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Then, Now and Later

(Added 28 November 2009)

Salon 1: Then, Now and Later
Feminist art from a curatorial perspective

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the first Salon event at the SBC gallery. In particular Catherine Morris who jumped into this experiment with us. The Salon discussion touched on geo-politics, the definition and re-definition of feminist “waves” in art and culture, as well as the impact of dialogue in forming a continuum of female art thinking and creation.

Catherine Morris spoke candidly about her new position as Curator of Feminist Art at the still quite new Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, The Brooklyn Museum as well as her experience curating “Gloria” (with Ingrid Schaffner, at White Columns, 2002).
“Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art of the 1970s”, was an exhibition that took its name from diverse figures within popular culture in the 1970s such as the Van Morrison song as performed by Patti Smith, Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem and actress Gloria Stivik. With an emphasis on pluralism, activism and sexual politics, the exhibition was a project that started out as a “reaction against seemingly self-imposed political amnesia on the part of younger woman artists” then “developed into a greater awareness of the ongoing an increasingly complex pursuit of feminist goals in today’s world”. Published in the exhibition catalogue-newspaper (see photo above) were responses to an invitation to “Say something about today’s feminism”. Quoted here is Lucy Lippard’s statement:

I wish I knew more about feminism today. In the 1970s we were so sure we knew exactly what we were fighting for (although we didn’t often agree about a whole lot). We were committed to conscious raising, dialogue, coalitions. I’m not sure if these processes seem old-fashioned to younger feminists or whether they seem impossibly out-of-reach in today’s world, when so few battles are being won and so many lost.

It hurts when women are afraid of calling themselves feminists. It’s painful when younger women sweetly come up and thank you for having made feminism happen, because they seem to think there’s nothing left to do and they can now ascend to the “post-feminism”- whatever that would be. (Someone said that’s when all the goals of feminism have been accomplished. Fat chance).

Feminism for me is still a way of life, preferably an activist one. As far as I’m concerned, today and yesterday, feminism was and is integrally and inextricably intertwined with all of the other peace and justice issues. If it’s not, it’s not enough. Artists are still responsible for something more than decorating the status quo and feminist artists are still responsible for making imagery that’s responsible to other women.—Lucy Lippard, 2002

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