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

June 2016

Facing the Self: Program 2

In this online database, the curated compilation Facing the Self: Program 2 bring together artists working with the female form, particularly the face. “Using at times elaborate, but more often very limited, visual means and divergent visual and theatrical strategies, each tape explores, asserts, withholds and/or claims power over the representations of the artist’s body, its appearance and experiences.”

Facing the Self is part of the Video Data Bank, founded at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976. Included in this compilation of early video works are: Hermine Freed, Two Faces (1972); Lynda Benglis, Now (1973); Steina Vasulka, Let it Be (1972); Linda Montano, Mitchell’s Death (1977); Susan Mogul, Take Off (1974); and Eleanor Antin, The Adventures of a Nurse (1976).

“I was writing an essay at the time comparing male artists’ representations of their sexuality with female artists,’” Mogul explains of Take Off. In response to Vito Acconci’s work Undertone, where the artist was supposed to be masturbating while seated at a table, the video that Mogul created posits the artist at the end of a table, directly confronting the viewer and “with a good deal of ironic humor, she transforms the ‘girl’ into a woman and an artist, who positions herself not under the table (as in Acconci’s Undertone) but directly across from the viewer’ alternately discussing the ‘history’ of her vibrator and occasionally using it.”

Louise Fishman: Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock
Institute of Contemporary Art
University of Pennsylvania, 118 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA
April 29–August 14, 2016

Conceived as a studio visit, Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia presents a selection of sketchbooks, miniature paintings, and small sculptures by Louise Fishman, known for her abstract paintings “with an athletic reach of scale and gesture.”

Miniature canvases, as small as two by three inches, accompany sculptures made from found objects, and cast in bronze from plaster models, along with books whose mark making “burst with narrative drive like Amazonian comics rendered abstract.”

Fishman describes her formative years in the 1960s New York scene: “Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning were big for me—Joan Mitchell too. Then Minimalism came along and I was looking at Sol LeWitt and making hard-edge grid paintings. My group encouraged me to see that everything I was doing as a painter—even using stretched canvas and a paintbrush—was male, and this was problematic.”

Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock concentrates on the intimate and potent concerns of the artist: her Philadelphia roots, her feminist and queer politics, her Jewish identity, her friendships with Agnes Martin and Eva Hesse, and her meditations on the grid.

Sama Alshaibi: Silsila
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale, AZ
June 4–September 18, 2016

Named for the Arabic word silsila, or “link,” the exhibition at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art by the Iraqi-born artist Sama Alshaibi represents the joining of individuals to one another, humans with the natural works, and the self to the divine.

Inspired by the fourteenth century explorer and scholar Ibn Batutah, Alshaibi retraced his path through the Middle East, North Africa, and the Maldives. Her large-scale photographs and videos “provoke contemporary questions about borders, migration, and environmental demise in relation to the human body.”

Working in predominantly Muslim countries since 2009, Alshaibi presents the feminine form as a “metaphor for humanity and the natural world, using jewel-like colors, geometric patterning, mirroring and symmetry to reference the formal qualities of Islamic art traditions.”

No play_Feminist Training Camp
neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK)
Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin, Germany
May 21–June 24, 2016

In 2013, the nGbK group investigated the pronoun “we” with the project WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY). Their practice is informed by the idea that the structure of HOW we come together strongly influences WHAT we can do together. Following the group statement and an urgent need to “revive old as well as to develop new feminist and anti-fascist strategies of resistance, survival, and collective action,”nGbK has turned into a Feminist Training Camp: No play, a proposal toward a new social structure seeking to spatially and thematically integrate the space of art as space for action.

This site for activity and exchange is organized in training units developed by international actors from the fields of art, literature, performance, activism, martial arts, health, and film, and includes formats dealing with language as a weapon in political resistance, employing both creative strategies and practice-oriented workshops such as self-defense courses and a feminist repair café. Knowledge exchange from lived experiences is the key. A radio broadcasting system is set up that will allow the recapitulation of the conversations going on in the training camp as form of dissemination.

Based on a queer understanding of feminism, whose issues go far beyond women’s equality, the Feminist Training Camp is structured by zones of different means of production, such as documentary and archival sound and video recordings, a work table, sports mats, and artistic installations. Works and materials are made available in the exhibition space during the course of the training camp and form an infrastructure for planning and training.

At the end of the year a publication of the outcome of the Feminist Training Camp will be released. No Play aims to be developed as a poetic-political manual compiling the strategies, discussions, and experiences of the project.

Michèle Lemieux: The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films
Canadian Cultural Centre
5, rue de Constantine, Paris, 75007 France
April 15–September 2, 2016

The Canadian Cultural Center in Paris presents The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films, an exhibition of work by Michèle Lemieux, an illustrator of children’s books, an animated filmmaker, and an educator. The project proposes a reflection on the representation of reality, time, and the human condition.

The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films invites the viewer to discover the visual experimentations, working methods, and aesthetic of an exceptional artist, the director of films, the latest of which, Here and the Great Elsewhere, was produced at the National Film Board of Canada between 2010 and 2012 with a remarkable instrument—the pinscreen—that was invented in France by the filmmakers Alexandre Alexeïeff and Claire Parker during the 1930s.

Born in Quebec in 1955, Lemieux is a world expert in the technique of pinscreen and will share process and devices in the show. Ephemeral images of the pins and shadows are projected onto a white surface. A fixed camera photographs each drawing and then transmits it to a computer, which records the successive images produced by the tiny changes made to the support. The pinscreen naturally lends itself to morphing one image into another but within the confines of a fixed frame.

This exhibition is both a reflection on Lemieux’s practice and an introduction to her creative process, aiming to open a wider debate beyond the use of drawing in art making, and in film animation in particular, addressing the implications of the use of an archaic tool in contemporary art and design.

Andra Ursuţa: Alps
New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
April 27–June 16, 2016

The New Museum presents Alps, the first museum exhibition in New York of Andra Ursuţa.
Born in Romania in 1979, Ursuţa immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s, and yet many of the narrative facets of her upbringing, such as folk traditions and nationalist propaganda, remain evident throughout her work. Since her early practice, Ursuţa has used a fatalistic dark humor to expose power dynamics that inquire the vulnerability of the human body and examine modes of desire.

For her exhibition at the New Museum, Ursuţa debuts a new sculptural installation, Alps (2016), presented in dialogue with the artist’s recent sculptures, including her series Commerce Exterieur Mondial Sentimental (2012) and Whites (2015), which will have their American premiere in this show.

Alps evokes a specific geographical feature, Europe’s major natural barrier that has taken on a new significance in light of current efforts by migrants to cross into Western Europe. The installation seen alongside Whites—a squadron of forlorn obelisks patrolling the premises like ghosts of bygone imperialist ambitions—suggests a commentary on the impulse to guard and fortify borders.

Commerce Exterieur Mondial Sentimental (2012) includes life-sized marble figures adorned with coins glare. Informed by a socialist-realist aesthetic and inspired by a news image of a Roma woman being deported from France, these sculptures evoke lifeless women trapped in an economy in which the value of both human beings and commodities is determined by foreign powers.


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

May 2016

Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016
Hauser Wirth & Schimmel
901 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA
March 13–September 4, 2016

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opens its inaugural exhibition at its new Los Angeles space with Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016. On view is one hundred works made by thirty-four artists over the past seventy years. The show traces how women have “changed the course of art by deftly transforming the language of sculpture since the post war period.”

