TFAP@CAA: The Feminist Art Project Day of Panels at the College Art Association Annual Conference 2015
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY
9am - 5:30pm
This event is free and open to the public. Prior registration not needed. Seating is limited.
COLLECTIVE CREATIVITY: COLLABORATION AND COLLECTIVES IN FEMINIST ART PRACTICE
The 2015 Day of Panels will focus on Collaborative working methodologies and how women’s collectives have been crucial to feminist art practice since the 1970s. As feminist practice continues to evolve, collaboration and collectivity continue to provide an alternative to the patriarchal ideal of individualism. This day of panels will explore both a communal approach to working in a variety of media and group support structures for women artists both historical and present day.
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Connie Tell, Director, The Feminist Art Project, Women and the Arts Collaborative, Rutgers University
Symposium Chairs: Damali Abrams, Artist; Jenn Dierdorf, Artist, Co-Director of the Fellowship Program and Development, A.I.R. Gallery; Kathleen Wentrack, Art historian, City University of NY, Queensborough.
Collaboration and Collectivity: The Past or Future of Feminist Exhibition Making
Chair: Kalliopi Minoudaki (Independent Art Historian)
Panelists: Doris Caçoilo (_gaia), Lauren Denitzio (Artist; For the Birds), Kate Wadkins (Writer/Curator; For the Birds); Dr. Maura Reilly (University of Sidney), Ridykeulous (Curatorial collective)
Roundtable: A Community of M/E/A/N/I/N/G
Co-Chairs: Susan Bee (Pratt Institute; University of Pennsylvania) and Mira Schor (Parsons, The New School)
Panelists: Joyce Kozloff (Independent Artist) Sheila Pepe (Pratt Institute), Kara Rooney (Independent Artist, The Brooklyn Rail), Alexandria Smith (Independent Artist).
11:40 am-12:50 pm
Gatecrashing: Feminist Collaboration and Institutional Intervention
Co-chairs: Kat Griefen (Rutgers University), and Meredith Brown (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Panelists: A.K. Burns (Artist and Educator), Jorge Daniel Veneciano, (El Museo del Barrio), and the collective HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?.
12:50-1:35 pm Lunch Break
When the Personal Becomes Political: Creative Activism/Collective Intentions
Co-Chair: Nina Felshin (Independent Curator/Writer/Activist) and Damili Abrams (Artist, Co-organizer of TFAP@ CAA Day of Panels)
Panelists/Collectives: Anjana Malhotra (SUNY Buffalo; Visible Collective), Dread Scott (Postcode Criminals);Mona Eldahry, (Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media)
Power, Collaboration, and Lies
Chair: Katherine Behar (Baruch College)
Panelists: Stephanie Rothenberg (University of Buffalo), Jeff Crouse (Odd Division/NEW INC, New Museum), Larisa Mann (New York University), Sydette Harry (Body Ecology Performance Ensemble), Liz Flyntz (Smack Mellon/Extracurricular).
Encouragements with Dave
Performance by J.R. Uretsky (Artist) and Emily Dix Thomas (Cellist)
Roundtable: CollECtive NoW: Artists on the Collective Present
Chair: Dalida María Benfield (Vermont College of Fine Arts; Harvard University)
Artist/Panelists: Salome Chasnoff (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Personal Hermitage Productions, and Beyondmedia Education), Celia Herrera-Rodriguez (Artist/Teacher), Davida Ingram (Seattle People of Color Salon), Jessica Resmond (MEI Collectiv), Beatriz Santiago-Muñoz (Beta-Local), Robert Sember (Ultra-red, and The New School’s Eugene Lang College), Sasha Sumner (Hungry March Band, Pratt Institute, and the Pedagogy Group).
MAP to Museum of Arts and Design
For more information contact:
The Feminist Art Project, Director
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
640 Bartholomew Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Documentation for this event is held at the Feminist Art Projects Archives located at Rutgers University.
Symposium Chair BIOS
Damali Abrams is a New York City based artist. She received her BA at New York University and her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Damili was a 2009-10 A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship recipient. Her work has been shown in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Memphis, Savanna, New Orleans, Denver, and Miami. In New York City, her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), A.I.R. Gallery, JCAL, Rush Arts Gallery and BRIC Rotunda Gallery, among others. Her work was included in the 2013 Bienial at El Museo del Barrio. She has presented her work or taught workshops at Borough of Manhattan Community College, SUNY Purchase, Barbados Community College, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Hunter College School of Social Work, and Syracuse University’s 601 Tully. Abrams is one of the New York City Regional Coordinators for The Feminist Art Project. In 2013 she attended a dual residency with the organizations Fresh Milk in Barbados and Groundation Grenada. Abrams is one of the 2014 artist in residence at the The Center for Book Arts and recently completed an Apexart International Fellowship in Seoul, South Korea.
