Exhibitions are a tool, not the result. Art should open up for a democratic dialog and rethink the ‘ordinary’ exhibition practises. Martha Rosler: “art make difference to a social movement only when it is made in cognizance of those movements.” . Exhibition making can be a model of resistance, a tool and not the result.
We are doing a new exhibition with ArtsFems!
About the theme
Since the beginning of art history, the practice has been dominated by discussion of men’s art and isms. Even when women became free to create art and were recognised as artists, they have frequently been ignored in art history or mentioned only in certain contexts, such as performance or ‘feminine’ materials… When women’s art is discussed within terms of art history, it is often labelled as feminist. We believe that this default labelling is restrictive to the understanding of women’s art, and to the future of women’s art history and belies the complexity and diversity of art created by women. Much like we would never label Naum Gabo, Richard Hamilton and Frank Stella under the same label , why is it that some people include both Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O’Keefe in discussion of feminist art, is their art informed by feminist ideology or have we just labelled them because of their sex?
Art history have by labelling women artists under one ism made sure that women in history always will be ‘the other’, never a genius or avant-garde. Art history, a patriarchal and hierarchical discipline have used feminism as an art form and by that managed to exclude women from mainstream consensus of art history. Women’s art stays in the ‘feminist art history’ realms never ‘ART’ history.
Through out art history women have tried to break free from male normativity. When men did sculptures, painting and land art in the 60s women said: Let’s do something new and avant garde – performance art. Perfomance art was to a large extent developed by women artists, one of the reasons; because it was a field not dominated by men, and it was a space where they could set their own rules. Open up an art history book and you will see how this entire decade goes under ‘feminist art’ or ‘body art’- where is the chapter that tells us how avant garde this art form was? How performance art, like other avant garde isms, totally revolutionized the art scene and was not just about feminism but evolving art as a practise? When will women get credit for that?
It’s time to create a new history, a history where women are not defined by men’s terminology or men’s definitions of isms. It’s time to create a room for new stories, new isms and new terminology to truly liberate art history in to something diverse and less rigid.
As feminists we believe in liberation, liberating and diversifying art history, we want to liberate the terminology so women can get as broad of a spectra to identify themselves as male artists has. ‘Feminist art’ should not be determined by the sex of the artists but by the politics informing the artwork. ‘Feminist art’ is not an aesthetic or an artist’s sex, ‘feminist art’ should be an art form that is defined by the feminist ideology that is informing it, that distinction would make ‘feminist art’ stronger, identifiable and more influential. It would also make it possible for women artists to step out of the pre-labelling and define their art through new identifications.
‘Feminist art’ has had a great importance in art history but we should have the opportunity to label ourselves inside or outside this terminology. Not be forced in to it because of our gender. Let’s liberate and diversify art history, let’s create a new terminology that fits YOUR art and let’s re-understand ‘feminist art’ as art practises informed by feminist ideology not just art made by Women!
We asked artists in an open submission call, which was open to all self-identifying women, to describe their work by appropriating and reworking existing art history terminology, or by using their own terminology or invented words. This process helps us to challenge the existing modes of art history and criticism. We understand that to truly subvert a dominant norm, a new way of seeing must be created.
If art history started today, how would you identify your art?
__CURRENTLY DEVELOPED BY__
+rosie rynn o’shea