“Works on view reveal their makers inventing radically new forms and processes that privilege solo studio practice, tactility, and the idiosyncrasies of the artist’s own hand.” The exhibition explores a variety of artistic approaches such as stacking, hanging, and intertwining, examining the role of this work within current practices and expanded definitions of sculpture.

In addition to known artists from the prewar era to today, the exhibition contains commissioned works by a new generation of sculptors, including Phyllida Barlow, Karla Black, Abigail DeVille, Sonia Gomes, Rachel Khedoori, Laura Schnitger, Shinique Smith, Jessica Stockholder, and Kaari Upson.

“Perhaps most significant of all, the discreet human body—a central preoccupation of women abstract sculptors in earlier decades—has now disappeared. In its place, the artists in the final section of ‘Revolution in the Making’ offer an empty space for the viewer’s own body. Moving through, under, around, and within these new sculptures, the visitor becomes partner and participant in the continuing quest to articulate the female experience through art.”

The Sister Chapel: An Essential Feminist Collaboration
Rowan University Art Gallery at Westby Hall
201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, New Jersey
March 28–June 30, 2016

Rowan University Art Gallery presents The Sister Chapel, a series of paintings celebrating a “nonhierarchical, secular commemoration of female role models from a female perspective.” Originally conceived by Ilise Greenstein in 1974, The Sister Chapel, which takes its name from Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, was last show in 1980 before the pieces drifted into different collections.

The exhibition is presented for the first time in the initially conceived, twelve-sided fabric structure that was designed by the artist Maureen Conner and that includes work by twelve other women. Greenstein’s eighteen-foot abstract ceiling is suspended above a circular arrangement of eleven nine-foot canvases, each depicting a figure of a heroic women. The subjects of these portraits were determined by the individual artist: Bella Abzug – the Candidate, a portrait of the American Congresswoman and social reformer, painted by Alice Neel; Betty Friedan as the Prophet, a portrayal of the influential author of The Feminine Mystique, by June Blum; Marianne Moore, the American poet, by Betty Holliday; Frida Kahlo, the celebrated Mexican artist, by Shirley Gorelick; Artemisia Gentileschi, the seventeenth-century Italian Baroque artist, by May Stevens; Joan of Arc, the sainted fifteenth-century French military heroine, by Elsa M. Goldsmith; Lilith, the rebellious first wife of Adam, by Sylvia Sleigh; God, a female manifestation of the creator of the universe, by Cynthia Mailman; Durga, the powerful Hindu goddess, by Diana Kurz; Womanhero, a conceptual embodiment of female strength and power, by Martha Edelheit; and Self-Portrait as Superwoman (Woman as Culture Hero) by Sharon Wybrants.

The exhibition at Rowan is only the third time the individual components of this work has been shown together.

A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Northwestern University, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL
January 16–July 17, 2016

“This exhibition replaces the indelible image of Charlotte Moorman (1933–1991)—playing the cello topless save for a pair of strapped-on miniature television sets—with a more complex but equally powerful portrait of the girl from Little Rock, Arkansas, who metamorphosed into a seminal and barrier-breaking figure in performance art and an impresario of the postwar avant-garde.”

The Block Museum of Art transforms its two-story building, with its ground-floor gallery transformed into a double viewing room for screenings of videos, including rare footage from the Charlotte Moorman Archive. With loans from private collections, including that of Yoko Ono, the exhibition presents Moorman’s commitment to taking the avant-garde to the streets. Through an assortment of artworks, film clips, music scores, audio recordings, documentary photographs, snapshots, performance props and costumes, ephemera, and correspondence, Moorman’s career takes shape in full form.

“I have asked myself why Charlotte Moorman is largely missing from the narratives of 20th-century art,” says Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philips Katz Director and curator of modern and contemporary art. “She is mainly remembered as a muse to Nam June Paik, but she was much more. In light of her influence on contemporary performance and her role as an unequaled popularizer of the avant-garde it is long overdue for her to be appreciated as a seminal figure in her own right.”

The companion exhibition Don’t Throw Anything Out, the scope of the Charlotte Moorman Archive at Northwestern University is explored with selection of objects and media ranging from Moorman’s double-barreled, heavily notated Rolodex to audio recordings of greetings and voice messages saved from her telephone message machine.

A Feast of Astonishments will travel in fall 2016 to New York University’s Grey Art Gallery in Manhattan and to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Austria in spring 2017.

Teresa Jaynes: Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind
Library Company of Philadephia
1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
April 4–October 21, 2016

The Library Company’s Louise Lux-Sions and Harry Sions Gallery presents Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind, a multimedia exhibition of new works by the Philadelphia-based artist-in-residence Teresa Jaynes. Common Touch explores the nature, foundations, and limits of perception through the juxtaposition of Jaynes’s multisensory artwork—in which sight does not dominate—with historical materials documenting the education of visually impaired people in the nineteenth century. At its heart, Common Touch is the story of an artisan, a mathematician, a composer, and a surveyor. Drawing on their accomplishments, the artist developed “first person constructions” for each, infused with the geometric and abstract forms that were fundamental to the education of the blind in the nineteenth century. These forms were tools used to navigate and perceive the physical world—a radical approach years before the beginnings of modernism.

For more than twenty-five years, Jaynes has created installations and artist’s books based on extensive research in special collections and libraries, including the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Newberry Library. Common Touch follows The Moon Reader, Jaynes’s interactive art installation that invites participants to learn through touch a raised-letter writing system for the blind invented by the blind educator William Moon in 1845. Designed as a primer, the book begins with an exercise for learning Moon that is then followed by “lessons” related to geometry, geography, botany, and astronomy. The stories and diagrams are taken from the Michael Zinman Collection of Printing for the Blind at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

As in previous Jaynes’s research-based projects, through art and artifact, Common Touch examines transformations in our understanding of sight while exploring the nature and limits of perception. The experience as a whole is intended to expand the “readers” understanding of historical and contemporary connotations of sight through curiosity, humor, and empathy.

Claudia DeMonte, Sarah Hinckley, Hayv Kahraman, Toyin Odutola, Lisa Ruyter, and Laurie Simmons: Making her Mark
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT 06702
April 17–June 5, 2016

The Mattatuck Museum presents Making Her Mark, a multimedia exhibition of work by six female contemporary artists curated by Lauren P. Della Monica. The artists featured in the exhibition—Claudia DeMonte, Sarah Hinckley, Hayv Kahraman, Toyin Odutola, Lisa Ruyter, and Laurie Simmons—range from emerging talent to renowned international artists. Such diversity bears witness to their experiences as female artists over the past few decades in an art world often criticized for undervaluing the contributions of deserving women artists. Their professional successes are testament to their talents and are especially compelling at a time of heightened interest in women’s roles in the arts and their presence on the walls of museums.

This show includes a range of diverse work from abstract and representational paintings to drawings, sculpture, and photography created by artists at various stages of their careers, each of whom is making a significant contribution to the overall cannon of contemporary art, all making their marks as leaders in the field. These artists address their personal experiences and backgrounds through their work, drawing upon an array of geographic and cultural influences—such as DeMonte’s Italian American heritage, Odutola’s African and African American upbringing, Kahraman’s childhood in Iraq, or Hinckley’s New England roots—and presenting these influences with an understanding of their continuing impact on their work. Ruyter and Simmons document popular culture’s influence by transforming pop-culture images into works of fine art. Viewing this spectrum of work collectively allows the audience to form a broader view of the contemporary social context as the works themselves also address global issues such as feminism, cultural identity, and universalism.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Connecticut Community Foundation with promotional partnership from Saint Mary’s Hospital’s Spirit of Women program.

Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, Stephen Petronio: Ally
Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
April 21–July 31, 2016

The Fabric Workshop and Museum is presenting Ally, a series of works combining sculpture, installation, film, and performance created through the Artist-in-Residence Program. The art and dance project conceived and performed by Janine Antoni was initiated by herself in collaboration with the choreographer, theater, and community artist Anna Halprin and the pioneering choreographer Stephen Petronio.

In Ally, Antoni pursues her interest in bodily presence, touch, and movement through a series of unique collaborations in which the trio investigates the translation of ideas across forms and the vast potential that lies in their relations. The encounter between these artists from diverse practices and generations becomes a means of unearthing unknown affinities and historical entwinements, forging a new visual language and tactile experiences within processes of transformation.

Conceived by Antoni “as a kind of retrospective of my art making told through dance,” the project has evolved into a truly collaborative creation that allows the three artists to find a way to continue making new work while reflecting in their previous practices. The exhibition comprises four projects: Rope Dance, Swallow, The Courtesan and the Crone,and Paper Dance. Once a week for fourteen weeks Antoni will perform Paper Dance, an improvised movement performance that draws on images and concerns which have long preoccupied her as an artist. Antoni (born in the Bahamas, 1964) uses rolls of brown paper originally employed by Halprin (born in Winnetka, Illinois, 1920) in her seminal work Parades and Changes (1965). These performances take place within an installed arena of many wooden packing crates containing artworks by Antoni. Each iteration calls for Antoni to begin by unpacking one of her earlier works from a crate, whether it be a sculpture made of chocolate and soap like Lick and Lather (1993) or a photographic image like Mortar and Pestle (1999). Throughout the series of performances, a “retrospective” of Antoni’s previous works slowly emerges, remaining for a week, then disappearing as they are repacked into the installed crates.

Ally, in Petronio’s words, means a project “fundamentally about connection. And part of that is three distinct artistic languages coming together to meet in the gap between art and dance.”


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

April 2016

Sidsel Meineche Hansens

Sidsel Meineche Hansen, DICKGIRL 3D(X), 2016, CGI animation, HD video with sound, 3 min loop (artwork © Sidsel Meineche Hansen; photograph by Andy Keate)

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


Filed under: CWA Picks — Tags:

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

March 2016

Lise Haller Baggesen: Mothernism
Contemporary Art Museum for Austin
Laguna Gloria, 3809 West 35th Street, Austin, TX
February 13–Mary 22, 2016

The Gatehouse Gallery at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria presents Mothernism by Lise Haller Baggesen, a large-scale installation with a “nod to the bright pop of midcentury Danish interior designer Verner Panton as well as snoezelenrooms, a Dutch therapy technique from the 1970s.” The bright, cozy interior, with disco balls and plush purple carpet, regularly calls back visions from disco culture.

Baggesen describes the work as “a nomadic tent camp audio installation … dedicated to staking out and making speakable the ‘mother-shaped hole in contemporary art discourse.’” Published as a book in 2014, the installation previously came to life an audio-visual presentation in which Baggesen read essays as her alter ego, Queen Leeba, “an amalgam of Donna Summer and a proto-feminist, Scandinavian love goddess.” In this iteration, Mothernism is more like entering a painting, “inviting the viewer into her painting-as-installation, a figure/ground relationship so upended as to become participatory, or relational.”

The exhibition in Austin also contains newly commissioned work, The Mothernist’s Audio Guide to Laguna Gloria, celebrating the history of the Driscoll Villa at Laguna Gloria and the original designer and owner, Clara Driscoll, all through Baggesen’s artistic style, incorporating her knowledge of art history, pop culture, politics, and music.

Tip of Her Tongue: Xandra Ibarra: Nude Laughing, Cassils: The Powers That Be, Shirin Neshat: Possessed
The Broad
221 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
April 2, 2016
8:30 PM

Downtown Los Angeles’s new art venue, the Broad, features Tip of Her Tongue, a three-part exhibition by the feminist artists Shirin Neshat, Xandra Ibarra, and Cassils, focusing on language and embodiment. Curated by Jennifer Doyle, professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and a member of Human Resources Los Angeles, a collectively run art space dedicated to supporting performance and interdisciplinary modes of expression, the program contains a thirteen-minute video, Possessed (2001) by Neshat, and two live performances, Nude Laughing by Ibarra and The Powers That Be by Cassils.

Neshat’s video presents a woman roaming the streets of an Iranian city without her cador. The woman, played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, is ignored until she takes a public platform, where her “private suffering becomes public and political.” In Nude Laughing by Ibarra, the Oakland-based artist’s “engages the skin and skein of race.” Drawing inspiration from John Currin’s painting Laughing Nude, Ibarra herself is nude and encased in a nylon skin cocoon along with “white lady accoutrements … negotiating the simultaneous joys and pains of subjections, abjection, and personhood.” Rounding out the performances, the national premiere of The Powers That Be by Cassils is a collaborative effort with the fight choreographer Mark Steger. In the two-person fight, Cassils is left to spar alone with an invisible force. The performance will be lit by car headlights and performed in the Broad’s parking garage to a score by Kadet Kuhne, played across car stereos.

Tickets to the performances can be purchased on the Broad’s website.

Lecture: Julia Bryan-Wilson on Ruth Asawa and Louise Bourgeois
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2155 Center Street, Berkeley, CA
April 1, 2016
12:15 PM

Julia Bryan-Wilson, associate professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the forthcoming book Art in the Making: From the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson), will present a lunchtime talk on Ruth Asawa and Louis Bourgeois, two artists currently on exhibition in Architecture of Life at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Bryan-Wilson’s research interests include feminist and queer art, textile handicraft, and questions of materiality—all germane to different aspects of Asawa’s and Bourgeois’s work.

Architecture of Life, on view through May 29, is the inaugural exhibition in the museum’s new building. “It explores the ways that architecture—as concept, metaphor, and practice—illuminates various aspects of life experience: the nature of the self and psyche, the fundamental structures of reality, and the power of the imagination to reshape our world.” The exhibition has over two hundred works of art in various media, including scientific illustrations and architectural drawings.

Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez: Travelers and Settlers
Museum of Nebraska Art
2401 Central Avenue, Kearney, NE
January 9–April 3, 2016

The Museum of Nebraska Art presents Travelers and Settlers, a solo exhibition by the Colombian-born artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez. Curated by Teliza Rodriguez, this engaging and introspective installation is the artist’s exploration of the experience of identity, memory, and gender.

Friedemann-Sánchez’s installation comprises paintings, sculptures, and objects—a mixed-media environment inhabited by family heirlooms alongside carved wooden boats and black mirrorlike panels that hold pearled sconces. Here the artist creates a visual novel narrated in different voices interweaved through a synchronicity of dialogues, passages, punctuations, and silences about hybrid culture and ownership, narratives that portray spiritual and physical transit.

In her project statement the artistwrites, “Anchored in feminism, my art is infused by American and Colombian cultural forms that are dominant or subordinate.” Born in Colombia and having immigrated to the United States as a grown-up, she developed her bilingual art naturally. Travelers and Settlers unfolds in this way: her multinarrative on cultural memory, migration, and the pursuit of the American dream, a bicultural and transcultural experience speaks of difference and opposites.

As Robert Mahoney states in his extensive essay about Friedemann-Sánchez’s project: “As a whole, Travelers & Settlers read as an elegiac litany to sacred space reclaimed from the pushes and pulls of modern history, with the artist acting as guider of souls, urging us to gain a deeper appreciation of the unspoken realities of cultural translation, and, beyond all that, arrive safely again at our common humanity.”

