5 Feminist-Minded Exhibitions to Check Out Ahead of the Women’s March
Feminist art is having a moment, thanks to the president-elect.
After a hard-fought, often-ugly campaign, businessman and reality television star Donald Trump will be sworn in as president on January 20. The following day, a crowd of as many as 200,000 is expected to congregate in our nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington.
“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us,” reads the march mission statement, “we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.” Eight poster designs by artists who identify as female have been selected the Amplifier Foundation and will be printed and distributed to march participants.
The march, which is inspired by the 1963 demonstration from the civil rights movement, is in part a reaction to blatant sexism. Despite a complete lack of political experience, Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential nominee from a major party and a former Secretary of State, New York senator, and First Lady.
In a 2005 television appearance released during the campaign, Trump was caught on camera bragging about being able to touch women wherever he wanted due to his fame. He also has been known to denigrate women’s appearances and has been accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and assault.
The march, the brainchild of retired attorney Teresa Shook, is one of the most visible responses to the election’s unexpected outcome, but showing your support for women’s rights isn’t restricted to a trip to Washington.
There’s been a marked influx of feminist-minded shows opening up at New York galleries this month. The trend also stands to continue after Trump takes office.
To help get you geared up for the Women’s March on Washington, whether you’ll be there in person or in spirit, artnet News has compiled this helpful guide to what’s on view now between now and the inauguration, plus one exhibition in the weeks ahead.
1. “#PUSSYPOWER” at David & Schweitzer Contemporary
More than 40 women, including Louise Fishman, Marilyn Minter, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, and Betty Tompkins, are making a group statement of resistance and feminism in “#PUSSYPOWER,” which turns art into a tool for political activism. Historic work from the ’70s joins contemporary pieces created in response to the election, including handmade protest signs carried at anti-Trump demonstrations.
In late December, exhibition co-curator Jennifer Samet discovered that the show title has been censored on Instagram, adding even more fuel to the fire.
David & Schweitzer Contemporary, 56 Bogart St, Brooklyn
December 21, 2016–January 15, 2017
Francine Perlman, Doors Open, Doors Close. Courtesy of Ceres Gallery.
2. “Women Under Siege/It’s Happening Right Here” and “Francine Perlman: Doors Open, Doors Close” at Ceres Gallery
The issues surrounding legislation that threatens to violate women’s rights, particularly with regard to reproductive health, are at the heart of this group show, curated by Susan Grabel and featuring 25 female artists. The show also tackles child protection laws that hold women abused by their partners responsible for being unable to protect their children, and, in an adjacent gallery, displays Francine Perlman’s installation inspired by the life of poverty that often awaits survivors of domestic violence.
Ceres Gallery, 547 East 27th Street, Suite 201
3. “Sinister Feminism,” A.I.R. Gallery’s 12th Biennial Exhibition
Artist-run women’s art gallery A.I.R. held an open call for its 12th biennial exhibition, curated by Piper Marshall and Lola Kramer, who ultimately selected 15 emerging and mid-career artists for inclusion. The “Sinister Feminism” theme is proudly defiant: “We fortify veneer into armor. We appropriate from misogynist sources. We exceed the cinematic ideal. We vibrate the sound of the city. We endure.”
A.I.R. Gallery, 155 Plymouth Street
January 5–February 5
4. “NASTY WOMEN” at the Knockdown Center
After artist Roxanne Jackson put out the call on social media for women to contribute to an anti-Trump group show, the Knockdown Center in Queens took up the challenge, agreeing to host the massive exhibition. To display the approximately 1,000 works, by nearly 600 women artists from around the world—every submission will be shown—organizers are designing a special shelving unit that reads “NASTY WOMEN” in giant, freestanding block letters.
All of the art will be available for sale for $100 or less, and proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood. Though the show will run for just three days, it will feature a selection of programming “designed to cultivate discourse, resistance, and healing within and across communities increasingly at risk at this critical moment.” There are also plans to recreate the exhibition at various sites around the world, with confirmed venues in San Diego; Lubbock, Texas; Brussels; Memphis, Tennessee; and Melbourne, Australia.
Knockdown Center, 52-19 Flushing Ave, Maspeth, Queens
5. “UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN” at Untitled Space
The Untitled Space has teamed up with political organization the ERA COALITION, dedicated to getting the Equal Rights Amendment passed, on this group show of 80 female contemporary artists. A portion of the proceeds will go the ERA COALITION’s charity, the Fund for Women’s Equality.
Gallery director and artist Indira Cesarine curated the show as a response to the country’s post-election social and political climate. There will be a special event held at the gallery on January 22, in honor of the 44th anniversary of Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which ruled that the right to privacy extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.
The Untitled Space, 45 Lispenard Street Unit 1W
“The Intersectional Self” at the 8th Floor
This exhibition is billed as an examination of “gender and feminist politics in the age of trans-identity,” and features work by Andrea Bowers, Patty Chang, Abigail deVille, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and Martha Wilson.
The 8th Floor, 17 West 17th Street
February 9–May 19
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.