Marisa Merz Knits Her Way to Gender Equity

THE DAILY PIC: At the Metropolitan Museum, Merz has the courage to risk being labelled "feminine."

THE DAILY PIC (#1777): A third and final Pic from the Metropolitan Museum’s outstanding current offerings in its Breuer outpost: A 1968 piece called Bea by the Italian artist Marisa Merz, now in the rare survey of her work that the Met is hosting.

The piece was made in honor of Merz’s eight-year old daughter Beatrice, and I think it’s all the better and braver for it. Fifty years on, it’s hard for us to recognize the courage it took back then for a female artist to make work that was honest and open and even celebratory about “female” concerns such as housekeeping and childrearing and bodily functions. (It bugs me no end that these are all still, unthinkingly but regularly, seen as “women’s issues,” when of course men also have kids, and homes, and bodies. And yet our entire culture—and especially its men—still gets away with acting as though men are and should be thoroughly undomestic creatures.)

Merz gets double brownie points for being so forthright about the domestic when she was the only woman in macho Italy’s macho Arte Povera movement.

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