Three weeks ago, artist Michele Pred had an idea. As the international art world gathered in Miami for Art Basel in Miami Beach, she would hold a Parade Against Patriarchy, inviting other artists to join a march demanding equal rights for women.
“My work has been about feminist issues for a long time,” Pred told artnet News at the parade, which kicked off at Collins Park yesterday afternoon before processing past the fair at the convention center.
“I wanted to entice young women to embrace feminism at a time that they really weren’t,” she added, noting how thrilled she is to see how that has changed, especially over the past year.
Pred wanted the parade to be a fun, celebratory event, so she enlisted a drag queen to serve as grand marshal, assisted by two local majorettes who twirled batons to the beat of a drummer. At the head of the parade, Pred held her Feminist Riot Shield, which read “Pussy Grabs Back,” a reference to crude remarks by President Donald Trump in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.
Behind Pred was Ann Lewis, waving an American flag on which she has reproduced every false statement made by Trump during his first year in office. They’re written in white ink, a play on white lies.
“It’s going to be the whitest American flag that you’ve seen, which carries a lot of interesting connotations,” she told artnet News. “It’s a horrifying project. I’m not enjoying doing it, but it’s something someone has to do.”
Some 30 women and their allies showed up for the event, some of whom had flown into town for the event. Among them was Krista Suh, the creator of the Pussyhat Project, who brought a numbered edition of the pink fleece caps.
“It’s the first time I’ve sewed [the hats],” she told artnet News. “I usually knit, but I only found out about this a week ago.”
“I’m a really big believer in creativity changing the world,” Suh added. She came up with the idea for the hat while brainstorming ways that she could stand out in the crowd during the Women’s March, which took place in Washington, DC, and cities throughout the world the day after Trump’s inauguration. The hat quickly went viral, and the Pussyhat became one of the defining images from the marches. “Instead of one hat on my head, it was just a sea of pink,” she said.
An artist-run sequel, of sorts, to the post-Inauguration march, the Parade Against Patriarchy was also a response to the recent rash of accusations against high-profile men said to have assaulted or harassed women in a wide range of fields, as well as the subsequent #MeToo movement, in which women are sharing their personal experiences of harassment or assault.
With several major art world figures among the accused, including ousted Artforum publisher Knight Landesman, former Armory Show director and onetime artnet News editor Benjamin Genocchio, and curator Jens Hoffmann, formerly of New York’s Jewish Museum and various biennials, Pred thought it was important for the issue to have a presence during Miami Art Week.
“It’s really important to do public demonstrations and promote some thought,” she added. “Some of these fairs are in poor neighborhoods where people aren’t necessarily engaged in art. The Parade Against Patriarchy is a way to have art be very accessible.”
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