Dafna Maimon: Modern Lives
Lilith Performance Studio
Bragegatan 15, Malmö, Sweden
March 10–12 and 17–19, 2016

Lilith Performance Studio in Malmö presents Modern Lives, a new performance by the Finnish/Israeli artist Dafna Maimon (b. 1982), who lives and works in Berlin. Her work, which includes performance, short film, video, texts, and sculpture, explores and engages with human narratives that challenge stereotypical constructions. Questioning the unclear limits of identity, the self, and the body, her performances expose the economy of affect-based ties, community, and collaboration on a grassroots level.

Modern Lives draws its starting point from the life of Ulrica Maimon, the artist’s mother, who created an alter ego for herself in the early 2000s: Mrs. Gyllendaal Af Berntas. Mrs. Gyllendaal, a 1860s goldsmith’s widow moved into Maimon’s apartment, which has been furnished in the corresponding period style. Throughout the years, Gyllendaal’s biography developed, along with her wardrobe and everyday tasks, inviting family and friends to participate in the roleplay.

For Modern Lives at Lilith Performance Studio, Maimon has built up a full-sized domestic arena for the widow. This performative space becomes a construction site where the “self” can be seen as a multilayered entity, an emotional landscape in motion, a surreal and melancholic world in which its inhabitants echo themselves as prisoners of their own condition. Throughout this piece, the artist fuses her mother’s playful inner fantasies with her own absurdist expression, choreographing and representing several different bodies as one.

Modern Lives is presented as an ongoing a repetitive structure during which audience members are encouraged to visit and stay for as long as they wish.

Maud Sulter: Syrcas
Autograph ABP
Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA
January 15–April 2, 2016

Autograph ABP proudly presents Syrcas,an installation of sixteen original photomontages, curated by Mark Sealy, of a seminal body of work created by Maud Sulter (1960–2008). Born in Glasgow of Scots and Ghanaian descent, Sulter was an active feminist in London communities in the early 1980s. She had worked with a women’s education group to program Check It, a groundbreaking two-week show at the Drill Hall that showcased black women’s creativity. Along her influential practice, Sulter continuously explored the presence of Africa in Europe in a variety of media: text, photography, sound, and performance. Her work as artist, writer, and curator questions the lack of representation of black women in the histories of art and photography and critically investigates the complex experiences of the African diaspora in European history and culture over the past six hundred years.

Created during the early 1990s, Syrcas is Sulter’s most intricate and layered body of work. Through the technique of photomontage, this series aims to revive the forgotten history of the genocide of black Europeans during the Holocaust. The installation includes a reproduction of Sulter’s poem “Blood Money.” Written in 1994, the poem was inspired by the German photographer August Sanders’s series of images of Circus Workers (1926–32) and represents a tormenting tale of a young African woman and her family caught up in war, dealing with the constant threat of discrimination, violence, and persecution.

Filed under: CWA Picks, Uncategorized — Tags:

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

February 2016

Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri
January 15–April 3, 2016

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presents Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood, her first solo museum exhibition in the United States in fifteen years. The show charts the artist’s career development through twenty-five years of her painting. On view are her surreal, otherworldly figures arranged in diptychs, triptychs, and what Yuskavage calls “symbiotic portraits.”

“Merging the grand tradition of portraiture with the expansive vocabulary of female transgression and empowerment, Yuskavage’s sensuous palette and confrontational subject matter provoke the imagination and create a sometimes polarizing space: the artist presents the female body as a site of defiance and decadence.”

The sometimes doll-like figures of Yuskavage’s paintings give way to sexualized poses and hint unsettling realities beneath the exquisitely painted canvases. As Christian Viveros-Fauné says in a review of the exhibition, previously at the Rose Art Museum (published by ARTnews on September 11, 2015), “The result is a bawdy brood of shocking figures painted with classical luminosity. Despite Yuskavage’s formal delicacy and love of bright colors, it’s no stretch to say that the best of her works are as dark as Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a large-scale, comprehensive publication by Skira Rizzoli, created in close collaboration with the artist.

Betye Saar: Still Tickin’
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale, AZ
January 30–May 1, 2016

The Los Angeles artist Beyte Saar’s new exhibition Still Tickin’ at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presents nearly six decades of her work exploring African American identity, spirituality, and the interconnectedness between different cultures. The exhibition is divided into three themes: nostalgia and memory; mysticism and ritual; the political and racial.

From collage to sculpture to works on paper, Saar has used her artistic career to explore the lives of black people. In video interview for the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the California African American Museum, she asks “What can I do as an artist to liberate Aunt Jemima?” after encountering the racially charged figure at a flea market. “I can make her a warrior,” she answers, giving Aunt Jemima a shotgun in the seminal piece, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972).

Saar began her career in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, using found objects such as clocks, dolls, and cages among other bits and pieces, creating assemblages and installations. The Scottsdale exhibition brings together recent work and historical pieces.

Though Saar was featured in eight Pacific Standard Time exhibitions in 2010 and received the 2012 Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Arts Distinguished Feminist Award, she remains largely overlooked. Still Tickin’ comes to Arizona from Saar’s first museum solo exhibition in Europe at the Museum Het Domein in the Netherlands.

Firelie Báez: Bloodlines
Pérez Art Museum Miami
1103 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL
October 15, 2015–March 6, 2016

The Dominican-born artist Firelie Báez’s first solo museum show, Bloodlines, at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami presents new works inspired by lineages of black resistance. Several works were created specifically for the exhibition and depict textiles, hair designs, and body ornaments, linking traditionally loaded symbols with individual human gestures.

“Báez’s new works embody a provocative investigation on decorative elements, textiles, hair designs, and body ornaments that explores methods of resistance in black communities within the United States and the Caribbean. Her exceptional paintings show a profound appreciation of diasporic histories, as well as new contemporary approaches towards painting,” said María Elena Ortiz, the museum’s assistant curator, who organized the show.

Works on view include: Patterns of Resistance (2015), a series comprising blue and white drawings centered on a textile pattern created by Báez, using different political references from social movements in the black diaspora in the United States and the Caribbean; and Bloodlines (2015), a new series of portraits inspired by the tignon, a headdress which free women of color were obligated to use by law in eighteenth-century New Orleans.

While exploring black culture, Afro Caribbean folklore, and the diaspora, Báez brings her female viewpoint, “thereby claiming the relevance of the excluded historical perspective of women of color and reclaiming the female body and mind.” A catalogue of the exhibition, featuring contributions by Naima Keith and Roxane Gay, is available.

Lorraine O’Grady: Art Is…
Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street, New York
July 16, 2015–March 6, 2016

Lorraine O’Grady (b. Boston, 1934) began her career in art in 1980, developing pioneering works in performance, installation, and works that address subjects of diaspora and black female subjectivity. Her iconic performances include Mlle Bourgeoise Noire (1980–83), Rivers: First Draft (1982), and Art Is… (1983), whose documentation is now presented at the Studio Museum in Harlem more than three decades later, organized by the assistant curator Amanda Hunt.

The performance was held on a sunny Sunday in September 1983 as part of the African  American Day Parade, a monumental event that celebrates African and African American culture and heritage and that has been taking place Harlem since 1969. Choosing this context, the artist “ensured the largest black audience possible” and intended to challenge assumptions about race and accessibility, addressing in particular the idea that creating art is a privilege available only to some.

