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Feminism and Art History Now: Radical Critiques of Theory and Practice
 9781350986404, 9781786732354

Table of contents :
Cover
Epigraph
Title
Copyright
Contents
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Feminism and Art History Now
PART I. WRITING | SPEAKING | STORYTELLING
1. An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography, or How to Write a Feminist Art History
2. I Want a Dyke for President: Sounding out Zoe Leonards Manifesto for Art History’s Feminist Futures
3. ‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’: Indigenous Feminist Memory and Storytelling as Strategy for Social Change
PART II. VISIBILITY | INTERVENTION | REFUSAL
4. Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation: Feminist Art Historiography and the Pollock-Krasner Studio
5. Challenging Feminist Art History: Carla Lonzi’s Divergent Paths
6. This Moment: A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making
PART III. SPATIALITY | OCCUPATION | HOME
7. The Salon Model: The Conversational Complex
8. Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990: A Report on Castlemilk Womanhouse
9. If You Lived Here...: A Case Study on Social Reproduction in Feminist Art History
PART IV. TEMPORALITY | GHOSTS | RETURNS
10. Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’
11. Gestures of Inclusion, Bodily Damage and the Hauntings of Exploitation in Global Feminisms (2007)
12. Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories
Afterword
Index

Citation preview

Victoria Horne is Senior Lecturer in Art and Design History at Northumbria University. Her current research focuses on the history of feminist arts publishing, for which she received a 2021 Paul Mellon Mid-Career Fellowship. She has written on this subject for Art History and the Journal of Art Historiography, and edited ‘Danger! Women Reading: Feminist Encounters with Art, History and Theory’, a special issue of Women: A Cultural Review (OUP, 2019). Lara Perry is an immigrant and Principal Lecturer in the History of Art and Design programme at the University of Brighton. Her research is focused on nineteenth-century British art and visual culture, with a special interest in portraiture, gender, and the politics of art in public. She is the author of History’s Beauties: Women, History and the National Portrait Gallery (2006) and co-editor (with Angela Dimitrakaki) of Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (2013). In 2016 she co-organised the conference/special issue of the journal OnCurating ‘Curating in Feminist Thought’ with Dorothee Richter and Elke Krasny.

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‘This exciting book…is bound to expand the field of feminist art history, curatorial and museum studies in significant and lasting ways, and to generate extensive debate and further scholarship.’ Helena Reckitt, Senior Lecturer in Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London

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Feminism and Art History Now Radical Critiques of Theory and Practice EDITED BY VICTORIA HORNE AND LARA PERRY

BLOOMSBURY VISUAL ARTS Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA 29 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY VISUAL ARTS and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published by I.B. Tauris in Great Britain 2017 This paperback edition first published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts 2022 Selection, editorial matter and Introduction © 2022 Victoria Horne and Lara Perry Afterword © 2022 Victoria Horne and Lara Perry Copyright individual chapters © 2022 Angela Dimitrakaki, Catherine Grant, Laura Guy, Hannah Hamblin, Andrew Hardman, Victoria Horne, Elke Krasny, Kimberly Lamm, Kirsten Lloyd, Lara Perry, Suzanne van Rossenberg, Cherry Smiley, Amy Tobin, Francesco Ventrella, Giovanna Zapperi Victoria Horne and Lara Perry have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the Editors of this work. For legal purposes the Acknowledgements on p. xvii constitute an extension of this copyright page. Cover design: Simon Levy Associates Cover image © Shutterstock All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN: HB: 978-1-7845-3325-0 PB: 978-1-3502-7093-0 ePDF: 978-1-7867-3235-4 eBook: 978-1-7867-2235-5 To find out more about our authors and books visit www.bloomsbury.com and sign up for our newsletters.

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Contents List of Illustrations Notes on Contributors Acknowledgements Introduction: Feminism and Art History Now

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Victoria Horne and Lara Perry PART I. WRITING | SPEAKING | STORYTELLING

1. An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography, or How to Write a Feminist Art History

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Victoria Horne and Amy Tobin 2. I Want a Dyke for President: Sounding out Zoe Leonard’s Manifesto for Art History’s Feminist Futures

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Laura Guy 3. ‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’: Indigenous Feminist Memory and Storytelling as Strategy for Social Change

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Cherry Smiley PART II. VISIBILITY | INTERVENTION | REFUSAL

4. Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation: Feminist Art Historiography and the Pollock-Krasner Studio

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Andrew Hardman 5. Challenging Feminist Art History: Carla Lonzi’s Divergent Paths Giovanna Zapperi

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Contents 6. This Moment: A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making

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Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry PART III. SPATIALITY | OCCUPATION | HOME

7. The Salon Model: The Conversational Complex

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Elke Krasny 8. Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990: A Report on Castlemilk Womanhouse

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Hannah Hamblin 9. If You Lived Here…: A Case Study on Social Reproduction in Feminist Art History

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Kirsten Lloyd PART IV. TEMPORALITY | GHOSTS | RETURNS

10. Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’

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Francesco Ventrella 11. Gestures of Inclusion, Bodily Damage and the Hauntings of Exploitation in Global Feminisms (2007)

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Kimberly Lamm 12. Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories

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Catherine Grant Afterword

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Index

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List of Illustrations 2.1 Zoe Leonard, ‘I Want a President’, 1992. Typewritten sheet. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

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2.2 Collective reading of ‘I Want a President’ by Zoe Leonard, USA, 1992 and ‘Jeg vil ha’ en statsminister’, the Danish version of Zoe Leonard’s manifesto translated by Gritt Uldall-Jessen in Aarhus, Denmark, 13 September 2011. Photo by Birthe Havmoeller.

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2.3 The postcard version of Zoe Leonard’s ‘I Want a President’ printed in LTTR #5 and held in the Women’s Art Library (MAKE), Goldsmiths College, University of London. Photo by Hannah Regel.

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2.4 Text inspired by Zoe Leonard’s manifesto and read in Trafalgar Square, London, 6 May 2015. Photo by Charlotte Procter.

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3.1 Cherry Smiley, detail view of Build a Fire, installation: 35mm black-and-white scanned film projections, audio, video, text, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

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3.2 Cherry Smiley, detail view of Build a Fire, installation: 35mm black-and-white scanned film projections, audio, video, text, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

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3.3 Cherry Smiley, detail view of 1876, collage: mixed media, three 8" × 10" images, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

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4.1 The interior of the studio-barn at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Centre. The large photograph seen here is of Lee Krasner, taken by Hans Namuth in 1962. The splashed floorboards of the studio can also be seen. Photograph by Andrew Hardman, 2011.

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List of Illustrations 4.2 The sitting room of the Pollock-Krasner House, set out as if Krasner was still in residence. Photograph by Andrew Hardman.

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4.3 Splashes on the wall of the studio-barn mark Krasner’s production of Gaea (1957). Photograph by Andrew Hardman.

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5.1 Cover of Carla Lonzi, Autoritratto (Bari, 1969). Collection of the author.

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5.2 Pages from Autoritratto (Bari, 1969). Left: Pino Pascali as a child; right: Jannis and Efi Kounellis attending a party in Venezuela, 1958. Collection of the author.

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5.3 Page from Autoritratto (Bari, 1969). Carla Lonzi with the tape recorder in Minneapolis. Collection of the author.

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8.1 Rachael Harris, photograph of The House that Jill Built by Rachael Harris at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library. Reproduced with permission from the artist and Glasgow Women’s Library.

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8.2 Val Murray, photograph of Visibility by Val Murray at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Collection of the artist. Reproduced with permission from the artist.

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8.3 Claire Barclay, photograph of bathroom installation by Claire Barclay at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Collection of the artist. Reproduced with permission from the artist.

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8.4 Claire Barclay, photograph of A Girls’ Night Out by Josie Wilkinson, Aideen Cusack and workshop participants at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Collection of the artist. Reproduced with permission from the artist.

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9.1 Exhibition view of Home Front, part of If You Lived Here… (1989). Image courtesy of Martha Rosler.

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9.2 Exhibition view of Home Front, part of If You Lived Here… (1989). Image courtesy of Martha Rosler.

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List of Illustrations 9.3 Meeting conducted by Homeward Bound Community Services, Homeless: The Street and Other Venues, part of If You Lived Here… (1989). Image courtesy of Martha Rosler.

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9.4 Exhibition view of City Visions and Revisions, part of If You Lived Here… (1989). Image courtesy of Martha Rosler.

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10.1 Guerrilla Girls, Where are the Women Artists of Venice? C-print on vinyl, 518 × 335 cm. © Guerrilla Girls, courtesy www.guerrillagirls.com.

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10.2 Donna: Avanguardia femminista negli anni ’70 – dalla Sammlung Verbund di Vienna. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. Installation view. Photo © Barbara Ulli / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna.

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10.3 Autoritratti. Iscrizioni del femminile nell’arte italiana contemporanea. Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bologna. Installation view. Photo © Matteo Monti.

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11.1 Tracey Rose, Ciao Bella Ms Cast: Venus Baartman, 2001, Lambda photograph, 117.5 × 118 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery.

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11.2 Adrienne Marie-Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy, The Studio of Abel de Pujol, exh.1822. Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, France / Bridgeman Images.

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11.3 Tracey Rose, Ciao Bella Ms Cast: Venus Baartman and Adrienne Marie-Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy, The Studio of Abel de Pujol as illustrated in Linda Nochlin and Maura Reilly (eds), Global Feminisms: New Directions in Feminist Art (New York, 2007), pp. 14–15. Reprinted with permission of Brooklyn Museum.

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12.1 Installation of Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue’s Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House at BFI, London, 2014. London grave makers: Nazmia Jamal, L. Schwarz, Ros Murray, Ochi Reyes, Arvind Thandi, Sita Balani. Photo: Nika Zbasnik, © www.nikazbasnik.com. Reproduced with permission from the artist.

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List of Illustrations 12.2 Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve, Working Table of The Emily Davison Lodge, 2010–13. On display in the exhibition Sylvia Pankhurst, Tate Britain, 2013–14. Reproduced with permission from the artists.

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12.3 Membership form for The Emily Davison Lodge, Museum of London, accession number Z6069/3. Reproduced with permission.

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Suzanne van Rossenberg Images (all courtesy of the artist) A.

Suzanne van Rossenberg, Switching Metaphors (2008). Digital image.

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B.

Suzanne van Rossenberg, Patricia Cornflake Thinks (2015). Digital image.

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C.

Suzanne van Rossenberg, Enlarging Visibility (2007). Digital image.

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D.

Suzanne van Rossenberg, Lightness of Being (2012). Digital image.

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E.

Suzanne van Rossenberg, Being Born This Way (2012). Digital image.

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Notes on Contributors Angela Dimitrakaki Dimitrakakiisisa awriter writerand and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art Art History and Theory the University of Edinburgh. Herinclude books History and Th eory at theatUniversity of Edinburgh. Her books include Gender, and ArtWork andImperative: A Materialist the Global Imperative: A Materialist Gender, ArtWork the Global Feminist Critique Feminist Critique (2013) and, in her native Greek, Art and Globalisation: (2013) and, in her native Greek, Art and Globalisation: From the Postmodern From Sign to(2013) the Biopolitical Arena (2013) as well as the Sign tothe thePostmodern Biopolitical Arena as well as the edited volumes Politics in edited volumes, Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions and Curatorial Transgressions (2013, with Lara Perry) and Economy: Art, (2013, with Lara Perry) and Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (2015, with Kirsten Lloyd). the 21st Century (2015, with Kirsten Lloyd). Catherine Grant is a Senior Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures Catherine Grant is Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures Departments departments at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the coat Goldsmiths, University of London. She is currently working on editor of Fandom as Methodology (2019), Creative Writing and Art re-enactment in Girls! contemporary art, (2011) focusingand on the howquestionnaire to bring histoHistory (2012), Girls! Girls! on ries of feminism to life. Th e beginning of this research was ‘Decolonizing Art History’, Art History (2020). Her book,published A Time as of ‘Fans Own: of Feminism:  writing Histories of Secondwave Feminism in One’s HistoriesReof Feminism in Contemporary Art, is forthcoming. Contemporary Art’ (Oxford Art Journal, 2011). She is also the co-editor of Laura Guy Girls! is a writer and curator based in Glasgow, whereWriting she works Girls! Girls! in Contemporary Art (2011) and Creative and as Arta Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies at Glasgow School of Art. Her research History (2012). on queer feminist art and photography has been published widely. She is Laura of Guy completed her PhD andand Politics in editor Phyllis Christopher, Dark‘Manifestos: Room: San Aesthetics Francisco Sex Protest, Queer Times’ at Manchester School Art Davis in 2017. She is Print a postdoctoral 1988–2003 (2022) and co-editor withofGlyn of Queer in Europe (2022). As aoncurator she has collaborated withproject various‘Cruising artists, institutions researcher the three-year HERA research the 1970s: and community groups. Recent exhibitions includeat‘Hot Moment: Tessa Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures’ Edinburgh College Boffin, Ingrid Pollard and Jill Posener’ presented by Radclyffe Hall at Auto of Art, University of Edinburgh and a lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies Italia, London (2020) and Phyllis Christopher, ‘Contacts’ at Baltic Centre at Glasgow School of Art. for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2021–2022). Hannah Hamblin holds a master’s with distinction in Modern and Hannah Hamblin is Grants & the Trusts Manager English and Heritage. Contemporary Art History from University of at Edinburgh a BA She holds a Masters with Distinction in Modern and Contemporary (Hons) in Combined Honours in Arts from Durham University. Her preArt History from the University of Edinburgh and a BA (Hons) in vious work on Castlemilk Womanhouse includes her master’s dissertation Combined Honours in Arts from Durham University. Her previous ‘Castlemilk Womanhouse: History, Labour Feminism’ and a paper at the xi

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Notes on Contributors work on Ethics Castlemilk Womanhouse includes Masters dissertation ‘Feminist in the Archive’ symposium at theher Centre for Contemporary ‘Castlemilk Womanhouse: History, Labour Feminism’ . Arts, Glasgow, 2014. She currently lives and works in London. Andrew Hardmanisisa aresearch lecturerfellow in cultural practices of at Manchester. the University Andrew Hardman at the University He of Manchester. His current research is interests concerned with creative works in visual culture studies with research in histories of midapproaches to engagement and researchartin and museums, and twentieth-century painting, performance theory, galleries documentary heritage organisations. Away from academia, Andrew is a film-maker photography and film, sexuality and gender studies and issues of class. He (www.bellevueproductions.co.uk). His film work has two strands: the is currently working on a manuscript, Studio Habits, which considers the use of film-making as research for museums and galleries; and the preservation and display of artists’ studio spaces. Andrew also works with production of audio-visual content for exhibitions and engagement. the research groupinclude Belle Vue Productions, who specialise in fiatlmmaking Recent projects collaborative exhibition-making National for the heritage and art sectors. Museums Liverpool’s World Museum (a case study was published as ‘Where Next for Filmmaking?’ in the Journal of Museum Ethnography, Victoria Horne is Lecturer in Art and Design History at Northumbria 2021). He also produces content for major exhibitions nationally and University in Newcastle. She has published articles in Feminist Review, internationally: most recently, a film about pet bereavement for the Radicalrenovated PhilosophyMuseum and Journal . In 2012 established newly of of theVisual HomeCulture (formerly Theshe Geffrye) and the Writing Feminist Art Histories research initiative. Blue Cross; and curation of film archive for major retrospectives at The Barbican, including Lee Krasner (2018), Jean Dubuffet (2020) and Elke Krasny is a curator, cultural theorist, urban researcher and writer. Isamu Noguchi (2021). She is Professor of Art and Education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and has isheld numerous including Victoria Horne Senior Lecturervisiting in Artprofessorships, and Design History at Northumbria current research on the history the 2014 City University. of Vienna Her Visiting Professor at focuses the Vienna University of feminist arts publishing, for which sheatreceived a 2021 Paul Mellon Technology; 2012 Visiting Scholar the Canadian Centre for Mid-Career has12 written onArtist this subject for Art Gallery History ArchitectureFellowship. in Montréal;She 2011– Visiting at the Audain and theFraser Journal of Art Historiography, edited ‘Danger! Women Simon University, Vancouver; andand Visiting Curator at the Hong Reading: Feminist Encounters with Art, History and Theory’ , a Kong Community Museum Project in 2011. Krasny holds a PhDspecial from issue of Women: A Cultural Review (2019). the University of Reading. She is co-editor of Women’s: Museum: Curatorial Politics in Feminism, History, and Academy Ar t (2013). Elke Krasny is Professor for ArtEducation, and Education at the of Recent curatorial works the theorist, Art of Housekeeping and Fine Arts Vienna. She is a include feminist On cultural urban researcher, Budgetingand in the 21st Century curated together questions with Regina curator author. Krasny’s (2015), scholarship addresses of Bittner; Uncanny Materials: Moments of Artconjuncture Education (2016), ecological and social justice Founding at the present historical with a focus ontogether caring practices in architecture, and contemporary curated with Barbara Mahlknecht;urbanism Suzanne Lacy’s International art. Together with Angelika Fitz, she edited Critical Care. Architecture Dinner Party in Feminist Curatorial Thought (2015); Mapping the and Urbanism for a Broken Planetfor(2019). Her forthcoming Everyday: Neighborhood Claims the Future (2011) and book Handswith -On transcript titled an Infected Urbanism 185 0–20Living 12 andwith The Right to GreenPlanet. (2013), Covid-19 which wasFeminism included and the Global Frontline of Care develops a feminist perspective on in the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. imaginaries of war and realities of care in pandemic times. xii

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Notes on Contributors Kimberly K. Lamm is Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Kimberly Lamm is Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Feminist at Duke University. In her first book, Studies atStudies Duke University. She recently completed her Addressing first book, the Other the Woman: Textual Correspondences in Feminist Addressing Other Woman: Textual Correspondences in FeministArt Art and and Writing (2018), Lamm explores how women artists and writers of the Writing (forthcoming) and is beginning a new project on clothing, fashion, feminist 1970s worked with the textuality of language to challenge the and the legacies of slavery. dominant conditions in which women are allowed to appear. Lamm Kirsten Lloyd independent curator andVisual Lecturer in Curatorial currently servesisasana research associate at the Identities in Art and Design the University of Johannesburg, and Theory and Research Practice Centre at the at University of Edinburgh. Her volume has published in journals such as Oxford Art Journal, Cultural Critique, Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (2015), Australian Feminist Studies, Critical Arts: Cultural co-edited with Angela Dimitrakaki, followed theirSouth–North exhibition ECONOMY and Media Studies, Feminist Theory, Women’s Studies Quarterly (2013) presented at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow) and and Women & Performance. Stills (Edinburgh). She is currently preparing a book on realism and the art document. Kirsten Lloyd is an independent curator and Lecturer in Curatorial Theory and at The of Edinburgh. Her volume Lara Perry is Practice an immigrant andUniversity Principal Lecturer in the History of Art ECONOMY: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century, and Design programme at the University of Brighton. Her research is co-edited with Angela Dimitrakaki, was published in 2015. It followed focused on nineteenth-century British art and visual culture, with a spetheir exhibition ECONOMY (2013) presented at the Centre for cial interest in portraiture, gender and the politics of art in public. She is Contemporary Arts (Glasgow) and Stills (Edinburgh). She is currently the author aofbook History’s Beauties: Women the National Portrait Gallery preparing on realism and the artand document. 1856–1900 (2006) and co-editor (with Angela Dimitrakaki) of Politics in Lara Perry an immigrant and Cultures Principaland Lecturer in the History of a Glass Case:isFeminism, Exhibition Curatorial Transgressions Art and Design programme at the University of Brighton. Her research (2013). In 2016 she co-organised the conference/special issue of the jouris on nineteenth-century British art and visual culture,Richter with a nalfocused OnCurating , ‘Curating in Feminist Thought’ , with Dorothee special and Elkeinterest Krasny.in portraiture, gender and the politics of art in public. She is the author of History’s Beauties: Women, History and the National Suzanne Gallery van Rossenberg is an artist, activist and researcher based in Portrait (2006) and co-editor (with Angela Dimitrakaki) of London. She graduated with honours from the Piet Zwart Institute in Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (2013). 2016 she co-organised the University conference/special Rotterdam in 2004 andInstarted a PhD at Middlesex in 2014. issue the journal OnCurating Feminist Thought’inwith Beforeofmoving to London, Suzanne‘Curating worked forinLGBT organisations the Dorothee Richter and Elke Krasny. Netherlands and was the author of the first Dutch LGBTI children’s rights report in 2013. She is currently working on a transdisciplinary approach Suzanne van Rossenberg is an artist, researcher and policy adviser to tackling the (re)production of inequality in art, academia and activism. based in the UK. Suzanne obtained a research doctorate from Middlesex University in Nlaka’pamux 2018, proposing a transdisciplinary model Cherry Smiley , from the (Thompson) and Diné (Navajo) for social change. Suzanne’s art and illustrations have been published Nations, is an artist and feminist activist. She has worked as a front-line in, others, Between Discipline and a Hard Place: Thehouse Valuefor of anti-among violence worker in a rape crisis centre and transition Contemporary Art (2020), The Art of Feminism (2019) and Rebelle, xiii

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Notes on Contributors Art & Feminism 1969–2009 (ed. M. Westen, Suzanne worksofasthe an ‘Feminist battered women Ethics in and the Archive’ their children symposium and at is the a2010). founding Centre formember Contemporary equality, diversity and adviser forworks large organisations. Arts, Glasgow, unfunded activist 2014. group, Sheinclusion currently Indigenous livesWomen and Against in London. the Sex Industry (IWASI). She speaks locally, nationally and internationally on the issue Cherry Smiley, from Nlaka’pamux andManchester. Diné (Navajo) Andrew Hardman is athe research fellow at (Thompson) the University He of sexualised male violence against Indigenous womenof and girls. She has Nations, is an artist andstudies feminist activist. She has worked as a frontline works in visual culture with research interests in histories of midwon numerous awards for her work toward women’s liberation, includanti-violence worker in a rape crisis centre and theory, transition house for twentiethcentury painting, performance art and ing the Governor General’s Award inand Commemoration ofdocumentary the Person’s battered women and their children, is a founding member of the photography and film, She sexuality and gender and issues of class.proHe Case (Youth) in 2013. is currently in thestudies Communications unfunded activist group, Indigenous Women Against the SexPhD Industry is currently working on University a manuscript, Studio Habits , whichCanada considers the gramme at in Montréal, Québec, where (IWASI). SheConcordia speaks locally, nationally and internationally on the issue of preservation and display of artists’ studio spaces. Andrew also works with her researchcolonial focusesmale on ending male violence against Indigenous women sexualised violence against Indigenous women and girls. the Belleawards Vue Productions, specialise in filmmaking andresearch girls. She has won group numerous for her workwho towards women’s liberation, for the heritage and art sectors. including the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Amy Tobin a writer in and researcher based in London. Her PhD thesis, Person’s Caseis (youth) 2013. She is currently in the Communications Victoria Horne is Lecturer in Art and Design History at Northumbria undertaken at the York, focused on feminism and art Canada, in 1970s PhD program at University ConcordiaofUniversity in Montréal, Québec, University inNorth Newcastle. Sheand haswas published articles inTogether, FeministWorking Review, Britain and America titled ‘Working where her research focuses on ending male violence against Indigenous Radical Philosophy and Journal of Visual Culture . In 2012 she established Apart’. She published articles in Miraj and Tate Papers, is the co-editor women andhas girls. the WritingArt Feminist Art Histories research initiative. of London Worlds: Mobile, Contingent and Ephemeral Networks (forthAmy Tobin is Assistant Professor in the Department of HistoryCollege of Art, coming) and teaches in the Fine Art department at Goldsmiths Elke Krasny isCambridge a curator, cultural theorist, urban researcher and writer. University of and Curator, Kettle’s Yard. She has published and at City and Guilds Art School. She is Professor of Art and Education at the Academy of Fine Arts in articles in Miraj, Tate Papers and Women: A Cultural Review and is the Vienna, has held numerous visiting professorships, including Francescoand is Art History at theand University of co-editor ofVentrella London ArtLecturer Worlds: inMobile, Contingent Ephemeral Networks the 2014 City Vienna Visiting Professor at athe Vienna Sussex. He(2018). is co-ofeditor, with Meaghan Clarke, of special issueUniversity of Visual of Technology; 2012 Visiting the Canadian Centre for Resources on ‘Women’s ExpertiseScholar and theatCulture of Connoisseurship’ Francesco Ventrella is Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University Architecture in Montréal; 2011– 12 Visiting at the Audainand Gallery (2017) and, with Giovanna Zapperi, of theArtist volume Feminism Art of Sussex. He has co-edited a special issue of Visual Resources on ‘Women Simon Fraser University, Vancouver; and Visiting Curator at Francesco the Hong in Postwar Italy: The Legacy of Carla Lonzi (I.B.Tauris, 2017). and the Culture of Connoisseurship’ with Meaghan Clarke (2017) and, Kong Community Project intitled 2011. Connoisseurial Krasny holds a Intimacies: PhD from is completing his Museum first monograph, with Giovanna Zapperi, the volume Feminism and Art in Postwar Italy: the University of Reading. She and is co-editor Museum:, Sexuality, Physiological Aesthetics the Making of Women’s: Modern Artwriting The Legacy of Carla Lonzi (2020). Francesco was of awarded a Leverhulme Curatorial Politics in Feminism, Education, History, and Ar t is(2013). which is funded by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. He a forEarly Career Research Fellowship (2013–2016) and was the recipient of Recent curatorial works includeatOn ArtSchool of Housekeeping and merPaul editor of parallax . Fellowship the Mellon Rome the the British at Rome (Spring Budgeting the 21st Century curated together withA Regina 2019). He isincompleting his first (2015), monograph tentatively titled Feeling Giovanna Zapperi is an art historian based in Paris and a professor at École Bittner; Materials:asFounding Education for Form:Uncanny Connoisseurship CulturalMoments History. of HeArt is the former(2016), editor Nationale Supérieure d’Art in Bourges. Her work examines the interrelaof Parallax. curated together with Barbara Mahlknecht; Suzanne Lacy’s International tion of art criticism, visual culture and feminism. She is the author of two Dinner Party in Feminist Curatorial Thought (2015); Mapping the books: L’artiste est uneisfemme. La modernité de Marcel Duchamp (The at Artist Giovanna Zapperi Professor of Contemporary Art History the Everyday: Neighborhood Claims for the Future (2011) and Hands-On University Geneva. She is theModernity, author of 2012), three books: L’artiste est une is a Woman:ofMarcel Duchamp’s and – with Alessandra Urbanism 1850–2012 and The Right to Green (2013), which was included femme. La–modernité Marcel [TheeArtist a Woman. Marcel Gribaldo Lo schermodedel potere.Duchamp Femminismo regimeIsdella visibilità (The in the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Duchamp’s Modernity], de France 2012; with Screen of Power: FeminismPresses and the Universitaires Regime of Visibility, 2012). Her articles Alessandra Gribaldo, Lo schermo del potere. Femminismo e regime della xiv xii

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Notes on Contributors visibilità Screen Power. Feminism and theSexuality, Regime of Visibility], Kimberly have been[The published Lamm is Assistant inofvarious Professor European oflanguages Gender, in numerous and Feminist journals, Ombre 2012, and anthologies. CarlaShe Lonzi. della Studies Corte exhibition at catalogues Duke University. recently InUn’arte 2013– completed 14 she vita washer a[Carla fellow first Lonzi: book, at the An Art Academy of Life], Rome, Derive 2017. Together withher Francesco Addressing French the Other in Rome, Woman: Textual whereApprodi she Correspondences conducted research in Feminist for book Art and on Ventrella, she has recently edited the book Art and Feminism in Postwar Writing the criticism (forthcoming) and historical and iswork beginning of radical a newItalian projectfeminist on clothing, Carlafashion, Lonzi: Italy. The Legacy ofslavery. Carlavita Lonzi (2021). With Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez and the Carla Lonzi. legacies Un’aof rte della (Carla Lonzi: An Art of Life, 2017). she has curated the exhibition ‘Defiant Muses. Delphine Seyrig and Kirsten Lloyd an independent curator and Lecturer in Curatorial Feminist VideoisCollectives in France, 1970s–1980s’ (Madrid, Museo Reina TheorySofia, and 2019–2020). Practice at the University of Edinburgh. Her volume Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (2015), co-edited with Angela Dimitrakaki, followed their exhibition ECONOMY (2013) presented at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow) and Stills (Edinburgh). She is currently preparing a book on realism and the art document. Lara Perry is an immigrant and Principal Lecturer in the History of Art and Design programme at the University of Brighton. Her research is focused on nineteenth-century British art and visual culture, with a special interest in portraiture, gender and the politics of art in public. She is the author of History’s Beauties: Women and the National Portrait Gallery 1856–1900 (2006) and co-editor (with Angela Dimitrakaki) of Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (2013). In 2016 she co-organised the conference/special issue of the journal OnCurating, ‘Curating in Feminist Thought’, with Dorothee Richter and Elke Krasny. Suzanne van Rossenberg is an artist, activist and researcher based in London. She graduated with honours from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam in 2004 and started a PhD at Middlesex University in 2014. Before moving to London, Suzanne worked for LGBT organisations in the Netherlands and was the author of the first Dutch LGBTI children’s rights report in 2013. She is currently working on a transdisciplinary approach to tackling the (re)production of inequality in art, academia and activism. Cherry Smiley, from the Nlaka’pamux (Thompson) and Diné (Navajo) Nations, is an artist and feminist activist. She has worked as a front-line anti-violence worker in a rape crisis centre and transition house for

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Acknowledgements This volume has been a collective and collaborative endeavour from the outset, a fact which is reflected in the long list of individual authors who have directly contributed to its content and are named on the contents page. The editors are grateful to all contributors for generously sharing their knowledge and labour to produce this compilation. We are equally grateful to the large number of people who generated the lively feminist intellectual and social climate that allowed this book to flourish: all those who participated in events constituted by the Writing Feminist Art Histories Network, sessions held over several years of the Association of Art Historians’ conferences, and programmes organised by the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths University London; the Create/Feminisms research group at Middlesex University; and the fCU (Feminist Curators United). We would particularly like to thank Jo Applin, Angela Dimitrakaki, Viccy Coltman, Althea Greenan, Amelia Jones, Alexandra Kokoli, Griselda Pollock, Helena Reckitt, Maura Reilly, Hilary Robinson, Catherine Spencer, Amy Tobin and The Emily Davison Lodge for their contributions to fostering the collegial feminist atmosphere that sustained the work collected here, and the labour of collecting it. We have had expert and encouraging support from a number of editors at I.B.Tauris, alongside advice from the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript, and this book is all the better for their contributions. We gratefully acknowledge an image grant from the Association of Art Historians that allowed us to commission Suzanne van Rossenberg’s artist portfolio. Victoria Horne received research support from the University of Edinburgh, Northumbria University and Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and Lara Perry from the University of Brighton, which materially aided in the completion of this volume.

