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March 4, 2008

WACK! Art & the Feminist Revolution

This year's theme for Women's History Month is Women's Art: Women's Vision.

To honor the originality, beauty, imagination, and multiple dimensions of women’s lives, we have chosen Women’s Art: Women’s Vision as the 2008 theme for National Women’s History Month. The history of women and art is quintessential women’s history. It is the story of amazing women’s accomplishments acclaimed at the time but written out of history. Join us in ensuring that their accomplishments are never forgotten.

This year’s theme provides a special opportunity to discover and celebrate women’s visual arts in a variety of forms and mediums that help expand our perceptions of ourselves and each other.

So throughout the month, we though we'd tell you about a few places where you can actually go to see women's art and feminist art. The first one is WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, the first comprehensive, historical exhibition that examines feminist art.

WACK! includes work by women who operated within the political structure of feminism as well as women who did not necessarily embrace feminism as part of their practice, but were impacted by the movement. Comprising work in a broad range of media—including painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, and performance art—the exhibition is organized around themes based on media, geography, formal concerns, collective aesthetic, and political impulses.

The show spans 1965 through 1980, although a main focus is put on the 1970s - a crucial period for both feminist activism and artmaking - and includes art created by 120 artists and artist groups from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the U.S.

“Feminism survives,” insists [artist, Martha] Rosler. “It’s a rational response to the gap that remains between social ideals and reality.” The art world’s recent attention to the subject may serve to gauge just how far society has come in the way of gender equality, and it’s also a reminder of how significant the movement was for the development of contemporary art. As
Stanford scholar Peggy Phalen puts it in her catalog essay, “Feminist critical and creative work has been responsible for the most far-reaching transformations in both art-making and art writing over the past four decades.”

--From a review "Sense of a woman" by Kate Lowenstein, Time Out NY

WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution is at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, NY on the entire First and Second Floors. The Third Floor Main Gallery features a series of performances and panel discussions. The exhibition, which is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, opened February 17, 2008 and is showing through May 12, 2008.

1 comment:

Adam said...

A very good article, but I can't let it go without giving adequate mention, especially during Women's History Month, to WAC (which I'm assuming is the inspiration for the name WACK! Art).

The Women's Army Corps (started 1942) were the first women outside of nurses to serve in uniform with the United States Army. My Nana (Grandmother) was a WAC, and I'm quite proud of that fact.