museum will feature three of her latest films—Soft Film (2016), Rose Gold (2017), and Cover Girl (2018) alongside photographs from her ongoing Tracy series (2008-current). Named for the model in the photographs, the Tracy images acknowledge the history of representation of women with discarded, high-modernist-era designed objects, connecting “the way we treat objects and the way we treat humans,” according to the artist in an Aperture interview. The photographs and films are multi-layered, intricate and deep with eye-catching, bright hues and sharp design, creating bold and successful works aesthetically and substantially. Her films combine these elements with traditions of experimental film and performance video, further questioning issues around imagery and circulation via the internet. Senses and minds are sure to be exercised at this dense exhibit.

JORDAN CASTEEL: RETURNING THE GAZE

May 1 – August 18, 2019
Denver Art Museum

This first major museum exhibition of artist Jordan Casteel (b. 1989, Denver) presents almost thirty paintings, from 2014 to present, showing the artist’s evolving practice and themes from cityscapes and subway scenes to women and local business owners. The oversized portraits with bold colors and intentional heavy contrast exude a clear and bold presence of the individuals and places that perhaps often aren’t paid more than a glance. In Benyam (2018), a trio of individuals at what appears to be a wine bar, look square into the viewers, their poses comfortable but intentional, background details like art on the walls and a plant, wine glasses, lacking much detail, complete the aura of the image, questioning who and what this art is about—those in the painting, those looking, or the moment of looking? Figures depicted sometimes vulnerable, sometimes jovial, always at ease, each one staring deeply at the viewer, presenting an intimate exhibition experience.

SAYA WOOLFALK: EXPEDITION TO THE CHIMACLOUD

March 1 – September 1, 2019
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Artist Saya Woolfalk (b. 1979, Japan) created ChimaCloud, an alternative digital universe, via an extensive narrative of a fictional race of women she named the Empathics. This exhibition presents an immersive, multi-media experience incorporating themes of cultural hybridization, technology, identity, ceremonial rituals, and science fiction. Especially for this exhibition installation, Woolfalk drew her inspiration directly from the Nelson-Atkins permanent collection, adding a contextual and localized element. “What I hope is to have people feel a little bit distracted…and because they’re so unclear about where they are, they become open…so that, they can take that sense of openness with them into their everyday lives,” said the artist on the museum website. The bright colors, patterns, figures, and lights will likely transport and fulfill the artist’s want.

The 58th International Art Exhibition

May 11 – November 24, 2019
Biennale Arte 2019, Venice, Italy

For the first time in the history of the Venice Biennale half of those artists who contributed to the main exhibition entitled May You Live in Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff, are women.

Cathy Wilkes
British Pavilion

Cathy Wilkes’ exhibition, featuring new works created for the Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice, occupies the six rooms of the British Pavilion. The viewers are invited to a space filled with melancholy, stillness, and breath-taking natural Venetian daylight. Visiting Venice Biennale can be an overwhelming experience, with the abundance of artworks, the crowds, the queues and the discussions heard almost everywhere. Wilkes, with her characteristic sensibility and attention to the minutiae of matter, created an intimate space that seems to stand still. She stripped the Pavilion of any adornments and insisted on natural light soaking in. The sculptural installations are accompanied by prints and paintings changing hues and tones with the daily and nightly transformations of light. Those variations in colors and textures brought together into intimate relationships and juxtapositions are subtle and interconnected. Wilkes created a space filled with loss but also hope, invoking a sense of daily rituals, scattered across the rooms, disrupted but also complete.

Renate Bertlmann
Austrian Pavilion

For the first time in the history of Austrian contribution to the Venice Biennale, a female artist widely acclaimed in the international feminist avant-garde, Renate Bertlmann, was selected for a solo exhibition in the Austrian Pavilion. Her installation, entitled Discordo Ergo Sum (I disagree, therefore I am), playing on the Descartesian philosophical principle ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ (I think, therefore I am), is an ironic statement and a subversion of established sociopolitical hierarchies and dichotomies, also within the art world. The artist appropriates a rich vocabulary of social symbols and reviews them from a feminist position encouraging multitude and diversity. At the heart of the exhibition Bertlmann installed a grid of 312 glass roses (hand blown in Murano) out of which protrude razor sharp blades. This is accompanied by a series of works exploring body images and a piece in front of the pavilion, Amo Ergo Sum (I love, therefore I am), which raise issues concerning the transformative potential of art, and gender violence.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for May 2019

posted by May 02, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for May below.