Jenn Dierdorf was born in Michigan City, Indiana in 1978. She received her B.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Kansas and her M.F.A. from the University of Connecticut in 2008. She has been the recipient of several awards including the Hollander Family Foundation award, Daniel MacMorris Scholarship and in 2009 was named a Rema Hort Mann Foundation nominee. She has been the artist in residence at Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Vermont Studio Center and others. Her work has been exhibited widely including Kathleen Cullen Fine Art, NYC, Lancaster Museum of Art, PA, Minnesota National Print Biennial at the University of Minnesota, MN, Art Space in New Haven, CT and Cindy Rucker Gallery in New York City.She has participated in numerous panels and public roundtables on various topics on contemporary art. Dierdorf is a member of ARTTABLE and the Committee for Women in the Arts at the College Art Association, as well as a coordinator for The Feminist Art Project. Dierdorf is the Co-Director of Fellowship and Development at A.I.R. Gallery and maintains a studio in Brooklyn, NY.
Kathleen Wentrack, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art & Design at the City University of New York, Queensborough. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Amsterdam and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Kathleen’s recent publications include “What’s so Feminist about the ‘Feministische Kunst Internationaal’? Critical Directions in 1970s Feminist Art” in Frontiers, Fall 2012, and “Female Sexuality in Performance and Film: Erotic, Political, Controllable? The Contested Female Body in the Work of Carolee Schneemann and VALIE EXPORT,” May 2014 in Konsthistorisk Tidskrift. She is editing an anthology of women’s art collectives entitled Collaboration, Empowerment, and Change: Women’s Art Collectives. She has presented at conferences in the United States and Europe, and received a Getty Research Institute Research Library Grant. Kathleen has served on the Committee on Women in Art of the College Art Association and is Co-Coordinator of The Feminist Art Project in New York.
Presenter BIOS and ABSTRACTS
Panel: COLLABORATION AND COLLECTIVITY: THE PAST OR FUTURE OF FEMINIST EXHIBITION MAKING
Oxymoronically collaborative and undemocratic, curating has become a highly marketable and often conservative product of the global art market. Such generalization is valid even for feminist curating under the institutionalization of feminist art and curating. Yet curating—referred to as exhibition making in defiance of curating’s brand-able authorial resonance and to embrace the diversity of its activist manifestations—has played a central role in the feminist politics in the arts since the beginning of the feminist movement. Making visible the work of female artists and feminist art, reconceptualizing the exhibition format, advancing and redefining feminist art politics, etc., feminist exhibition-making has been a primary tool of feminist intervention in conventional curatorial practice, in its confrontation with the institutions of art and art history or outside of them. Moreover, collaboration has diversely shaped feminist curating throughout its history—from the reconceptualization of exhibition making through collaboration by Womanhouse and the early collaborative galleries to many impromptu or long-term curatorial partnerships and the proliferation of all-women curatorial collectives and platforms today.This panel focuses on the role of collaboration and collective identity in past and contemporary feminist curatorial practice, in line with the current interest in the history and politicsof feminist curating and collaboration. Bringing together agents—both curators and artists—of recent feminist collaborative curatorial projects and collectives, this panel hopes to illuminate the diverse ways in which collaboration and collectivity underpin radical feminist exhibition making, while questioning their challenges and promises for future feminist political action in the arts, including effective feminist curating.
Doris Caçoilo and Meredith W. Goncalves – We Are Here: The Feminist Art Collective in the Third Wave
_gaia, a center for creative process was formed by a group of ten women in 2002. As artists and activists, we needed a place to work, organize andsupport each other. We wanted to organize events and create programs to benefit the local arts community, especially women artists and to raise awareness of women’s issues. Focusing on the local artist community as a resource and audience. The history and framework for creating _gaia has its roots in the rich art history of women pooling their resources with similar visions for change, a sort of ammunition against the monotonous social construct of hierarchy, patriarchy, and sexism. From Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro’s Womanhouse in LA to A.I.R Gallery in New York, Riot Grrls, and Guerrilla Girls women have been creating safe spaces for dialogue and action. Beyond the established structures of artists led exhibitions, majority votes on gallery direction, scheduled critiques, community oriented programs, performances and discussions. Women are meeting using MeetUp, creating community on social media via hashtags and other campaigns. Is there a way to leverage this on a global scale? Through a historical analysis we will explore how Third Wave Feminism can utilize the convergent media landscape to further support emerging women artists and create real change.