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Introduction Feminism and Art History Now Victoria Horne and Lara Perry

Feminism today has a lively presence in the media, in scholarship and the institutional worlds of art and art history, but it is not the feminism of the 1850s, 1970s, or even the 1990s. Like all political theories and movements, feminism is in a state of constant engagement with the transformations impelled by its own internal development and by its relations with a changing world. As we pause for reflection in the mid-2010s, this book stands as a record of the ways in which our particular historical moment is eliciting new forms of feminist art historical analysis and writing. These forms are plural and sometimes contradictory, and compel us to think differently about the art of the past and our understanding of it in the present. We, the editors, have chosen to speak collectively about this endeavour and to employ a feminist ‘us’ in this book not because we assume that all our readers and contributors will speak with a single voice and from a single perspective, but because we believe that ‘feminism’ designates ‘a shared interest in a certain set of problems’.1 This introduction aims to describe and account for some prevailing tendencies in feminism and feminist art history writing today. Together with the individual section introductions, this overview is designed to illuminate the distinctive approaches of the book’s authors by introducing readers to some of these shared problems: namely, the intellectual, ethical and political difficulties that are engendered by taking seriously the issue of sexual difference in the production, reception and interpretation of artworks. 1

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Feminism and Art History Now We have tried to capture the particular flavour of these efforts as they unfolded before us in the middle years of the current decade, through participation in a networked series of research events that took place under the title ‘Writing Feminist Art Histories’.2 These events invited writers on art of many periods and places to freely discuss the problems they were encountering in trying to mobilise a critical perspective on the role of women in the art world. In selecting the chapters for the book, we have invited contributors with distinctive approaches to record their perspectives, in anticipation of their resonance for readers who may be involved in different aspects of fine art, visual and cultural studies, or have an interest in feminist politics, curating, historiography and the philosophy of history more generally. As editors we hope that the book will allow its audience to articulate new perspectives on the character of art and art history, and to consider their own scholarly position in relation to current feminist politics, methodologies and knowledges. Neither feminism nor art history are unified fields; instead they are broad descriptions encompassing a range of approaches. Generally speaking, however, feminism designates political organising and activities aimed towards transforming the asymmetrical gendered relations that structure historical, legal, economic and social systems. Art history can be described as an academic discipline productive of knowledge of the past and present of cultural practices; this knowledge emerges through complex liaisons between formal scholarship, the museum and the art market. It is the exchange between these two areas of practice that is under examination in the chapters that make up this book. As a result of this exchange, the book’s position is one that joins the perspectives associated with its two linked intellectual programmes. This critical and revolutionary feminist dimension enjoins us to look to the present and future and break with the patriarchal past; while the art historical process demands that we review and reflect on our relations with that which has gone before. We aim here to do justice to both impulses: to formulate a politics for the present and future, which acknowledges, but does not reduce us to, the past. The urge to investigate the past as a means to transform the present has many previous incarnations and provides long and complex legacies, some of which are dealt with in this book. For example, the formation in 1858 of England’s earliest feminist organisation, The Langham Place Group (which significantly also published a journal), was followed by a spate of 2

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Introduction publishing in women’s art history. Mrs E.F. Ellett produced Women Artists in All Ages and Countries in 1859 and Ellen Clayton’s book English Female Artists followed in 1876. Volumes like these drew upon the fashion for biographical study established in the eighteenth century, and collective biographies were also dedicated to women writers, philanthropists, princesses and queens, specifically drawing attention to women’s historical activities in these spheres. At this time the study of and writing about art became a recognisable public profession and, alongside women such as Ellett, Clayton, and Maria Calcott, Anna Jameson has been described as ‘the first writer to define herself as a specialist on art in Victorian England’.3 Neither were women entirely excluded from the realms of art-making, as in 1897 two-thirds of the students at the Slade were women.4 However, the social and institutional contexts outside of the art college meant that women could ‘not practice as artists in a way comparable to their male colleagues’.5 In 1929, as the vote was being granted to English women on the same basis to which men had access to suffrage, Virginia Woolf ’s A Room of One’s Own posed the question of how women had been deprived of the resources to become great writers. In light of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Woolf ’s question was revised specifically for women artists, when in January 1971 the journal ARTnews published a special issue entitled ‘Women’s Liberation, Women Artists and Art History’. The issue carried an article by the American scholar Linda Nochlin, who asked the now-classic question, ‘why have there been no great women artists?’ Although at first glance utterly simple, this question demanded a transformation of the art-historical terrain, a redefinition of its parameters and an evaluation of the methods that defined ‘art history’ as an academic discipline. The decades that followed Nochlin’s intervention have seen some of the most fertile, and febrile, episodes in the investigation of the importance of sex and gender to art and art history in the English-speaking world. This is not to mention the debates that predated or proceeded simultaneously in other parts of Europe: the Nordic countries, the countries of the ‘former east’ and Italy, the latter explicitly addressed in some of the chapters in this volume. Nochlin’s own career has been prodigious in the additions it has made to the bibliography on gender in art and to that of women in art.6 However, gender inequality is still rife in the art world – as Maura Reilly’s 3

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Feminism and Art History Now article of 2015, published in ARTnews, revealed. The article offered an empirical analysis of women’s art world participation, and the persistence of gender inequality that it revealed made depressing reading. As Reilly observed, ‘despite decades of postcolonial, feminist, anti-racist, and queer activism and theorizing, the majority [of artists] continues to be defined as white, Euro-American, heterosexual, privileged, and, above all, male’.7 Some critics lay the blame for this situation at feminism itself, which has at times replicated patterns of exclusion of which gender is only one. Even the contents of this volume could be presented as evidence of feminism’s narrow perspective on art history. Its exclusions – which we laboured against – are indicative of the conventional focus of English-language feminist scholarship. To a certain extent such omissions can be as enlightening as what is included. For instance, despite an open call for network contributors, the chapters are largely tied to the modern and contemporary fields. The historian Judith M. Bennett investigated this temporal preoccupation in some detail in a book of 2006, where she suggests that the conflation of women’s studies and women’s history journals (in the USA) may have played a role in the ‘swing towards the present’ in feminist academia.8 Although, as Janet Kraynak has demonstrated, this is also tendency in the discipline of art history more broadly.9 Overall Bennett concludes that ‘feminism is impoverished by an inattention to history. By broadening our temporal horizons, we can produce both better feminist history and better feminist theory’.10 While the choice of chapters included in our collection replicates this focus on (relative) contemporaneity, we do not disagree with her assessment and would even add our desire that feminist solidarity be strengthened across institutionally imposed temporal specialisms, and even disciplines, in the future. Perhaps more crucially, we hope this volume also invites debate about the uses of feminism for addressing injustices related to global inequalities, including those arising from imperialism and colonialism and their present-day forms. The extent to which art history is bound to Eurocentric notions of art practice is of course a problem for the whole discipline, which is still often tied to a conceptualisation of its own subject area that excludes vast arenas of global cultural production. As feminist art historians have often observed, the category of ‘art’ has tended to function by excluding women’s visual production, which is instead described as craft or other forms of domestic production. These categories have been even more 4

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Introduction emphatically applied to the artistic products of the Indigenous cultures of most of the globe, especially those made by women. Such works have been doubly marginalised from our discipline, although in some subject areas there is a real determination to expand our knowledge of these makers and cultures and the methods we might use to understand them.11 This development is sometimes reflected in the preference for alternative disciplinary terms such as ‘visual studies’ or ‘material culture studies’, which indicate a shift in the object of study as well as the use of different interpretive practices that eschew ideas of authorship, or quality, which are central to typical art histories. In making such shifts, these studies can learn from the objects themselves in ways that have the potential to challenge conventional colonial hierarchies, but only if we do not privilege the objects over the people who make them.12 We are only beginning to understand how such colonial discriminations have operated to shape the genealogies of modern art that are told in massproduced art history textbooks and in the art museums of centres like New York, London, Paris and Stockholm. The presence of ‘primitivism’ in EuroAmerican contexts has been understood as a key component of modernist cultural history, where its presence has primarily been used to validate the work of white male artists.13 These stereotypes have been challenged in different ways in different local contexts. In Britain, the scene with which we are most familiar, the journals Black Phoenix (1978) and Third Text (1987) were founded in London by the artist Rasheed Araeen as a space to recognise the work of ‘black’ (a political rather than racial designation) artists in contemporary art. Similar aims are identified with UK initiatives such as InIVA and individual exhibitions or projects initiated by ‘black’ artists and curators including Lubaina Himid and Maud Sulter. These local developments are now surfacing via major institutions, such as the national art collection at Tate, and in related research groupings which are foregrounding the achievements of artists of colour in British art.14 Will these developments reshape our understanding of British art and its continental and North American counterparts? Exploring how imperialism, colonialism and decolonisation have produced the terrain of Euro-American art practice promises a potentially revolutionary reconceptualisation of conventional art histories.15 These investigations are pressing in themselves but have particular urgency for understanding the working situation for contemporary women artists of colour. High-profile artists such as Kara Walker, 5

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Feminism and Art History Now Tracey Moffatt and others may enjoy conventional forms of recognition for artists, to a greater or lesser extent (Moffatt’s inclusion in the 2017 Venice Biennale, for example) but their encounters with the art world are troubled by colonial legacies distinct from those of white women. How can our art histories account more effectively for what legal theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw influentially described as the ‘intersectional’ issues that arise for those who are vulnerable to multiple forms of discrimination?16 Our understanding of racial discrimination and its impact on our discipline is being transformed by the debates around globalisation as a cultural and economic practice. A major contribution to this development has resulted from the Indigenous political resurgence and other political movements which have risen to greet the changing forms of colonial domination that followed the realignment of global politics since the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States of America (1945–89). The historical marker of the Cold War’s termination also (coincidentally?) aligns with the emergence of a powerful ‘queer theory’ and ‘queer practice’ movement that has transformed feminism. Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990) staged an intervention within debates around female ‘essentialism’ that were taking place in Anglo-American feminism in the 1980s and reintroduced gender studies to phenomenology (a philosophy that accepts beings as they exist or appear and not as a manifestation of a superior or transcendent form).17 This approach leveraged open feminism’s focus on the (female) body as the site of oppression and (potential) emancipation, a focus that characterised much of the visible practice of the 1970s and 1980s. Refusing the notion of a (cis) normative female body and the (hetero) normative sexualities that helped to define it, queer theory problematised many of the key terms of feminist debate and introduced an expanded vocabulary of imagery to feminist practice including butch mothers (in the work of Catherine Opie), black male femininity (in the work of Lyle Ashton Harris) and trans-historical identifications with working-class women (such as that performed in the work of Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz). ‘Queer’ has emerged as a powerful alternative category to describe that which is alienated from the dominant practice of gender, race, sexuality and even time; a recently published anthology has attempted to trace the dynamics of an art history which is both feminist and queer.18 What we have learned from these developments is that in attempting to redress one form of inequality we can inadvertently reinscribe others, 6

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Introduction and that we must continually interrogate the effects of our own feminist practices on those who live with their consequences. This is part of the learning process of every field of investigation, but is particularly sensitive in art history, where academic pursuits actually operate in surprising proximity to those of the commercial market and shape a field much wider than that defined by research and education. As artists, art historians, critics and curators we work with and through institutions that are themselves structured in highly patriarchal and imperialistic forms. Art history is implicated in those forms, thus the feminist critique of art history has challenged the discipline’s humanistic foundations. These, it was argued, maintained and legitimised a romantic conception of art or the aesthetic that gave expression to a specific ideal subject. It was (and is) emphatically understood that art history is not peripheral or insignificant to this particular production of subjectivity. In an essay of 1982 the pioneering art historian Griselda Pollock insisted upon the mutuality of art history and bourgeois humanism: ‘We should not, however, underestimate the effective significance of its definitions of art and artist to bourgeois ideology. The central figure of art historical discourse is the artist, who is presented as an ineffable ideal which complements the bourgeois myths of a universal, classless Man [sic].’19 What Pollock knew then, and which we must not forget, is that the absence of women in the art world is an effect of Western structures of representation, not an effect of representation itself. The writing of art history thus emerged as a critical site for intervening within the production of modern subjectivities and related historical operations of dominance and exploitation. The proposition of feminist art history is thus reframed from a direct question of ‘where are the women’ to a more nuanced question around memory and forgetting or, for Pollock, of psychic refusals. We must continue to ask how we can understand and write about the past and present of art in a manner that does not simply recuperate women and feminism to established circuits of meaning- and value-production. But this requires that as these circuits evolve, so should our tools.

Making and Maintaining the Past Today, the fields of art and art history – which have sustained the greatest debates about labour, productivity and value in recent centuries – provide 7

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Feminism and Art History Now a uniquely strategic terrain from which current models of work, employment and income can be scrutinised. Freedom to take employment as an artist or in any profession is one of the persistent themes of feminism since the 1800s, but such ‘freedoms’ are not unproblematic. Looking back to 1963, Betty Friedan’s classic book The Feminine Mystique diagnosed ‘the problem that has no name’ in the lives of suburban American housewives. Friedan’s research suggested that a state of unhappy ennui was quite standard for many women who worked in isolated, devalued domestic conditions in order to maintain family relations and thus reproduce broader societal structures. Fifty years on and the complexities of these undervalued, unrecognised and profoundly gendered forms of labour are continuing to be unravelled. As early as 1984 the scholar bell hooks had criticised Friedan for accepting a social structure that more highly valued the waged career than unwaged maintenance labour (rather than contesting that very system), and for having overlooked dimensions of race and class when considering the displacement of the labour of caring for families. ‘She did not discuss who would take care of the children and maintain the home if more women like herself were freed from their house labor and given equal access with white men to the professions’.20 The uneven distribution of maintenance labour has evidently intensified since hooks’ prescient evaluation, with the increased commodification and public consumption of affective and previously private tasks. Global distinctions between women, largely delineated along lines of class, race and nationality, have seriously deepened with an abundance of itinerant migrants performing care work in the homes of other, usually wealthier, women. It is no coincidence that one of the very earliest examples of a collective feminist art installation, Womanhouse in Los Angeles (1972), staged its investigation in the domestic space of a derelict home. Performances replayed the actions of cleaning, scrubbing and ironing; artists critiqued the maintenance of femininity by repeatedly applying and removing make-up at a mirror; and installations subverted the domestic centre of the home with uncanny egg-breast forms slipping down the kitchen walls. Womanhouse strongly suggested that for many women the domestic realm could be simultaneously a space of constraining anxiety and a legitimate site of feminine creativity. A few years later, in 1975, Martha Rosler created the parodic video work Semiotics of Kitchen and Chantal Akerman the pioneering film Jeanne Dielman: 23 Quai du Commerce. Both forcefully depicted their female protagonists’ 8

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Introduction psychological deteriorations within claustrophobic domestic spaces, to either humorous or chilling effect. Mierle Laderman Ukeles expanded her investigations into maintenance politics beyond the domestic territory with a series of interventional performances staged in the art museum (Washing Piece, 1973), and a succession of public encounters with city street cleaners (Touch Sanitation, 1977–84). In Homeworkers (1977), Margaret Harrison cleverly employed textile wall-hangings, emphasising the medium’s historically gendered connotations, to scrutinise the systemic devaluation of domestic labour in light of the Equal Pay Act of 1975. Harrison also collaborated with Mary Kelly and Kay Hunt at this time, to examine gender and labour in a metal box factory in South London, the conclusions of which were presented as Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour (1973–5). These artworks were all produced in the early years of the women’s movement and, alongside countless others, were critical in establishing certain principles, themes or approaches that came to define the art associated with feminist politics. Feminist interventions have consequently targeted particular institutions and organising structures – perhaps most famously, for example, the canon:  a categorising formation that maintains hierarchical distinctions between objects and the subjects that produced them. Of course the realisation of these interventions is up for debate and this is considered in greater depth throughout the chapters in this book. One approach has been to expand the field of art historical study away from the studio and the art object as the primary site from which knowledge is excavated. Instead, scholars consider a huge range of institutional sites and ephemeral reproductive processes encompassing the gallery space, the exhibition hang, archive formation, artist diaries, reviews and reception, and so on. Research and writing has also developed as a notably self-reflexive practice as feminist scholars strive to reflect not only on their objects of study but on the mutable methods by which we make sense of and record those creative acts. Ultimately, given vast differences in methodologies or approaches between scholars, we would argue that the work of feminist art historians is to continually seek out the overlooked moments and spaces within the dominant narrative that structures cultural production and consumption, and to contest the concepts that exert authority over the discipline at any given time. In thinking about the politics of maintenance in relation to the writing of feminist art histories in 2016, we were particularly intrigued by Lisa 9

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Feminism and Art History Now Baraister’s observations on the term. As she notes, the word ‘maintenance’ contains within itself a dual temporal structure. On the one hand it refers to routine ‘durational practices that keep “things” going’; on the other, ‘to maintain is also to keep buoyant’.21 We wish to evoke both of these temporal forms here, considering the writing of histories about feminism and art as a process that necessitates – simultaneously – fidelity to previous moments and also their renewal or extension in light of current demands. The title of this subsection, ‘Making and Maintaining the Past’, was chosen in respect of those twentieth-century scholars who wrote against absence and diminution to ‘make’ a feminist perspective on art history, and in allusion to the acts of maintenance that are required in sustaining this discourse. The sense of caring for this past, while making new perspectives, is one that continues to motivate us today. Although we do not provide a comprehensive scrutiny of different models and methodologies within feminist discourse (that is beyond the scope of our chapter), we attempt to explicate these processes of ‘making’ and ‘maintaining’ further, to provide a specific rationale against which readers can situate the subsequent individual chapters. In 1987 Thalia Gouma-Peterson and Patricia Mathews published ‘The Feminist Critique of Art History’ in The Art Bulletin, the influential organ of the College Art Association in North America.22 Their article endeavoured to provide a comprehensive overview of feminist writing on art since around 1970, and constructed a generational and geographical framework for organising this diverse material. The authors’ depoliticised framework was subsequently criticised by a number of prominent feminist art historians; however, this should not dim our recognition of the article’s significance, particularly as an attempt to construct and make institutionally legible a historiography for feminist art and art history.23 Taken together, the chapters gathered in this current volume reinforce the presupposition that, alongside interventions at the visual and theoretical levels, feminist critique necessarily entails a historiographical practice. Gouma-Peterson and Mathews may not have explicitly interrogated the function of critique, but their synthesis of valuable references and summarising of a range of scholarly strategies hinted at its tactical expediency. Feminism, as it emerges from their overview, starts from a position of absence in art history and has to develop new tools with which to research and write against such lack. (That these new tools had become 10

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Introduction progressively sophisticated is one of the more contested claims of the article.) Understanding ‘critique’ in a traditional sense – that is: to systematically test the conditions of possibility inherent to an object; here, the discipline of art history – permits us to recognise feminist approaches to art history as an interrogative probing of the discipline’s characteristic, but unstable, limits of knowledge. That the prime object of this critique has expanded in recent years, from ‘modernist art history: the challenge of feminism’ to ‘rethinking feminist art history’, is a transformation captured by the topics in this book.24 The Writing Feminist Art Histories project (that prompted this collection) was formed in 2012. With hindsight, its establishment at this time was both reflective and indicative of a wider historiographical trend in the humanities. Historiography designates quite literally ‘history-writing’, however, more specifically it is used in reference to a self-reflexive mode of historical knowledge-production that scrutinises the practices and models underpinning such writing. Consequently, Joan Wallach Scott described feminist history as a ‘doubly subversive critical engagement: with prevailing normative codes of gender and with the conventions and (since history’s formation as a discipline in the late nineteenth century) rules of historical writing’.25 Although this critical urge is nothing new within feminist investigation, over the past few years a large number of reflexive studies have emerged that attempt an auto-critique of the discourse, suggesting that feminism is undergoing a significant development in its intellectual commitments.26 These writers seek to return to, reassess and potentially revise the dominant narratives that have shaped the logic of feminism’s own recent history.27 Collectively such texts express the belief that feminist historians must strive to avoid replicating, ‘the same patterns of thought and action that excluded, distorted, muted or erased women from the master narratives of history in the first place’.28 In other words, as feminism becomes an increasingly authorised discourse, one that is anthologised, taught and subjected to particular disciplinary regulations, it is the task of feminist (art) historians to challenge the potential reduction, fixing, and/or recuperation of its multivalent perspectives to a ‘master narrative’. As early as 2008, a roundtable on ‘Feminist Time’ published in the journal Grey Room sensitively explicated the limiting historical logics organising the display of feminist art in unprecedentedly large-scale museum exhibitions.29 Centred upon the topics of ‘difference’, ‘globalisation’, ‘war’, 11

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Feminism and Art History Now ‘generations’, ‘archives’, ‘femininities and masculinities’, discussion balanced the legacies of poststructural epistemologies absorbed with theorising the subject, while gesturing towards re-emergent materialist investigations engaged in understanding the crises forced by global capitalism. Also that year, a conference organised in Sweden by Malin Hedlin Hayden and Jessica Sjoholm Skrubbe presciently signalled an increased focus on the curatorial as an expanded mode of feminist historiographical practice, with proceedings later published as a book.30 In a celebrated study of 2011, Clare Hemmings reminded scholars of the ethico-political stakes involved in resisting the replication of hegemonic historical models within feminist ‘storytelling’, while the historian Joan Wallach Scott and art historian Catherine Grant attempted to rethink such restrictive temporal relations through the frameworks of ‘fantasy echo’ and ‘fans of feminism’ respectively.31 That same year Michelle Meagher adapted Hemmings’ framework in relation to US feminist art history, in an article published in the highprofile journal Feminist Theory.32 More recently, in 2014 Victoria Browne meticulously explored the phenomenon of fixed historical time, asking how feminism might remember and evolve beyond its own past without enclosing the ‘unfinished possibilities of feminisms from earlier times’.33 Also in 2014, Joan Anim-Addo contributed a much-needed account of intergenerational engagement within Black British feminism, concentrating on a selection of 1980s magazines as offering a potential space of ‘shared history’ premised on a politics of caring for the past.34 Although this is by no means an exhaustive list it demonstrates the intensity of the current historiographical turn in that such studies cut across the disciplinary formations of (at least) philosophy, history, art history, curatorial studies, literature and gender theory. It has been suggested elsewhere that contemporary art’s ‘historiographic turn’ is a nostalgic outcome forced by the powerlessness of collective politics in the present moment.35 In such a reading the ‘contemporary’ is paradoxically oriented towards a rose-tinted representation of the past, rather than inhabiting the present or anticipating the future. Indeed, such a nostalgic operation is an understandable response if one perceives that ‘feminism’ in the twenty-first century (especially in its mainstream media versions) has been irreparably reduced to an individualised, classed model of personal female achievement.36 With particular relation to feminist art history, it is a challenge for subjects to assemble an evolving political 12

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Introduction struggle against the legacy of a feminist movement that is increasingly historicised, museologised and temporally consolidated. However, it is therefore primarily through historiography and historical practice that this struggle must be enacted, as an analysis directed at that level might allow feminists to produce knowledge about the past that does not simultaneously and/or necessarily historicise. In retracing late twentieth-century feminism’s radical expansion of (art) historical frameworks, scholars are not only seeking comfort in remembering and recording this essential reorganisation of knowledge production. We need to understand this historical orientation not as an escape from present concerns but as an attempt to resituate political subjectivity in relation to the still-unfolding effects of the historical ‘second-wave’. That said, however, it remains unclear as to why the focus on history writing as a meta-reflective practice – one particularly addressed at feminist historiography itself – has gained special prominence in recent years. What, in our current conditions of existence, is driving this trend? In our (the editors’) view the ‘current conditions’ must be defined in relation to the global financial crisis and ensuing ‘austerity delusion’ of 2008 onwards.37 Thus, what briefly follows is an attempt to provide a symptomatic reading of the recent historiographical turn, specifically within art history.38 First of all, it is clear that the current trend towards reflective critique bears a correspondence with feminist excavations of the historiographical terrain during the 1980s. These were almost hegemonically displaced after 1989 (although, of course, feminist writing continued to effect an intervention at the level of art history’s theoretical underpinnings, even it was not emphasised as one of the writer’s primary ambitions).39 Following this widely invoked date, history was said to have ‘ended’ and feminism won a tentative position in an expanding UK university system, as did visual culture studies, postcolonial and queer theory. One could characterise postmodern scholarly interest during this decade as resituating cultural analysis toward effects rather than causes. At the turn of the new century, however, feminism’s position appeared less secure than anticipated, with the exemplary closure of the University of Leeds’ MA in Feminism and Visual Art in 2003 and, five years later, the termination of the only remaining Women’s Studies course in the UK university system.40 These changes were only part of a wider reorganisation of Higher Education under neoliberal policies, a reorganisation that has encompassed spiralling student 13

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Feminism and Art History Now debt crises in coincidence with the increasingly precarious employment of a ‘casual’ academic workforce. More recently, and hopefully evidencing a further stage in this developmental narrative, spaces for feminist cultural analysis have re-emerged across UK universities, including new research centres at Goldsmiths’ College and Middlesex University. In these tentative institutional contexts, caring for the feminist past understandably takes on an increased significance. The art-historiographical work of the 1980s, to which this argument refers, includes Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock’s formative book Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (1981). Their text marked a significant shift in the feminist study of art, as one of the earliest publications to propose a move beyond the recuperation of neglected women artists, in favour of analysing femininity as an ideological position that has consistently (although varyingly) functioned as a foil to maintain the dominance of the masculine subject and his art and/or scholarship. Other examples illustrating a deconstructive approach to disciplinary knowledge include Pollock’s ‘Vision, Voice and Power: Feminist Art History and Marxism’ published in BLOCK in 1982, Lynda Nead’s ‘Feminism, Art History and Cultural Politics’, which was presented at ‘The New Art History?’ conference at Middlesex Polytechnic and later published in 1986, and Lisa Tickner’s ‘Feminism, Art History and Sexual Difference’, published three years later in Genders. These similarly titled articles evidence a firmly materialist feminist understanding of ‘art history’ as field of scholarly knowledge shaped within a specific economic context and its resultant organisation of labour, encompassing – if often elided as such – that of the artist. Processes of historical representation are understood as (re) productive of those very social inequities feminism seeks to eradicate, rendering the discipline an inhospitable environment that must be aggressively contested rather than remoulded to recognise the contribution of women and/or feminist artists. Moreover, art and art history are emphasised as especially well suited to this project of feminist contestation (or, in Pollock’s terms, ‘intervention’) due to their privileged positions within bourgeois society. Critical feminist attention at the level of art’s historiography was simultaneously evidenced in American feminist scholarship of the time, particularly Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard’s edited anthology Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, the first of a number of substantive anthologies edited by the pair.41 Broude and Garrard’s compendia have been strategically invaluable for assembling and reproducing a diverse 14

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Introduction selection of feminist scholarship on art and art history across three decades. However, the books have also been criticised for failing to adequately illuminate the historiographical self-consciousness of feminist critique that seeks to remake the discipline itself.42 Bearing in mind the liberal bias of the collection, it is interesting to note that essays by the Marxistfeminist scholar Carol Duncan and social art historian Patricia Mainardi are described by an early reviewer as ‘the two most fiery contributions’.43 While Gouma-Peterson and Mathews characterised their American sisters as conservatively celebratory, in pointed opposition to their theoretically inclined ‘British daughters’, the pioneering socialist scholarship of feminists including Duncan, Mainardi and Lise Vogel troubles such reductive claims from the outset.44 While those earlier texts chiefly critiqued both mainstream and gender-blind Marxist approaches to art history, in particular challenging the illusion of historical truth propounded by each, recent work has been able to emphasise a third focus: that is, a consideration and contestation of feminism’s own histories. Although self-criticality has long been one of feminism’s most striking characteristics, the revived intensity of this tendency must be situated against a broader historical trend within the cultural sphere that can be witnessed in the relentless rise of restaged art exhibitions, archival artworks and so on.45 The establishment of the UK Journal of Art Historiography in 2009 and the US History of Humanities journal in 2016 indicate a similar tendency toward selfdisciplinary analysis within academia, as did many panel sessions organised for the Association of Art Historians’ Conference in 2016.46 For feminist art studies, in addition to those publications mentioned a few paragraphs above, such an approach includes Kathy Battista’s Renegotiating the Body: Feminist Art in 1970s London (2013), Clare Johnson’s Femininity, Time and Feminist Art (2013), and Siona Wilson’s Art Labor, Sex Politics (2015).47 Each of these books direct attention to the archives of 1970s, 1980s and even 1990s feminist art practices, foregrounding a disruptive process of renarration that aims to displace the viscous canonical history that insistently coheres a singular sense of the feminist art movement. The trick of renarration, as Hemmings puts it, is to avoid producing corrective accounts, in favour of historical accounts that struggle with ‘alternative ways of telling feminist stories’.48 While this is not the place to comment on the success of each writer’s 15

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Feminism and Art History Now renarration, taken together the books indicate a general direction in the feminist critique of knowledge. If feminist historiographical critique has been especially intense during the 1980s and 2010s, might the two periods be linked by particular conditions? That an explicitly philosophical approach to history writing surfaced at such points seems necessarily related by similarities in the political landscape. For instance, feminist scholar Lynne Segal has recalled, the frustration and defeats of a second term of Conservative rule (1983–7), which targeted and weakened precisely those nooks and crannies in local government, resource centres and collective spaces that feminists (and other radicals) had managed to enter [and which] gradually exhausted not only the political hopes, but even the dreams of many.49

Or, consider the following from Lynda Nead, who openly links those socioeconomic conditions to practices of history writing: In 1985, in a period of severe cuts in education and frightening levels of unemployment, feminists have to reconsider sexual politics and cultural politics as they intersect within art history.50

The echoes between the decade described above, and our current ‘age of austerity’ (once again led by conservative national government) are striking.51 Although, prompted by Nead’s comment, it is not immediately clear why the critique of disciplinary knowledge might be especially valuable for resistance against neoliberal ideology. Simply beginning to trace this link, however, insists upon the profoundly political dimension of history writing and provokes an enquiry in to what extent the historiographical turn might be relevant to understanding feminist politics today. The refusal to remain bearers of patriarchal-capitalist knowledge by asserting control over history at the level of its construction must be considered a substantial factor in the feminist urge towards historiographical critique. Kate Eichhorn’s stimulating work on feminism’s related ‘archival turn’ supports this observation, and she argues that we must understand such historicist enterprises in the terrain of scholarship as an ‘affective response to the far-reaching economic and political impacts of another turn – the turn to neoliberalism’.52 Eichhorn points out ‘the archive’s ability to restore to us what is routinely taken away under neoliberalism – not history itself 16

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Introduction but rather the ability to understand the conditions of our lives longitudinally and, more important, the conviction that we might, once again, be agents of change in time and history’.53 This renewed sense of agency and of hope shines throughout her study. It is chiefly generated by resonances between the economic recession (including the activism it has given rise to) and the historical (or archival) direction of feminist thought. Thus the relationship between social and economic conditions and the conditioning of historical scholarship are made explicit. This transition is also captured by Angela Dimitrakaki, who writes with explicit reference to the global financial crisis of 2008 when she optimistically suggests that, rather than considering this moment as the conclusion of a feminist-postmodernist paradigm: ‘I ended up feeling that I had been researching and trying to give discursive shape to a beginning (the emergence of a feminist anti-capitalist paradigm in art).’54 Here, as in Eichhorn’s archival turn, we are oriented once more to an economic model. The feminist critique of (historical) knowledge is, for Dimitrakaki and the anticapitalist idiom she perceives in contemporary scholarship, indelibly linked to the critique of ideology that emerged in nineteenth-century Marxism. Consequently, many of the issues that preoccupied feminists in the period leading up to 1989 seem relevant once again, albeit against an altered social and cultural landscape. However, we would do well to heed Pollock’s recollection that, until 1991, her ‘work had been housed within the broader project of The Social History of Art… I did not wish to forego the relevance of a materialist critique for feminist work in art history. But few social historians of art allow feminist analysis to sully the purity of a class-based analysis, which thereby reveals its repressive masculinism’.55 While certain aspects of the feminist critique were therefore set aside around 1990 (as Pollock reminds us out of necessity of the moment), perhaps conditions in the early to mid 2010s have altered sufficiently to permit, or demand, that we try to renegotiate materialist alliances. Most significantly, as mentioned above, the task is to connect this promising anti-capitalist feminist critique with the vital social activism going on in the world around us, and encompassing queer, decolonial and social reproduction struggles. Taken collectively therefore, the following chapters and their authors constitute a body of knowledge that asserts the importance of a reflective and critical historiographical approach, and which helps us to understand how cultural knowledge shapes us and the world we inhabit. While 17

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Feminism and Art History Now feminist critique may be positioned in opposition to, or ‘outside’ of, the art-historical discipline, it is still inescapably bound to it. As Tickner wrote in 1988, her words continuingly germane today: ‘feminism cannot leave art history. There is still too much to be done in it. We are engaged, as Griselda Pollock puts it, “in a contest for the occupation of an ideologically strategic terrain”. This contest begins with the definition of “art” and “history” ’.56 What you will therefore find in this book is a selection of chapters that reflect on the ways in which art historical activities produce and sustain knowledge about artists, and of how feminism has inflected those practices. It is not a summary of our shared knowledge or a map of the territory, but a reflection upon strategies for making and sharing our knowledge. The book is themed into four sections, which relate to a series of debates that have long trajectories in feminist art histories. Their themes are vision and representation; speech and the voice; space and spatiality; temporality and the perceptions of history. All of these have feminist legacies in art history and art practice that are increasingly overlapping and merging in the present to shape a practice of art-andfeminism-and-history that is represented here in its written, academic form but which has an equal and compelling presence in practice. In our short introductions to each section we have tried to identify the genealogy of art writing and practice that is being called upon in the work of our contributors. Some of the resources and legacies being used in these texts are very familiar to English-language feminist art history, some less so, which reflects new or re-recognitions of feminist legacies that have temporarily dropped from view.