In this landmark performance, O’Grady entered her own float, riding up Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) along fifteen collaborators, all dressed in white. The float displayed an enormous, ornate gilded frame, while the words “Art Is…” was inscribed in its decorative skirt. Along the itinerary, O’Grady and troupe jumped off the float and held up empty, gilded picture frames, inviting people to be “portrayed” in them. The response was overwhelming, as enthusiastic onlookers became participants, confirming to O’Grady that Harlem’s residents were ready to see themselves as works of art.

Hundreds of snapshots were taken by various people who witnessed the performance. Later on O’Grady collected them to compose the series of forty images that capture the energy and spirit of the original performance. These images not only document the event but also form an archive of the architectural and cultural relics of Harlem’s past through a joyful partnership between visual art and lived experience. O’Grady’s performance engaged a broad and spontaneous audience in a way that no contemporary artist had done before. The joyful engagement follows her idea that Art Is… for everyone.

Marie Lund, Rallou Panagiotou, and Mary Ramsden: Vanilla and Concrete
Tate Britain
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, UK
November 9, 2015–June 19, 2016

As part of the Art Now series, Tate Britain presents Vanilla and Concrete: Marie Lund, Rallou Panagiotou, and Mary Ramsden. Curated by Sofia Karamani, the exhibition brings together new and recent work by emerging artists who explore everyday objects, spaces, and gestures. From the finger smudges on a touchscreen to the sun-bleached fabric of a curtain, the work of these artists gives new form and meaning to apparently mundane objects and everyday incidental moments. Based on the artists’ intimate observations of today’s world, the works draw out connections between surface and essence and address the concept of transformation between individual and cultural identity.

Marie Lund (b. 1976, Copenhagen) presents sculptures inspired by the human impact on common spaces and objects, changing the way in which they are perceived. Lund recovers curtains stained with sunlight over many years and stretches them to look like abstract paintings, marrying light traces with poetic content.

Rallou Panagiotou (b. 1978, UK) takes interest in everyday “luxury” items, from make-up and jewelry to a cocktail, and from a straw-painted toe to marks of eyeliner. Panagiotou embraces these objects as artificial extensions of the human body, investigating how they define and express the individual within a wider cultural context.

Mary Ramsden (b. 1984, London) presents paintings that are inescapably informed by our digital reality. They hint to the smudges on digital touchscreens. Her works are displayed both individually and in groups that mimic multiple windows opened on a computer screen, reflecting the messy, human touch within a pristine and impersonal environment.

The Feminist Art Project
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
Saturday February 6, 2016, 9:00 AM–4:30 PM

Coinciding with the 104th CAA Annual Conference, the Feminist Art Project is proud to partner with the Studio Arts Program at American University to bring this extraordinary event to the public on Saturday, February 6, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The Feminist Art Project’s TFAP@CAA Day of Panels will present a day of diverse panels and performances. This year’s theme is the representation of identity as intersectional—recognizing the multiple aspects of identity (gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality) and how they intersect, compound, and complicate the very categories they construct.

A second TFAP@CAA event invites the public to participate in an interactive performative action, Feminism: Remembrance & Legacy, organized by Claudia Sbrissa and Kathleen Wentrack in honor of the tenth anniversary of TFAP and the legacy of feminism. All are invited to share their experiences with TFAP and/or offer advice to future generations in the form of a written or visually expressed “letter to a young artist.” In reciprocity, participants will receive a gift from the project collaborators reflecting the generous exchange of ideas, art, connections, and friendship through the Feminist Art Project. All responses will be available to view online.

This event is free and open to the public and does not require conference registration. View the full 2016 schedule, abstracts, panel and event descriptions, and location details on the project’s website.

Coco Fusco
Alexander Gray Associates
510 West 26th Street, New York City
January 9–February 6, 2016

Accompanying her current exhibition, Alexander Gray Associates is presenting a screening series by the interdisciplinary artist and writer Coco Fusco. The selection is a survey, brought together for the first time, of her seminal videos created over the past two decades. The first screening includes Fusco’s most recent videos on Cuba: La Confesión (2015), created for the fifty-sixth Venice Biennale in Italy; and La botella al mar de María Elena (2015), which premiered at the 2015 Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art in Sweden.

Filed under: CWA Picks, Uncategorized — Tags:

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

January 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.”

Filed under: CWA Picks, Uncategorized — Tags:

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

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

November 2015

Jumana Manna
Chisenhale Gallery
64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ UK
September 18–December 13, 2015 

Chisenhale Gallery presents the first UK solo exhibition by the Berlin and Jerusalem–based artist Jumana Manna. The exhibition includes A magical substance flows into me (2015), a newly commissioned, seventy-minute feature-length film presented alongside an installation of sculptures.

Manna (b. 1987) works primarily with film and sculpture, addressing the historical and political resonance of materials and the physical relationships between objects and bodies. For the Chisenhale exhibition, the film was installed alongside a series of hollow plaster sculptures that carry an anthropomorphic charge. Installed in combination with plastic chairs and waste bins, these sculptures articulate a set of contradictions also evident in the film, where the audience seated bodies and sculptures extend the concepts explored in screen into a physical and tangible atmosphere.

A magical substance flows into me explores the different musical traditions of myriad communities living in and around Jerusalem. Inspired by her research on the German-Jewish ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann (who fled to Israel at the beginning of WWII), the artist revisits different diaspora groups—such as Kurds, Moroccans, Yemenite Jews, Samaritans, Palestinians, Bedouins, and Coptic Christians—whose traditional music Lachmann studied and recorded for the 1930s radio series Oriental Music. This recording was developed for the Palestine Broadcasting Service, established under the British Mandate (1920–1948).

Tracing links between physically, culturally, and linguistically separated communities, while allowing for ideas of the representation of authenticity and heritage to emerge through the possibilities of sound and listening, Manna creates a beautifully poignant film that explores how musical customs create identity and overcome cultural suppression. Waving together fragments Jerusalem’s story, the artist includes her parents as well as herself to reflect a personal connection to the subject within the historical narratives she portrays, a narrative in which the power of music truly transcends politics.

Firelei Báez: Patterns of Resistance
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
September 25, 2015–January 16, 2016

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art presents Patterns of Resistance, the first solo exhibition of the Dominican artist Firelei Báez, on the occasion of the artist being awarded the prestigious Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting. This prize is given by the museum and the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation “to an emerging or mid-career painter whose work expresses a great range of talent and forward thinking within a contemporary idiom.”

Born in 1981 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, Báez is best known for her large-scale intrincate works on paper. Her laborious studio practice draws together her interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity, and women’s work. Throughout her work, Báez explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies, a process that implies an individual and creative capability to coexist with cultural ambiguities.

Inspired by lineages of black resistance, Báez’s work traces the history of social movements in the United States and the Caribbean. Throughout Patterns of Resistance, the artist interweaves the lives of eighteenth-century black women in Louisiana and the Cuban roots of the Latin American azabache with symbols used in the US during the tumultuous 1960s. Her paintings and drawings depict textiles, hair designs, and body ornaments linking traditionally loaded symbols with individual human gestures. Primarily focusing on female figures and their subjectivities, Báez has a labor-intensive process that reveals new emblems of power and invokes disparate patterns of resistance within the African diaspora while proposing the illumination of obscured narratives of identity.