Ridykeulous – Femanist Curehating vs. Feminist Curating as a Lived Practical Practicum of Practice and Praxis
Ridykeulous’ presentation “Femanist Curehating vs. Feminist Curating as a Lived Practical Practicum of Practice and Praxis” will confront and dissect the notion, perception and field of study notated under the auspices of feminism, feminist scholarship, femanism and feminisms.Ridykeulous is a collaborative effort on the part of Nicole Eisenman + A.L. Steiner to subvert the theoretical, performative, textual and visual languages which are commonly used to define “feminist” or “Lesbian” art. Ridykeulous purports to distill a cultural moment or tap into the blood and guts of an underground movement; however, Ridykeulous seeks the erosion of such conceits and the attendant limitations placed on a culture forced to operateas an alternative, rather than a viable contributor to the conversation at large. Ridykeulous constructs a counter-narrative that no longer adheres to the rules and definitions of either approach, engaging with both the traditional art-historical positionof the female subject and the modern commodification of female artists and their work. Ridykeulous will tell you everything and nothing and plunge you into an abyss of fury. Ridykeulous is a confrontational mélange of recipes, poems, celebrity interviews,facts, fictions, accusations, jokes, sex, advice, merchandise, violence, puzzles, and luxurious artworks available and unavailable for your home. If you are one of those people questioning what is happening on planet earth, the womyn of Ridykeulous and a few of their mayle-identifed frenemies purport to have the answer. We will meet your requirements and surpass your expectations, allowing us to serve you better.
Lauren Denitzio and Kate Wadkins – Making Meaning, Doing Feminism
It is not enough to merely call oneself a feminist, feminism(s) must be acted and performed. As a collective, For the Birds constructs feminist identity via performance. If it is possible to build one’s gender via a stylized repetition of acts (in Judith Butler’s terms), then we believe a feminist identity can be accomplished through similar repetition. The way that activist groups employ actions determines the reality of their political and social identities. In this vein, For the Birds Collective’s performative acts occur within the context of feminist culture, and have taken the form of events, posters, zines, videos and direct actions.Throughout our work in the collective, we have seen unconscious reproductions of sexism, transphobia, racism and similar internalized biases from many members of radical communities. By curating events, zines and art exhibitions, For the Birds creates alternative spaces in order to question and oppose structural patriarchy and other axes of oppression. Internally, For the Birds also creates processes to regularly address accountability within the collective. These actions are a direct response to the continued existence of oppression within activist and punk communities. It is too often the case that issues go unresolved under the false assumption that “revolutionary” automatically equals “feminist.” With this in mind, our activist and curatorial structures are a vehicle for us to collectively build a feminist reality. In our talk, Making Meaning, Doing Feminism, we discuss the intentional collective practices we’ve put in place to combat oppression and marginalization, while building and nurturing feminist culture(s).
Panel: ROUNDTABLE: A COMMUNITY OF M/E/A/N/I/N/G
This panel will focus on Susan Bee and Mira Schor’s 29-year collaborative editorial project M/E/A/N/I/N/G—the journal started in 1986 and continues to the present as M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online. It will emphasize the artists’ individual roots in 1970s feminism and social activism, the cultural conditions in the 1980s—both in terms of feminism and in art discourse—that led to the founding of M/E/A/N/I/N/G, the influence of its small-scale publication on many other journals both small and mainstream, and the community of artists that was created by the work, through the circulation to subscribers of the original hard copy issues and through the many forums in which artists were invited to write about specific issues, including aging, racism, feminism, and collaboration. The discussion will include artists, critics, curators, and art historians, with whom the artists have worked over the years to talk about this ongoing project.
Panel: GATECRASHING: FEMINIST COLLABORATION AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERVENTION
In the decades since the women’s movement first interrupted the art world’s status quo, feminists have been coming together to create, reform, destabilize, or circumvent the various institutions of art. This panel of prominent artists, art professionals, activists, and scholars will address the numerous ways that feminist collaborations have worked within and against existing art structures to transform the way art institutions do business. Citing commercial, non-profit, educational, and aesthetic examples, the panelists will speak to diverse and sometimes divergent approaches to institution building and intervention within the art world.
A.K. Burns will speak about three major collaborative projects; the socio-sexual video Community Action Center, a work made by and for queer, trans and feminist women that explores the possibility for expanded notions of what constitutes sexual and explicit imagery; the ongoing collaboration with her partner Katherine Hubbard that investigates how historical trauma produces and shifts sub-cultural esthetics, meaning and agendas; and the advocacy organization Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) that Burns co-founded which fights for equitable remuneration of Artists Fees by publicly recognizing non-profit arts organizations that demonstrate a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily meeting W.A.G.E. certification payment standards. Burns will examine how these various projects diverge and inform each other and ponder when is collaboration feminist and when is it not.