Notes 1. Victoria Browne, Feminism, Time and Non-Linear History (London, 2014), p. 4. 2. Writing Feminist Art Histories began as a one-day workshop at the University of Edinburgh on 19 October 2012. The speakers were Jo Applin, Jill Burke, Alexandra Kokoli, Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry. Participants from the University of York (Amy Tobin, Catherine Spencer, Kostas Stansinopolous) organised a subsequent session on 21 May 2013. Feminist Object(ive)s: Writing Art Histories included papers from Harriet Riches, Hilary Robinson, Henrietta Stanford, Sylvie Simonds, James Boaden and Catherine Grant.

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Introduction

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9.

10. 11.

12.

13. 14.

15.

Finally, a two-day conference was held at Edinburgh College of Art on 27–28 March 2014. Speakers included: Jo Applin, Katja Kobolt, Lara Perry, Andrew Hardman, Victoria Horne, Francesco Ventrella, Suzanne van Rossenberg, Rachel Lyon, Giovanna Zapperi, Elke Krasny, Georgiana Uhlyarik, Ceren Ozpinar, Kirsten Lloyd, Becky Bivens, Amy Tobin. Adele Holcomb, ‘Anna Jameson: The First Professional English Art Historian’, Art History 6/2 (1983), pp. 171–87, 175. Hilary Taylor, ‘If a Young Painter Be Not Fierce and Arrogant…God Help Him’, Art History 9/2 (1986), pp. 232–44, 234. Ibid, p. 235. Linda Nochlin and Maura Reilly (ed.), Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader (New York and London, 2015). Maura Reilly, ‘Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures and Fixes’, June 2015. Available at http://www.artnews.com/2015/05/26/taking-the-measureof-sexism-facts-figures-and-fixes/ (accessed 3 December 2016). Judith M. Bennett, History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism (Manchester, 2006), p. 31. Janet Kraynak, ‘Art History’s Present Tense’, in Elizabeth Mansfield (ed.), Making Art History: A Changing Discipline and Its Institutions (London and New York, 2007), pp. 83–101. Bennett, History Matters, p. 33. Initiatives to write the histories of Indigenous women’s art are most visible in ex-colonial countries engaging with processes of ‘unsettling’, including Australia and Canada. Kristina Huneault, I’m Not Myself At All: Women, Art and Subjectivity in Canada (forthcoming from McGill-Queens University Press) is a model for this work. The potential for making these transformations can only be realised by acknowledging Indigenous knowledge production, a point strongly made by Zoe Todd in ‘An Indigenous Feminist’s Take on the Ontological Turn: Ontology is Just Another Word for Colonialism’, Journal of Historical Sociology, Vol. 29, pp. 4–22, doi: 10.1111/johs.12124. Susan Hiller (ed.), The Myth of Primitivism (London and New York, 1991). Tate Liverpool’s 2010 exhibition Afro Modern:  Journeys through the Black Atlantic was based on Paul Gilroy’s book The Black Atlantic:  Modernity and Double-Consciousness; Tate Britain’s Artist and Empire:  Facing Britain’s Imperial Past (2015–16) follows smaller displays including Thin Black Line(s) 2014; a major research project on Black Artists and Modernism is being undertaken by a consortium of London-based universities. https://transnationaldecolonialinstitute.wordpress.com/decolonial-aesthetics/; Hannah Feldman’s From a Nation Torn: Decolonizing Art and Representation in France, 1945–1962 (Durham, NC, 2014) scrutinises a key moment

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16.

17.

18. 19. 20. 21.

22. 23.

24.

25. 26.

in the development of abstract art in relation to French colonial wars in Algeria. Kimberlé Crenshaw, ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’, Stanford Law Review 43/6 (July 1991), pp. 1241–99. The term and its critical potential have been widely debated in the intervening years, for a recent discussion see Sara Salem, ‘Intersectionality and its Discontents: Intersectionality as Travelling Theory’, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Published online before print 22 April 2016, doi: 10.1177/ 1350506816643999. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (originally published in 1949 and available in many editions) arguably also takes a phenomenological approach to gender. Amelia Jones and Erin Silver (eds), Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (Manchester, 2015). Griselda Pollock, ‘Vision, Voice and Power: Feminist Art History and Marxism’, BLOCK 6 (1982), pp. 2–21. bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (London and New York, 2015), pp. 1–2. Lisa Baraister, ‘Touching Time: Maintenance, Endurance, Care’, in S. Frosh (ed.), Psychosocial Imaginaries: Perspectives on Temporality, Subjectivities and Activism. (Basingstoke, UK, 2015), pp. 21–47, 21 & 28. Thalia Gouma-Peterson and Patricia Mathews, ‘The Feminist Critique of Art History’, The Art Bulletin 69/3 (1987), pp. 326–57. American art historians Norma Broude and Mary Garrard swiftly responded to what they understood to be ‘a biased and polemical account’ of feminist scholarship: see ‘An Exchange on the Feminist Critique of Art History’, The Art Bulletin 71/1 (1989), pp. 124–7. For an extensive analysis of the article’s political vacuity (although fully admitting its usefulness as a bibliographic archive), see Griselda Pollock, ‘ The Politics of Theory’, in Generations and Geographies in the Visual Arts: Feminist Readings (London; New York, 1996), see pp. 12–19. These headings are extracted from two essays, published in 1988 and 2013, and therefore indicative of the transformation being traced. See Lisa Tickner, ‘Feminism, Art History and Sexual Difference’, Genders 3 (1988), pp. 92–128; Angela Dimitrakaki, ‘Feminist Politics and Art History, from “Postmodernism” to “Globalisation”’, in Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative (Manchester, 2013). Joan Wallach Scott, ‘Feminism’s History’, Journal of Women’s History 16/2 (2004), pp. 10–29, 18. Analysis of narratives within Euro-American feminist discourse can be traced to at least 1979/81, when Julia Kristeva’s famous essay, ‘Women’s Time’, was

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27.

28. 29.

30.

31.

32. 33. 34.

35.

36.

37. 38.

published/translated into English. In New Maladies of the Soul, trans. Ross Guberman (New York, 1993), pp. 201–24. For instance, see recent journal special issues: Victoria Hesford and Lisa Deidrich (eds), ‘Theorising Feminist History, Historicising Feminist Theory’, Feminist Theory 15/2 (August 2014); Katy Deepwell (ed.), ‘Lessons from History’, n.paradoxa 34 (July 2014). Susan Standford Friedman, quoted in Victoria Browne (2014), p. 6. Rosalyn Deutsche et al., ‘Feminist Time: A Conversation’, Grey Room 31 (2008), pp. 32–67, 55–9. I am not suggesting that examinations of temporality and generation did not occur before this date, particularly around the turn of the century when various retrospective events took place including ‘Women Artists at the Millennium’ at Princeton University. Rather, I am suggesting there has been a renewed intensity to these debates, with the issue of historiography assuming a central role. Malin Hedlin Hayden and Jessica Sjoholm Skrubbe, Feminisms is Still Our Name: Seven Essays on Historiography and Curatorial Practice (Newcastleupon-Tyne, 2010). Clare Hemmings, Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminism (Durham, NC; London, 2011). Joan Wallach Scott, The Fantasy of Feminist History (Durham, NC; London, 2011). Catherine Grant, ‘Fans of Feminism: Rewriting Histories of Second-Wave Feminism in Contemporary Art’, Oxford Art Journal 34/2 (2011), pp. 265–86. Michelle Meager, ‘Telling Stories About Feminist Art’, Feminist Theory 12/3 (December 2011), pp. 297–316. Victoria Browne, Feminism, Time and Non-Linear History (New  York, 2014), p. 1. Joan Anim-Addo, ‘Activist-mothers Maybe, Sisters Surely? Black British Feminism, Absence and Transformation’, Feminist Review 108 (2014), pp. 44–60. Roelstrate, E-flux journal. It is, however, important to note the significance of Roelstraete’s article in shifting focus onto writing and re-presenting rather than simply a turn to the ‘historical’. Angela McRobbie argues that, under the competitive conditions generated by a neoliberal marketplace, feminism is reduced to the individual objectives of self-improvement, achievement and consumerism. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change (LA; London, 2009). ‘Austerity delusion’ is the term used by economist Paul Krugman to describe what he sees as a discredited belief in an economic recovery strategy. To read symptomatically is, in general terms, to analyse a text for unconscious and/or ideological meanings. For more see Louis Althusser and Etienne Balibar, Reading Capital (New York, 1971).

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Feminism and Art History Now 39. Pollock’s Differencing the Canon (London; New  York, 1999) is a notable exception. 40. Pollock laments this lack of visibility and, in a 2010 article, suggests that in the opening decade of the twenty-first century the UK witnessed a research culture overtly hostile to feminism, and to which she enquires: ‘Is the feminist intervention in education over in Britain?’ Griselda Pollock, ‘Opened, Closed and Opening: Reflections on Feminist Pedagogy in a UK Context’, n.paradoxa 26 Feminist Pedagogies (2010), p. 21. These are two examples of what Pollock characterises a wider trend. 41. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard (eds), Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany (New York, 1982). 42. Linda Aleci, ‘Review:  The Expanding Discourse’, Women’s Art Journal 16/1 (1995), pp. 47–50. 43. Judith E. Stein, ‘Review:  Feminism and Art History’, Women’s Art Journal 4/2 (1983), pp. 44–6, 45. 44. Griselda Pollock, in Generations and Geographies (London; New York, 1996), criticises Gouma-Peterson and Mathews for casting ‘American foremothers and British daughters’ (p. 12). To further undermine this mischaracterisation of American feminists as wholly disengaged from an analysis of class-based power: the briefly extant journal Women and Art (1971–2) ‘was accompanied by a Marxist supplement entitled On Art and Society that featured reprinted texts by Meyer Schapiro, Max Raphael and other likeminded individuals’. Jennifer S Musawwir, ‘I’d like to become a subscriber! Feminist art journals in the US, 1970–1980’, n.paradoxa 25 (January 2010), pp. 28–35, 29. 45. For an introduction to this trend please see Catherine Spencer, ‘Making it New: The Trend for Recreating Exhibitions’, Apollo (May 2015). 46. AAH2016 was held at the University of Edinburgh where the call for papers revealed unprecedented attention on writing, re-enactment and disciplinarity. Art History Matters: Research and Writing as Material Practice; Art History and Physiological Aesthetics: Body, Senses, Historiographies; Art Magazines and Magazine Art; Artistic Re-enactments as Vehicles of Cultural Transfer in Eastern European Performance Art, 1960–present; Having Words: Artist–writer Relationships; Looking at Written Words and the Blindspots of Art History; The Artist as Historian; The Physical Circulation of Artworks and its Consequences for Art History; The Return of History: Reconstructing Art Exhibitions in the 21st Century. 47. Battista, Renegotiating the Body: Feminist Art in 1970s London (London, 2013). Johnson, Femininity, Time and Feminist Art (London, 2013). Siona Wilson, Art Labor, Sex Politics (Minnesota, 2015). 48. Hemmings, p. 158. 49. Lynn Segal, ‘Generations of Feminism’, Radical Philosophy 93 (May/June 1997), pp. 6–16, 10. 50. Nead, 1986, pp. 120–4, 121. Rees and Borzello, The New Art History.

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Introduction 51. In a keynote speech delivered to the Conservative Party on 26 April 2009, David Cameron warned that the UK was entering an ‘age of austerity’. 52. Eichhorn, 2014, p. 5. 53. Eichhorn, p. 7. 54. Dimitrakaki, Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative:  A  MaterialistFeminist Critique (Manchester University Press, 2013), p. 247. 55. Pollock, Generations and Geographies (1996), p. 3. 56. Tickner, 1988, p. 24.

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A. Suzanne van Rossenberg, Switching Metaphors (2008). Digital image.

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Part I

Writing|Speaking|Storytelling

It has long been noted that the language of ‘universal’ rights espoused during the Enlightenment and its emancipatory projects were, in fact, exclusive of women. This was observed by some of the earliest feminist thinkers, including Olympe de Gouges, whose 1791 text, ‘Declaration of the Rights of Women’, deplored in its very title the undisclosed biases of the French National Assembly’s earlier publication, ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man’ (1789).1 Consequently, in the late 1960s, feminism did not abruptly materialise into art-historical discourse from elsewhere. European feminism’s shared genealogy with the discipline of art history – both emerging out of the liberal project of the Enlightenment – ensured that its ethical politics had been an unacknowledged parergon to the discipline, not ‘being a part of it yet without being absolutely extrinsic to it’.2 Women and women artists had always functioned negatively as a framing device for masculinist art and its history: that which it is not. Women – both in representation and as cultural producers – had acted as what feminist art historians have termed a ‘site of difference’, that which enables and maintains the hegemony of masculinist culture (understood as ‘universal’ or ‘unmarked’). Since the renewal of the feminist political movement around 1970, and the advent of the feminist art and art history movements, this hierarchising frame has been made visible through a self-reflexive writing practice that reshaped the discipline of art history and its institutions of representation. Feminist writing therefore targets scripted mechanisms of art history that sustain mythologies around artistic creativity and elide women’s 25

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Feminism and Art History Now achievements. There are certainly discussions to be had about affect and our embodied response to artworks, but we must begin from an understanding of discourse as a structuring device; language (which is historically and socially constituted) fundamentally shapes our ideas and enables us to communicate these ideas to one another. The feminist critique of art history thus faces a slippery double task:  to simultaneously interrogate existing forms of writing and knowledge production, while attempting to develop new and different forms. ‘Feminist art criticism remains criticism with a cause.’ As Katy Deepwell explains, ‘[i]t should offer models of women’s art practice to its audiences; provide contexts for interpreting works and language(s) or theoretical frameworks to communicate with one’s peers’.3 Susan Gubar wrote in 1981 that, within Western history, the ‘model of the pen/penis writing on the virgin page participates in a long tradition identifying the author as a male who is primary and the female as his passive creation’. Thus, as she plainly puts it, ‘the female body has been feared for its power to articulate itself ’.4 This idea had underpinned the influential essays of Hélène Cixous, a French-Algerian philosopher whose theory of écriture féminine urged women’s autonomous self-expression: ‘Woman must write herself: must write about and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies – for the same reasons, by the same law, and with the same fatal goal.’5 Feminist approaches to history-writing have therefore celebrated the embodied and experiential alongside the intellectual and rational. These investigations have often been structured around fantasies of silence and speaking, absence and presence, with ‘the blank page’ of women’s history providing a space of possibility for women’s creativity. In 1979, the Women’s Caucus for Art Newsletter endeavoured to expose art history’s ‘blank pages’ in a report showing that six widely used survey textbooks failed to mention a single woman artist.6 While we might expect that such a situation is a thing of the past, regrettably it appears otherwise. In March 2010 the Swedish artists Ditte Ejlerskov and Eva-Marie Lindahl embarked on The Blank Pages project, prompted by their realisation that Taschen’s ‘Basic Art Series’ of books consisted of 92 men and 5 women. In an open letter to the company they wrote: ‘we hereby hand over our entire compilation of the nearly 100 missing female artists that we consider qualify’. They also produced a series of glossy book covers in 26

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Writing | Speaking | Storytelling Taschen’s house style for a 2014 exhibition, accompanied with the caustic request: ‘we are now waiting for your expertise to fill the blank pages with content’.7 Occupying the ‘blank page’ which is created by the privileging of masculine creativity requires that the space be claimed on behalf of ‘women’, or ‘the feminine’. Making such a claim runs the risk of imposing on all women a single identity, or appearing to do so, at the expense of acknowledging the differences among and between women. Many feminists have argued that, whether or not one endorses the ‘essentialist’ notion of women which is prescribed by patriarchy, it is at times strategically necessary to occupy that position in order to speak to power.8 But equally generative in feminism has been resistance to the unifying effects of the category of ‘women’ who are separated by as many or more circumstances as those which unite them. In 1989 the legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw proposed that we view discrimination as intersectional, in attempt to foreground the distinctive experiences of women who are enmeshed differently in systems of power relations such as race, as well as gender.9 The imperative to appreciate the differentiated experiences of gender inequality has been exacerbated by the political and economic processes of neoliberalism, whose increasingly global operations have impacted unequally on populations marginalised in different ways. How feminist solidarity can operate in such a climate is a challenge with which feminists – especially those within the privileged world of academic study – continue to grapple, more and less successfully.10 One strategy for fostering a feminism that is alert to the varied and sometimes incommensurable lives of ‘women’ is to turn the debate away from the question of categories of identity, in favour of attending more fully to the individuals who embody them. Italian philosopher Adriana Cavarero invites us to privilege considerations of the embodiment of individual and unique ‘voices’ – the corporeal rather than abstract and universal element of our words – to evade the ontological violence of reducing lived experience to categories. She explained in a 2008 interview: ‘My challenge consists of clearing out the philosophical ontology that takes “being” to be an abstract and universal category and replacing it with an ontology that instead signifies being with every human being in her/his corporal and unrepeatable uniqueness.’11 To emphasise the unique aspects of the speech of individual and vulnerable persons, speaking either individually or in unison, is an implicit critique of reductive identity categories. 27

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Feminism and Art History Now In this section we have invited writers to fill the blank page not with reflections on ‘women’ but with unique and individual voices that bear witness to the insufficiency of terms like ‘feminine’ or ‘woman’, ‘queer’ or ‘of colour’. The opening chapter consists of a reprinted essay from the journal Feminist Review, written by Victoria Horne and Amy Tobin following the first workshop of ‘Writing Feminist Art Histories’ in October 2012. The two met there as PhD students and decided to write together about the history of collaboration and collective research in UK feminist art history from the 1970s onwards. This was a meaningful choice given the institutional demands of individual professionalism that inflexibly shape the doctoral process. As an early outcome of the research network the ideas explored around neoliberal research agendas and historical narrative remained central to its development, including this current volume. Collectivity and particularly the importance of the collective voice emerges forcefully in the second chapter, although here the emphasis is on tracing momentary resurfacings of the collective across time and space, rather than the shared material spaces of feminist reading groups alluded to in Chapter 1. Laura Guy considers the manifesto a powerful mechanism through which to concentrate multiple voices through a single text, communally reading aloud as a political speech act. The replaying of manifestos, as Guy demonstrates, expresses the importance for feminism of identifying affirmative relationships with art and artists of the past; relationships that go beyond progressive generational logic. By borrowing other voices – in this case, the artist Zoe Leonard’s 1992 text demanding better political representation of victimisation, poverty and disability – one might find an expression of one’s own discontent as well as a mechanism for addressing situations that, in spite of occurring in a different time and place, demonstrate many of the same problems. The ‘time of the manifesto’ is therefore complex, as the text falters, dips and resurfaces. Ultimately, however, Guy contends that the shared time of the manifesto ‘allows persons to stake a claim to forms of political subjectivity, even as certain cultural, economic and socio-political forces work to limit that very claim’. Cherry Smiley writes from her position as a North American First Nations woman (Nlaka’pamux/Thompson and Diné/Navajo) about making art that responds to the particular demands of speaking within a hostile culture. Drawing on the resources of her own aboriginal culture, 28

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Writing | Speaking | Storytelling particularly storytelling as a device for affirming connections with history and identity, Smiley explains how the structuring of her art production through storytelling allows her to maintain a sense of her own unique concerns and experiences in her work. This connection is crucial for sustaining her First Nations identity within a field which has often been defined in opposition to the work of First Nations producers. Smiley also elaborates how her concept of storytelling has allowed her to conceive relationships of solidarity with other marginalised women, and her chapter presents the possibility of a genealogy of feminist art practice which emphasises its intersectional concerns with First Nations political movements against dispossession, incarceration and violence against women. Smiley has illustrated her chapter with her own works, and they are not the only evidence of an artist’s visual work in our volume. As art historians we recognise that the corporeal voice may emerge not only through the sonic but also the vibrations that occur as lines and form on paper. Throughout the volume we have introduced illustrations by the artist and doctoral researcher Suzanne van Rossenberg. These cartoons engage with ideas about art, feminism and queer politics, presenting irreverent observations that cut to the heart of some of the illogic and confusion of contemporary academic practice. In counterpoint to the seemingly indestructible image of the ‘feminist killjoy’ (as Sara Ahmed has phrased it), humour has featured prominently in the activities of many women artists.12 A recent issue of the feminist art journal n.paradoxa, themed around humour, describes how ‘the light-hearted, one could even say the facetious, is used to send up social expectations and norms as regards the body, gender and social and cultural constraints’.13 Disrespecting the ‘disciplining’ boundaries of society and art, through expressive textual and visual works, feminists have produced powerful correctives to the coercive categories of identity with which we are forced to work.

Notes 1. ‘Les Droits de la femme et de la citoyenne, Dédie a la Reine’. For an introduction in English to Olympe de Gouges and her work visit Clarissa Palmer’s website, http://www.olympedegouges.eu. 2. Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (Chicago, 1987), p. 3.

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Feminism and Art History Now 3. Katy Deepwell, New Feminist Art Criticism: Critical Strategies (Manchester, 1995), p. 5. 4. Susan Gubar, ‘The Blank Page and Issues of Women’s Creativity’, Critical Inquiry 8/2 (Winter 1981), pp. 243–63: 246. 5. Hélène Cixous, ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’, trans. Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen, Signs 1/1 (1979), pp. 875–93. 6. Eleanor Dickinson, ‘Sexist Texts Boycotted’, Women Artists News 1979, p. 21. The textbooks were: Albert Elson, Purposes of Art; E.H. Gombrich, The Story of Art; H.W. Janson, Key Monuments in the History of Art and The History of Art; Robb and Garrison, Art in the Western World; and Seldon Rodman, Conversations with Artists. 7. http://www.evamarielindahl.com/about_the_blank_pages.html. 8. See for example Denise Riley, Am I That Name? Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History (London, 1988); Gayatri Spivak, ‘Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography’, Selected Subaltern Studies, eds G.C. Spivak and R. Guhan (New Delhi, 1988), pp. 3–32. 9. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989: pp. 139–67. 10. For a recent reflection on this development see Chandra Talpade Mohanty, ‘Transnational Feminist Crossings: On Neoliberalism and Radical Critique’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 38/4 (2013), pp. 967–91. 11. Adriana Cavarero with Elisabetta Bertolino, ‘Beyond Ontology and Sexual Difference: An Interview with the Italian Feminist Philosopher Adriana Cavarero’, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 1998, 19(1), p. 138. 12. Sara Ahmed, ‘Feminist Killjoys (and other willful subjects)’, Scholar and Feminist Online 8.3 (Summer 2010). Available at http://sfonline.barnard.edu/ polyphonic/print_ahmed.htm. 13. Jacki Wilson, ‘ “Piss Takes”, Tongue-in-cheek Humour and Contemporary Performance Art’, n.paradoxa 36: pp. 5–12, 5. See also Jo Anna Isaak’s book and exhibition catalogue from 1996, Feminism and Contemporary Art: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Laughter.

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1 An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography, or How to Write a Feminist Art History Victoria Horne and Amy Tobin

Our title is intended as a proposition, an open-ended research enquiry that we have begun thinking about through a series of informal research events.1 The first workshop, organised by Victoria Horne at the University of Edinburgh, brought together postgraduate and early-career researchers to meet and discuss the epistemological questions raised when ‘Writing Feminist Art Histories’. In response to a productive session that touched upon a range of historical and contemporary historiographical concerns, in May 2013 Kuang Vivian Sheng, Catherine Spencer, Kostas Stasinopoulos and Amy Tobin arranged a second event at the University of York. One of the primary aims of these workshops was to reflect upon the merits and obstacles endemic to writing history from a feminist perspective. However, equally important is the potential that these events offer for developing a supportive and critical network of feminist researchers through a series of loosely connected episodes. In this brief exposition we attempt to explain the impetus behind the workshops and situate this collaboration within a broader UK history of collective feminist knowledge production, as well as in relation to the current critical demands of feminism. In the sections below we explore the complex significance (especially for feminist researchers) of analysing the 31

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Feminism and Art History Now form and content of art-historical knowledge production and its written traces, in order to acknowledge the limits and exclusions of the discourse. This is a brief and focused chapter; however, we believe that feminist scholarship must always begin as a commitment to the broader political position rather than simply addressing internal disciplinary concerns. In the conclusion, we therefore begin to indicate the challenge that has always implicitly underscored feminist participation in the academy, but which has certainly gained increased visibility since 2008; namely, the impact of neoliberal agendas upon individualising the structure of research and teaching. Can feminism continue to exist within the mainstream institutional structure of the academy, can we rethink these structures, without being reduced to an ‘-ism’?

The Problematic: Writing Feminist Art Histories The renewed Euro-American women’s movement of the 1970s had unprecedented effects within both the visual art and academic spheres, and many feminist writers re-presented art’s histories through a radical historiographical project that interrogated the very bases upon which cultural beliefs about art were founded.2 In particular, over the past four decades, both feminist and postmodern enquiries have drawn out the never-fullyclear distinctions between historical ‘reality’ and its literary ‘representation’. As historiographer Dan Karlholm has stated: [Art history] refers to a threefold phenomenon:  a collective producer (the community, institution, or discipline of art history) produces representations (art history texts, picture compendia, etc.) of what is allegedly an actual history of art (or art history) that exists beyond these discursive phenomena.3

Karlholm’s emphasis indicates that the crucial problem for art history arises from its inevitable failure to fully comprehend the moments of art’s production, and the discourse must therefore maintain an illusory (or ‘alleged’) representational truthfulness. Art’s past is consequently represented through a discipline of ‘art history’ that obscures its own production and thereby naturalises its very structures. Intervening at the point of production (the writing of art history) is therefore essential to reconfiguring historical knowledge from within a feminist perspective, and 32

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An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography denaturalising its gendered assumptions. Feminist discourse is, of course, not immune to this obscuration and a constant process of self-examination and self-critique (often initiated by collective work) is necessary in order to critically assess the circulation of power across feminist knowledge. Despite feminist historians’ profound critical engagement with the discursive structures of the discipline, it is difficult to define a singular feminist approach since feminism is not fixed as a particular methodology; rather, it is a strategically adopted political position from which to write. It is feasible fundamentally to state that feminism is concerned with exposing the ideological and socially constituted powers that consistently (re)instate the feminine (and, particularly, female subjects) as inferior, and which thereby produce gendered hierarchies throughout every social space  – crucially extending from this, intersectionally, relations of race, class, and sexuality. However, consensus on how to translate this theoretical understanding into historical practice is hard to reach. Perhaps this disparity is attributable to what Angela Dimitrakaki in 2013 termed the ‘ideologically divided terrain’ of feminism.4 Accepting this description we must acknowledge that feminism has developed differently and unevenly across various places/times (due most critically to those relations of race, class and sexuality) and it is only by understanding both the impact of these historical developments and our writing of them in the present that we can assert the relevance of feminist knowledge for twenty-first-century contexts. We know that collectivising knowledge production can destabilise the belief in a singular, objective authority and offer instead politically situated examinations of the past, but it also (crucially) allows us to disrupt our own assumptions by staging an encounter between various voices and positions. Feminist political content within historiography therefore simultaneously requires close attentiveness to the forms of knowledge accumulation and transference within the academy. The majority of writers involved in producing feminist art history have emphasised that feminism is not focused on adding to the existing narratives of a discipline that (re)articulates masculinist knowledge and power, but should focus instead on intervening within and recreating art historical narratives from an invested feminist perspective. For example: Mary Kelly does not refer to ‘feminist art’ but stresses the shifting position of art ‘informed by feminism’; Lisa Tickner favours the ‘feminist problematic in art history’; and likewise, Griselda Pollock prefers ‘feminist interventions 33

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Feminism and Art History Now in art history’ in resistance to the more reductive ‘feminist art history’. It is evident that a precise terminology is required to articulate the political imperatives at stake in writing against the master narratives of art history. A feminist art-historical approach must not only write the history of its woman practitioners but also interrogate the representation of gender difference historically, a task that may also contribute to our understanding of sex and sexuality today. These fluid approaches (of always becoming) provide both stimulation and structural difficulties for those attempting to write feminist art histories and such questions regarding terminology, narrative, and methodology recur frequently across the literature. More recently, however, the public face of feminist art (in ‘blockbuster’ retrospective exhibitions, for example) has at times historicised the previous four decades without due consideration of these debates. In 2011, Clare Hemmings meticulously unpacked the narrative assumptions embedded in feminist theory’s narration of its own past moments; drawing inspiration from her study, we hope to make greater sense of how feminist art history has been written and what these historiographical forms imply or occlude. Thus, the aim of this research network is to discuss the difficulties and merits in encountering the mutable strategies of feminist historiography and to collectivise this epistemological challenge. According to Donald Preziosi, the discipline of art history arose in relation with the consolidation of the modern European (white, male, colonialist) subject.5 To challenge the power and authority of this rehearsed discourse, it is therefore necessary to rewrite the disciplinary script of art history.