Oliver Pickle and Ruth West: She Is Sitting in the Night: Re-visioning Thea’s Tarot
Book, available from Metonymy Press

Described as “a contemporary queer re-visioning of a beautiful feminist tarot deck,” She Is Sitting in the Night by the author and tarot reader Oliver Pickle, with the artist Ruth West, re-presents West’s original feminist drawings from Thea’s Tarot and rejects the “normative readings of the figures and imagery on the decks they discuss.”

The 192-page book features copies of the original seventy-eight drawings by West along with new interpretations celebrating both queer and feminist cultural production. Thea’s Tarot, originally released in 1984, features black and white cut-paper silhouettes, replacing the figures with all women, including child, daughter, mother, and amazon.

Pickle, through their interpretations of West’s work, challenges the heteronormative relationships to figure and body. This intergenerational conversation draws on the relationships between radical feminism of the 1970s and the evolving relationships to gender identity. Where West’s drawings replace male figures, such as the Emperor, with a woman, and the card for Lovers is a paper cut of two females, Pickle uses the absence of commentary by West to reframe the relationship between image/text and gender identity.

The book and drawings are designed to fit a specific need within the tarot community, but they also function as an example of artistic production shifting the binary representation of figure to a more fluid role. In an interview Pickle describes their interpretations of West’s drawings by not “imagining a sexual or gender identity for the person I am speaking to, so they can do interpretations of themselves.”

Nancy Cohen: Hackensack Dreaming
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA
November 5–December 19, 2015

Nancy Cohen’s Hackensack Dreaming, at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, fuses the artistic process with environmental education. The large-scale installation of handmade paper, glass, and rubber is the culmination of more than two years of Cohen’s work and time spent in a section of the Mill Creek Marsh tucked behind strip malls and a wastewater treatment plant along the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Exploring Cohen’s installation is to enter a world constructed by the human hand through manipulation of raw materials, a parallel not unlike the reality of marsh. In a subtle self-referential manner, the organic ingredients that constitute the hand-made paper and glass are documents of the natural world.

The installation serves as a document to the soul of the marsh and its own constructed reality. Hackensack Dreaming is rife with referential essence: translucent glass objects hint at cedar forest poking up through the water on an icy New Jersey day, and liquid rubber poured on the paper suggests, interchangeably, a wet or toxic surface.

“I want the viewer to move through Hackensack Dreaming discovering and finding connections—compelled by the beauty and strangeness,” says Cohen, who lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey. Discovering, likewise, the fragility and strength found in both the installation and natural world by means of physical experience. Through conscious levels of manipulation of materials, Cohen “makes literal the delicate, ephemeral balance” of the marsh. The audience is invited to walk among the work, either by the narrow path at the center of the installation or by delicately placing one’s feet among the glass sculptures and maneuvering one’s body through the realities of Hackensack Dreaming.

Patricia Johanson: Environmental Remedies: Restoring Soil and Water
Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center
60 West Cottage Avenue, Millersville, PA
October 22–December 11, 2015

Related programming:
Conrad Nelson Fellow: Patricia Johanson, Artist Lecture
Ware Center, Millersville University
42 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA
November 3, 2015, 7:30 PM

Panel discussion:
Ecological Art: Reconstructing Humanity’s Relationship with the Environment
Betsy Damon, Patricia Johanson, and Sue Spaid
Ware Center, Millersville University
42 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA
November 4, 2015, 7:00 PM

Gallery Talk:
November 4, 2015, 3:00 PM

The Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center at Millersville University will feature work by the artist Patricia Johanson. As the 2015–16 Conrad Nelson Fellow, Johanson has combined sculptural projects, art, ecology, landscaping, and functional infrastructure to remedy environmental degradation and restore ecosystems. Trained as an artist and architect, she has transformed landfills into parks, restored lagoons, conserved land polluted by acid mine drainage and built water gardens that function as treatment plants.

In her 1969 commission by House & Garden, Johanson produced 150 drawings with essays and explanatory notes departing from traditional garden design. “Her images, drawn from precise botanical and biological sources, loop, uncoil, and crawl elegantly across the land, evoking evolution, life, and movement.”

One of Johanson’s early ecological artworks, Fair Park Lagoon in Dallas (1981), transformed the eroding shoreline and water contaminated with algal blooms into a thriving ecosystem. The park was fitted with gigantic, terra-cotta-colored Gunite sculptures that doubled as pathways as well as perches for birds and turtles as the work snaked its way through the park land and water. Fair Park Lagoon in Dallas continues to serve as a place of education and recreation.

In conjunction with her exhibition and the Conrad fellowship, Johanson will present an artist lecture at the Ware Center on November 3, 2015. Additionally, Johanson, along with the ecoartist Betsy Damon and the curator Sue Spaid, will participate in a panel discussion, “Ecological Art: Reconstructiong Humanity’s Relationship with the Environment,” on November 4, 2015. The panelists will discuss their outdoor sculptural projects designed to remedy environmental degradation and strengthen the planet’s weakened defenses.

Our Mother’s House: a multi-component program dedicated to empowering female artists and safeguarding cultural heritage in southern Saudi Arabia
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY
November 16–27, 2015

Art Jameel, Edge of Arabia, and the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations present Our Mother’s House, a program that aims to draw attention to the urgent need of cultural-heritage protection and the equal representation of women in the Middle East.

The launch of this program will include an art exhibition of specially commissioned mural painting that celebrates the centuries-old tradition of (Majli) house-painting by skilled female artisans from the village of Rijal Alma, located in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia. Highlighting the crucial role that Asiri female artists have played in the composition and archiving of their local history, Our Mother’s House means a celebration the creativity and determination of women artists who play an extraordinary role in preserving the cultural identity of their communities.

Project advisors include the artist Arwa Alnaemi, whose work explores the relationship of women to larger Saudi Society, and Asiri house painter Fatimah Jaber, who is also founder of Fatimah Museum in Abha.

For more information or to request a private tour of the exhibition, please email Mohammed Shaker.

Filed under: CWA Picks, Uncategorized — Tags:

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

October 2015

Lump Project
505 South Blount Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
October 2–31, 2015

Lump Project celebrates its twentieth anniversary in Raleigh, North Carolina, with Dress/Shield, an exhibition by six female artists whose identity as women underpin the work. Represented in the exhibition are: Leah Bailis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lee Delegard, Brooklyn, New York; Lydia Moyer, Covesville, Virginia; Molly Schafer, Chicago, Illinois; Tory Wright, Greenville, South Carolina; and Laura Sharpe Wilson, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Each artist has a history of showing at Lump, and the exhibition will feature diverse processes, including sculpture, textiles, video, photography, and works on paper. “This group show is an opportunity to see how the perception of those voices changes when they are in chorus and to explore the connections between the work of women artists who are disparate in geography and media.”

“Schafer and Wright respond to recent motherhood with drawing, photographs and intricate paper-cut (respectively) while Moyer frames the experience of being female through text-based work that references local and national politics. Bailis does so with quilts that double as full-body masks; Delegard uses painting and sculpture to explore relationships between desire, consumerism, and the body. Sharpe Wilson, whose practice is most often painting, expands on her nature-inspired work with an installation of newly created textiles referencing historical social concerns.”

Cover of the exhibition catalogue for Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s–Now

Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s–Now
Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94613
September 16–December 13, 2015

The Mills College Art Museum explores the public practice by women artists from the 1970s to the present. The multimedia exhibition includes audio, documentation, ephemera, photography, prints, and video examining “the inherent politics and social conditions of creating art in public space,” and examining public works beyond monumental artworks.