Wendy Red Star, Apsáalooke Feminist #3—Apsáalooke Feminist Series, 2016, on view at the Newark Museum through June 16th. Image: © Wendy Red Star

Legal Gender: The Irreverent Art of Anita Steckel

April 13 – May 12, 2019
Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento

When artist Anita Steckel’s (American, 1930-2012) solo exhibition, The Sexual Politics of Feminist Art (1972, Rockland Community College) was threatened closure by a County Legislator due to the erotic imagery in her work, she founded the Fight Censorship Group. The women’s collective, including member artists Louise Bourgeois, Hannah Wilke, and Joan Semmel among others, denounced the double standard in the artistic community between sexualized men and women, and played a major role in reshaping thought around erotic subject matter within the context of sexual and creative freedom. This exhibit, curated by Kelly Lindner and Rachel Middleman, spans five decades of the feminist artist’s collage and appropriation artwork including the Mom Art photomontage series from the 1960s (the title playing on the recognized term “Pop Art”) incorporating found imagery of anonymous librarians and priests critiquing racism, war and sexual inequalities; the Giant Woman series of photomontage with graphite depictions of mammoth women taking over New York City landmarks; her last series reworking personal photographs of family and friends, and more. As the exhibit statement points out: “In her deft combinations of photomontage, collage, drawing, and painting, Steckel proposes a broader discussion of female sexuality, feminism, gender parity, racial injustice, and political reckoning.” The exhibit surely pushes art’s boundaries, even today, as in the artist’s own words: “Good taste is the enemy of art. It’s wonderful for curtains, but in art, it’s suffocating.”

Wendy Red Star: A Scratch on the Earth

February 23 – June 16, 2019
Newark Museum, New Jersey

A Scratch on the Earth is a mid-career survey held at the Newark Museum of Wendy Red Star, a multidisciplinary artist (b. 1981) from Montana and member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Tribe, organized by Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Curator of American Art, and guest curator Nadiah Rivera Fellah. Red Star’s presentation, including installation, photography, photo-collage, textile, and mixed media, explores the visual, social, and racial history of indigenous Crow traditions and mythology, often intermixed with the tribe’s painful experiences during which it lost land ownership under colonial American policies. Red Star critically analyzes and researches the portrayal of Native American subjects in the nineteenth century, an imaginary representation of the American West and Indian Reservations manipulated and promulgated by the US government and Hollywood, and highlights the Crow’s manifold resistance to such geographical, political and gendered boundaries. Many of Red Star’s series, for example Map of the Allotted Lands of the Crow Reservation, Montana—A Tribute to Many Good Women (2016), foreground the Crow’s matriarchal and ceremonial legacies supplanted by government enforced patriarchal structures. Red Star playfully and powerfully utilizes photography in her Apsáalooke Feminist series as a contemporary vehicle to refashion “original” Crow Indian representations in Western art through the production of large scale self-portraiture and the exuberant display of her own young daughter, both dressed in elk-tooth attire. A well-illustrated catalogue with essays is published in conjunction with the exhibition.

Aleksandra Karpowicz: Body as Home

May 6 – September 15, 2019
Venice, inauguration of GAD – Giudecca Art District, Italy

Aleksandra Karpowicz’s Body as Home (2018), a three channel 15-minute film, will mark the official launch of Giudecca Art District (GAD), coinciding with the opening of the 58th Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice, Italy. It portrays a journey of three protagonists who discover their selves through their bodily interactions with space. They are captured in four urban locations: Cape Town, London, New York, and Warsaw, navigating complex relationships between their social identity, migration, and the understanding of the concept of “home.” Karpowicz, a migrant herself (born in Poland, living in London), complicates the latter beyond its literal meaning and associations with a dwelling or a place of habitation. She questions when one becomes a visitor or a local inhabitant; how this is conditioned by movement, going away, towards or from and to. The artist is interested in the feeling of “being at home” in relation to geographical locations, to other people but also the self.

Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 2

February 9 – May 27, 2019
The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, UK

Still I rise, with Act 1 presented at Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham UK at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, and Act 2 now on display in The De La Warr Pavilion, UK, is a powerful exhibition featuring works of over 40 practitioners, including for example Carolina Caycedo, Barby Asante, Tai Shani, Osias Yanov or Glenn Belverio (Glennda Orgasm), among many others. They are grounded in intersectional and queer feminist perspectives in a global context. The exhibition explores ways in which resistance has been approached and enabled through associated with feminism and feminist protest principles of collaboration, mutual support, community building, empathy, nurture, and solidarity. The title references Maya Angelou poem Still I rise (1978), concerning oppression and the struggle to overcome prejudice and injustice, which begins:

‘You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.’

Diverse creative practices on display navigate and suggest alternative ways of living and being together that are respectful of human rights and equality.

Jeschkelanger: #siostrzane_odbicie (#sister’s_reflection)

May 15 – June 23, 2019
SiC! Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych (Glass and Ceramics Gallery), Wrocław, Poland

The exhibition features glass work of two artists from Germany, who in December 2016 founded the artist duo Jeschkelanger. They work across multiple media, however they connect through glass, which acts as a space of exploration, collaboration, and exchange of ideas. Jeschkelanger question its limits and possibilities as a material, a medium, a method, and what they call “a melting point,” “a danger zone” and “a contact zone.” The works featured in this exhibition address the concept of hospitality and suggest ways in which the other may be welcome, while acknowledging difference and enabling mutual exchange, and where the dynamics between the host and the guest are questioned. Jeschkelanger create space for a future of shared mutual respect and connectivity, embodying feminist principles of solidarity and friendship. Their vision is hopeful and inviting the politics of togetherness.

THE UNEXPECTED SUBJECT: 1978 ART AND FEMINISM IN ITALY

April 4 – May 26, 2019
FM Center for Contemporary Art, Milan

Curators Marco Scotini and Raffaella Perna selected the year 1978 as “the catalyst year of all energies in play (not only in Italy)” to develop this broad investigation and “reconstruction of the relationship between visual arts and feminist movement in Italy” and the exchanges of feminist artists in Italy at this time with artistic panorama of Europe and beyond. The exhibit will include work from artists included in the 1978 Venice Biennale—which counted 80 women at a time when entrance was difficult—including the visual poetry of Mirella Bentivoglio (1922-2017) among others. The exhibit description names several notable exhibitions that took place in 1978 including an exhibition dedicated to Ketty La Rocca (1938-1976), a leading figure of Italian neo-avant-garde; the first feminist exhibit in Wroclaw, Poland, First International Women’s Art Exhibition; Coazione a Mostrare and Magma, which presented many significant European artists including Marina Abramovic, Hanna Darboven, Gina Pane, VALIE EXPORT, Rebecca Horn, Natalia LL among others. The year also included the international feminist seminar Comrade Woman: Women’s Question—A New Approach? in Belgrade; and the Cooperative Beato Angelico in Rome, the first artistic space entirely run by women. Though most of these notations include the word woman, the description notes the exhibition “criticizes the mainstream historical-critical view that relegates women artists to a marginal position” and privileges “artworks that demystify gender stereotypes and reflect on the role of women in society” including loaned artwork and printed materials related to feminist movements—posters, fanzines, LPs, photographs, and books.

LIKE SUGAR

February 9 – June 23, 2019
Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York

Sugar is all around us, from harvest to consumer product, playing a role in several social justice issues from slavery to ecology and health epidemics and food injustice. Like Sugar explores these both positive and negative aspects of the sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates through contemporary artwork, historical materials and material culture. Viewing Emily Eveleth’s both delicious and engorged Big Pink (2016), enlarged pink frosted donuts in oil on canvas, in the same space as 19th-century stereoscopic images depicting slaves in sugar cane fields, such as Preparing Cane Blocks for Replanting, St. Kitts, immediately provokes thought and discussion around sugar in our lives in the present and past. Other artists in the exhibition include Julia Jacquette, Zine Sedira, and Laurie Simmons.

Mickalene Thomas: Do I Look Like a Lady?

March 9 – August 31, 2019
Portland Art Museum

Artist Mickalene Thomas is well-known for her photography, installation, and more recently film production reconsidering black womanhood through a queer lens. The Portland Art Museum just acquired the video installation, Do I Look Like a Lady (Comedians and Singers) (2016), the first by the artist in their collection. The video displays in checkerboard format, moving image footage and individual voices of African-American actors and singers from the 20th century such as Eartha Kitt, Jack “Moms” Mabley, Whoopi Goldberg, and Whitney Houston among others. They express heartbreaking roles, pointed lyrics, sharp jokes, and strong statements of resistance to the dominant culture offering a strong, rebellious, and poignant consideration of the roles of black women in the United States. The museum notes that Thomas spent time in Portland as a young adult and while there admired an exhibition of Carrie Mae Weem’s work in 1994, which was a formative experience that led her to becoming an artist.