The Model: Collective Knowledge Production Such knowledge as British feminists acquired in the early 1970s was procured by our forming reading groups and collectives, established in the radical tradition of workers’ self-help groups and feminist consciousness-raising. We formed reading groups to study Marx, Lacan, and Foucault. We went to conferences organised by film societies in order to come to terms with psychoanalysis. We read magazines like Screen, New Left Review, and Red Rag. A combination of collective self-help and intellectual bricolage re-educated a range of activists and intellectuals seeking the means to resolve the dislocation between what was

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An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography officially on offer as knowledge – be it of art, history or society – and what we need to be able to say understand because of the crisis we were living through.6

It is impossible for us to appraise feminist art history writing without considering, and drawing encouragement from, the rich history of feminist collectives in the UK. Although the WFAH initiative is not yet a fully fledged collective enterprise it is our ultimate ambition in organising these workshops and why we have chosen to collaborate on writing this statement; learning along the way that co-writing is far more difficult and timeconsuming, yet idea-sharpening than writing alone. As Griselda Pollock describes above, in the early 1970s collectives were formed out of dissatisfaction at the state of the discipline and were founded on a pedagogic basis, their members seeking to simultaneously re-educate themselves and produce innovative art-historical knowledge. One such group was The Women’s Art History Collective, established in 1973 in London by Denise Cale, Pat Kahn, Tina Keane, Rozsika Parker, Pollock, Alene Straussberg, Lisa Tickner and Anne de Winter. This diverse group was composed of artists, art historians and critics, and grew out of a shared desire to ‘explore the relationship between contemporary women artists and the special problems they face, as well as the overall cultural role and position of women and creativity’.7 By re-evaluating the historical construction of women’s art – usually categorised as craft-based, if not entirely absent – the collective sought to restore women to the art-historical canon. Through this reintegration (and in relation to contemporaneous theoretical and artistic activity), the collective developed an understanding of the ideological suppression of gender endemic within the foundations of modern art history. This critical re-evaluation of the form as well as the content of the discourse of art history was eventually written up in the individual or dual-authored papers and books of its members.8 Over the past four decades the shared and dedicated space of the collective has consistently proved important. Although organised by antihierarchical principles the collective structure is a hybrid, functioning variously as a site for consciousness-raising (the Women’s Workshop of the Artists’ Union) and artistic production (the Women and Work Collective) in the 1970s, as well as a locus for coordinating diverse events (Women’s Art Change) in the 1980s and as a framework to organise academic interest (Feminist Art and Histories Network) in the 1990s. Since the early 35

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Feminism and Art History Now 2000s many more feminist collectives as well as social media initiatives have emerged across the UK; although, to the best of our knowledge, no research initiative has been established to investigate the historiographical concerns of feminist art history.9 In each context the collective has provided a shared space of identification and investment to foster knowledge production outside the governing principles of mainstream institutions. Historically, feminist interventions in the history of art emerged differently in the US, where Linda Nochlin established an academically sanctioned course researching women’s art at Vassar College in January 1970 and Muriel Magenta launched an evolving programme of events, ‘Women-Image-Now’, at Arizona College in 1974.10 In contrast, the UK initiatives mentioned above were extra-institutional, taking place beyond the lecture-hall or formal curriculum. Because they were not rooted to the academy, the collective model instantiated through these schemes articulated a fluid structure and in all likelihood demanded heightened commitment to both one another and the group. These radically contingent spaces were forged to question and undermine the institutional (gendered) paradigms of art history. However, the forms forged at this moment did not become self-sustaining; perhaps they fundamentally could not, without the economic and structural support of the university; or perhaps they can be thought of as transitory moments of critique and production that should not evolve into established structures. This issue of institutional complicity or critique is always problematic for feminism and perhaps never-more-so than in the currently conflicted environs of neoliberal academia. In contrast to these precedents, our workshops were hosted and funded by the universities in which we work, although this was only possible by keeping costs extremely low and asking attendees to fund their own travel. As PhD and early-career researchers, we framed the events as opportunities to forge connections and critically engage with other scholars (at any level) as well as those working in the Arts more broadly. In some ways, then, these events corresponded with recent agendas in higher education policy encouraging public engagement and research with ‘impact’.11 However, we are also interested in analysing the reproduction of non-hierarchical research collectives in higher education in order to question how collectivity can remain an organisational model that fosters criticality and how it can provide a model for intervention rather than a perfunctory space for dissemination. This is a theme we would like to explore in a future workshop. 36

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An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography The collective model is not simply an alternative to mainstream organisations but should be understood as a complexly intersecting instantiation of (feminist) form and content. Collectives have consequently been structured by rules that consciously define the group, allow discussion and concurrently demand the articulation and close interrogation of roles and responsibilities. The demands of working collectively therefore parallel the theoretical and ideological debates developing in the broader Women’s Art Movement of the 1970s; for example, the proposition, ‘should women depict the female body in their art and if so how?’ can be aligned to ‘should women’s organisations use power structures evident in mainstream culture and how is this negotiated?’ Additionally, demands that address the exclusion and oppression of difference in the liberation movement are more than evident in the maintenance of collectives. The gender-focus of earlier groups sometimes provided a locus for conflict, assuaging the analysis of racial, class-based or sexual oppression. Instead of shared spaces of support and criticality, debate was narrowed into gender opposition, which did not always recognise the different investments group members had in the structures of power. By articulating a network of participants, we hope to provide space for difference while also encouraging critical approaches to political writing. Pollock’s characterisation, above, of the collective as model for instituting new research through self-reflexive interrogation reflects the demands of writing feminist art histories. The question is how this can be mapped onto a much-altered cultural and pedagogic setting.

Writing Feminist Art Histories: 2010s A loose trajectory of collectivity over the past four decades might notice a shift from face-to-face collaborations to networks connecting participants across distance. Writers including Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, and Gregory Sholette, have helpfully explicated the co-optation of network relations within the managerial ethos of the (globalised) contemporary art world.12 However, although the cooperative model has unavoidably been mimicked and commodified, collective knowledge production can still be integral to the anti-hierarchal and pluralistic project of feminism, assuming that we continue to (re)interrogate the form’s usefulness, lest it undermine the effectiveness of feminist social critique. How can we make the network form of collectivity work for us, ‘ideological neighbours’ living 37

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Feminism and Art History Now across distance, today?13 One question we have struggled with, for example, is whether the research collective could be based primarily online, or if it requires the affective benefits of gathering in person? Beyond the historiographical research that forms the basis of our meetings, we also need to probe the character and formation of our collectives: how are we connected? Through what channels do we collaborate? Who do we include and exclude? We must hold these questions in mind as we rethink the potential of the alternative, fluid space a collective provides. As women working in the academic sphere we cannot help but be aware of the pressing quandaries arising from budget cuts and increased tuition fees. As feminists, we feel it is necessary for our discussions to probe the limitations of our department curricula (too often still teaching ‘feminism’ briefly as an optional theory or method), the difficulties of organising across UK (or even international) university departments, and the problematic institutional complicity that each of us, as wage-earners, is forced to assume. In the 2010s what is the role of a university scholar? As the public face of feminism continues to gain currency (through online protest, organising, and a constant stream of blogs and newspaper articles) what is the relationship between public activism and intellectual enquiry, political agitating and theoretical tools? Could we be accused of inverting the renowned WSPU slogan to ‘words not deeds’? How can we make feminist art history work, rethinking both knowledge form and content from a political position, while understanding that scholarly work need not be instrumentalised in the pursuit of an end-goal? We hope that these questions and many more will form the basis of future discussions. The key issue to the WFAH initiative is (following, for example, trenchant research from Hemmings) how we can better understand the theories and methods used to write and remember feminist history – optimistically presuming the importance of historical memory for a successful feminist politics of the present, whilst acknowledging that ‘knowing how these narratives work does not precipitate their transformation’.14 One issue that arose through our workshop discussions and that exemplifies the challenge entrenched in feminist history writing is that of narrative desire: as feminist art historians, do we still hope to uncover particular narratives embedded within a women artist’s work and/or biography (struggle, heroic achievement, bravery, sisterly camaraderie) and are we disappointed if our subjects (almost inevitably) fail to meet these high expectations? This is not 38

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An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography to say that feminist art history is reducible to work of women artists, but the political analysis of their art production can destabilise the prevalent myths of conventional art history, particularly if addressing the inclusion of intersectional subjects that are often occluded even within feminism. Jo Applin’s research, delivered at the first workshop, looked at artist Lee Lozano’s boycott of contemporary art and of other women; a profoundly troubling circumstance to engage from a feminist perspective and one that cleverly contests the pleasure we usually hope to find in our historical artistic subjects and their narratives. It has been variously noted that, since the global financial crisis of the mid-2000s, feminism has undergone a cultural resurgence. Yet particular scholars have concurrently noted the limitations of this reappearance. Angela McRobbie talks about the ‘undoing of feminism’, as a superficial, masquerading feminism-as-consumerism threatens to undo the core politics of the movement.15 Nancy Fraser suggests that a ‘politics of recognition’ has thrived at the expense of a ‘politics of redistribution’ and that this has allowed feminism to be reduced to identity politics rather than challenging economic systems of oppression.16 Although employing different disciplinary grammars, both McRobbie and Fraser reach comparable conclusions about the displacement of politics in feminist discourses. Feminist art historians in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s have been profoundly engaged in testing the limits of art-historical knowledge, working collaboratively to create a shared space that pushes at the boundaries of the discipline. It is imperative that feminism in the 2010s, while necessarily widely taught, does not become reduced to an optional tool or methodology. One way, we believe, to stop this from happening is to engage other scholars both intra- and inter-generationally within an informal environment to discuss and interrogate our individual and collective motivations for writing political art histories.

Notes 1. Thanks to Feminist Review for allowing the republication of this article from issue 107 (2014), pp. 75–83. 2. See Linda Nochlin, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ (1971), in Women, Art Power and Other Essays (Boulder, CA, 1988). Thalia GoumaPeterson and Patricia Mathews, ‘The Feminist Critique of Art History’, The Art Bulletin, 69.3 (September 1987), pp. 326–57. Griselda Pollock, ‘Feminist

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3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9.

10.

11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16.

Interventions in Art’s Histories’ (1988), in Eric Fernie (ed.), Art History and its Methods (London, 1994). Dan Karlhom, Art of Illusion: The Representation of Art History in Nineteenth Century Germany and Beyond (Bern, 2006), p. 12. Angela Dimitrakaki, Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative: A Materialist Feminist Critique (Manchester, 2013), p. 4. Donald Preziosi, Rethinking Art History: Meditations on a Coy Science (New Haven, CT, 1989). Griselda Pollock, Generations and Geographies in the Visual Arts:  Feminism Readings (London and New York, 1996), p. 17. Emphasis added. Margaret Harrison, ‘Art Herstory’, MaMa: Women Artists Together (pub. by the MaMa Collective, Birmingham), 1.1 (1977), p. 3. Dual authorship has been a strong point of resistance in feminist art history. Renowned pairings include, for example, Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock, Norma Broude and Mary Garrard, Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, Deborah Cherry and Griselda Pollock. See R. Parker and G. Pollock, Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (London, 1981). Lisa Tickner, ‘Feminism, Art History and Sexual Difference’, Genders 3 (Fall 1988), pp. 92–128. To paraphrase Aviezer Tucker’s introduction to A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography, in which he clearly defines these concerns: the philosophy of historiography examines the epistemology of our knowledge of history, the reliability of the methods historians use to infer beliefs about the past, and is ultimately an examination of our descriptions, beliefs and knowledge about the past. Of course, in art history, the visual is added to this analysis. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography (Hoboken, NJ, 2009), p. 4. Linda Nochlin, ‘Starting from scratch’, in Broude and Garrard (eds), The Power of Feminist Art (New  York, 1994). Muriel Magenta, ‘Women-image-now’, Women’s Studies Quarterly 15.1 (1987). Details of the ‘impact’ agenda can be found on the UK research council’s website: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/kei/impacts/Pages/home.aspx. L. Botanski and E. Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism (New York, 2006). G. Sholette, Dark Matter:  Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (London, 2011). Meredith A. Brown, ‘A History of A.I.R. Gallery: Feminism and the American Art Institution’ (PhD thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, 2012), p. 34. Clare Hemmings, Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory (Durham, NC, 2011), p. 134. Angela McRobbie, The Aftermath of Feminism:  Gender, Culture, and Social Change (London, 2008). Nancy Fraser, Fortunes of Feminism:  From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis (London and New York, 2013).

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2 I Want a Dyke for President: Sounding out Zoe Leonard’s Manifesto for Art History’s Feminist Futures Laura Guy

1992/2015 I want a dyke for president. I want a person with aids for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I  want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no airconditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in

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Feminism and Art History Now therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.1

On the evening before the 2015 UK General Election, about fifty of us gathered in Trafalgar Square to read aloud this short manifesto written by the artist Zoe Leonard in 1992 (Figure 2.1). We alternated between Leonard’s text and a revised version that had been co-authored in the early months

Figure 2.1 Zoe Leonard, ‘I Want a President’, 1992. Typewritten sheet.

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I Want a Dyke for President of that year. As individual voices were carried in and out of audibility, the words they shaped became markers for two different, geographically and temporally remote, locations. Multiple ‘I’s fell in and out of unison; readers lost their place only to find their pace again among the others. Some chose not to read, mingling with our group or else standing on the peripheries with the crowd who had stopped to watch, bemused or interested by the sight. As we read, the papery bodies of the text threatened to disintegrate in heavy rain. For an hour we carved out a space in the city, stood together, if not always in-sync.

The Time of the Manifesto The collective reading of Leonard’s manifesto in a public square offers up one instance of political speech uttered under the sign of feminism. But also it represents the translation of such a speech act between then and there, and here and now. These two ideas are connected. Slipping between the past, present and future tense, manifestos sound out multiple temporal registers, often simultaneously. These registers, which I will call the ‘time of the manifesto’, allow persons or groups to stake a claim to forms of political subjectivity, even as certain cultural, economic and socio-political forces work to limit that very claim. The collective repetition of Leonard’s manifesto, over twenty years after it was initially distributed at a rally during the US presidential primaries, alerts us toward the complex temporalities that the time of the manifesto always already puts into motion. Since 2010, Leonard’s text has been the focus of a number of such readings conceived of by a group of Swedish artists, Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund. The international quality of these readings has necessitated that a translation of the text be read alongside the original (Figure 2.2). Made to speak in a language other than its own, the text is also transposed from its initial context in order to be recalled on the terms of the present. In this chapter, I will focus on Leonard’s manifesto and the rereading in order to explore the ways that these readings challenge the progressive logic of generational thinking that has characterised the writing of histories of feminism, if not of Left politics more generally. This proposal points toward the specific possibilities that manifestos might offer for feminism, not only as a means to articulate political desires for the future in our present but also for what role they might perform in the 43

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Figure 2.2 Collective reading of ‘I Want a President’ by Zoe Leonard, USA, 1992 and ‘Jeg vil ha’ en statsminister’, the Danish version of Zoe Leonard’s manifesto translated by Gritt Uldall-Jessen in Aarhus, Denmark, 13 September 2011.

writing of feminist art histories. How might the time of the manifesto allow us to sound out art history’s feminist futures? As the brief introduction to the chapter suggests, my interest in Leonard’s manifesto is framed through the project that Arnell, Dahlberg, Gustavsson and Sandlund initiated. It is informed by having worked with the artists to organise a reading in London in May 2015 and is figured through my recent research, which explores how manifestos provide signposts for important intersections between art and queer-and-feminist politics. Though Leonard’s text has not been explicitly identified as a manifesto by its author, at least to my knowledge, it shares aesthetic-political qualities that align it within a long tradition of manifesto writing. Like other manifestos, Leonard’s text expresses a set of possibilities that were not, at the time of writing, realisable in the present tense. Composed in the future anterior, these demands were nonetheless forged in relation to the particular socio-political conditions in which the text was written. Janet Lyon explored this peculiar characteristic of the manifesto in what remains one of the most comprehensive studies of the form.2 In her book, dedicated to 44

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I Want a Dyke for President reading the manifesto in relation to discourses of modernity, she argues that manifesto writing can be understood as a genre that changes over time. Setting out programmes or desires for a time to come, manifestos are nonetheless catalysed by the conditions within which they are produced. More recently, in her electrifying discussion of the manifesto form, media theorist Felicity Colman took up the tenses of feminism’s manifestos in order to describe the ways that they produce experimental subjectivities.3 Indeed Colman urges us to think of manifestos as experimental subjects in themselves. Colman’s argument offers us a great deal for thinking about how we might be alert to the tenses that manifestos utilise and the way that these tenses serve to unmoor subjects from the times that constrain them. Read along these lines, Leonard’s text invokes complex temporal codes that project marginalised subjects – in this case numerous ‘queer’ bodies and identifications that were left behind by the US political system in the early 1990s – outside of the conditions that preclude that claim to political subjectivity. To claim the category of manifesto for Leonard’s text is to place it in a lineage of manifestos produced by feminist artists. Some of these manifestos are oft-quoted from exemplars of feminist art practice such as Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s ‘Manifesto for Maintenance Art’ (1969) and Lee Lozano’s Dropout Piece (begun 1970). Others have been less attended to in our histories, perhaps because they sit at the peripheries of practice rather than as examples of a practice in-or-of itself.4 Count among these the manifestos produced by women’s groups in British art schools in the 1970s and 1980s, protesting against inequalities within those institutions.5 Or the ‘Manifesto of the Women Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation’ that artist Faith Ringgold wrote with her daughter Michele Wallace in June 1970, in which the pair set out a series of oppositional terms for Black Art.6 More contemporary investments in the manifesto can also be identified. Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz’s collaboratively authored moving image works seek to disturb the forms of knowledge that have historically produced queer and colonised subjects. For example, in their film Charming for the Revolution (2009) a script riffs off a series of historic manifestos, including Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (1967) and Silvia Federici’s ‘Wages Against Housework’ (1975), to produce an offbeat roll call for marginalised feminist polemicists. Katy Deepwell recently noted in the introduction to her edited anthology of feminist manifestos 45

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Feminism and Art History Now that placing these various polemics in chronological order indicates the ongoing significance of the form for feminist practices, from the secondwave through the net-based cyber-feminist interventions of the 1990s to the post-internet practices of artists in the 2000s.7 Contrary to suggestions that the manifesto has become history, consigned to the past along with all the other recorded failures of the avant-garde, Deepwell puts forward an alternative narrative in which manifestos appear as an effective device through which feminist artists continue to stake a claim to political subjectivity.8 Yet the chronological ordering of the anthology fails to explain how manifestos succour less straightforward accounts of time in the writing of feminist art histories. Recent scholarship on temporality in the fields of feminist and queer theory has spoken directly to the idea that, as Elizabeth Freeman writes, ‘dominant strains of queer theory have tended to privilege the avantgarde’.9 Countering this, Freeman uses the concept of ‘temporal drag’ to articulate the sometime anachronistic nature of queer experience, exploring how ‘for queer scholars and activists… cultural debris includes our incomplete, partial, or otherwise failed transformations of the social field’.10 Sam McBean turns to manifestos in literature in order to address how this notion of failed transformations applies itself to feminism.11 Her concept of ‘feminism’s queer temporalities’ accounts for the complex times of feminism and allows her to sustain a dialogue between feminist and queer theory in which feminism is written through with its own queer history. Catherine Grant has also built upon Freeman’s ideas but, importantly for my own argument, Grant does so in relation to the work of contemporary artists in the UK and US who re-enact or quote from histories of feminist art practice.12 Characterising the way that feminist consciousness is often entered anachronistically, Grant makes the politically vital argument for the active possibilities of feminist and queer artists’ return to history. As with the invocation of Leonard’s text in London in 2015, many of the artists who Grant references appropriate, cite or reenact feminisms’ past in order that they might throw into relief the terms of the present. Like the myriad of feminist practices bought into focus by Grant, McBean and Freeman, the time of the manifesto is now, but not only. Manifestos locate themselves in the present. In doing so, the future that they announce is necessarily deferred. The futures that manifestos project are always, to borrow a few words from José Esteban Muñoz as he 46

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I Want a Dyke for President wrote on queerness and futurity, ‘not yet here’.13 To take a historical view of the form of the manifesto is then to engage with a history of the future. But this future is not the one from which this author casts her backward glance; rather, manifestos allow us to glimpse the edges of the past’s unrealised futures.

And I Want to Know Why This Isn’t Possible… In order to understand what future Leonard’s manifesto was turned toward, we must excavate some of the material context surrounding its production. The text was distributed as a small typed sheet in 1992, in the lead-up to the US presidential primaries. The untitled text formulates a list of demands, beginning: ‘I want a dyke for president, I want a person with aids for president and I want a fag for vice president’. It continues in this vein with each demand structured by the device ‘I want’: ‘a Black woman for president’… ‘someone with bad teeth’… ‘someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy’. The device prefigures each of its possible candidates, some of who become legible through hate crimes (‘had a cross burned on their lawn’), others by what they lack (‘someone with no airconditioning’) and others by their humility (‘someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them’). Only the last few sentences break this rhythm to strike a more reflective tone as Leonard concludes in the past tense: ‘And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know when we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught’. Through the multiple subjects it invokes, Leonard’s manifesto refutes the very terms of the two-party political system in the US and exposes how that system undermines the politics of self-determination that is so central to the manifesto form. In a short piece of writing on Leonard’s text, Michael Warner aligns it with similar strategies employed by myriad activist groups in the struggle against government neglect in its response to AIDS. Leonard’s manifesto, he writes, is ‘emblematic of a kind of street politics commensurate with this period of history of lesbian and gay activism’.14 Leonard wrote the text at a time when, in the early 1990s, she was involved in AIDS activism through her participation in feminist groups in New York such as Fierce 47

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Feminism and Art History Now Pussy and Gang.15 As a member of ACT UP, Leonard was involved in various initiatives that sought to increase visibility of women living with HIV/AIDS. (In 1990, she contributed an article to Women, AIDS, and Activism, a book that forged connections between the women’s health movement and the AIDS crisis.16) At the same time that Leonard distributed her manifesto on the street, she began to gain institutional recognition as an artist.17 In 1992, Leonard intervened in documenta IX, hanging photographs of cunts alongside paintings at the Neue Galerie in Kassel, Germany. The act challenged, starkly, the lack of visibility of women within Western patriarchal institutions, in this case the museum. Though her involvement in collective politics has sometimes appeared at a remove from her often-subtle, solo-authored photographic work, there was also, as art historian Tara Burk has argued at length in relation to a spectrum of artists who were also members of ACT UP, crossover between the two.18 The images that adorned the gallery walls at documenta IX were directly influenced by those prepared for a campaign initiated by members of Gang, an all-female group of activists who squared a focus on lesbian and gay issues with a feminist one. Produced in 1991, an image of female genitalia adorned with the slogan ‘READ MY LIPS / BEFORE THEY’RE SEALED’, utilised double entendre to suggest the body was speaking out against a ban on abortion information implemented by the senate. Disseminated in different contexts, Leonard’s photographic work and her political campaigning, including the manifesto that is the focus of this chapter, represent distinct aesthetic interventions. Each of these interventions countered the pernicious censorship of the Reagan administration and organised a politics around subjects who had been designated as abject or other by the state. Reflecting upon the kind of political representation emphasised by Leonard’s manifesto, Warner has noted that the claim it makes for homosexuals to become part of the institutions of the state (‘I want a dyke for president’) seems to imply a politics that might retroactively be named as homonationalism.19 I diverge with Warner’s line of thinking to argue that, through the multiplicity of subjects it invokes, Leonard’s manifesto disrupts the very logic of the two-party political system. However, Warner’s comments are helpful inasmuch as they identify another context for gay and lesbian politics in the early 1990s as it came to court mainstream acceptance.20 The increasing emphasis on seeking equality 48

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I Want a Dyke for President within the status quo would come to characterise not only lesbian and gay but also feminist activism as the decade progressed. Refreshingly, certainly for this writer who came into queer political consciousness in the early 2000s, the multiple demands of Leonard’s text seem to complicate rather than bolster the model of representation through which individuals secure their mandate to govern. Leonard’s manifesto sits alongside other radical separatist polemics produced by feminists and queers in a similar period, for example Queers Read This (1990), attributed to Queer Nation, or The Dyke Manifesto. Published in New York by the Lesbian Avengers in 1993, The Dyke Manifesto focused on dyke visibility and sought to empower lesbians as leaders as it urged dykes to ‘WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!’ As Lyon has written of the Lesbian Avenger’s polemic, ‘the amalgamated subjects of the [manifesto] represent something quite different from a choral voice seeking access to rights and privileges of the liberal bourgeois public sphere’.21 Her idea of a polymorphous chorus that sought to disrupt the terms on which one is accorded access to the public sphere can be extended to Leonard’s manifesto. Made alongside a multitude of other impossible demands, the desire for a dyke to become president exposes the limits of a feminist and queer politics that is predicated on privileged access to state-sanctioned forms of political representation. Leonard’s manifesto makes a serious demand but simultaneously she undermines that demand. The demand is shown to be an impossible one. This is made clear through the insistent, perhaps even childish, refrain: ‘I want’. It might be problematic, as Lee Edelman has followed in his book No Future (2004), to register the futurity that this queer manifesto produces through the image of the child.22 But the childish shape that the desires of this manifesto take do not simply reinforce a politics of futurity organised around the image of the innocent child that Edelman identifies in the common refrain of ‘children are our future’. Freeman’s writing on temporal drag alludes to Shulamith Firestone’s assertion that the political project of radical feminism was ‘incomplete unless it included the political and sexual liberation of children’.23 Both Kathryn Bond Stockton and Sara Ahmed have addressed the wilful ways that children grow that, as Stockton suggests, ‘don’t bespeak to continuance’.24 Rather than reinscribe the future along the normative lines of mainstream politics, reading childishness into the rhetoric of Leonard’s manifesto frames a backward glance that works to 49

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Feminism and Art History Now keep the future at bay. The stubbornness of the child as it repeats its impossible and unanswerable request – until it is blue in the face – can be shown to counter progressive narratives of political change. The brattish quality of the central rhetorical device of Leonard’s manifesto invokes the dismissal often made, by both the Left and Right, of utopian politics as naïve (a politics that wants too much). In Leonard’s text, the childish rhetoric returns us to a time that is ‘somewhere down the line’, before we learnt otherwise. The idea of going back in order that we might relearn registers the possibility of a return to the world of the child that prefigures the accepted knowledge of our/the text’s present. The manifesto suggests a return to a prior moment in order to move forward, undoing the promise of a progress narrative predicated on futurity. This return opens us to what Eve Sedgwick so beautifully characterised as the ‘profoundly painful, profoundly relieving, ethically crucial possibilities that the past… could have happened differently from the way it actually did’.25 The imaginative possibility held in the image of the unschooled child is paired in Leonard’s manifesto with another who cannot possibly belong to our future, that of the lover or friend who has died from AIDS exacerbated by government neglect. The transformation of grief into a political strategy has underpinned activist responses to the AIDS crisis since the 1980s. Although the desire to keep the dead with us is a tragically futile one, indeed perhaps because it is such, a politics organised around grief insisted that AIDS deaths were wholly and totally avoidable. Leonard’s stubborn refusal of the terms of the present is a refusal to move on or to get over that which should not be forgotten. The time of the manifesto is a material consequence of its proximity to the early years of the AIDS crisis. Turned toward the future, the manifesto recalls a past childhood-self alongside a lost lover and in doing so refuses to consign the past to history as a political imperative.

Read My Lips, Again Mining multiple tenses, often simultaneously, we have seen that manifestos are nonetheless anchored to the present, which is the time they wish to disrupt. Perhaps this is why manifestos are often spoken about in terms of their writers but are less often addressed for their readers. This is surprising. If we think of the manifesto as a platform upon which a claim is 50

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I Want a Dyke for President made to political speech, readers (or audiences) are necessary agents in the transmission of its address. Distributed at political demos in the form of leaflets, reproduced in zines, circulated in books and online, manifestos are forms of ephemera that court attention. Accounting for a manifesto’s readers enables us to refocus our attention on the networks through which manifestos travel as they accrue meaning beyond the intentions of the author. Reading is a highly relational practice. Recourse to the ways that manifestos have been read and circulated aligns them with other kinds of ephemera produced by and within counter-cultural movements. When the act of reading is linked to a demand that a text be re-spoken on the terms of the present, the imperative to think about audiences in relation to manifestos is starker still. A focus on reading helps us to understand how manifestos circulate out of time. Through various acts of reading, Leonard’s manifesto has continued to find audiences beyond its initial distribution in 1992. In 2006, Ginger Brooks Takashashi, an artist and member of the New York-based lesbian feminist collective LTTR (2002–8), came across Leonard’s manifesto taped to another artist’s fridge.26 Subsequently, Takashashi and her collaborators published it in the LTTR journal as a small postcard, two copies of which were available in the fifth edition. The fridge is the place at the heart of the home where we sometimes place things close to our hearts (a photograph of an absent friend, a drawing by a child). The appearance of the manifesto within such a domestic space is richly suggestive of the way that feminist polemics have often found ground between personal and public spheres. Likewise, the movement of Leonard’s manifesto from fridge to publication describes a far more complex procedure than the one directional movement of an object from a private to a public sphere. Print ephemera often circulate within both private and public systems of exchange. Leonard’s manifesto was returned to circulation through various private transactions between friends and lovers as well as through economic exchange in bookshops/zine distros or, as an image on a friend’s blog shows, to be found during research at a feminist library (Figure 2.3).27 These networks are geographic, but as Grant has pointed to in a discussion of LTTR’s political genealogies, they also connect to past moments of feminist cultural production.28 The postcard format provides a satisfying conceit for thinking about the circulation of Leonard’s text following its reappearance in LTTR. 51

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Figure 2.3 The postcard version of Zoe Leonard’s ‘I Want a President’ printed in LTTR #5 and held in the Women’s Art Library (MAKE), Goldsmiths College, University of London.

In 2010, Ridykeulous, the collaborative practice of artists A.L. Steiner and Nicole Eisenman, presented the manifesto within the exhibition Ridykeulous: The Hurtful Healer: The Correspondence Issue held at Invisible Exports, New York, and then again in 2014, at Ridykeulous: This is What 52

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I Want a Dyke for President Liberation Feels LikeTM at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Both times the manifesto appeared unsigned and pinned with the prize of a rosette (Figure 2.4). Framed by the tongue-in-cheek curatorial strategies of Ridykeulous, the manifesto was bought into focus as another footnote to feminist art histories that have historically been neglectful of

Figure 2.4 Text inspired by Zoe Leonard’s manifesto and read in Trafalgar Square, London, 6 May 2015.