Public Works focuses on the often small but powerful temporary artistic interventions found online and in the urban environment. Through various tactics, the exhibition explores themes of public space, public expression, public action, public platforms, and public life through the evolving lens of participatory projects, socially engaged performance, and political action, among other media.”

Featured are the artists Amy Balkin, Tania Bruguera, Candy Chang, Minerva Cuevas, Agnes Denes, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Karen Finley, Coco Fusco, the Guerrilla Girls, Sharon Hayes, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Suzanne Lacy, Marie Lorenz, Susan O’Malley, Adrian Piper, Laurie Jo Reynolds and Tamms Year Ten, Favianna Rodriguez, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Stephanie Syjuco, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. New commissions include performances by Constance Hockaday and Jenifer K. Wofford, produced in collaboration with Southern Exposure (San Francisco, California). A full-color catalogue with texts by María del Carmen Carrión, Courtney Fink, Christian L. Frock, Leila Grothe, Stephanie Hanor, Meredith Johnson, and Tanya Zimbardo is available.

Faith Wilding: Fearful Symmetries
Armory Center for the Arts
145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103
September 26, 2015–January 3, 2016

The Armory Center for the Arts features the performance artist Faith Wilding’s first retrospective from her studio practice spanning the past forty years. Highlights include works on paper, including drawings, watercolors, collage, and paintings. The exhibition focuses on themes of “becoming,” with Wilding’s work exploring pivotal moments between private and public.

“Viewed together in this exhibition, her work makes a powerful impression about psychological and physical transition and transformation. In the depiction of the chrysalis and the embryo, for example, gestation is suggested, while in imagery of tears, wounds, and ‘recombinant’ bodies, emergence and materialization are pronounced. The sum of these parts provides a unique account of how themes of emergence were central to Wilding’s articulation of feminism, and her own reflections on a childhood growing up in an intentional Christian commune.”
Wilding, a prominent in the formation of the first Feminist Art Program, in Fresno, California, in 1970, and later at California Institute of the Arts, was also a contributor to the famous Womanhouse exhibition housed in an abandoned mansion in Los Angeles in 1972, where she performed Waiting.

The traveling exhibition is organized by Threewalls in Chicago, Illinois. Concurrently OxyArts Gallery at Occidental College will present selections from Wilding’s archive that document her work with the collaborative research and performance group subRosa, rare videos of performances made throughout her career, and papers and publications dating from her participation in the feminist art movement in the 1970s.

Women’s Art Society II
Galleries 2 + 3, 12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno LL30 1AB, Wales, UK
July 18–November 1, 2015

MOSTYN presents the second edition of Women’s Art Society. Curated by Adam Carr, Women’s Art Society II is the fourth in a series of exhibitions that reflects on the rich heritage and history of the gallery building. Each exhibition in the series will examine the history of MOSTYN and its building, and how that history is tied to events beyond its context locally, nationally and internationally. With the aim to update the spirit of the original Ladies’ Art Society, this particular exhibitions discusses the history of MOSTYN and its building, while bridging the divide between past and present.

Women’s Art Society II follows an exhibition presented in October 2013 that took as its starting point the gallery’s founding in 1902. Mostyn Art Gallery was commissioned by Lady Augusta Mostyn and the first gallery in the world built specifically as a home for the presentation of artwork by female artists, in this case the work of the Gwynedd Ladies’ Art Society, who were denied membership of male-dominated local art societies on the basis of their gender. Women’s Art Society II continues the spirit of the original Ladies’ Art Society, inviting nine internationally active female artists to introduce work in the gallery space more than one hundred years later. This exhibition is also a survey of the discipline of painting today since the works in display ranges of approaches, styles, and conceptual concerns about the continued relevance of painting.

The exhibition includes works by Cornelia Baltes, Sol Calero, Ditte Gantriis, Lydia Gifford, May Hands, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Shani Rhys James, and Caragh Thuring. Artworks on view are linked to the history of the original society by the way in which they examine the politics of gender, identity, and regulation, and aspects of exclusion and prejudice.

Shahzia Sikander: Parallax
Guggenheim Bilbao
Avenida Abandoibarra, 2, 48009 Bilbao, Spain
July 16–November 22, 2015

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s film and video room is currently inhabited by Parallax, Shahzia Sikander’s three-channel animation work. The installation, composed of hundreds of digitally animated images, combines abstract, representational, and textual forms that coexist and urge for domination. Along the moving images, human voices recite in Arabic six poems written specifically for the video on subjects that oscillate from regional historic context to reflections on human nature. In fact, that fluctuation reflects Parallax’s inspiration by the idea of conflict and control. Focused on the geostrategic position of the Strait of Hormuz and the area’s historical power tensions, such concepts emerge as the core themes of a perspective stretching from modern history to the postcolonial period. Underpinning the narrative is Sikander’s interest in paradox, societies in flux, and formal and visual disruption as a means to cultivate new associations.

The Pakistani-born American artist Shahzia Sikander (1969) is best known as a pioneer in translating the formal constructs of Indo-Persian miniature painting in a variety of formats and mediums in contemporary art, including video, animation, and mural, as well as for her collaborations with other artists.

Zina Saro-Wiwa: Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?
Blaffer Art Museum
University of Houston, 120 Fine Arts Building, Houston, TX 77204
September 26–December 19, 2015

Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance? is the first solo museum exhibition of the British-Nigerian artist Zina Saro-Wiwa. It will open at Blaffer Art Museum in September 2015 and travel to the Krannert Art Museum in 2016.

Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria, 1976) has left a journalism background to change (and challenge) the way the world saw Africa. This is made evident in the new photographs, video, and a sound installation produced in southeastern Nigeria from 2013 to 2015. The project engages Niger Delta region residents both as subjects and collaborators and reflects the complex and expressive ways in which people live in an area historically fraught with the politics of energy, labor, and land, while making visible the cultural, spiritual, and emotional powers propelling the region, addressing also the global circulation of energy capital.

Being the artist’s current interest focused in mapping emotional landscapes, Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance? unfolds a narrative device that renders environmental and emotional ecosystems as inseparable. Through the exploration of highly personal experiences and a carefully recorded choreography, Saro-Wiwa makes tangible the space between internal experience and outward performance. The exhibition uses folklore, masquerade traditions, religious practices, food, and Nigerian popular aesthetics to test art’s capacity to transform and to envision new concepts of environment and environmentalism. The artist reflects on spirit, emotion, and culture at the center of the conversation by titling the exhibition with a phrase from a private conversation between her and her father, the late writer, environmentalist, and human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.

For the Blaffer Art Museum, Saro-Wiwa will also stage a feast performance called The Mangrove Banquet: A love letter to the Niger Delta, offering her guests an opportunity to ingest the region’s agricultural bounty, “an experience designed to elicit the triumph of nature, imagination and the feminine over political despair.”


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

September 2015

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World
Tate Britain
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom
June 24–October 25, 2015

Tate Britain presents Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World, a retrospective of one of the UK’s most famous artists and leader of a new generation of sculptors. Sculpture for a Modern World, the first major exhibition of Hepworth in London in the last fifty years, traces the extensive practice of the artist, offering novel ways of thinking about her art. The exhibition also evidences her achievements and international recognition, while playing around different spaces in which Hepworth presented her work, such as the reconstruction in the gallery of a modernist structure that was the artist’s “ideal” environment.

Hepworth (Yorkshire, 1903) has lived in Cornwall since 1939. Being associated with the “art of St Ives,” she began to make sculptures that translated her experience of the landscape. The exhibition features more than one hundred works that unveil her extensive creative practice. The highlights include a quartet of African hardwood pieces from her postwar period; Pelagos, her celebrated elm carving inspired by the Cornish coast, as well as drawings, collages, films, rarely seen textiles, and her fascinating photographs that have never been seen in public before.