Filed under: CWA Picks

CWA Picks for April 2019

posted by April 02, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for April below.

Video still from Mary Maggic, Housewives Making Drugs, 2017, on view in Producing Futures—An Exhibition on Post-Cyber-Feminisms at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst through May 12th. Courtesy the artist.

SHE MATTERS

March 6 – April 26, 2019
Wright Gallery, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Taking the 2015 arrest and subsequent death of Sandra Bland as its starting point, this exhibition aims to give a platform to women of color to respond creatively to issues around family separation, law enforcement brutality, sexual assault, and violence. Multi-media artist Rabéa Ballin used neon to highlight to represent Sandra Bland’s case number, in Case Number 02-F-00151, bringing attention to identity which is typically lost, and dehumanized in the prison system. Rosine Kouamen’s richly hued Required Solidarity, a fabric work using prints from Cameroon with women and a woman letting a dove go in front of Africa, is embroidered with, according to the artist, “powerful words to emphasize the progress that still needs to happen to have a truly equal society, where women, especially women of color are protected by the law and not victims of it.” Ann Johnson’s two-sided glass quilt, The Narrative, displays the scripted police transcript of Sandra Bland’s traffic stop, and on the other, the traditional “North Star” pattern which guided numerous slaves to freedom, as well as the written names of women who lost their lives to violence or law enforcement, with repeated words, “she matters / say her name / say it” emphasizing the significance of the exhibit; “We must tell these stories,” Johnson writes in her statement, “She matters.” Other equally impactful work in the exhibit includes laser print transparency on wood by Regina Agu, plaster relief and mixed media silhouettes by Lovie Olivia, fabric cast aluminum and mixed media fabrics by Kaneem Smith, and linocuts by Monica Villarreal. The nontraditional multi-colored painted pedestals and walls create an apt, progressive atmosphere for this inspiring art.

YELENA POPOVA, JOANNA RAJKOWSKIA, JAN ERIC VISSER: WHAT BRANCHES GROW OUT OF THIS STONY RUBBISH?

March 22 – May 4, 2019
l’étrangère, London

l’étrangère gallery in London brings into conversation the works of Yelena Popova, Joanna Rajkowska, and Jan Eric Visser who critically respond to ecological concerns in the context of industrial capitalism, neo-liberalism and consumerism. It is an intimate exhibition, which encourages reflection  of the material legacy of Modernism. Rajkowska’s site-specific installation entitled Trafostation (2016) is introduced through a photographic documentation. The project, in Wrocław, Poland, turned a defunct 1930s transformer station into a living sculpture, which keeps evolving. The artist encouraged non-human organisms to take over the building and erode the concrete structure by growing plants and creating a new habitat. Rajkowska’s feminist ecological ethics is reflected in Popova’s practice. Called by the artist ‘Medieval Modernism’, it is concerned with the threshold states between the past and the future and the linear and cyclical modes of growth. Post-petrochemical Paintings (2016-ongoing) are made from mixed pigments from soil and wood ash collected by the artist during a number of walks in parks and forests, which are then grind according to medieval recipes. Jan Eric Visser makes sculptures from inorganic household garbage. The process, which he calls ‘Form Follows Garbage’, gives waste a new identity and emphasise the importance of valuing all matter. The artist is also engaged with issues concerning the post-industrial future, which is reflected in his use of two new innovative building materials called Translucent concrete, capable of degrading nitrogenoxides causing smog and Aquadyne, enabling the rooting of plants and vegetables.