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Feminism and Art History Now the contributions of lesbian artists.29 Alongside other polemics that often appear in the artists’ projects, for example in their video Times Square SCUM MANifesto (2011) that I have discussed elsewhere, Leonard’s manifesto is awarded status for its potential to disrupt these existing histories of feminist art.30 Conscious of the dangers of institutionalising these histories – but similarly aware of the ease with which these histories are ignored by institutions – Ridykeulous foreground the manifesto as one form that can intervene in the venues and canons of art history without being fully assimilated into its institutional structures. Though addressed only briefly here, these examples offer a point of departure for thinking about the material networks through which Leonard’s text has travelled and relatedly the work that it has been put to: from AIDS activism in New York in the early 1990s to Leonard’s fridge in her New York apartment; through the distributed networks of a lesbian feminist collective and its print journal, to the hallowed galleries of the contemporary art museum. In each of these examples, the demands of the text are activated on different terms. Leonard’s manifesto has had the kind of life that often characterises ephemera disseminated within queer and feminist communities, albeit with greater proximity to the art world. It was through the publication in LTTR that Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund first became aware of the text in 2010. That year, in the lead up the Swedish General Election, the four artists, who had a history of collaborating with one another, invited friends to read the text aloud as a public act of resistance against the homophobic and racist Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats), a political party who were expected to gain more seats in parliament that year. In this and subsequent readings, Leonard’s manifesto is not moved from the street to the gallery but rather is re-inscribed into public space albeit at a temporal and spatial remove from the time and place in which it was first written and distributed. Around two hundred people took part in this first reading organised in Sergels Torg, a public square in the centre of Stockholm with a long history of political activity. As Dahlberg explained, the reading was organised out of urgency and the invitation sent ‘to people that we knew in Stockholm… it was very spontaneous too, we didn’t get the police permission’.31 Although never intended to be anything more than a single event, a number of iterations of the readings have been organised at the invitation 54

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I Want a Dyke for President of various individuals and groups internationally.32 An invitation to present the project within Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall a few years ago precipitated a discussion amongst the artists about how and where the readings should take place. Declining the invitation to site the reading within an institutional setting, the artists instead implemented a set of rules for any further iteration. These included the stipulation that the readings would only take place in the context of a general election;33 always in a public square or space with a historic relationship to political speech and always with the suggestion that a translation of the text be undertaken with the reading alternating between the original and new version(s) for one hour.34 These instructions were then made available on a website that serves a function rather like a handbook, further maintaining the DIY attitude of the initial public reading in 2010 but also, perhaps, in sympathy with Leonard’s own intentions.35 Each reading necessitates that Leonard’s manifesto be given over to a process of re-writing, which I have referred to throughout this chapter as a translation. The process of re-writing as well as re-speaking the text produces not only a translation from one language to another but also the collective readings anchor the text to a new set of temporal and spatial coordinates. Sometimes this process has meant that small changes have been made to original text so that the meaning of its rhetoric, what Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak called the sense of the ‘rhetoricity’ of a language, can be preserved. For example, in the first reading to take place the line ‘a president without airconditioning’ was changed to ‘a prime minister without central heating’ in order to acknowledge a meteorological difference, which allows the classed implication of Leonard’s line to be heard in Sweden. When I began to discuss the UK reading with the artists, the translation, which no longer required the text to be converted between languages, turned into the task of writing a new manifesto. This new manifesto followed the rhetorical rhythms of the original and was co-authored over a period of about six-months during small meetings of a core group and at a workshop at a conference.36 This process of collective translation prompted discussions about the group’s present political context and this was reflected in the final text, an extract of which reads: I want a prime minister with no access to legal representation, a prime minister who has stood in line at the DWP, who has a chronic illness and who had their DLA withdrawn, who has

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Feminism and Art History Now been unemployed and sexually harassed and gay bashed and deported. I want someone who is a migrant worker, who had no choice but to leave her own children to work in a private household and who survived an abusive employer.37

In my own correspondence with Leonard, the artist noted some of the complexities surrounding the reading. She told me that the project became a ‘blueprint for rethinking the text and using it in different contexts. [The artists] really thought deeply about how to… interact with the text and we had good discussions about ideas of transposition and re-contextualization’.38 Yet Leonard also resisted my idea that the new text created during the reads was a translation of her manifesto. Having given permission to the artists to use her own text as a template, Leonard distinguishes between the ‘original’ and the ‘new version of the work’ that is produced for each context. For her, this difference is ‘both political and practical; it felt essential for them to have the freedom to express their own conditions and demands, not to be hampered by my original’.39 At the same time, Leonard feels it is important that the ‘original should stand as a mark of a certain point in history’ and that her own authorship be acknowledged. Leonard discussed with me how ‘women’s authorship… is so often undermined, or rendered anonymous’ and that ‘this was a way… to acknowledge my work, and the time and circumstances of the original writing, without controlling or shackling their project’. Translation is an act of displacement that, at its worst, risks rewriting an object on terms other than its own. As feminists we need to be attuned to the ways that reverence enacted through re-speaking or rewriting also carries with it the possibility of erasure. However, Spivak wrote about the risk of translation along different lines to those outlined above.40 In her essay ‘The Politics of Translation’, she declares that the process of translating a text is about much more than language; it is about the relationality of the text to a world within which it has meaning. The translator of a text, Spivak urges, need be open to the risk of translation but not only to the risk of violence that might become the text through translation. Rather she figures translation as the most intimate act of reading in which the translator necessarily risks the fraying of the self as she submits wholly to another’s text. Acknowledging Leonard’s concerns, I wish to argue that the ethical demands that Spivak makes of translation might help us to navigate potential slippages that occur between Leonard’s authorship, the text, the younger artists, the organisers and the chorus each 56

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I Want a Dyke for President time a reading is organised. When we organised the reading in the UK, we often referred to the process of re-writing the text as a form of ‘translation’ precisely to indicate the ways that we wished to listen to the demands of Leonard’s text out of time but also as to acknowledge the ethical demands of working in this way with historic materials of feminist art. There are other reasons too that the collective readings do not function quite like the intimate private exchange that Spivak describes between the subaltern writer and her translator. I say this to acknowledge Leonard’s reservations, but not only that. The re-articulation of a text produced by a well-known New York-based artist threatens to reinscribe the dominance of US practices in canons of queer art and queer theory. It threatens to, but perhaps it does not. The Norwegian queer theorist and art historian Mathias Danbolt has written on the way that a queer politics largely emergent in New York and other US cities in the early 1990s is held in the imaginary of other groups not based in that country.41 Focusing on the repetition of the chant of ‘We’re Here, We’re Queer’ at a political march organised in Copenhagen in 2008, Danbolt explores the anachronistic quality of the slogan when a largely Scandinavian population invokes it. Dwelling on this instance, in which protestors recall two-decade-old histories of lesbian and gay activism in New York and Chicago, Danbolt accounts for the shifting meanings that accompany the movement of queer genealogies across borders. A similar displacement to the one Danbolt describes occurs in the collective reading of Leonard’s text. Read at various time in various countries, the project becomes a nomadic proposal enabled through feminist, queer and art world networks. Whilst it must be acknowledged that the formation of these networks is connected, at least in part, to a privileged movement of some artists internationally, naming the relocation of a text or a term elsewhere as a translation sounds out the political imperative that is central to the collective readings. One thing that becomes perceptible in and through Spivak’s writing on translation is the work that is required of the translator. This work does not imply labouring over the translation – ‘the sheer material production of the text need not be slow’ – but rather implies that an intimate knowledge, of a language, should precede the act of translation.42 Developing such intimate knowledge is a labour of love that produces a familiar relation (this is why the translation itself might not take time, since the good translator is the one who is already familiar). This intimate knowledge 57

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Feminism and Art History Now prepares the translator and the translator, as Spivak writes, needs to be prepared ‘enough to start translating’.43 The labour of making oneself familiar with a text is perceptible in the collective readings of Leonard’s text, sounded out through the repetitions that take over an hour. (Though this would be to read Spivak against her word – for Spivak, the work of the good translator is not necessarily visible.) Nonetheless, this character of intimacy, understood by Spivak as an undoing of the self, offers us a way to think through the reading of Leonard’s text. The act of rereading the text in another time and place is not only a repetition with a difference. It is also a way for the text to find meaning again. What is at stake here? The act of translation produces, not only a new version of the text in another language, at another time and another place, but it also produces a durational choral invocation of a written text. The text is distributed, as it was then, within a collective political situation, but now the text is refigured as a score to orchestrate an instance of collective speech. The repetition of a piece of printed ephemera, produced by an artist two decades earlier, formulates an ephemeral – in the sense that it is both temporally and spatially situated – articulation of public speech. At heart of this ephemeral speech act is a feminist ethic. The situatedness of each reading establishes them against the terms of universality that has historically structured the public sphere. In its place, the collective readings facilitate a discordant chorus comprised from multiple ‘I’s. In May 2015, as in the UK we were reeling from first news of the Conservative victory, the original and updated versions of Leonard’s text were shared online, along with images, videos and recollections about the reading in Trafalgar Square. Photographs that circulated showed the damp and curled reproductions of the manifesto, with words sometimes only barely legible. Next to an image of the text clutched in a fist posted on Facebook, a friend wrote: ‘Wants. Feeling hoarse and cold and moved’. The repetitions of the manifesto out of time keep insisting on the legibility of the past in the present but they absolutely do not represent a politics that stands still. Like the shadow of the child that torments the wanting demands of Leonard’s text, looking back does not articulate a desire to return to the way things were. Rather, it seeks to understand the ways that things could have been and still can be different. The repetition of the manifesto moves us to understand that, far from being bound to their own present that is itself now past, the desires that the text traces for a feminist 58

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I Want a Dyke for President future are ones which resonate over time and that are still profoundly resonant today. That we continue to turn ourselves toward the desires of our inherited political past is the demand that the time of the manifesto makes of us, both as historians and as feminists. With special thanks to Kajsa Dahlberg and to Malin Arnell, Catherine Grant, Johanna Gustavsson, Zoe Leonard, Elsa Richardson, Emily Roysdon, Fia Stina-Sandlund and Amy Tobin. This chapter is written through with the insight of numerous fellow readers, especially those of Lucy Clout, Karen Di Franco, Rosie Eveleigh, Nicola Guy, Shama Khanna, Andrea Phillips, Charlotte Procter, Olivia Plender, Helena Reckitt, Irene Revell, Ed Webb-Ingall, Lillian Wilkie and members of the Feminist Durations reading group in London. It also benefited from audiences during the exhibition Inessential Fathers: An Invitation to Read Together at Archive Kabinett, Berlin, co-curated with Nicola Guy; at Feminist Durations in Art and Curating, co-organised by Helena Reckitt and Andrea Phillips and at Curating Materiality: Feminism and Contemporary Art History, co-organised by Sarah Cook, Kirsten Lloyd and Catherine Spencer.

Notes 1. Zoe Leonard, ‘I Want A President’, 1992. 2. Janet Lyon, Manifestoes: Provocations of the Modern (New York, 1999). 3. Felicity Colman, ‘Notes on the Feminist Manifesto: The Strategic Use of Hope’, Journal for Cultural Research, 4 (2010), pp. 375–92. 4. Thanks to Victoria Horne for pointing this out to me. 5. For example those that appeared in Broxa, the magazine of the North East London Polytechnic that included titles such as ‘Tutor – Student Relationship’ (author unknown, Broxa No. 1, n.d.) or ‘Women in Art Education’ (‘Ronnie’, Broxa No. 4, n.d.). 6. Faith Ringgold and Michelle Wallace, Manifesto of Women Students and Artists for Black Liberation (n.p., 1970). 7. Katy Deepwell, Feminist Art Manifestos: An Anthology (London, 2014). 8. Caroline Gausden’s current research extends the definition of the manifesto in relation to feminist art practices. Gausden uses the manifesto to describe how feminist art practices have recoded a whole field of socially engaged art practice. See for example ‘Archiving in the Cracks’, at Glasgow Women’s Library Feminist Ethics in the Archive (Glasgow: The Centre for Contemporary Arts, 2014).

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Feminism and Art History Now 9. Elizabeth Freeman, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Durham, NC, 2010), p. xiii. 10. Ibid. 11. Sam McBean, Feminism’s Queer Temporalities (Oxon and New York, 2015). 12. Catherine Grant, ‘Fans of Feminism:  Re-Writing Histories of Second-Wave Feminism in Contemporary Art’, Oxford Art Journal, 34 (2011), pp. 265–86. 13. José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (New York and London, 2009), p. 1. 14. Michael Warner, ‘Queer and Then?’, The Chronicle Review, 2012. Available at www.chronicle.com/article/QueerThen-/130161/ (accessed 25 August 2015). 15. Tara Burk has written about these groups as part of her doctoral research, some of which was published in the article ‘From the Streets to the Gallery: Exhibiting the Visual Ephemera of AIDS Cultural Activism’, Journal for Curatorial Studies, 2 (2013), pp. 32–53. 16. Cynthia Chris and Monica Pearl (eds), Women, AIDS & Activism (Boston, MA, 1992). 17. Leonard has reflected on her deep ambivalence about her acceptance into the art world. In an oral history interview conducted by Sarah Schulman as part of the ACT UP Oral History Project, an important record conceived of by Schulman with filmmaker Jim Hubbard that is comprised of testimonies of surviving members of ACT UP New York, Leonard reflects ‘I remember actually being really torn, because it took a lot of time and energy, and I would think like, “Well, I want to go to the darkroom, but there’s this protest. Where do I go?” Like not having enough hours in the day to do everything. I alluded to this earlier, but the kind of more quiet, thoughtful, somewhat abstracted nature of my early work felt almost in direct competition with what I was doing in ACT UP that was so immediate. In truth, a lot of the time I thought, “This is ridiculous. Why the fuck am I an artist? I should become a nurse or something. I should do something useful with my life. This is ridiculous. I’m a complete dilettante.’ Leonard quoted in Sarah Schulman, ‘Interview with Zoe Leonard’, ACT UP Oral History Project, 13 January 2010, p. 54. Available at http://www.actuporalhistory.org/interviews/ images/leonard.pdf (accessed 2 December 2015), p. 54. 18. Tara Burk, Let The Record Show: Mapping Queer Art and Activism in New York City, 1986–1995 (City University of New York, 2015). 19. Warner, 2012. 20. Sarah Schulman discusses this shift in gay and lesbian politics in the 1990s at more length in My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life during the Reagan and Bush Years (London, 1994), p. 269. 21. Lyon, p. 38. 22. Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC, 2004). In my PhD thesis, ‘Queer Manifestos: Art Histories out of Time’, I

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I Want a Dyke for President

23. 24.

25. 26. 27.

28. 29.

30.

31.

32.

33.

discuss how Edelman fails to identify the ways that the child has been invoked in some of queer politics, most foundational texts, for example in the manifestos of the Gay Liberation Front. Elizabeth Freeman, ‘Packing History, Count(er)ing Generations’, New Literary History, 31 (2000), pp. 727–44. Kathryn Bond Stockton, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century (Durham, NC, 2009), p. 13. See also Sara Ahmed, Wilful Subjects (Durham, NC, 2014). Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling:  Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Durham, NC, 2003), p. 146. Emily Roysdon, correspondence with the author, August 2015. The networks through which LTTR was distributed were foregrounded in the  recent exhibition, ‘WE are LTTR’ at Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm (23 May – 27 September 2015). Curated by Maria Lind with four former members of LTTR’s editorial collective, the exhibition was accompanied every week by tours of the show with artists and groups, including Malin Arnell and the queer curatorial group FRANK, who were invited to reflect on their relationship to the journal. These tours were an integral part of the retrospective that looked back to the recent history of LTTR. Grant, p. 276. A useful overview of the elision of lesbian identity within queer art/ histories appears in the chapter ‘Dyke Talk, or “Political Lesbianism” and Queer Feminist Art (History): Amelia Jones in Dialogue with Cheri Gaulke, A.L. Steiner and Terry Wolverton’, in Amelia Jones and Erin Silver (eds), Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (Manchester, 2016). I discussed Ridykeulous’s invocation of the SCUM Manifesto in ‘Sick Texts, Scummy Rhythms’, at NewGenNow  – SALT symposium (London, 2014), https://vimeo.com/114719764. Kajsa Dahlberg, in conversation with the author as part of the exhibition Inessential Fathers: An Invitation to Read Together at Archive Kabinett, Berlin, 17 September 2014 (co-curated with Nicola Guy). Readings have taken place in Stockholm (September 2010), Tallinn (June 2011), Åhus (September 2011), Copenhagen (September 2011), Madrid (November 2011), Helsinki (January 2012), Paris (April 2012), San Juan (November 2012) and London (May 2015 and July 2015). In Autumn 2016 a further reading will take place in Washington, DC, organised by Saisha Grayson to coincide with the presidential election. Each reading has coincided with a general election, with the exception of London, July 2015 (organised by artist Alia Farid) although it is worth noting that in the UK, those of us on the Left were still reeling in July from the election result from two months previous.

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Feminism and Art History Now 34. In Tallinn three texts were read: the original in English and two translations, in Estonian and Russian respectively. 35. Instructions for organising a reading along with news of previous and forthcoming readings are accessible at: https://iwantapresident.wordpress.com/. 36. The people present in the first meeting were Catherine Grant, Nicola Guy, Shama Khanna, Olivia Plender, Irene Revell, Amy Tobin, Elsa Richardson, Ed Webb-Ingall and Lillian Wilkie. 37. The complete text can be accessed on the I Want a President website, address listed above. 38. Zoe Leonard, correspondence with the author, February 2015. 39. Zoe Leonard, correspondence with the author, February 2016. 40. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Outside in the Teaching Machine (New York, 1993). 41. Mathias Danbolt, ‘We’re Here! We’re Queer? Activist Archives and Archival Activism’, Lambda Nodica, 3–4 (2010), pp. 90–118. 42. Spivak, p. 187. 43. Ibid.

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3 ‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’: Indigenous Feminist Memory and Storytelling as Strategy for Social Change Cherry Smiley

First Nations/Indigenous stories about Coyote the Trickster often place her/him in a journey mode, learning lessons the ‘hard’ way. Trickster gets into trouble when she/he becomes disconnected from cultural traditional teachings. The Trickster stories remind us about the good power of interconnections within family, community, nation, culture, and land. If we become disconnected, we lose the ability to make meaning from Indigenous stories.1

Like Coyote, I tend to learn my lessons the ‘hard’ way. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by the demands of being an Indigenous feminist woman in a racist, patriarchal, capitalist public education institution. Sometimes, I feel like I’ll never understand theories so foreign to my ways of seeing, thinking and being in the world. I recall moments during my studies at various universities in which I was told that I don’t know how to write or speak about my work, times in which I was told that I don’t have the right to make or show publicly the art works I had created, times in which I was told to ‘keep my comments to myself ’ and that voicing my opinion 63

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Feminism and Art History Now amounted to attacks on my classmates, as if my ‘savageness’ couldn’t be contained, even in the classroom. I blamed myself for my supposed inadequacies and felt as if I didn’t belong in these institutions. It was during these moments of self-doubt that my connections to myself, to my people, and to my lands were stretched so thin that I felt as if I was floating. What a frightening place to be in, filled with uncertainty, self-hatred and fear. In those moments, it was my stories, my Grandmother’s stories, the stories of my ancestors and of the women around me that grounded me, comforted me and strengthened the connections to self, to my people and to the land that I carry as a Nlaka’pamux (Thompson) and Diné (Navajo) woman. As an Indigenous woman, I’ve learned to tell stories in a variety of ways, through oral tradition, song, written text and the visual arts. Consequently, the installation Build a Fire (Figures 3.1 and 3.2) is composed of projected 35mm black-and-white photographs, video, text and audio, revealing the ways in which my grandmother and I have experienced fire at different times in our lives. The triptych 1876 (Figure 3.3) is a mixed-media collage that addresses the sexism and colonialism inherent in the Indian Act legislated by the

Figure 3.1 Cherry Smiley, detail view of Build a Fire, installation: 35mm blackand-white scanned film projections, audio, video, text, 2012.

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Figure 3.2 Cherry Smiley, detail view of Build a Fire, installation: 35mm blackand-white scanned film projections, audio, video, text, 2012.

Figure 3.3 Cherry Smiley, detail view of 1876, collage: mixed-media, three 8" × 10" images, 2012.

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Feminism and Art History Now Canadian government, and the ways in which Indigenous women and girls resist these oppressions. Similar to many other Indigenous artists, my family members and the stories they tell feature prominently in my work. Stories, especially those told by women, are a central component in my practice as both an artist and Indigenous feminist activist. How and what we remember in the telling of our stories is an important consideration: What are we are trying to say? Who are we saying it to? What are we trying to teach? Bringing together Indigenous epistemology and feminist theory, this chapter will describe the ways in which memory transforms into story, and how the acts of remembrance and storytelling can be used as part of a strategy for social change.

Memory The word remember (re-member) evokes the coming together of severed parts, fragments becoming a whole. Photography has been, and is, central to that aspect of decolonization that calls us back to the past and offers a way to reclaim and renew lifeaffirming bonds. Using these images, we connect ourselves to a recuperative, redemptive memory that enables us to construct radical identities, images of ourselves that transcend the limits of the colonizing eye.2

Telling stories is intimately connected to memory, as how and what we remember is essential in the telling and retelling of stories. When Indigenous women and girls remember ourselves, we’re able to construct and share selfdefined identities that more accurately describe our lived realities, worldviews and complexities as human beings. Remembering ourselves, we’re able to reject the imposition of non-Indigenous dehumanising identities such as ‘squaw’ or ‘Indian princess’.3 In our stories, we carry memories of events and people and things that are not necessarily ours, but that have been given to us by our ancestors. Our stories communicate the memories of who we are and where we’re from, allowing us to situate and define ourselves despite the hostile territories and occupied spaces we move in today. These memories are central to our identities and survival as Indigenous women and girls and vital if we are to move toward a decolonised Indigenous feminist future. Referencing the South African Freedom Charter (1955), bell hooks describes politicised memory as ‘a struggle of memory against forgetting’.4 66

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ hooks distinguishes politicised memory from nostalgia, describing nostalgia as, ‘that longing for something to be as once it was, a kind of useless act…’5 Nostalgia focuses on a return to a time that never really existed, as nostalgic memories select only fond moments and ignore the negative and less desirable experiences.6 As such, an incomplete picture of the past – a reality that never existed – is constructed and there is nothing to ‘return to’.7 In comparison, hooks describes politicised memory as a way of remembering, ‘that serves to illuminate and transform the present’.8 Politicised memory creates space for the redemption and reclamation of the past, including triumphs and victories, but also painful legacies and suffering.9 We use these memories to reflect on the past as it was, as opposed to the past as we would have liked it to be.10 We connect these memories and collective memories to the present, allowing us to examine our lived realities and the realities of others in a historical context.11 This creates spaces where we can begin to transform our current situations in empathetic, informed, and positive ways.12 Politicised memory allows Indigenous women and girls to recall a full range of colonial experiences, including not only the memories of our survival and resistance, but also those memories that are painful and traumatic. We transform those memories into stories that we use today to define and represent ourselves as connected to historical pasts that influence our present. In this way, we contextualise our current realities and can begin to move toward a more positive future. As Nancy Marie Mithlo, a Chiricahua Apache curator, teacher, photographic archivist and critic, states, In an age in which hybridity is celebrated, any sense of biological determinism is automatically charged as essentialist, regressive rhetoric. Heritage thus becomes either solely decorative or dangerously close to racially determined logic. Calls to blood relationship, either in a corporeal or abstracted sense, are negated in contemporary academic discourse, thus prohibiting the exploration and legitimization of indigenous knowledge systems.13

In a telephone conversation with my mother about the ways in which we carry and share our stories, my mother stated, ‘our stories are our life blood’.14 The notion of ‘blood memory’, as Mithlo suggests, sits uneasily alongside poststructuralist feminism’s suspicion of essentialism. However, the concept is useful in describing connections between memory, story 67

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Feminism and Art History Now and social change for Indigenous women. The concept of blood memory, as an Indigenous concept, is often confused or erroneously associated with the idea of ‘blood quantum’, a non-Indigenous concept that is used as a colonising agent against Indigenous peoples, especially in the United States.15 Blood quantum refers to American policy that is used to determine racial identification and ‘Indian’ status in order to divide and, ‘… subsequently [alienate] collectively held Indian lands’.16 Blood quantum is a way for the American government to define who is and who is not an ‘Indian’ according to government-defined criteria, removing the ability of Indigenous peoples to define our own identities and membership. The fear or refusal to engage with the idea of blood memory or blood relationships and the ignorant or purposeful misinterpretation of these concepts is harmful to Indigenous women. Discussion of the Indigenous concept of blood memory is misunderstood as racist or dismissed as irrelevant, further marginalising the voices, epistemologies and theories of Indigenous scholars, activists and artists. Contrary to the colonial concept of blood quantum, blood memory is a complex and useful way to describe memory and storytelling by Indigenous women in our struggles for life, culture and lands. As Mithlo states, Blood relationships reference not only the common understanding of what is considered biological heritage or race but also in an expanded sense, the internalized memories of communal history, knowledge, and wisdom. Blood memories are powerful political tropes mobilized to call attention to the legacies of colonialism in contexts as diverse as battlefields, boarding schools, and sacred sites. This common tribal value of multigenerational remembrances runs directly counter to prevailing Western traits of individual achievement, lack of transgenerational memory, and transcendence of one’s genealogical fate and place of origin.17

Blood is a carrier of those connections to self, people and land for Indigenous women and girls. At times, due to the very real colonial forces that we struggle against on a daily basis – including, but not limited to, violence, sexual violence, poverty, criminalisation, mental health issues, high rates of suicide and child apprehension, unemployment, disability and addiction18 – we can feel as if we’ve lost these connections, but we haven’t. At times, because of the ongoing consequences of colonial beliefs, 68

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ attitudes, and actions, and because of the ongoing colonial solutions we’re offered to alleviate that pain and suffering (for example, drugs and alcohol), our connection to self, to people and to land can stretch very thin. So thin that it can feel as if our connections have been severed and we’re floating, lost and groundless. Even though we may feel this way, our memories are carried in our bodies and in our blood and we remain connected. We’re able to turn to that connection in times of pain and struggle, and to strengthen that connection in the reclamation of ourselves, our cultures and our homelands. Affirming and strengthening these connections are integral if we are to move toward a more connected, holistic and loving world. Beneath the Surface/Hidden Place, a photography project by Glasgow-born feminist artist Nicky Bird, addresses histories that are connected to changing landscapes. The project comprises photographs of four different locations in Scotland, overlaid and accompanied by family photographs of individuals who have a connection to that particular location. As Bird states in an interview, ‘it’s always trying to keep the past and present in a relationship with one another, so it’s not just like the past is over here, the present is over here, and that’s it’.19 In the project, Bird uses artefacts such as family photographs to inspire memories of a particular location, revealing ‘hidden’ or layered histories.20 She encourages contemplation of the connections between past, present, and future; asking how individuals connect to themselves, to their families and family histories, and to the histories of these particular locations/lands. As Bird writes on her website, Beneath the Surface/Hidden Place ‘explored the physical and emotional effects of economic change and regeneration in Scotland’.21 The piece encourages viewers to reflect on their own connections to self, family/people, and spaces/ lands. As a viewer of her work, I experience both the story of the person and place exhibited in the image, as well as reflecting on my own memories in regard to my people and our connections to the land. I recall an interview situation where I was asked why Indigenous peoples should continue to bring up the Indian Residential Schools (IRS) in regard to current policy creation, given that the IRS no longer exist. The IRS were state-funded, church-run institutions that forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and placed them into boarding schools where they weren’t permitted to express any aspect of their cultures, including languages and ceremonies. Children 69

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Feminism and Art History Now in these schools were subjected to high rates of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, starvation and neglect, and many children did not survive these institutions. The harm caused by the intentional disruption of relationships between one’s own self, people and lands through colonial processes such as the IRS cannot be overstated. Although some of the policies, beliefs and actions that attempted to severe these connections occurred in the past, their effects are continually confronted by Indigenous women and girls today: high rates of male violence against Indigenous women and girls, sexual violence, poverty, criminalisation and incarceration, mental health issues, suicide, child apprehension, unemployment, disability, addiction and death. The last IRS in Canada closed only twenty years ago, in 1996. It is important to remember that colonial processes in Canada are ongoing and we cannot make sense of our present without contextualising it in regard to the (sometimes not-so-distant) past. By connecting the past to the present to the future, Bird uses storytelling techniques to encourage remembrance and strengthened connections to location, processes that Indigenous peoples have been using for centuries as strategies of survival, resistance and reclamation.