From her earliest carvings to the imposing bronze pieces of the sixties, this major retrospective explores the progression of the artist’s abstract style, showcasing many of Hepworth’s iconic sculptures that helped to define modernism in the twentieth century. As the art critic Alastair Sooke stated: “the exhibition benefits from its decision to separate Hepworth’s sculptures from those of her friend and rival Henry Moore, with whom she is all too often compared. In this case, quite refreshingly, Hepworth’s work is allowed to breathe on its own terms.”

Cover of the exhibition catalogue for From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola

Grete Stern. From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019
May 17–October 4, 2015

The Museum of Modern Art presents From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola at the Edward Steichen Photography Galleries. This is the first major exhibition to focus on the work of two leading figures of avant-garde Argentinean photography, Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola. The couple met at the Bauhaus in 1932 and begun a creative life together. Among the rising threat of the Nazi powers in 1933, they fled Germany to London, and in 1935 embarked to Buenos Aires. Having been established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic, they played a key role in the arrival of modern photography in Argentina.

The exhibition begins in the late 1920s with each artist’s initial ventures into photography and typographic design, followed by a section focused on the extensive oeuvre of each artist. In 1928, Stern (born in Germany, 1904) met Ellen Auerbach at Walter Peterhans’s studio. Peterhans was Stern’s tutor, about to become head of photography at the Bauhaus.  Grete and Ellen become friends and opened ringl + pit, a pioneering collaborative studio specializing in portraiture and advertising. Named after their childhood nicknames, the duo embraced commercial and avant-garde design to create protofeminist works and advertisements, using photomontage in their imagery to challenge the stereotypical presentations of women in advertising.

The highlights of Stern’s individual practice include the series Sueños (Dreams) that the artist produced between 1949 and early 1950s. This series of photomontages, commissioned as a contribution to the then-popular women’s magazine Idilio, reflects how psychoanalysis had captured the Argentinean imagination and infiltrated in popular culture. However, Stern opted to resist psychoanalyst interpretations, instead using the platform to comment on women’s unfulfilled promises and objectification at the Peronist society of the time.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh: Bete & Deise
Brazilian Screening Tour
Casa do Povo, São Paulo; Fundaj – Arte Contemporânea Recife; Capacete, Museum of Modern Art and Casa França-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro
August 5–September 30, 2015

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution has commissioned the Rotterdam-based artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s film Bete & Deise- Brazilian Tour (2012) to be presented in several venues in São Paulo, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro during August and September. The screenings will be accompanied by conversations with the artist and invited guests, including the protagonists of the film, Bete Mendes and Deise Tigrona, who are special guests at the presentation in MAM Rio.

Van Oldenborgh (born 1962) addresses modern-day social issues in exceptional, authoritative, and multilayered works. She proposes a unique and subtle language to build a dialogue between a precisely selected social or historical theme, a space, and a film or photograph. Bete & Deise stages an encounter between two women in a building under construction in Rio de Janeiro. The actress Mendes and the Baile funk singer Tigrona have—each in their own way—given meaning to the idea of a public voice. Together these women talk about the use of their voice and their positions in the public sphere, allowing for the contradictions they each carry within themselves to surface, the artists confront us with considerations on the relation between cultural production and politics and the potential power that is generated when public issues intersect with the personal.

Shelley Spector: Keep the Home Fires Burning
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
March 7–September 24, 2015

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Keep the Home Fires Burning by the Philadelphia-based and community-engaged artist Shelley Spector. Spector (born 1960) was invited by the curator Dilys Blum to explore the museum’s collection of textiles and create an installation of new artwork. Her moving response became Keep the Home Fires Burning, a walk-through presentation of wood- and textile-based sculpture that reflects on the universal quest for hope, home, and connectedness.

The initial inspiration for the exhibition is a lively hand-stitched embroidered work decorated with images of a home, birds, tulips, trees, and couples designed by the folk art historian Frances Lichten and sewn by her mother in 1943. The piece was later donated to the museum by the artist Katherine Milhous, who was Lichten’s companion for four decades. Spector has re-created it in the exhibition by suspending large sculptures amid freestanding works, made from discarded second-hand clothing and furniture, with the help of her mother, Anita, who has—like did Lichten’s—carefully cleaned, deconstructed, and organized the material to be transformed into sculpture by the artist. Works in Keep the Home Fires Burning—a phrase that Spector found in a letter from Milhous to Lichten—spans from large, flowerlike structures and a birdcage to tomato-shaped pincushions and wood-and-fabric lions. The display also includes works dedicated to the couple: The Egg Tree (a nod to an award-winning children’s book by Milhous) and Frances Loves Katherine, which features two figures in front of a house inscribed with the words “give sunshine to others.”

Ana Mendieta, Untitled: Silueta Series, 1978, Super 8 film, color, silent (artwork © Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection)

Ana Mendieta: Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota, 401 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
September 15–December 12, 2015
Program: September 19, 2015, 7:00 PM, followed by a reception from 8:00 to 10:00 PM

The unique exhibition at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery on Ana Mendieta, a Cuban-born artist who was sent to the United States as a child in 1961 as part of Operation Peter Pan, features twenty-one films by Mendieta, as well as a selection of her photographic work and a documentary short on the artist by the producer Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, the artist’s niece.

“Ana Mendieta was influenced by and interested in the artistic movements of her time, including Minimalism, earth art, performance art, and feminist art as well as the historical and spiritual legacies of many cultures, ancient and modern,” the exhibition statement says. Mendieta’s films touch on subjects from sexual assault in Moffitt Building Piece and Sweating Blood, which were made in response to the sexual assault and murder of Sarah Ann Ottens, a student at the University of Iowa, where Mendieta also matriculated, to films made in Mexico, such as Silueta del Laberinto and Burial Pyramid, developing her “earth-body” esthetic, as she termed the melding of sculpture, earth art, and performance.

“Mendieta’s artwork speaks powerfully to a wide diversity of audiences across the generations because a sustained and unflinching investigation of what it means to be human can be found at the core of her work.”

The program begins on September 19 with comments on Mendieta’s artistic legacy by her sister Raquelín Mendieta, her niece Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, and Mary Sabbatino of Galerie Lelong. Other programs and discussions on the role of the artist’s prolific career follow through the exhibition.

Judy Chicago: Star Cunts & Other Attractions
Riflemaker Gallery
79 Beak Street, London
September 14–December 31, 2015

The pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago will have concurrent exhibitions in London this fall. Included is a series of never-before-seen works in Star Cunts & Other Attractions at Riflemaker. The solo show of Chicago’s archival work from the 1960s and 1970s “celebrates the visual language and core imagery of Judy Chicago’s minimalist and early feminist work.” Included are a suite of paintings and early sculpture work. Featured will be the Star Cunts series from 1969. The series, a set of prismacolor geometric shapes, suggests a sphincter. Also on exhibit will be test plates from The Dinner Party, which permanently lives at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The test plates attest to the time Chicago invested in her work through practice of ceramic decoration.

While the exhibition at Riflemaker is open, Chicago will also have work in the Tate Modern exhibition The World Goes Pop, opening on September 17, 2015. On view together for the first time will be her Car Hood series from the mid-1960s, which is constructed of car hoods spray-painted in bold colors and depicting male and female forms—a reflection on the Los Angeles car scene of the time.

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