Panel: WHEN THE PERSONAL BECOMES POLITICAL: CREATIVE ACTIVISM/COLLECTIVE INTENTIONS
Born of the burgeoning feminist movement of the late 60s and early 70s, “the personal is the political” is still a useful framework for examining today’s creative activism. The methods of working collectively and employing performative techniques—no matter the politics, gender, ethnic or racial make-up of the group—also echoes feminist practices. Demonstrating the public dimension of private experience, contemporary activist art brings to light hidden realities and gives voice to the silenced. Activist art collectives question dominant cultural representations and configurations of power, seeking to empower individuals and communities and ultimately to stimulate social change. Activist art collectives often form in response to a community, national, or global event or events, existing for a finite period. Positioning themselves both in and out of art venues, their focus always is the wider world.
HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? – Multiculturalism as Spectacle: Diversity and Institutional Commodification
The word diversity to the art world is akin to the word organic in the food industry. A politically correct stamp of approval; barely contested and lost in it’s own cliché. Case and point was the 2014 Whitney Biennial in which Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Programs at the Whitney, claimed to offer “one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.” However, the demographics told another story as only 9 out of 103 were black artists (including one who was fictional). When HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, a collective of 38 mostly black & queer artists (which countedas one participant), withdrew from the Biennial, the art world had to contend with a multicultural PR nightmare that sent shock waves into a supposed post-racial landscape. In this forum, the apparent yet barely addressed inconsistencies of access and visibility that were brought to light by this political act of defiance will be addressed. The implications and assumptions behind intentional or unintentional tokenist practices will be examined under the lens of institutional accountability and the capitalistic strategies that determine and commodify artistic visibility.
Jorge Daniel Veneciano – Doing Things with Museums
Art museums act in gender-political ways. One way they do so is by perpetuating and creating gendered narratives called “art history.” The gate to be crashed, I’d like to suggest, is not singular, nor is the institution it symbolizes; the gatekeepers may be various and variable. Where do we encounter them? On the other side of this issue we should ask: What happens then if and when feminism enters the institution? Is there a difference between an institution that does the work of feminism and a feminist institution? I can offer examples of feminist interventions in museums.
Panel: POWER, COLLABORATION, AND LIES
“Power, Collaboration & Lies” begins by acknowledging how hegemonic systems structure contemporary co-production. The panel addresses forms of collectivity not only among individuals, but also modalities of “collaboration” or “working together” with institutions and systems. By focusing on the labor in collaboration, the panel diverges from the usual utopic art historical presentation of 1960s grassroots feminist art collectives as inherently democratic. Collaboration is no longer, if it was ever, simply a currency for working among peers; one is more often co-laboring in the shadow of unequal power distribution. Thus “Power, Collaboration & Lies” seeks to engage a critical question with broad implications beyond the art world: How can people collaborate toward justice, in undemocratic conditions, with powerful institutions, when systemic and personal interests are not aligned? This panel also poses the additional question of whether, despite its art world popularity, collaboration is the right form to strive for given political and power structures today. At a moment when the most paradigmatic widespread collaborative projects may be corporate social media entities, we can see how collaboration can be complicit with and even progress inequality. For companies like Facebook, the collective labor in this type of co-labor-ation is exponentially easier to exploit while remaining unrenumerated. When this kind of collaboration is such a dominant contemporary model, why is the art world pursuing more misty-eyed antiquated versions? This dystopic idea of collaboration ties in with another, older meaning of the word: being a collaborator as opposed to being a member of the resistance.
Performance: ENCOURAGEMENTS WITH DAVE
Visual artist J.R. Uretsky has teamed up with cellist Emily Dix Thomas to create an affective experience specifically to encourage CAA conference attendees, feminists, artists and educators. This new work is titled Encouragements with Dave and is a shortperformance that pairs contemporary cello music and abstract puppetry to highlight interpersonal intimacy.
Panel: ROUNDTABLE: COLLECTIVE NOW: ARTISTS ON THE COLLECTIVE PRESENT
Collectivity is a set of diverse practices—a panoply of modes of being and doing. Continuously or ephemerally, in one location or across distributed platforms, with many people or very few; across these multiple practices, we work collectively to assert new modes of social relations—ways of being together that reconstruct interdependency and shared resources. Collectivity pluralizes authorship, re-centers communal processes of cultural production, and co-creates worlds. And yet, the collective now is both a lived reality and a distant dream. What are the knowledges that are produced in contemporary artists’ collectives and artists’ collective practices? What are the new forms of commons—cultural and material—that are being produced? How does collective work by artists differ from other forms of collective work? How does our collective work function on a molecular level, in terms of self-identification, movement across worlds—art and otherwise—and forms of belonging? What is the horizon of hope and possibility for a more just and equitable world that collective forms promise, now? How do they, indeed, constitute a collective present?