Storytelling Stories serve many purposes in Indigenous communities. They can teach us lessons about ourselves, our cultures and our relationships. They can help us learn to be better people, teach us about our traditions and give us guidance and direction. Sometime stories are very old, and reach us after being passed down many generations. Other times, we create new stories and share among family and community members, preparing these stories to be handed down to future generations. Stories themselves, as well as the lessons taken from stories, change and shift over time. For example, I take different lessons from a story I’m told at ten years old than I do when I’m retold the same story at thirty years old. The re-telling of stories so that they’re committed to memory is also an important part of storytelling. In this way, stories, cultures, traditions and ways of knowing, thinking and being are handed down through generations. Simon Ortiz, quoted in Jo-Ann Archibald’s Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit, states, The oral tradition of Native American people is based upon spoken language, but it is more than that too. Oral tradition is inclusive; it is the actions, behavior, relationships, practices

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ throughout the whole social, economic, and spiritual life process of people. In this respect, the oral tradition is the consciousness of the people…oral tradition evokes and expresses a belief system.22

Although traditionally passed through spoken stories, Indigenous peoples have created new ways to tell stories through song, written text, visual arts, and now through new media including digital photography, video, audio recordings and the Internet. As Tuscarora artist Jolene Rickard states, … I believe photographers ‘show’ what they think. This takes on a weighty responsibility in relationship for me, as an image maker, and as a Tuscarora…the basis for my inspiration is the teachings of my people. From that point I  build my image  – sometimes making visual reference to our relationship to the people outside of my beliefs and often working within the logic of our beliefs. If we don’t strive to deal with the meanings of what we [Indian people] think, then what is the point?23

In this way visual images such as Rickards’ photographs embed themselves in stories, which are in turn shaped by the shared narratives, worldviews, and philosophies of the Tuscarora people. These stories and philosophies are central in her art practice, art-making and in the images she produces. For Indigenous women, stories are never ‘just stories’. They carry with them lessons, traditions and complex worldviews and belief structures, allowing our cultures to survive, to thrive and to display resilience, strength and courage in the face of historical and contemporary injustices caused by racism, patriarchy and capitalism. The power of stories to reconnect one’s self as an Indigenous woman to myself, to my people, and to the earth, cannot be underestimated. Given the enduring history of colonialism experienced by Indigenous peoples on a global scale, where Indigenous women and girls have been especially targeted, Indigenous storytelling has become, in itself, an act of resistance. While true for Indigenous peoples, this is especially true for Indigenous women and girls, who face the ‘double-bind’ of oppression both because of our ‘nativeness’ (racism) but also because of our status as women in an imposed patriarchy (sexism). Indigenous women and girls in Canada face disproportionate levels of violence, sexual violence, disability, poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, criminalisation and incarceration, 71

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Feminism and Art History Now prostitution, apprehension by the foster care system and mental health issues.24 Indigenous women and girls face exceptional levels of violence at the hands of non-native men and also from native men in our own families and communities in the form of incest, emotional abuse, neglect, physical and sexual assault, disappearance and murder.25 Given the harsh realities Indigenous women and girls confront on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that our storytelling describes not only traditional practices, cultures and worldviews, but also the violent lived realities of colonialism. Nance Ackerman is a Mohawk Canadian photographer and multimedia artist. Her exhibition, Wathahine: Photographs of Aboriginal Women by Nance Ackerman, tells the stories of Indigenous women from across Canada who are making positive changes in their own lives and in the lives of others. The work is comprised of black-and-white photographs accompanied by descriptions and interviews with the women in the images. Ackerman has chosen to make contact with a variety of Indigenous women, from activists to artists to Elders, gathering their stories as she travelled across the country. In the artist’s statement that accompanied the images, Ackerman writes, Thousands of miles and hundreds of rolls of film later, I would like to think I have gained some wisdom through the journey, forging a new connection with my ancestry. Mostly, I am left in awe of the resiliency and strength. It was the thread that held these very different women together. This exhibition is a tribute to that strength.26

In the exhibition, Ackerman honours the resiliency and strength she encountered when interviewing and photographing the Indigenous women she met. This resiliency and strength is reaffirmed and handed down from generation to generation in our stories; it’s how we find courage and connect to ourselves, to each other and to our lands. The text that accompanies the images in the exhibition reference acts of resistance led or participated in by Indigenous women, including the Odeyak journey to protest hydroelectric development in Northern Quebec, and the Oka Crisis.27 The Oka Crisis was a land dispute that occurred near Oka, Quebec in 1990, during which the Mohawk people refused to allow the construction of a golf course on sacred land.28 After an armed standoff that included the Canadian military and great amounts of national and international 72

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ media attention, the Mohawk people successfully defended their land and the golf course was not constructed.29 In addition to that success, the Oka Crisis inspired Indigenous peoples across Canada and the world to act in solidarity with our Mohawk sisters and brothers. I remember being very small and hearing my parents speak about how important this struggle was for our lands, and how brave the women and men were who were risking their lives to defend their territories and culture. I remember my mother making sure that my sisters and I knew the important role Mohawk women had in this struggle, even though the media didn’t always tell that story. This collective memory of struggle and resistance by the Mohawk people during the Oka Crisis continues to be passed down to younger generations in our stories. Ackerman’s work actively references this and other acts of resistance, speaking to the courage Indigenous women and girls showed in that moment and before and after that moment, in their work and in their lives. Ackerman has woven these narratives together in a show of strength and pride, calling on those viewing the work to recall or learn about the Oka Crisis and other acts of resistance, to engage with the stories told by the women in the images, and to learn from Ackerman’s own journey to recover connection to herself, her people, and her lands. In similar ways to Indigenous women, non-native radical feminists have used the power of storytelling to address issues of paramount importance to women and girls, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. In this context, storytelling once again serves many purposes, including bringing to light previously ignored histories, exposing inequalities, and as acts of healing for the storyteller or storytellers. The strategy of using consciousness-raising in both the process of art-making and in the product or performance of artwork has been a primary component of the feminist art movement. Coming to prominence in the 1970s and connected to the politically organised women’s liberation movement at the time, feminist artists addressed a variety of issues that impacted the lives of women and girls, such as rape, abortion rights and issues of identity and representation, among other things.30 Aagerstoun and Auther have described feminist activist art as, simultaneously critical, positive, and progressive. By critical we mean work that seeks to expose underlying ideologies or existing structures that have a negative effect on women and their lives; by positive we mean work that takes a stand, expressing

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Feminism and Art History Now its maker’s faith in achieving results or positing alternatives; by progressive we mean a belief in the feminist tenets of equality and inclusiveness, a better world free of sexism, racism, homophobia, economic inequality, and violence.31

Anne Forer, a member of the feminist group New York Radical Women, explains, In the Old Left, they used to say that the workers don’t know they’re oppressed, so we have to raise their consciousness. One night at a meeting [of the New  York Radical Women] I  said, ‘Would everybody please give me an example from their own life on how they experienced oppression as a woman? I  need to hear it to raise my own consciousness.’ Kathie [Sarachild, another member of New York Radical Women in attendance at the meeting] was sitting behind me and the words rang in her mind. From then on she sort of made it an institution and called it consciousness-raising.32

The consciousness-raising process is based on the storytelling of women. To engage in the process, women gather together to discuss their oppression as women, revealing to each other stories and details of their lives.33 Topics include a wide range of women’s experiences, ranging from street harassment to the gendered division of labour to experiences of violence.34 Women share experiences, thoughts and feelings from their own lives and, as a result, are more able to see the ways in which these seemingly ‘normal’ everyday experiences work together to oppress all women and girls.35 In consciousness-raising circles of the 1970s, the ‘personal became political’, and individual women were able to more clearly define the ways in which they were oppressed as women.36 As a result, the women’s liberation movement was strengthened. Judy Chicago used feminist consciousnessraising process in her programmes, the Women’s Art Program at Fresno State University and as part of the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of Arts: ‘Part consciousness-raising (CR), part group therapy, part studio art, Chicago’s classroom practices took aim at the femininity that psychologically restrained her female students.’37 In these contexts, stories were shared for a political purpose, as a way to engage with each other as women and to build a shared analysis regarding men’s oppression of 74

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ women. Similar to the use of stories among Indigenous women and girls, consciousness-raising among feminist women has helped women to connect to themselves, to connect with a women’s history and to create space for the possibility of social change.

Social Change When the concepts of politicised memory and blood memory are transformed into stories, the intention, or at least the possibility, for positive social transformation exists. The harsh realities that confront Indigenous women and girls, and the battleground on which we engage in struggles for life, self-representation and love for ourselves and others, informs our academic and creative expressions. The art we make always exists within a context of colonialism, survival and resistance. As Mi’kmaq and Onondaga writer and artist Gail Tremblay wrote, When Native children are taught that they are not equal, that their cultures are incapable of surviving in a modern world, they suffer from the pain that haunts their own lives. For an Indigenous person, choosing not to vanish, not to feel inferior, not to hate oneself, becomes an intensely political act.38

Thus, an Indigenous woman choosing to represent herself through image or sculpture, to define herself as an Indigenous woman and not allow others to define her according to colonial patriarchal ideology, becomes a political act in itself. As Indigenous women artists, we cannot and should not attempt to avoid the inherently political context of our work. Rather, acknowledging this context allows for a step toward positive social change and a step toward non-Indigenous acceptance of the inherent rights of Indigenous women and girls to our bodies, identities, cultures, and lands. Upper Cayuga and Mohawk writer Emerance Baker describes the responsibility we hold to ourselves and to each other as Indigenous women artists and writers, I am reminded that while some of us are doing more than surviving the cultural genocide informed by and enforced throughout Canada’s colonial trajectory, not all Native women are surviving the most invasive moral, physical, emotional and material control of our bodies, selves, and

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Feminism and Art History Now imaginations that governments, social institutions, and our own communities have imposed upon us. For those of us who have not survived, for those of us who continue to struggle, and even for those of us who have ‘made it’, our responsibility as Native women and storytellers remains the same, to create a loving space for Native women, regardless of where that space exists.39

While I  would argue that Canada’s colonial history is one of attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples, not only cultural genocide, Baker makes an important point about resistance through story, and the ways in which Indigenous women and girls can counter colonial ideologies through the creation of loving spaces for ourselves and each other. A radical act in the context of patriarchy in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, where women and girls are taught to hate ourselves, to hate and compete with other women and girls for male attention, and to accept the violence we are subjected to as warranted and inevitable. In similar ways, non-Indigenous feminist women artists have used memory and visual storytelling as a strategy for social change. Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May was a performance piece and installation in 1977 that brought rape and male sexualised violence against women into the American public discourse. Three Weeks in May marked the establishment of New Genre Public Art, a socially engaged, interactive cultural practice that deploys a range of traditional and nontraditional media in public spaces for public audiences, intersecting activism, education, and theory. Lacy’s activist-aesthetic tools, which emerged from her strong commitment to feminism and political activism, have become a classic lexicon artists seeking to engage political issues now use as an ‘expanded public pedagogy’ to inform and engage diverse audiences with issues relevant to their lives.40

The feminist art movement combined aesthetics and politics to work toward social change and to improve the material conditions and social status of women and girls. Firmly rooted in the lived reality of women and girls and intimately connected to the women’s liberation movement, the 76

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ feminist art movement was and is challenging the status quo in a struggle towards freedom for women and girls. Contemporary New York artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh applies the strategies of Lacy’s New Genre Public Art in her current work, Stop Telling Women to Smile, which ‘attempts to address gender based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces’.41 In this project, Fazlalizadeh meets with women in various cities across America, gathering stories of street harassment from women who wish to share and participate in the project. Fazlalizadeh collaborates with these women, drawing their images attached to bold captions such as ‘My name is not baby’ and ‘Women do not owe you their time or conversation’. These images and accompanying text are then pasted into public spaces on sides of buildings, mailboxes, and fences in order to call the general public to pay attention to the issue of street harassment that affects the ability of women and girls to participate fully and safely in public spaces.42 Fazlalizadeh has created a work that seeks to illuminate an issue of women’s inequality and create public awareness and discussion in order to work towards improving the lives of women and girls. The artist collaborates with the participants, creating space where women’s memories are transformed into stories that are shared among each other in the initial telling, and then shared among the wider public in the form of the pasted image.43 These works encourage public discourse on the issue of street harassment and call for an end to this public violation of the human rights of women and girls.

Conclusion Like Coyote, I tend to learn my lessons the hard way. At times, I feel as if I’m floating, even though I’ve been gifted with the knowledge, memories, and stories that tell me I’m not. This knowledge, these memories that I carry in my blood and that I learn and share in the form of story, ground me. They sustain me and give me strength and courage, connecting me to myself, to my people, and to my lands. The power of these stories opens up spaces where we can begin to imagine a world where systemic oppression does not exist. 77

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Feminism and Art History Now When Indigenous women use politicised and blood memory and articulate these memories through story, we’re able to reconnect with ourselves as Indigenous women, reconnect with our people and reconnect with our lands. We’re able to articulate our own identities through our stories, songs, text and artworks. Our memories transform into stories that we share in spaces occupied by harmful, sometimes deadly, racist, patriarchal and capitalist forces. These colonial forces stand in opposition to Indigenous worldviews, propagating a neoliberal ‘I’ mentality that works to disconnect us from ourselves, each other and the land. Indigenous worldviews speak to a collective ‘we’ that includes not only ourselves as peoples, but also our non-human relatives: the animals, plants, earth, waters and skies. When we remember and when we share our memories in the form of stories, we, as Indigenous women and girls, commit a revolutionary act. We resist individualised, competitive ways of thinking and dehumanising systems that disproportionately target us for violence and death. In this sharing of memories and stories that contain our worldviews, belief systems and knowledge, we reclaim our identities and strengthen our life-affirming connections, fulfilling our collective responsibilities to each other and to our non-human relations. In this chapter I have traced the Indigenous processes of remembering, storytelling and reconnection as they have been used by Indigenous peoples – and especially Indigenous women artists – and as they have been, can, and should be used by non-Indigenous peoples in a movement toward a more equitable world. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous feminist groups and artists have used memory and storytelling in the creation of work that has courageously addressed inequalities and suggested hope in the face of oppression. Through our politicised memories we’re able to honestly reclaim our histories and position ourselves in relation to each other as Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and girls, remembering our struggles, achievements and resistance. This is not always easy, as the sharing of our stories with each other as feminists will expose our roles as colonisers/colonised. However, in order to move toward a world governed by Indigenous values including collectivity, shared responsibility and respect for all, including women, we need to confront these memories and our non-Indigenous sisters need to acknowledge their roles, responsibilities and privileges as colonisers so we can begin to move forward as allies. Transforming memories 78

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ into stories allows us to begin these processes by sharing knowledge and experiences that are so often forgotten, ignored or actively destroyed. Our stories ground, sustain and position us; they connect us to the past in the present and allow us to open spaces to reimagine an Indigenised feminist future.

Notes 1. Jo-ann Archibald (Q’um Q’um Xiiem), Indigenous Storywork:  Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit (Vancouver, BC, 2008), p. ix. 2. bell hooks, ‘In our glory: Photography and black life’, in L. Wells (ed.), The Photography Reader (New York, 2003), p. 394. 3. Denise K. Lajimodiere, ‘American Indian Females and Stereotypes: Warriors, Leaders, Healers, Feminists; Not Drudges, Princesses, Prostitutes’, Multicultural Perspectives 15/2 (2013), pp. 104–9. 4. South African Congress Alliance, The Freedom Charter (Kliptown, SA, 1955), quoted in bell hooks, ‘Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness’, in bell hooks (ed.), Yearnings: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics (Boston, MA, 1990), p. 205. 5. bell hooks, ‘Choosing the margin’, p. 205. 6. Ibid., pp. 203–9. 7. Ibid., pp. 203–9. 8. Ibid., p. 205. 9. Ibid., pp. 203–9. 10. Ibid., pp. 203–9. 11. Ibid., pp. 203–9. 12. Ibid., pp. 203–9. 13. Nancy Marie Mithlo, ‘Blood Memory and the Arts: Indigenous Genealogies and Imagined Truths’, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 35/4 (2011), p. 107. 14. Linda Smiley, personal communication (28 August 2013). 15. Chadwick Allen, ‘Blood (and) Memory’, American Literature 71/1 (1999), pp. 93–116. 16. Ibid., p. 96. 17. Mithlo, ‘Blood Memory and the Arts’, p. 107. 18. Native Women’s Association of Canada, Fact Sheet:  Root Causes of Violence Against Aboriginal Women and the Impact of Colonization (n.d.). Available at http://www.nwac.ca/files/download/NWAC_3F_Toolkit_e_0.pdf (accessed 15 March 2014). 19. Stills Gallery, Nicky Bird Interview Part 1 (2009). Available at http://youtu.be/ Wsg9TNj9_84 (accessed 1 March 2014).

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Feminism and Art History Now 20. Nicky Bird, Beneath the Surface/Hidden Place (2007–2010) (n.d.). Available at http://nickybird.com/projects/beneath-the-surface/ (accessed 1 April 2014). 21. Ibid. 22. Archibald (Q’um Q’um Xiiem), Indigenous Storywork, p. 26. 23. Carla Roberts (ed.), The Submuloc Show/Columbus Wohs: A Visual Commentary on the Columbus Quincentennial from the Perspective of America’s First People (Phoenix, AZ, 1992), p. 54, quoted in Theresa Harlan, ‘As in her Vision: Native American Women Photographers’, in D. Neumaier (ed.), Reframings: New American Feminist Photographies (Philadelphia, PA, 1995), p. 115. 24. Native Women’s Association of Canada, Fact Sheet:  Root Causes of Violence (n.d.). 25. Ibid. 26. McCord Museum, Wathahine: Photographs of Aboriginal Women by Nance Ackerman (Montréal, QC, 2011). Available at http://www.musee-mccord. qc.ca/pdf/exhibits/Texte_Wathahine_EN.pdf (accessed 20 March 2014), p. 7. 27. Ibid. pp. 1–9. 28. Kim Anderson, ‘An interview with Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel, of the Kanien’keha:ka Nation, Turtle Clan’, in P.D. McGuire and P.A. Monture (eds), First Voices: An Aboriginal Women’s Reader (Toronto, ON, 2009), p. 42. 29. Ibid., pp. 42–8. 30. Mary Jo Aagerstoun and Elissa Auther, ‘Considering Feminist Activist Art’, NWSA Journal 19/1 (2007), pp. vii–xiv. 31. Ibid., p. vii. 32. Susan Brownmiller, In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (New York, 1999), p. 21. 33. Carol Hanisch, The Personal is Political (1969). Available at http://carolhanisch.org/CHwritings/PIP.html (accessed 20 November 2015). 34. Ibid. 35. Ibid. 36. Ibid. 37. Jane Gerhard, ‘Judy Chicago and the Practice of 1970s Feminism’, Feminist Studies 37/3 (2011), p. 594. 38. Gail Tremblay, ‘Constructing Images, Constructing Reality: American Indian Photography and Representation’, Views: A Journal of Photography in New England 13–14 (1993), p. 30, quoted in Theresa Harlan, ‘Creating a Visual History: A Question of Ownership’, in Aperature Foundation (ed.), Strong Hearts: Native American Voices and Visions (New York, 1995), p. 20. 39. Emerance Baker, ‘Loving Indianess: Native Women’s Storytelling as Survivance’, Atlantis:  Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice 29/2 (2005), p. 112.

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‘Our Stories Are Our Life Blood’ 40. Vivien Green Fryd, ‘Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May:  Feminist Activist Performance Art as ‘Expanded Public Pedagogy’, NWSA Journal 19/1 (2007), p. 23. 41. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Stop Telling Women to Smile (n.d.). Available at http:// stoptellingwomentosmile.com (accessed 25 March 2014). 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid.

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B. Suzanne van Rossenberg, Patricia Cornflake Thinks (2015). Digital image.

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Part II

Visibility|Intervention|Refusal

Writing about the neglect of women artists, Linda Nochlin suggested: ‘The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education – education understood to include everything that happens to us from the moment we enter this world of meaningful symbols, signs, and signals.’1 This systemic exclusion from the processes of representation was powerfully opposed by the collective action of the second-wave feminist art movement, and insisting on visibility emerged as a key strategy for many women artists and art historians. As it was paradigmatically argued by Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock in Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (1981), women were never simply excluded from cultural histories, but had been included only in partial terms that failed to significantly transform the social order (and, in fact, actively reaffirmed differencing structures). The question of whether it is possible for women to achieve equal cultural recognition, or whether that is an appropriate aspiration, has invited sceptical responses. The chapters included in this section therefore reflect upon the ambivalence of women artists, writers and curators, at various historical moments and in different national contexts, with regards to strategies of intervention, visibility and strategic invisibility or refusal to participate. Even success – usually defined in economic and/or historical terms – is profoundly complex for artists working within feminist perspectives, as it is so often only achievable individually, at the expense of a broader, collective revolution. The problem of how to demarcate, register and record artistic 83

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Feminism and Art History Now accomplishment within and beyond existing value structures is one that recurrently surfaces across all three chapters. The first chapter by Andrew Hardman considers the historicisation of the American painter Lee Krasner, in particular the complexities generated by her representation in the studio-home space she shared with husband Jackson Pollock. The chapter’s punning title immediately emphasises the connection between spatial and historical visibility that Hardman traces throughout; Krasner’s ‘occupation’ referring simultaneously to her work as an artist, her habitation of the studio-home and her ‘ambivalent legibility’ in the museum and study centre that the site now comprises. The risks of retrospectively registering Krasner’s presence alongside Pollock’s in the shared studio-home are made manifestly clear, as her historical ‘triumph’ is made to depend on the successful occupation of masculine territory and, we might say, at the expense of the vanquished male artist. ‘Yet, in so doing, this approach has the potential to re-inscribe and naturalise his prior mastery over studio space, framing her occupation within his’. Hardman aims to unsettle ‘the ideologically gendered division of space’ that the Krasner-Pollock House, and histories of twentieth-century painting more generally, support, arguing that Krasner’s unusual position requires a far more nuanced narrative than the ‘mythology of omission and invisibility’ which often prevails. Instead of offering a recuperative defence of Krasner’s occupation, her chaotic lived experience is conveyed through meticulous attention to the material effects of her environment: the stifling hot summers and bitter New York winters, the cosiness of a bedroom studio, cold draughts through the wooden barn, her favourite ashtray positioned within reach of an armchair and the painted traces left upon a studio wall. As Hardman explains, the Krasner-Pollock home is a politically saturated space that evades straightforward evaluation, and subsequent re-presentations of its occupants’ lives negotiate complex layers of visibility. Giovanna Zapperi’s contribution explores the life and writing of Italian critic, poet and feminist Carla Lonzi. The theme of radical negation emerges across two levels within the text. First, Zapperi charts Lonzi’s ambivalent withdrawal from mainstream institutions of art in the late 1960s, as a response to what she understood as the inescapable contamination of patriarchal culture. ‘To identify as an artist’, Lonzi contended, was ‘equivalent to an unforgivable compromise with patriarchy’. Similar to Hardman’s analysis of Krasner, here Zapperi considers to what extent Lonzi’s literary outputs and lived choices will always exceed the representative capacity of historical 84

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Visibility | Intervention | Refusal narratives. The chapter describes her aleatory writing practice as requiring the invention of new languages, new identifications and new organising structures; thus, the complexities of becoming visible are brought forcefully to the reader’s attention. If cultural work only registers within existing ‘mechanisms of social and cultural recognition’, any inclusion or visibility will always be dependent upon compromise. Lonzi, Zapperi argues, was acutely aware of these limitations and her ‘programme of de-culturation chronicles a search for female autonomy that challenges any inclusive ambition to be part of an already written history’. The final text in this section evolved out of a debate between friends and colleagues Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry, about the extent to which political camouflaging (as opposed to explicit visibility) could be construed as a viable gesture in our particular historical moment  – or, indeed, at all. The two assume and test out divergent positions on the topic. Their conversation fundamentally revolves around the enquiry of whether feminism needs to be named as such to be effective, if ‘[i]t is surely the values, rather than what word we use to name them, that are meaningful?’ One of the threads within the dialogue, and a recurrent feature of feminist enquiry on the whole, considers the relationship between the identifying markers ‘woman’ and ‘feminist’, given that the (ostensible) visibility of the first seems to demand the second. As Dimitrakaki reminds us, however, ‘[t]here is nothing immanently heroic about and radical about being a “woman artist” ’. This is confirmed by the number of women holding prominent positions of power in the art world, but who are unable or unwilling to share it. These questions of (in)visibility carry particular weight at our present historical juncture given the explicit reorganisation, even elimination of, waged labour that has prompted popular discussion around anti-work politics and the possibilities of refusal, strike and withdrawal.2 The dialogue, and the section as a whole, urges readers to reconsider the seduction of institutional visibility (as a tactic possibly tied to an earlier moment) and to grapple with our discomfort at a covert or non-declarative feminist strategy. Perhaps this discomfort is justified, if the veiling of feminism signals the reassertion of systemic oppression. But, if ‘feminist visibility may be more of an ethical than political issue’, does it matter whether we can ‘see’ the work being done, as long as it realises the same or better outcomes? 85

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Notes 1. Linda Nochlin, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, ArtNews (1972) and widely republished. 2. See for instance Kathi Weeks, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries (Durham, NC, 2011).

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4 Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation: Feminist Art Historiography and the Pollock-Krasner Studio Andrew Hardman

The studio-barn at The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center on Long Island, New York extends to its visitors the enticing invitation to inhabit the workspace of its former occupants: Lee Krasner (1908–84) and her husband Jackson Pollock (1912–56). These studio visits profess to offer up something of Krasner’s and Pollock’s artistic lives for the enjoyment of a wider public. In addition to its being an installation, mocked-up to give visitors a sense of a working studio, the space acts as a backdrop displaying photographs of the artists at work, many of which were staged in this same interior (Figure 4.1). Krasner dominates one such image, a 1962 photograph by Hans Namuth (1915–90), in which she poses in the centre of the studio-barn, haughtily facing down the camera’s gaze. Surrounded by her materials, Krasner is the controlled and controlling centre to a recognisable scenario of studio production; framed by the studio, her occupation as an artist is made visible. In another photograph taken by Namuth ten years earlier, we see an altogether different portrait of the artist. Here, demurely sat upon a stool, seemingly bored, watching her husband drip paint over a canvas laid on the floor, Krasner acts out a passive, supportive role as the artist’s wife. Two distinct elements of Krasner’s personal mythology are connoted in these two photographs; both of which hinge, to some extent, on her inhabitation of, and visibility within, this studio space. The 87

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Figure 4.1 The interior of the studio-barn at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Centre. The large photograph seen here is of Lee Krasner, taken by Hans Namuth in 1962. The splashed floorboards of the studio can also be seen.

differences in her pose and status as she appears in this all-too-familiar location are the subject of what follows. This chapter locates the writing (and re-writing) of conflicting histories at the Pollock-Krasner House and its studio-barn. Where Krasner’s status and visibility are concerned, this space has long been a contested site. The studio-barn is routinely associated with Pollock’s painting practice even though Krasner occupied this same studio for a much longer period after her husband’s death. A perception of her decreased presence within it has, therefore, been the cause of much dispute. Suggesting the location’s complexity as a case study, estimations of Krasner’s (in)visibility both at the site and, more generally, in histories of post-war American painting have regularly been brought together in feminist art historiography. These often rationalise Krasner’s peripheral position in the canon as evidence of her limited access to the studio-barn during her lifetime and imbalances in the space’s current presentation. Exemplifying this tendency, Caroline A. Jones has claimed: ‘the marginal place of women in the Abstract Expressionist 88

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation studio is literalised in the configuration of the Pollock-Krasner studio, now a museum’.1 The following chapter examines the ‘improving’ logic of a selection of feminist literature and curatorial interventions as these have sought to increase Krasner’s visibility at the site, arguing that a narrow focus on her occupancy of the studio-barn – ignoring other spaces that the artist painted in – further entrenches gendered boundaries at the site. Given Krasner’s enviable fame, her access to the same education, exhibitionary opportunities and studio space as other artists of the period, her case cannot simply be one of recuperating or unveiling a ‘hidden history’. Following a long-held tenet of feminist art history, introduced in Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock’s Old Mistresses (1981), this chapter seeks to disrupt the institutional structures that worked (and still work) against Krasner, diminishing her visibility, specifically the masculinised language of art-making and the notion of ‘the studio’ itself.2 The trend to archive and preserve artists’ studios posthumously, often in situ, presents distinct problems for representing the work of women artists. In general terms ‘the studio’ is one facet of a particular version of art-making, it is part of an art-historical narrative, and modernist myth, that privileges masculinity. As Jones notes in her examination of the midtwentieth-century studio and its cultural dissemination: ‘The topos of the isolated artist in his studio was a gendered construct excluding women, a continuation of nineteenth-century romantic traditions, and a partial function of the larger depoliticisation of American modern art.’3 Furthermore, the art-historical traditions of the studio belong to a wider language of artmaking that also serves to de-privilege femininity. On this point, queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick explains that, when ‘making things’ is configured in the English language as the mastering of practice, a dualistic (and ultimately gendered) paradigm of ‘doer’ and ‘done-to’ tends to be constructed.4 This patterning serves to secure the passive femininity of the artist’s materials as his Other, configured and marked precisely as a foil to secure the spectacle of active artistic masculinity. A key image of the artist’s mastery of his practice has been the vue d’atelier image, or studio-view.5 With roles for women in the studio historically limited to model, muse or other forms of support (as wife, for example), to signify successfully as an artist therefore rests upon how much one can convincingly portray the norms of the studio artist – a role written for a male lead – within this genre of image. As Namuth’s portrait of Krasner demonstrates, a woman 89

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Feminism and Art History Now can appear to occupy that conventionally masculinised position. However, reading female-mastery of the studio into imagery does little to disrupt the naturalised masculinity entwined in traditional notions of art-making. Both the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio and the photographs of the artists that adorn its walls are examples of the studio-view tradition and, as such, work within a discourse of modernism – one which Namuth’s photographs, amongst others, have been called on to support in the past. We might also consider that the Pollock-Krasner studio site is a recognisable location in post-modernist histories of art, particularly those that foreground painting practices as performance, and as a backdrop to emergent theoretical frameworks that challenged the pre-eminence of (and modernist dependence on) authority and objecthood. In this regard, the feminist art historian Amelia Jones has claimed that images of Pollock’s embodied performance of painting at the site function as a ‘feminising debasement of the virility of “pure” modernism’.6 Jones’s argument convincingly complicates this studio site’s relationship to modernism; however, it is worth noting a continuing propensity for the body in representation to be feminised in art historical discourse.7 Consequently, the ability for studio-view imagery to be, in effect, a supportive, potentially feminist, environment within which to read Krasner’s studio poses requires careful consideration. Furthermore, while images set in the Pollock-Krasner studio might have participated in the ‘dislocation or de-centering’ of the (masculinist) modernist subject, as Jones suggests, it should also be considered that the exhibit that exists there now incorporates certain outdated assumptions about art-making in order to make sense.8 The reverent display of objects closely associated with the artist, for instance, maintains a romanticised image of the studio as the private domain of a singular, masterful artistic genius. In perpetuating modernist versions of art-making, this type of display, subsequently, supports a persistent privileging of masculinity as the essential attribute of creativity, despite expansive and alternative definitions of artistic practice that have emerged during the latter half of the twentieth century. One place where the ‘romance of the studio’ persists is the PollockKrasner House and Studio in Springs, Easthampton, bequeathed to Stony Brook University by Krasner in 1984, along with the materials she had begun archiving there.9 Now open through the summer months as a visitor attraction with guided tours of the grounds and buildings, the property has been extensively renovated since the 1990s. Reasons for its preservation, 90

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation and the day-to-day maintenance and expenses that this entails, are seemingly straightforward: the property memorialises these figures in a space indelibly marked by their artistic lives and deaths. Indeed, the Springs site does provide a significant backdrop to a good portion of these two artists’ biographical narratives. Their occupation of the site is at least matched by its considerable place in their art-historical mythology. The couple moved there in 1945, according to Krasner’s recollection primarily to deal with Pollock’s increasingly debilitating alcoholism. Away from wayward influences and the bars of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, Pollock enjoyed a new-found creativity and purpose in this sleepy township.10 And so, as a cure, the move was initially successful. Over the years, the couple renovated the house and its outbuildings, including one large former barn that they moved from its concrete footings directly behind the house to the northern side of the property. At this point, Pollock moved from his studio in one of the house’s bedrooms into the barn, further developing his drip technique and use of industrial paint in an environment more suited to dispersing the harmful fumes this practice generated. Krasner, who had previously been making use of whatever space (and time) was available to her for painting, now moved into the bedroom-studio vacated by her husband. This period from around 1949 marks a particularly fecund period for Pollock and, by her own admission, a depressingly fallow phase for Krasner’s practice – including bouts of mental block, inactivity and destruction of early work. Pollock was killed in a car accident near the house in 1956. The couple were estranged, with Krasner living elsewhere, but upon returning to the property after Pollock’s death she began to make use of the studio-barn. Though mainly residing and working from an upper-west side apartment in Manhattan, she also produced work from the Springs studio barn, on and off, during summers until her death in 1984. Ten years after Krasner’s death, the site was officially designated a US National Monument. This honorific memorialisation of Pollock and Krasner follows, we might assume, a mid-twentieth-century narrative by which the USA assumed its position as a preeminent cultural, economic and military force in a Cold War world.11 Accordingly, Pollock was lauded as the vanguard of America’s assault on the European avant-garde through widely disseminated, iconic photographic images produced at Springs.12 It has been argued that photography and film of Pollock was mobilised not only as an antidote to communism but also to the supposed dangers 91