PRODUCING FUTURES: AN EXHIBITION ON POST CYBER-FEMINISMS

February 16 – May 12, 2019
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich

2017 marked the 20th anniversary of a meeting that took place at Documenta X entitled ‘The First Cyberfeminist International’. Issue that were raised then and revisited in a number of events that followed contributed to the emergence of a new movement branded as post-Cyberfeminism, a term coined in the early 1990s. The group exhibition Producing Futures—An Exhibition on Post-Cyber-Feminisms, including the works of artists such as VNS Matrix and Lynn Hershman Leeson, Wu Tsang,  Guan Xiao and Anna Uddenberg, Juliana Huxtable, Shana Moulton or Anicka Yi, among others, at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich explores feminist methods of engagement in the era of developing networked technologies and in the post-internet era, which, on the contrary to what was predicted in 1990s, apart from functioning as spaces of liberation and arguable self-empowerment, introduced disciplining structures reinforcing hierarchies and patriarchal systems of power. Artists involved in the show question the legacy of the cyberfeminist movement, its currency and relevance while working through the intersections between the body, technology and gender across the real and the virtual. Exhibited works engage with Donna Haraway’s proposed alternative model of knowledge formation called “SF,” an abbreviation for “science fiction” but also “speculative feminism,” a practice open to speculations and intellectual experiments where alternative visions of the future may emerge. A number of events are organised in parallel to the exhibition. The Revolution of Digital Languages or When Cyber turns to sound of Poetry. A Symposium on Post-Cyber-Feminisms, organised in cooperation with MAS in Curating, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and the PhD in Practice in Curating on April 11th and 12th, further explores and engages with issues raised at the show.

JUST TO BE ALIVE

March 7 – May 31, 2019
Sixteen Twenty-Eight Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cincinnati’s 1628 Gallery devotes their spring exhibition to a juried exhibition featuring work by twenty local self-identifying women artists. The painting, collage, photography, sculpture, fiber art and more, reflect the complexity, challenge and passion of being a contemporary woman, as relayed in the title, referencing poem by Mary Oliver: “it’s a serious thing / just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.”  Kim Flora’s mixed media collage, something about those volcanos, too emits the multifaceted, sometimes daunting, sometimes rich, living experience of women through the bright red and orange fiery hues above the torn, charcoal paper and what appears to be a section of a woman in etching, slight smile barely seen in the bottom corner, her body ripped at right. The over thirty other works surely emphasizes the rich breadth of media and perspectives by women in the area in this “curated workspace” in downtown Cincinnati.

SERA WATERS: GOING ROUND IN SQUARES

March 9 – June 30, 2019
Ararat Gallery TAMA, Ararat, Victoria, Australia

Sera Waters is Adelaide based artist, arts writer and academic, who through her textile work engages with issues concerning boundaries and domesticity, and more specifically the concept of “home” in Australia in the aftermath of colonization. Those places of trauma and hauntings in settler colonial homes she calls “genealogical ghostscapes.” Going Round in Circles presented in Ararat Gallery TAMA explores the boundaries that have shaped Australian life since colonization. Waters calls them ‘geometric discipline’, suggesting structures of discomfort imposed on individuals aimed at disciplining them into docile subjects. She shares her frustration of ‘being stuck in a loop’ understood as repetitiveness and going round the same silencing and colonizing arguments and denials. Textile work, which is performed on the gridded warp and weft of fabric, is in itself an example of a discipline reinforcing social status of women as home makers confined to domestic spaces and their gendered roles often focused on practices of comforting and caring. Waters’s exercises disruptive agency, for example in Sampler for a Colonised land, 2018-2019, by working in repeated loops and rings within textiles’ squares and grids. She uses found materials such as pelts, needlework or wool, among others, to break the boundaries of colonizing structures and enable new patterns for shared togetherness.

SIXTY YEARS

From April 22, 2019
Tate Britain, London, UK

On April 22nd Tate Britain opens a new temporary display on its main floor as part of its commitment to increase the visibility of women in Tate’s galleries. It features approximately 60 works from Tate’s collection by around 30 women artists working across diverse media, including Mona Hatoum, Rachel Whiteread, Sarah Lucas, Monster Chetwynd, Susan Hiller and Bridget Riley, among others. The display focuses on narratives in British history from 1960 until the present day, covering a wide range of issues such as immigration, race, class struggle, Britain’s colonial past, sexual identity, feminism, AIDS activism and club culture. Particularly interesting is Black Audio Film Collective’s film Handsworth Songs (1986; directed by John Akomfrah and produced by Lina Gopaul), which was filmed during the 1985 riots in Handsworth and London. It raises not only issues specific to the riots and their cultural, social, and political context but also the continuity of some of those unresolved struggles reflecting on brutal policing and racism and their current insurrections. Tate’s promise to increase the visibility of women artists is reflected in its 2019 program, which features (across its galleries) other exhibitions and displays celebrating women.

Filed under: CWA Picks