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Feminism and Art History Now ‘degenerate sexuality’ and effeminacy posed to America’s growing cultural supremacy.13 However, despite her equal billing on the memorial plaque, Krasner’s place in this triumphant narrative is very much in a supporting role. On this point Gavin Butt has argued that the masculinity required by narratives of the new American painting, post-1945, was secured primarily through visualising Krasner’s femininity. To this end, photographs of the couple around their home in the early 1950s construct a tame, matrimonial norm – characterised by Butt as a ‘heterosexualised dynamic of husband and wife’ – that ignores some of the more ‘bohemian’ aspects of their marriage, including Krasner’s occupation as an artist.14 Thus Krasner’s image in mass-mediated studio-view photographs around Springs is mostly as a bystander to the all-action event of painting. As with many other ‘artist-wives’ of the period Krasner is visualised most often, in this period, as Pollock’s partner and, after his death, as widow. This is problematic in many ways, and not least when the wife/widow is an artist in her own right. Although dedicated as a memorial to both artists the Springs property continues this gendered visual divide. Krasner and Pollock have been remembered differently, in distinct zones, in the site’s subsequent preservation and exhibition.15 The Springs site now comprises a two-storey shingle-boarded house, built in 1879 and extensively renovated by the couple in the 1950s, plus three outbuildings. In its present guise as a visitor centre the house has a dual function as an exhibition space and administrative offices. Upstairs, the west-facing and north-facing rooms – former guest bedroom and studio, respectively  – have been converted to accommodate administrative work. Only Krasner’s bedroom and the bathroom retain a semblance of its earlier domiciliary purpose with Perspex barriers placed in front of the bedroom when the house is turned over to visitors in the summer months. Downstairs, a reception desk and audio-visual conferencing facilities are some of the few concessions to the house’s new function. Though it has been modified, on the whole the house is left much as it was when Krasner was alive. Away from the house, the three outbuildings in the large grounds overlooking Accabonnac Creek comprise the rest of the site. Two of these are given over to storage and a small visitor centre stocked with postcards and souvenirs. For its many visitors, the main draw at the site is the third outbuilding: the studio-barn. This space consists of a large open space with high north-facing windows. The front portion of the building forms an 92

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation ante-chamber with shelving for painting equipment, a workbench, and racks for storage of canvases. As noted earlier, texts and photographs adorn the walls of the space, contextualising its place in histories of art. On entering the barn its difference to those celebrated images (of, mainly, Pollock) is immediately noticeable. He and Krasner had the place renovated in 1953 to make it a more hospitable environment – it had, by all accounts, been stiflingly hot in summer and unbearably cold in the New York winter. The bare floorboards were covered in tar paper and boarded out with squares of masonite donated by Pollock’s brother Sande, a hardboard salesman. The walls were insulated and lined, fluorescent lighting and a kerosene stove were installed. Today visitors to the studio are encouraged to take off their shoes in the ante-chamber, put on protective white slippers and to walk on the studio’s floorboards, evocatively decorated with splashes and drips of paint in the manner of a Pollock painting. Thus, in the recreation of artistic practices that this element of the presentation endorses, its narrative has tended to foreground Pollock’s occupation of the studio. Presentationally, this site is tacitly split into separate spheres: Pollock’s studio, Krasner’s house. Unsurprisingly, given that Krasner occupied the house alone for nearly thirty years after his death, it is exhibited as if she and not her husband was still in residence. As is the practice in many historical homes, rooms are set out as if she had just left, enabling visitors the fantasy of inhabiting spaces as she would have. The kitchen remains as it was in the 1980s. Knick-knacks, framed photographs and other personal effects are grouped on the surfaces in Krasner’s bedroom, where the bed is neatly made. Krasner’s ashtray sits on an occasional table next to her favourite armchair in the sitting room, in reaching distance of the telephone, just as she liked it (Figure 4.2). However, the well-appointed upstairs studio where Krasner and Pollock both worked at one time or another is now given over to administrative and storage space. The house’s important function as an artistic or creative space is therefore diminished in its current presentation, with narratives of creativity or art-making confined to the studio-barn and absented from the domestic portion of the site. Troublingly, the main draw in the only studio space to retain its function at the site is the floor of the studio-barn, redolent (perhaps accidentally, but significantly) of Pollock’s painting practices alone. The splitting of the house and studio – in effect, as her house and his studio – follows familiar gendered boundaries. Krasner’s image holds 93

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Figure 4.2 The sitting room of the Pollock-Krasner House, set out as if Krasner was still in residence.

sway in the presentation of the domestic realm, whilst Pollock looms large in the studio’s masculinised sphere of industry and creative agency. Contentiously, Pollock is privileged in a space in which Krasner worked for twenty-eight years to his five or six; suggesting, according to some critical approaches, that her occupancy of studio is suppressed by the rolling-back of its history to pre-1956. Exacerbating this problem, her visibility in the studio-barn was partially negated in the initial preparation of the site as a heritage space. Before opening to the public, the hardboard covering of the studio floor was lifted to reveal traces of art production that mark a period of Pollock’s time there, before the studio-barn was renovated c. 1953. With this covering removed, the floorboards were cleaned of adhesive residues (left by the tar paper used to stick them down) and treated to preserve the remainders of Pollock’s practice – fortunately, his use of household and industrial paint made these traces particularly hard-wearing. The equivalence of these floorboards to his painting is accidental; a splash of paint is, after all, just that and any vigorous painting activity would, arguably, have achieved the same effect. Nevertheless, the drizzled patterns on the 94

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation floorboards seductively resemble Pollock’s body of work and this affinity is highlighted in wall texts that correlate finished canvases with marks on the floor produced in their making.16 The attraction of the dripped floor, its interchangeability with Pollock’s paintings, and the contextual information explaining their sources compound Krasner’s tenuous position in the studio at Springs. Where certain feminist critical attention to this site is concerned, this echoes and intensifies the artist’s peripheral position in canonical versions of post-war American painting. Searching for Krasner’s traces within the absences, silences and gaps of the house-studio site does little to unsettle the ideologically gendered division of space that this site supports. Krasner’s positioning on the fringe of histories of Abstract Expression, the group she was most associated with, form a crucial part of her personal legend and a point of contestation in feminist art historiography. Despite her own considerable achievements the artist’s fate was, perhaps, to be always overshadowed by her more celebrated husband. In interviews (many of which turn, inevitably it seems, to her recollection of Pollock) Krasner could come across as bitter about the critical reception her work had received, particularly during the 1950s, by those who championed Pollock’s work. On being asked in 1977, for example, to comment on the adversity she faced and the growing recognition of her contribution to American post-war painting, Krasner complained: ‘It doesn’t make me feel great. It’s thirty years too late. Too bad it didn’t happen thirty years ago. I would have been of help then. But I have had obstacles and I have come through.’17 Krasner frequently articulated her belief that being a woman was, in part, the cause of her lack of critical success. ‘Any woman artist who says there is no discrimination against women in the art world should have her face slapped’, she remarked to Cindy Nemser in 1971.18 She also articulated her belief that her husband’s career and her status as artist-wife (as well as artist’s wife) had been detrimental.19 However, despite the potential support to her cause, Krasner could also be dismissive of certain aspects of feminist art theory. On being asked by Miriam Schapiro in 1975 to comment on a ‘shared female artistic sensibility’ in her work, Krasner firmly stated that for her ‘there is no difference’ between the work of women artists and their male peers. The ambivalent legibility of Krasner as an ‘artist in her own right’ and her sidelining in the canon finds a spatial corollary in the splitting into 95

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Feminism and Art History Now distinct realms of the domestic and work spaces at the site and the degree to which Krasner is visible in both. Critical approaches to Krasner’s career have often focused on her appearance in relation to the Pollock-Krasner house at Springs, particularly those that concern her place in conventional histories. This is perhaps no surprise given the significance of this space to her career (Krasner also had numerous publicity images made there) and its significance as symbolic of her marriage (both as wife and widow). Some accounts of Krasner’s part in stage-managing the couple’s appearances at Springs hold her directly responsible for the wifely role she often played. Anne Wagner, for instance, has argued that Krasner’s willingness to play up to the domesticated image expected of her, for journalists in the 1950s, was her own undoing.20 Allowing herself to be written about ‘obligingly bent over the stove, modernist anxieties on the back burner’ pinpoints the potential harm done to the artist’s credibility by ‘husband and wife’ imagery; yet, with visibility so clearly a difficult issue to negotiate in Krasner’s case, should she be held to account for complying with the chauvinism of twentieth-century mass-media? After 1956, Krasner’s widowhood became a touchstone for feminist (and other) approaches to the artist’s work in arguments that continue to rely on her occupation of the Springs site. The effect on Krasner’s practice of Pollock’s death in that year, for example, is considered alongside her subsequent inheritance of his workspace. The move from bedroom-studio to barn has been characterised by Eleanor Munro, in an article from 1979, as having a huge influence on the work produced by Krasner: Freed for the big gesture, impelled by emotional pressure and now on her own to express it, she set off upon a poignant cycle of enormous, colourful paintings on the theme of regeneration […] And then, in that workspace still apparently full of ghosts, she turned back to confront their shadows, one could say, hand to hand.21

The tight claustrophobic works Krasner painted in the last years of her marriage were succeeded by new expansive paintings in the years after 1956, a change interpreted by Munro, amongst other critics, in terms of the ‘expressive’ quality of these works.22 Though this reading falls short of overtly claiming Pollock’s inhibition of Krasner’s creativity, his death and her freedom to occupy his space (she ‘took it over’) is, for Munro, 96

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation fundamental to her renewed creativity. This is accordingly themed as a ‘regeneration’ of her practice in the production of larger, more confident painting. Without much equivocation Munro encourages a suggestion of Krasner’s prior matrimonial subjugation. Moreover, the artist’s practice and the space of production is directly linked, correlating the supposedly inferior setting of Krasner’s bedroom-studio with mediocre artworks. This approach overlooks again the conducive atmosphere of the artist’s former studio (north-lit, neither draughty in winter, nor stifling in summer) and the quality of work produced there. It also fails to consider the possibility that Krasner might have preferred to work there and, furthermore, reiterates the splitting of the site into zones of domesticity and industry.23 In Machine in the Studio, Jones reads Namuth’s photograph of Krasner that hangs in the studio-barn as power-play: Lee Krasner smiles in 1962 as if triumphant, having moved from a small upstairs bedroom in the house she shared with Pollock to this large, well-lit studio she now calls her own. The camera angle is low; we look up at her and see that her head crowns the composition. From this vantage point, she stands higher than the works of art that cover every wall, and she occupies the centre of the converging perspective formed by the ceiling, window, and walls. Krasner’s confidence and productivity are evident, and the photographer (Namuth) seems cowed in their presence.24

Jones interprets the photograph as a coronation. The viewer is in a lowered positioned at the artist’s feet, in awe as she is crowned (compositionally) as inheritor of her husband’s domain. Accordingly, the Namuth portrait describes the artist’s succession as master of the studio, its material converging around her controlling presence. Not only does Jones’s analysis reiterate Nemser’s version of Krasner’s takeover of the studio, it also suggests the fundamental importance of adopting her husband’s position to her becoming visible as an artist in her own right. Krasner’s ‘triumph’ is made to depend on the successful occupation of masculine territory and, we might say, at the expense of the vanquished male artist. Yet, in so doing, this approach has the potential to re-inscribe and naturalise his prior mastery over studio space, framing her occupation within his. 97

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Feminism and Art History Now Turning attention to the preservation of the site at Springs, Jones notes the diminishment of Krasner’s place in its presentational scheme; after the triumphal succession, she characterises Namuth’s photograph as, the ‘balance of power’ shifted, resulting in the ‘marginalisation of Krasner’s presence in the history of the space’.25 This recalls the preserved studio-barn’s presentation immediately after its opening in which Krasner’s marginality is, Jones claims, ‘literalised’. These comments were written in 1996, soon after the studio-barn opened its doors to visitors when interpretation was confined to the paint-marked floorboards and, thus, to traces of Pollock’s painting practice. However, since that time, an effort has been made to uncover evidence of Krasner’s occupation of the space and to reinstate her position in the studio. Echoing earlier research techniques, the site’s current director, Helen A. Harrison, has made a timely study of the remains of Krasner’s practice that imprint the walls of the studio-barn and correlate to paintings such as Gaea (1957) (Figure 4.3). Now, wall texts detailing this research balances out earlier work done on the paint-drizzled floor. Elsewhere, photographs of Krasner at work – and therefore not merely

Figure 4.3 Splashes on the wall of the studio-barn mark Krasner’s production of Gaea (1957).

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation supporting her husband’s practice – are conspicuously displayed. Her painting paraphernalia is also displayed now with almost equal prominence. Altogether this welcome and expansive re-interpretation of the studio’s history makes Krasner’s lengthy occupation of the space more visible and easily legible by the space’s publics.26 Still, one is left with the uneasy feeling that reasserting Krasner’s dominion over this space re-inscribes both a sense of her prior omission and submits to the unmarked masculinity of studio space in general. Where the Springs site is concerned, efforts to address Krasner’s visibility often fall back on familiar rhetoric of mastery and art production and rely on the degree with which she can symbolically lay claim to the studio-barn. Examinations of her work often privilege this space over the domestic studio she made good use of, as a more appropriate environment for art production. Similarly, readings of images showing Krasner in the studio-barn celebrate her successful occupation of a ‘proper’ studio space. Curatorial interventions have increased the visible signifiers of her long occupation of a site in which her image had previously been diminished; yet, the studio-barn, even when re-balanced according to Krasner’s time there, frames the artist once again with her husband (in his barn) and, therefore, recalls the detrimental ‘artist and wife’ visual paradigm of the 1950s. Consequently, the romance of the studio is again perpetuated by overlooking the house and its bedroom-studio as a creative environment. Keeping the spaces where Krasner (and, let’s not forget, her husband) painted in the house outside of analysis might seem somewhat inevitable:  the studio-barn and its paint-splattered floorboards are, after all, the star attraction at the site. But through specific curatorial decisions, domesticity and creativity continue to be artificially separated at Springs. ‘Her’ domain, the house, continues to be considered an unviable and second-rate space of art production. The tenuous position of women artists who, historically, have worked most often, and out of necessity in many cases, in domestic studios is thus exacerbated by failing to pay attention to these spaces. Not only do these approaches above have the potential to re-assert Pollock’s claim on studio space at the site; in framing her occupation with his, they also re-inscribe a familiar narrative of Krasner’s exclusion in sidelining her continual artistic practice at the site and the considerable success she did enjoy despite the adversarial factors faced. For these reasons, a focus on the studio-barn and Krasner’s place in it fits too neatly with a mythology of omission and invisibility. It is difficult to deny that the 99

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Feminism and Art History Now artist was, in some ways, unfairly confined to the peripheries of histories of American abstract painting during her lifetime. It would also be remiss not to note that she was overshadowed by her husband – who, rightly or not, became a media property whose star shone more brightly than almost every other artist working in the period. However, her role in his stellar career trajectory is by no means clear-cut, nor indeed the crucial orchestration of her own career and fame – including her place at the Springs site, the preservation of which she began herself.27 If we consider the studio-barn to be the sole, prized site of artistic creativity on this Springs farmstead then, in this sense, Krasner was confined to the periphery and compelled to work in domestic spaces to the detriment of her work. Subsequently, ‘freed for the big gesture’ by her husband’s death and her inheritance of his studio (and his artistic mantle), Krasner’s painting is contentiously made to register the triumphant mastery of her practice. Though intended, we must assume, as a positive renegotiation of Krasner’s status, this gesture falls short in its reiteration of the studio barn as a masculine domain and the role of the studio-artist as he who must be defeated (purposely or otherwise) in order to allow the female-master to step into the spotlight. Where Krasner’s visibility is concerned the opportunity should be taken to see her practice in ways that do not depend on mastery of this (his) space, otherwise we risk perpetuating the notion of art-making as a ‘male game’ within the masculinist terms repeatedly rehearsed by modernist logics.28 In conclusion, as suggested at the outset of this chapter, the problem with visualising Krasner’s occupation as an artist in her own right may be the studio itself. This chapter has considered various necessary and valiant attempts to recuperate Krasner’s position vis-á-vis her former home and studio at Springs: as background to photographs taken there, and as an exhibit itself. The recovery of this artist’s hidden history falters precisely because such interventions adhere to a traditional conception of the studio when reasserting Krasner’s status as an artist. I have argued here that the language by which art-making is articulated and, specifically, the image of the studio itself must also be called into question in order to fully examine the structures that forced her tenuous position at the site in the first place. That means, in part, critiquing the still-dominant myth of the studio as the solitary domain of an artistic master and its strict distinction from the domestic sphere. This is especially pertinent in this case, as the gendered positioning of images of art production were exaggerated to the point of parody in the mid-twentieth century, particularly around American 100

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation abstraction and the widely disseminated, domesticated image of Krasner, visualised as a foil to Pollock’s spectacle of masculine production. What needs to be considered in Krasner’s case is what really happens in practice, rather than the traditions she took to posing in. In addition to her fundamental role in beginning the preservation of her home as a means to protect his legacy (as well as hers), this would begin to recognise some aspects of her practice that are overlooked in a tight focus on her artistic habits in the studio-barn. This might include Krasner’s earlier and later practice away from the barn in her bedroom-studio and in Manhattan. This would certainly examine domesticity and femininity as proper features of creativity and, returning to Sedgwick, begin to see art-making as a situated negotiation – in which unruly materials often thwart artistic endeavour – rather than as something to be mastered. Accordingly, the entwined, unrealistic and inequitable notions of studio, mastery and masculinity can continue to be unbraided. My thanks to Lara Perry and Vicky Horne for their valuable support and advice. This research is indebted to Helen A.  Harrison and Ruby Jackson for the help, hospitality and friendship I  received at The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in New York on a trip supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Notes 1. Caroline A. Jones, Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist (Chicago; London, 1996), p. 36. My emphasis. 2. ‘[As] argued in Old Mistresses:  Women, Art and Ideology (1981), feminist art history has a double project. The historical recovery of data about women producers of art co-exists with and is only critically possible through a concomitant deconstruction of the discourses and practices of art history itself.’ Griselda Pollock, ‘Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity’, in Vision and Difference:  Feminism, Femininity and Histories of Art (London; New  York, 1988), p. 77. 3. Jones, Machine in the Studio, 1996, pp. 40–1. 4. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, ‘Making Things, Practicing Emptiness’, in The Weather in Proust (Durham, NC, 2011), p. 79. 5. Griselda Pollock argues that the image of the painter at work is one of modern art’s key images. ‘Killing Men and Dying Women’, in Orton and Pollock (eds), Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed (Manchester, 1997), p. 241. 6. Amelia Jones, Body Art/Performing the Subject (Minneapolis, 1998), p. 112.

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Feminism and Art History Now 7. Jane Blocker argues that the politically ameliorative situation ‘hoped for’ by feminist theorists and artists engaged with body art in the 1960s was thwarted by the feminisation of artistic bodies in practice in What the Body Cost: Desire, History and Performance (Minneapolis, MN, 2004). 8. Raymond Williams notes that the most active incorporation happens in emergent formations and they draw on dominant cultural formations (which in turn incorporate selected traditions from residual formations). Williams, Marxism and Literature (Oxford, 1977), pp. 120–7. 9. This is Caroline Jones’s phrase (1996). 10. A useful discussion of Pollock’s participation in visualising his practice according to a romantic primitive ideal via images photographed and filmed at Springs can be found in Fred Orton and Griselda Pollock’s ‘Jackson Pollock, Painting and the Myth of Photography’, Art History 6/1 (1983), pp. 114–22. 11. This narrative is offered by Serge Guilbaut, How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art (Chicago, IL, 1985). See also Jean Baudrillard, ‘Hot Painting: The Inevitable Fate of the Image’, in Serge Guilbaut (ed.), Reconstructing Modernism: Art in New York, Paris and Montreal, 1945–1964 (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 17–29. 12. Not only were artists like Pollock mythologised for heroism in the field of postwar American art, they were for some lauded as saving the entire art world. In ‘The Decline of Cubism’ (1948) Clement Greenberg, for instance, finds the failing powers of the European avant-garde as symptomatic of a wider cultural malaise on the continent. Greenberg, The Collected Essays and Criticism, Volume 2: Arrogant Purpose, 1945–49 (Chicago, 1986), pp. 211–16. 13. Gavin Butt surveys the cultural contexts through which Cold War politics, homosexuality and femininity were often conflated in the US post-war period in Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World, 1948– 1963 (Durham, NC; London, 2005) pp. 38–50. Butt contends that the representational schemas through which male artistic identities were constructed at this time can be seen as attempts to disavow and displace these negative alignments. 14. Butt’s argument also considers the ‘queer gossip’ that surrounded Pollock and the ‘artistic life’ in general after World War II. Butt, Between You and Me, p. 45. 15. Essays dealing with the processes of restoration and reconstruction of homes for a museum or heritage consumption can be found in Trevor Keeble, Brenda Martin and Penny Sparke (eds), The Modern Period Room:  The Construction of the Exhibited Interior 1870–1950 (New York; London, 2006). A fascinating discussion of the ‘guilty pleasures’ associated with visiting heritage spaces connected to famous lives can be found in Diana Fuss, The Sense of an Interior:  Four Writers and the Rooms That Shaped Them (New  York; London, 2004). 16. This interpretation was done by Francis V. O’Connor, author of Jackson Pollock’s catalogue raissoné.

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Making Visible Lee Krasner’s Occupation 17. Krasner quoted in Eleanor C. Munro, Originals: American Women Artists (Da Capo Press: New York, 2000), p. 100. 18. Cindy Nemser, Forum: Women and Art (1971). No page numbers. 19. For an example of this particular trope in Krasner’s mythology, Françoise S. Puniello and Halina Rusak write: ‘Perhaps, her standing in the art world was undermined by the fact that she was a wife. A single woman is an entity, but a married woman becomes and appendix. Whatever the reason, Krasner made a conscious choice to support Pollock either out of her affection for the man, or out of her desire to nurture an artistic genius.’ Puniello and Rusak, Abstract Expressionist Woman Painters (Lanham, MD, 1998) p. 232. 20. Anne M. Wagner, Three Artists (Three Women): Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner and O’Keefe (Berkeley, CA; London, 1998), pp. 122–3. 21. Eleanor Munro, ‘Krasner in the Sixties:  Free for the Big Gesture’, Art/World (16 February – 16 March 1979), p. 1. 22. Puniello and Rusak also interpret these works as indexing a new-found liberation for the artist: ‘her gesture became uninhibited, her colours became vivid, and her paintings increased in size’. Abstract Expressionist Women Painters, p. 232. 23. These separate spheres might also be discussed in terms of productive and reproductive zones of labour suggesting a wide resource of feminist literature on the subject. However, it remains to be argued fully how these terms might apply to the artist’s discussed here considering Krasner’s paid labour as an artist; contradictory evidence of their domestic arrangements and distribution of unpaid housework and their childless status. 24. Caroline A. Jones, Machine in the Studio, 1996, p. 38. 25. Ibid., p. 38 n. 121. 26. Though these tiles were laid during Pollock’s occupation of the studio-barn and are, therefore, as much traces of his occupation of this space as they are of Krasner’s. Jones repeats this mistake in her discussion of the site claiming Krasner was solely responsible for renovating the site after Pollock’s death. Jones, Machine in the Studio, pp. 36–8. 27. The relationship between Krasner and Pollock’s involvement in each other’s careers is discussed in Anna C. Chave’s essay, ‘Pollock and Krasner: Script and Postscript’, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 24 (Autumn 1993), pp. 95–111. 28. In the seventies, Shulamith Firestone bemoaned the sad fact that, where art production is concerned, that women ‘have had to compete as men, in a male game’. Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (New York, 1970), p. 157.

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5 Challenging Feminist Art History: Carla Lonzi’s Divergent Paths Giovanna Zapperi

Twenty years ago I was a university student Fifteen years ago I was a Bachelor of Arts Ten years ago I was an art writer and friend of artists Two years ago I was a feminist… Now I am nothing, absolutely nothing Carla Lonzi, 1978

From Art Criticism to Feminism Carla Lonzi (1931–82) was an Italian art critic, a feminist, a writer and a poet. Yet, as someone who struggled against such categories in their power to reduce life to a sum of roles and identities, any attempt to define her activity will inevitably remain provisional and incomplete. Lonzi experimented with ways of writing differently in the context of 1960s–1970s Italian culture, when a growing contestation put pressure on the country’s social structures and a mass feminist movement was emerging. Through the creative process of writing, Lonzi strived to undo the roles that she linked to her oppression, while constantly trying to articulate her subjective experience within a collective endeavour. ‘The consciousness of myself as a political subject is born out of the group, from the realization [realtà] 104

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Challenging Feminist Art History that has taken the shape of a non-ideological collective experience’, she wrote in 1978.1 The separatist women’s group is thus the site of the collective constitution of the subject, which is itself a collective work in process. I would like to stress that the intertwining of the creative process of becoming a subject and a shared experience of liberation is precisely what connects Lonzi’s feminism to her art writings. In 1969, Carla Lonzi published Autoritratto (Self-portrait), a book based on the principle of montage, consisting of a series of tape-recorded conversations with fourteen artists – all male except for Carla Accardi.2 The book is also a farewell to the art world and to art criticism, an activity she had pursued for over a decade. In 1970, together with Accardi, Lonzi founded Rivolta Femminile, one of the first feminist collectives in Italy, whose practice was based on separatism and autocoscienza (Italian for consciousness-raising).3 For Lonzi, there was no possible reconciliation between her previous activity as an art critic and her engagement as a feminist, a fact that has contributed to the representation of her life and career as dramatically bifurcated. Lonzi, who died in 1982 at the age of 51, was one of the founding figures of Italian second-wave feminism, and the author of a number of provocative texts and manifestos such as Sputiamo su Hegel (Let’s spit on Hegel) (1970), La donna clitoridea e la donna vaginale (The clitoral woman and the vaginal woman), and Sessualità femminile e aborto (Feminine Sexuality and Abortion) (both 1971), and in 1978 she published her diary under the title Taci, anzi parla. Diario di una femminista (Shut up, actually speak. A feminist’s diary). In 1980 she published Vai pure. Dialogo con Pietro Consagra (Now you can go. Dialogue with Pietro Consagra) a four-day dialogue with artist Pietro Consagra, her longterm partner, which records the end of their relationship. These texts are not only among the most important documents of Italian feminism, they also represent feminist experiments with writing, creativity and knowledge production. In these texts Lonzi reinvents a number of traditionally ‘minor’ forms of expression such as the private journal, the conversation, or the manifesto. Moreover, Lonzi’s programme of de-culturation chronicles a search for female autonomy that challenges any inclusive ambition to be part of an already written history. In her anti-dialectical understanding of historical time, history itself is understood as a male construction from which women are structurally excluded. As she writes in Let’s Spit on Hegel, feminism interrupts both chronological continuity and the monologue of 105

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Feminism and Art History Now (patriarchal) history. Her own path reflects her theorisation of feminism as a discontinuity, and it is impossible to read her intellectual trajectory using a linear and homogeneous historical framework. Rather, her break with pre-existing epistemological paradigms should be considered in terms broader than those of biographical perspectives, as a contested and yet productive site for present reflection. Although during her life Lonzi never became a public figure and had no direct connection with the mass feminist movement that took to the street during the 1970s, her writings have been retrospectively associated with the birth of a feminist consciousness. Lonzi is generally considered to be the ‘founding mother’ of Italian feminism, and, paradoxically, this is perhaps one of the reasons why her body of work has been overlooked until recently. As feminist historians have underlined, Lonzi was quickly turned into an iconic figure whose role was more that of a mythical founder than that of a fellow feminist thinker whose work needed to be scrutinised.4 As a result, there is a striking asymmetry between the wide acceptance of her crucial role in the history of Italian second-wave feminism and the lack of critical and/or scholarly attention given to her work.5 Despite the fact that her writings have been a constant reference in Italian feminism since the 1980s, they are still largely underexamined. Lonzi’s ability to invent a language of one’s own, in contrast with established critical traditions such as emancipationism, Marxism or psychoanalysis, which were dominant in the antagonistic vocabulary of 1970s Italy, was crucial in this process.6 The experimental nature of her writings, their fragmentary structure reflects the unfinished process of becoming a subject. In addition, the persistent search for autonomous forms of expression in Lonzi’s work inevitably resists any attempt to systematically categorise her production. The way Carla Lonzi’s name is bound to the history of Italian feminism has also contributed to obscuring the relevance of her previous activity as an art critic. Despite the fact that Autoritratto is, among other things, an extraordinary source for the study of Italian art in the 1960s, it never became a canonical text. On the contrary, it must have seemed incompatible with official art-historical narratives, as well as with the kind of cultural packaging through which Italian art was promoted internationally in the 1970s and 1980s. Barely mentioned in art historical textbooks, Lonzi’s radical undoing of the traditional forms of art writing went unnoticed, or was simply considered as a sort of prologue to her subsequent 106

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Challenging Feminist Art History feminist engagement. The current renewal of interest in Lonzi’s work is somehow reaffirming this separation between a ‘before’ and ‘after’, failing to address the significance of her rupture from the perspective of art history. When considered within traditional terms, her activity as an art critic is still largely considered as something separate from her feminism, either to be addressed within the disciplinary framework of art history or, at best, taken into account as merely foreshadowing her feminist thinking. I would like to investigate Lonzi’s writings because I believe her rupture with art criticism can be productively addressed within the framework of a feminist critique of art and art history. After forty years of feminist interventions in art history, we need to start reconsidering her ideas as a set of transformative operations that affect us in the present, or as Francesco Ventrella puts it, ‘as a demand for an encounter between art and feminism in the present’.7 Examining the way Lonzi ruptured her art criticism through feminism can indeed introduce a radically different perspective within the current discussions about the writing of feminist art history, which mainly – although not exclusively – take place in the AngloAmerican context.8 Lonzi’s writings on art cannot be separated from an analysis of the motivations that led her to embrace feminism, even while her feminist texts still need to be considered in relation to a number of issues raised in the 1960s. I would thus like to enlarge on a suggestion of Lonzi’s sister Marta – herself a member of Rivolta Femminile –with respect to the art world’s view of Lonzi’s rejection of art criticism as a private, and regrettable, choice.9 Marta Lonzi’s point is that Carla’s divergent paths need to be addressed beyond the notion of feminism as a separate sphere, but rather as a problem that directly concerns art and culture. In keeping with these insights, I want to consider Lonzi’s shift from art criticism to feminism as something to be interpreted in relation to a set of issues that have shaped the international feminist debate on art and art history. In order to do so I outline three interrelated topics. First, I will consider her 1969 book Autoritratto – published a few months before she embraced feminism – as a transformative process in which Lonzi enacts a critique of art historical knowledge production that is crucial to her understanding of the oppressive nature of culture. I will examine the way Lonzi addresses the problem of women’s role in the creative process, especially through her interrupted friendship with Carla Accardi, and her notions of the nature of creativity within feminism. My third and last point will 107

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Feminism and Art History Now focus on the meaning of Lonzi’s withdrawal from art and her resistance to cultural integration as these emerge through her writings, especially in her 1980 dialogue with Pietro Consagra.

Critique of Knowledge During the 1960s Lonzi sought to develop her own practice as an art critic, which culminated in the book Autoritratto. This was an experiment in art writing based on her self-positioning as a subject and on a sharp critique of the social and epistemic structures defining the critic’s activity. The book is based on conversations that Lonzi recorded, transcribed and assembled between 1965 and 1969.10 Each dialogue is fragmented and edited to preserve the colloquial quality of spoken language. By constructing the fiction of an uninterrupted conversation, where Lonzi ceases to ask questions or discuss the artist’s work, she speaks for herself, in her own voice: To me, personally, what is so attractive about recording? What attracts me is a very elementary thing:  being allowed to pass from sounds to punctuation, to a script; finding a page which is not a page already written, but is a page that… Well, like in those chemical processes where you have condensation… from a sound you condense a sign, like a gas turning into liquid. I like this a lot, I  don’t know why… and I  like the idea of reading something different from what you usually read, which is always produced by the brain’s effort, so tiring to think about it.11

Lonzi was looking for a way to escape the ‘inauthentic profession’ of art criticism, in favour of a participatory process that could be personally transformative. Accordingly, the conversations unsystematically address each artist’s work and career, but also aspects of their lives and relationships, their shared frustration with Italian art institutions, as well as a number of reflections on the current political situation. These range from discussions of the 1968 protests, the civil rights movement in the United States, the Vietnam War and the emergence of a feminist consciousness; the last especially in dialogues with Carla Accardi. Lonzi had also requested that the artists send her pictures, so that the ongoing conversation is punctuated with a number of illustrations, thus simulating the traditional text/image format of art history books. However, the majority of these images are personal or travel snapshots and their presence throughout the book consequently 108

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Challenging Feminist Art History provides a biographical element within the conversations that comprise the text. Lonzi quite literally undoes both the practices and poetics of dominant forms of art writing. Abandoning the authority of interpretation in order to participate in the creative process, her focus on the artists’ subjectivities and non-hierarchical exchanges undermines the primacy of the artwork – of the visual – as one of formalism’s epistemic foundations. Lonzi had registered her frustration with conventional art writing as early as 1963, when she published a polemical article entitled ‘The Critic’s Loneliness’, in response to what she perceived as the dominant form of art criticism based on detachment, paternalism and authority.12 During the 1960s, she became increasingly committed to artists rather than their artworks, and felt increasingly alienated in her role as a critic. In 1966 she started to publish tape-recorded conversations in the Italian journal Marcatré, while progressively erasing her own contribution from the written page. Listening, silence, and participation replaced the critic’s interpretation, providing a means for her to surpass the observer’s role. For Lonzi, the critic’s conventional position expressed a hierarchical relation between artists and critics, based on the critic’s detachment and lack of relation to the creative process. As she writes in Autoritratto’s preface, tape recording offered her a way to transform her activity: In recent years I have felt more and more perplexed by the role of critic sensing in it a codification of extraneity to the artistic act. I have come to see it as an exercise of power that discriminates against artists. Although the use of the tape recorder does not automatically transform the critic – for the critic an interview is often nothing more than judgment in the form of dialogue  – I  think that from these conversations at least one observation can be drawn: the complete, verifiable critical act is one that is part of artistic creation.13

For Lonzi, who was interested in connecting her activity to the realities of life, the need to rethink art’s institutions went hand in hand with a reconsideration of her own role. As she writes in the same preface, her intention in assembling the book was not so much to collect information, but rather, ‘to interact with someone in a broadly communicative and humanly satisfying way’, introducing herself into ‘an activity and a humanity to which I  felt attracted […], which did not belong to me’.14 Consequently, the assemblage-like construction of the book enacts a complex process 109

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Feminism and Art History Now of becoming a subject in the male-dominated art world of 1960s Italy, in which the roles and identifications that sustain it collapse altogether. What remains is a sort of relational space that is the precondition for a possible liberation from the myths that constitute what we call art: ‘What remains, now that I have lost the role of art critic? Have I perhaps become an artist? My reply is that I am no longer an outsider.’15 Lonzi’s assemblage of the book embodies the search for an ‘outlet’ (sbocco), that rejects the critic’s coherence and unity by dispersing her own voice within a non-linear, dialogic and collective narrative. Within these terms, the book resonates with her feminist writings where issues of subjectivity, participation and self-representation are crucial. In addition to challenging the conventions associated with the textual identities of critic and artist, Autoritratto questions official art-historical narratives, largely based on formats such as the monograph, or the chronological succession of (male) artists, movements and categories. In replacing visual analysis by aleatory conversations, the book also questions formalist models of art history, dominant at the time. Lonzi herself had developed her own version of formalism, in keeping with her training as a student of Roberto Longhi, a prominent art historian of the previous generation. Longhi’s method was based on connoisseurship and presupposed a neutral and disembodied subject, which separated itself from the object of the look. For Longhi direct observation was the guarantee of truthfulness. The evidence of attentive looking was therefore a crucial element of Longhi’s teaching, based on a specific training of the eye and on the ability to translate images into written language. Vision and knowledge were indeed almost synonyms in his vocabulary, but this equation became increasingly problematic for Lonzi. In her 1970 article ‘Art Criticism is Power’, Lonzi explicitly states the connection between domination and knowledge production that art criticism, a form of institutional power, professes to achieve.16 Lonzi’s undoing of art history’s epistemic structures emerges from a cluster of issues addressed throughout the book: the dispersed, heterogeneous, and collective subjectivity that challenges established notions of the author; the adoption of a non-linear temporality created through editing and montage; and her rejection of formalism with its privileging of vision, as opposed to participation, dialogue and horizontality. What is perhaps even more striking is the way these counter discourses emerge from the actual construction of the book, which performs a deconstruction of canonical narratives, thereby encouraging alternative forms of knowledge production. 110

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Challenging Feminist Art History There is a direct link between Autoritratto’s critique of knowledge and Lonzi’s subsequent ideas about women’s autonomy. In her view, a process of liberation begins in the relation with other women within the empty space created by what she called a practice of deculturation. Her feminist ambition to undo the roles and positions constituting woman’s identity resonates with her previous disidentification with the role of the critic. For Lonzi, art institutions were part of what she calls ‘culture’, a term indicating her understanding of patriarchy as an all-encompassing ideology embracing every aspect of social life, including education. For Lonzi, woman’s autonomy and agency is an unfinished process that takes as its starting point the refusal to comply with the structures of social and cultural recognition, considered as oppressive forces. In Autoritratto, Lonzi had already characterised her training as an art historian as ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘repressive’.17 A few months later she indicted higher education for its complicity with women’s oppression: Colleges and universities are not places where young women are liberated through culture, but places where their repression is perfected, the same repression that is so well cultivated within the family. The education of a young woman consists in slowly injecting her with a poison that paralyses her just as she is on the verge of the most potentially responsible actions, of the experiences that might increase her self-confidence.18

The invocation of a poison immobilising the young woman suggests the bodily consequences of those forms of institutional knowledge production from which Lonzi was escaping. Culture’s paralysing effects are analogised with the image of a petrified subject, unable to act, constrained by the roles and stereotypes oppressing woman’s subjectivity. Here Lonzi alludes to the traditional role of woman as an object to be contained through a powerful bodily apparatus. These mechanisms, which contribute to the alienation of women from their bodies and their sexuality, need to be undone in search for those unexpected gestures opening the path towards autonomy and freedom. In order to escape paralysis, women thus have to interrupt the circle of repetitions in which they are trapped: these involve the assumption of roles, stereotypes, categories and identifications that both oppress and define femininity. In this respect, a practice of deculturation corresponds with a process of becoming a subject in which women dare to abandon what they thought they knew about themselves. 111

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Male Creativity and Female Expression For Lonzi, the need to abandon the position of the observer was crucial in many ways. On the one hand, she refused the authority upon which that positioning was predicated; on the other, she wanted to actively engage with art, even though that didn’t necessarily mean becoming an artist. Not being an outsider, as she writes in Autoritratto’s preface, opened up the possibility for self-expression and autonomy. As Lonzi tried to explain her abandonment of art criticism, she insisted on her refusal to play the role of the artist’s spectator, thereby introducing the problem of the artistic gaze. Contrary to the then- (almost) contemporary theorisations in the Anglo-American context, for Lonzi the woman is not the object but the spectator of the artwork; it is she who passively observes and thus legitimises male creativity through her exclusion. These considerations suggest the frustration she must have experienced when her own work as an art critic contradicted her search for a critical vocabulary that could break with gender hierarchies. Both in Autoritratto and in her diary, Lonzi deplores the passivity within which she felt trapped, even after rejecting art criticism’s authoritative power. In attempting to invent a form of participatory criticism, Lonzi felt constantly pushed back to the role of the passive listener by her fellow artists, a constant source of disappointment. If, for Lonzi, the absence of woman legitimated the patriarchal character of creativity, this did not translate into a push to actively support women artists. The birth of Rivolta Femminile signals instead a paradoxical bifurcation between feminism and art. A  short text entitled Assenza della donna dai momenti celebrativi della manifestazione creativa maschile (Woman’s absence from celebratory moments of male creativity’s manifestations), written in March 1971 and signed Rivolta Femminile, develops these ideas. This short manifesto proclaims the group’s withdrawal from the artworld but also expresses a collective search for a different type of creativity, outside masculinity and patriarchal relations. Given art’s complicity with women’s oppression, according to Rivolta Femminile, women are confronted with two options:  ‘Either achieve equality on the level of what is historically defined as creative by men […]; or […] [seek] woman’s autonomous liberation reclaiming woman’s own creativity nourished in the repression imposed by male models.’19 Although the character of this alternative creativity was not clearly described, this statement suggests that it cannot exist within the power structures sustaining woman’s oppression. 112

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Challenging Feminist Art History Conversely, this short text introduces the problem of the woman artist prior to Lonzi’s explicit refusal to support women artists as such, a position that eventually provoked the end of her friendship with Carla Accardi. Lonzi’s attitude towards women artists is perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of her thinking, especially if we look at it from the perspective of a feminist art history. Carla Accardi was the only woman artist participant in Autoritratto, which, significantly, closes with her remarks announcing the impending shift towards feminism: But I  don’t mean, now… that I  want this man-woman problem to be, and that’s it. One day one tells me ‘there is no such problem’. No, no, no… when I wake up the following day, the problem is still there. […] because a woman […] always has to keep in mind the fact that she is struggling, to become able to enjoy a bit of happiness.20

Lonzi had tape-recorded two conversations with Accardi, one in 1966, the other in 1969. Interestingly, the two women already discussed female creativity and the role of the woman artist in 1966, while proposing a shared feminist reading of Accardi’s Tenda of the same year. As Lonzi would later emphasise in her diary, their relationship played a crucial role in her process of becoming feminist: ‘Rivolta Femminile’, she writes, ‘was born out of two persons, [Carla] and I, who had questioned male subjectivity precisely because we had positioned ourselves as subjects: [Carla] as an artist, and myself as a consciousness of a different identity’.21 Despite their intense friendship and shared commitments, the two women ended their relationship around 1973, as Lonzi considered Accardi’s identification as an artist incompatible with a practice of deculturation. Their conflict concerned the problem of how to imagine a feminist creativity and its relation to the art world. In the early stages of Rivolta, art was not the most urgent matter, although the question of a possible link between art and feminism was discussed. Accardi was not the only artist participating in the meetings: Suzanne Santoro, Simona Weller, Anna Maria Colucci and Silvia Truppi are some of the other artists that took part in the group, both in Rome and in Milan. However, most of them felt that their identification as artists was incompatible with the practice of deculturation prompted by autocoscienza. For Lonzi, who shared her life with a sculptor and had spent most of her time at the forefront of the Italian avant-garde, 113

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Feminism and Art History Now art was inevitably a starting point and a term of comparison, both in her private life and in her feminist practice. Autoritratto had opened up the possibility of a relational space within which the myths of creativity could be contested, but, unsurprisingly, male artists were not willing to abandon their privileges. Later in her diary Lonzi would repeatedly dismiss creativity as a male myth, a false promise of liberation, an illusion, and a particularly powerful manifestation of the role of culture in preventing women’s authentic expression of their own creativity. Insofar that for Lonzi, art represented the ‘highest stage of consciousness’ reached by male culture, to identify as an artist was an equivalent to an unforgivable compromise with patriarchy: I shy away from feminist women artists [femministe-artiste]: with the excuse that they strengthen female expression they capitalise on women’s existential cues only in the field where profit is rooted – that is within male culture – and betray their female comrades who won’t sell themselves in exchange of a social identity.22

Notwithstanding Lonzi’s hostility towards artists  – especially if they happened to be women – her ideas about women’s expression are not extraneous to her experience as a critic. In the beginning, Lonzi suggested an alliance between artists and women, and reflected on forms of ‘non-patriarchal’ and dispersed creativity, not based on the vertical separation between artist and spectator, but rather on the horizontality of autocoscienza. Lonzi and Accardi debated these issues as early as 1966, when they discussed the difference constituted by artists who were women: ‘Art has always been a male territory’, Accardi remarks. ‘As soon as we enter a typically male sphere that is creativity, the need we have is (also) that of unmasking the whole aura of prestige that surrounds it and has made it inaccessible.’23 Accardi’s production from the years preceding (and concomitant to) the birth of Rivolta Femminile attests to the intense period of gestation during which she conceived her work as a vehicle for female expression while being in constant dialogue with Lonzi.24 For Lonzi, the history of art had developed a gender-exclusive notion of creativity, based on the asymmetry between the male identity of the artist and its passive other, the woman. The term ‘creativity’ emerges in complex and often contradictory ways throughout Lonzi’s writings, as she tried to reformulate its meaning: In Autoritratto, by making [the artists] speak I wanted to bring them back to themselves, making my presence operative in a

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Challenging Feminist Art History different way […] The fact that the artist expects a more and more adequate spectator reveals an impasse whenever consciousness is confined to only one role. For this reason it is not right that we talk about creativity within feminism, unless we understand that it is not a creativity of the patriarchal type: the autocoscienza of one woman is incomplete if it stops at and is not confirmed in the autocoscienza of another woman.25

This passage makes clear how Lonzi considered art as an institutionalised form of expression, based on asymmetry and power, thus preventing the spectators to ‘enter into the thing’ and thereby participate. This subject-object relation based on woman’s passivity has thus to be abandoned in favour of dialogue, resonance and participation, in the search for alternative modes of expression engendered in the relational space of autocoscienza. For Lonzi, a feminist expressivity cannot identify with art because the former pertains to life, rather than to culture: ‘I wish there was a world where every single expression could stay at an existential level’,26 she writes in her diary.

Lonzi’s Withdrawal In 1981 curator and Arte Povera impresario Germano Celant organised a show at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris called Italian Identity:  Art in Italy since 1959, whose aim was to assess the significance of the Italian neo- and post-avant-garde.27 Despite the fact that Autoritratto had been neglected since its publication, Celant, who had known Lonzi, asked her to write a text for the catalogue. In a note in which she muses on her potential contribution, Lonzi returns to the moment of her withdrawal and wonders whether she could ever come back to what concerned her at that moment: Then I felt the need to think about this problem on my own, in the first person, and there I found no other way than outside the institution, which does not allow that things go too far. […] This withdrawal has enabled me to find a detachment that will allow me to come back. To the point in cause, not to the institution.28

This excerpt clarifies that what mattered to Lonzi was the possibility of reflecting upon art and creativity from a perspective that could not be recuperated within the institutional framework of art criticism. This helps us understand why Lonzi refused to act as ‘the Lucy Lippard of the 115

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Feminism and Art History Now situation’,29 a fact that accentuates the difficulty of including her within current attempts to integrate the encounter between art and feminism as part of a curatorial agenda. And yet, her writings are interspersed with considerations about art’s implications with patriarchy and sexual difference. As fragmented and unsystematic as these might be, through them Lonzi developed a critique of art’s patriarchal structures from the separatist space of feminism, which necessarily locates her outside of the art world. Interestingly, Lonzi compared her retreat to Valerie Solanas’s shooting of Andy Warhol in 1968, which she interpreted as Solanas’s liberation from ‘her belonging to the artworld’.30 While she underlines that, contrary to Solanas, she did not feel the need to disavow what she had previously produced in that context, Lonzi finds an indirect confirmation of her withdrawal in the urgency and challenge of Solanas’s act.31 For Lonzi, to leave the artworld was a necessary step towards autonomy, but unlike Solanas’s solitary gesture, her own withdrawal enacted a collective experience that involved the transformation of every single aspect of her life. This endeavour, as we have seen, was predicated on the possibility of constructing alternative and non-hierarchical modes of being together. Her refusal to identify as an art critic can thus be read as a rejection of art’s complicity with pre-defined behaviours and social interactions that determine both women’s identity and all other social interactions. Despite the fact that Lonzi chose to retreat to a small group, this did not translate to a desire to remain hidden: in this respect, her withdrawal is indeed ambivalent. On one side, the construction of a separatist space was a crucial step towards autonomy, on the other, autonomy could only exist within a collective enterprise where each free gesture could find ‘resonance’ or ‘correspondence’ (rispondenza) in other women. This explains why personal relations are so crucial in Lonzi’s separatism, which is not the same as isolation. On the contrary, her feminism can be identified with a collective practice that could potentially expand outside of the group, as in her relationship with Pietro Consagra. In this respect, a failed correspondence [rispondenza] is what produces ‘the effect that one does not exist, that one is a living error, like a Question in need of an Answer’.32 On the contrary, autocoscienza is what opens up a space for self-expression or, rather for ‘countless expressions of consciousness that call into dialogue countless correspondences [rispondenze]’.33 However, the opening-up of this autonomous space was not without consequences. Lonzi’s decision to leave art – with the related refusal to be 116

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Challenging Feminist Art History identified with any other activity or role (whether that of ‘writer’, ‘poet’, ‘feminist’, or anything else but herself) meant that what she was doing was doomed to remain at best illegible, at worse overlooked, as though it had never existed. This is one of the main issues addressed in Vai pure, Lonzi’s conversation with Pietro Consagra as, after almost twenty years of love and shared life, their relationship comes to an end. The dialogue was recorded during four days in Lonzi’s apartment in Rome, then transcribed and edited a few months later in a way that recalled what she had done years before. In composing this audio-written archive in which issues of love and creativity are entwined, Lonzi remains faithful to her desire to capture the lived exchange’s authenticity as the basis upon which to seek new forms of expression. In this dialogue, Lonzi returns to the meaning of her withdrawal and underlines her precarious situation in comparison to Consagra’s privileged position as a successfully established artist. While her activity accords with her life, thus remaining unnoticed, his circumstances are entirely registered by the mechanisms of social and cultural recognition. For Lonzi these mechanism are consistent with patriarchal structures from which women are excluded. In this passage from Vai pure, she observes what it entails to live with the awareness that a woman’s life is considered irrelevant: Woman experiences a failure. For many women, the majority of them, this condition is unbearable, because I can personally tell you that living an entire life being aware of this failure, with the imperatives that such an awareness imposes on you  – to be autonomous, to fight against traditional cultural abuses, to always have to discover all that could paralyse you, which is present in every nuance of life – such a life is barely liveable.34

When Lonzi speaks about a woman’s failure, she refers to the fact that women have been, and still are, excluded from social and cultural recognition. But also, she reflects on the ways her becoming a subject remains unrecognisable, in spite of her efforts to make manifest those processes. It is important to emphasise that these words were written in the early 1980s, when the media had already started talking about backlash (riflusso), after a decade that had also witnessed the ambivalent processes of institutionalisation and recuperation of feminism.35 In this changing situation, Lonzi’s withdrawal became also a means to distance herself from 117

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Figure 5.1 Cover of Carla Lonzi, Autoritratto (Bari, 1969).

other positions within the feminist movement that she considered as both compromised and coopted by mainstream culture. This had been already noted in the second manifesto of Rivolta Femminile, entitled Io dico io [I say I], written in 1977.36 Similarly, while Consagra tried to convince her that things would be so much easier if she only accepted a certain degree of compromise (for example, attending his exhibition openings, which she 118

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Figure 5.2 Pages from Autoritratto (Bari, 1969). Left: Pino Pascali as a child; right: Jannis and Efi Kounellis attending a party in Venezuela, 1958.

refused to do), Lonzi insists on what mattered to her: her life and her struggle to be herself beyond any social convention and identification. Indeed, in Vai pure ‘the couple becomes a sort of metaphor, a theatre where the forces of society play out. Work and the labour of love are the two poles around which the discussion revolves’.37 Lonzi also develops here some of the issues already posed in the first Manifesto of Rivolta Femminile, written in 1970. The manifesto’s call for a rejection of competitive capitalist structures, including efficiency and labour in favour of free sexuality and non-productivity are now translated in the everyday struggle of a woman seeking to escape the way these same structures permeate the most intimate sphere of her life. The book Vai pure is a striking document about how the personal is political. Lonzi’s awareness of the separation between work and personal-private relations, upon which social life is organised, becomes the privileged ground for her struggle toward recognition and transformation. This explains the extent to which the ‘unliveable’ life of 119

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Figure 5.3 Page from Autoritratto (Bari, 1969). Carla Lonzi with the tape recorder in Minneapolis.

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Challenging Feminist Art History woman propelled Lonzi to her renunciation of art criticism. As in her dialogue with Consagra, ‘art’ emerges as a totality of institutions, power relations, and strategies, as well as forms of sociability, life and labour that structurally oppress women. Within this context, feminism’s separatist space allows Lonzi to take her own failure as a starting point, in order to experiment with different forms of life, whose premises are the antagonism with existing social structures, and a collective process of becoming subject. I wish to thank Abigail Solomon-Godeau for her thoughtful remarks on this chapter, as well as Francesco Ventrella for countless discussions and for helping me in the difficult task of translating Carla Lonzi’s texts. I would also like to acknowledge that the writing of this chapter was made possible by a fellowship from the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici.

Notes 1. C. Lonzi, ‘Mito della proposta culturale’, in M. Lonzi, A. Jaquinta, C. Lonzi, La presenza dell’uomo nel femminismo (Milano, 1978), p. 151. All translations from the Italian are mine, unless otherwise indicated. 2. C. Lonzi, Autoritratto (Bari, 1969; Milano, 2010). The following quotations refer to the 2010 edition. 3. On ‘autocoscienza’ see: Milan Women’s Bookstore Collective, Sexual Difference: A Theory of Social-Symbolic Practice, trans. P. Cicogna and T. De Lauretis (Bloomington, IN, 1990); L. Passerini, Storie di donne e femministe (Torino, 1991). 4. See P. Di Cori, ‘Cultura del femminismo. Il caso della storia delle donne’, in Storia dell’Italia Repubblicana, vol. III, Istituzioni, politiche, culture (Torino, 1997), pp. 809–11. Lonzi’s transformation into an authoritative feminist icon has contributed in the wide acceptance of scholarly approaches predicated on feelings of reverence expressing an anxiety about the possibility of ‘betraying’ her, in which any critical response and/or update of her thinking is avoided. The work of Maria Luisa Boccia, perhaps the most prominent of Carla Lonzi scholars, is symptomatic of this attitude. See M.L. Boccia, Con Carla Lonzi. La mia opera è la mia vita (Roma, 2014). 5. This is particularly striking if one considers that, until the mid-2000s, the bibliography on Carla Lonzi was almost limited to Maria Luisa Boccia’s book published in 1990. See M.L. Boccia, L’io in Rivolta. Vissuto e pensiero di Carla Lonzi (Milano, 1990).

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Feminism and Art History Now 6. L. Ellena, ‘Carla Lonzi e il neo-femminismo degli anni ‘70: disfare la cultura, disfare la politica’, in V. Fiorino, L. Conte and V. Martini (eds), Carla Lonzi, la duplice radicalità (Pisa, 2011), pp. 117–22. 7. F. Ventrella, ‘Carla Lonzi’s Artwriting and the Resonance of Separatism’, European Journal for Women’s Studies, 21/3 (August 2014), p. 283. 8. On Carla Lonzi in relation to feminist art criticism and history in Italy, see J. Russi Kirshner, ‘Voices and Images of Italian Feminism’, in C. Butler (ed.), Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution, exh. cat. (Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007), pp. 384–99. 9. M. Lonzi, ‘Un rifiuto comprensibile’, in C. Lonzi, Rapporti tra la scena e le arti figurative dalla fine dell’800 (Firenze, 1995), pp. xv–xix. 10. Artists included in the book are Carla Accardi, Getulio Alviani, Enrico Castellani, Pietro Consagra, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Nigro, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Mimmo Rotella, Salvatore Scarpitta, Giulio Turcato, Cy Twombly, and their names are part of the book’s title. Some of them will be later known as part of the Arte Povera group, while others were already key figures of the Italian neo-avanguarde, and had been active since the 1950s (such as Accardi, Consagra, and Fontana). Cy Twombly, who already lived in Rome at the time, is the only one who does not speak, but Lonzi decides to include his silence as a possible response to the questions she had sent him in 1962. On Autoritratto see L. Iamurri, ‘Intorno ad Autoritratto. Fonti, ipotesi, riflessioni’, in V. Fiorino, L.  Conte, V.  Martini (eds), Carla Lonzi:  la duplice radicalità, cit., pp.  67–86; and G. Zapperi, ‘L’autoportrait d’une femme. Préface’, in C. Lonzi, Autoportait, translated from the Italian by M.-A. Maire Vigueur (Paris, 2012), pp. 7–35. 11. C. Lonzi, Autoritratto, cit., p. 29. 12. C. Lonzi, ‘La solitudine del critico’, L’Avanti, 13 December 1963; now in: C. Lonzi, Scritti sull’arte, ed. L. Iamurri, L. Conte, V. Martini (Milan, 2012), pp. 353–6. 13. Carla Lonzi, Preface to Autoritratto, translated into English in R. Flood (ed.), Zero to Infinity: Arte povera 1962–1972, exhib. cat. (Minneapolis, MN, Walker Art Center, 2001), p. 10. 14. See note 13. 15. Idem. 16. C. Lonzi, ‘La critica è potere’, NAC. Notiziario d’arte contemporanea, n.  3, dicembre 1970, pp. 5–6 (now in C. Lonzi, Scritti sull’arte, cit., pp. 647–50). 17. C. Lonzi, Autoritratto, cit., p. 32. 18. C. Lonzi, ‘Let’s Spit on Hegel’ (1971), in P. Jagentowicz Mills (ed.), Feminist interpretations of G. F. W. Hegel, trans. G. Bellesia and E. Maclachnan (University Park, PA, 1996), p. 292. 19. Rivolta femminile, ‘Assenza della donna dai momenti celebrativi della manifestazione creativa femminile’ (1971), in C. Lonzi, Sputiamo su Hegel. La donna clitoridea e la donna vaginale e altri scritti (Milan, 1974), p. 64.

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Challenging Feminist Art History 20. C. Lonzi, Autoritratto, cit., p. 300. 21. C. Lonzi, Taci, anzi parla. Diario di una femminista (Milano, 1978); now: et al./ edizioni 2010, p. 28. All following quotations refer to the 2010 edition. 22. C. Lonzi, Taci, anzi parla, cit., p. 949. 23. C. Lonzi, ‘Discorsi:  Carla Lonzi e Carla Accardi’, Marcatré, nn. 23–5 (June 1966), pp. 193–7 (C. Lonzi, Scritti sull’arte, cit., p. 477). 24. L. Cozzi, ‘Spaces of Self-consciousness: Carla Accardi’s Environments and the Rise of Italian Feminism’, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 21:1 (2012), pp. 67–88. 25. C. Lonzi, Taci, anzi parla, cit., p. 35. 26. C. Lonzi, Taci, anzi parla, cit., p. 949. 27. G. Celant, Identité italienne. L’art en Italie depuis 1959, exhib. cat. (Paris, 1981). 28. Unpublished manuscript partly reproduced in M. Lonzi and A. Jaquinta, ‘Vita di Carla Lonzi’, in C. Lonzi, Scacco ragionato. Poesie dal ‘58 al ‘63 (Milano, 1985), p. 68. 29. As reported by Suzanne Santoro in an interview with Manuela De Leonardis. See S.  Santoro and M.  De Leonardis, ‘Intervista’, in:  Art Apart of Culture. Available at: www.artapartofculture.net/ 2011/ 01/ 30/ suzanne- santorointervista-di-manuela-de-leonardis/ (accessed September 2014). 30. C. Lonzi ‘Itinerario di riflessioni’, in M.G. Chinese, C. Lonzi, M. Lonzi and A. Jaquinta, È già politica (Milano, 1977), p. 35. 31. C. Lonzi, ‘Mito della proposta culturale’, cit., p. 141. 32. Ibid., p. 148. 33. Ibid., pp. 148–9: ‘Identity originates from this radical rejection of the Question and, therefore, of the Response: it shatters the Question into a myriads of ‘expressions of consciousness’ that appeal to a myriad of correspondences within dialogue – correspondence (rather than Response), for it is the effect produced by the expression of the other’s consciousness whenever I am in contact with her’. 34. C. Lonzi, Vai pure. Dialogo con Pietro Consagra (Milano, 1980; Milano, 2011), p. 30. 35. On Italian feminism’s periodisation see P. Di Cori, ‘Il movimento cresce e sceglie l’autonomia. 1974–1979’, in A.M. Crispino (ed.), Esperienza storica femminile nell’età moderna e contemporanea, Parte seconda, Unione Donne Italiane, Circolo ‘La Goccia’ (Roma, 1989), pp. 107–17. 36. Rivolta femminile, ‘Secondo manifesto di Rivolta Femminile:  io dico io’, in M. Lonzi, A. Jaquinta and C. Lonzi, La presenza dell’uomo nel femminismo, cit., pp. 7–9. 37. Claire Fontaine, ‘We are all Clitoridan Women. Notes on Carla Lonzi’s Legacy’, e-flux journal, 47 (September 2013), http://www.e-flux.com/journal/we-areall-clitoridian-women-notes-on-carla-lonzi’s-legacy/.

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6 This Moment: A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry

The dialogue that follows was begun in April 2015 and concluded in July 2016. Besides their personal friendship, the interlocutors have been engaged in collaborative feminist art historical research, and sometimes teaching, since 2000, and the conversation is a frank transcription of the concerns that this sixteen-year period has raised for them. As the sociogeographic positioning of participants in a dialogue is important, in this electronically conducted exchange Lara has written mostly from Canada and Angela mostly from Greece, their respective homelands. They both live and work in the UK. Lara: In the last five years, during which we have been working on a project which scrutinises the status of feminism in contemporary art exhibitions (an international research network and a co-edited volume of essays published in 2013, Politics in a Glass Case), I have been startled at the extent to which feminist art curatorial projects have attracted intense criticism, sometimes even from other feminists. While debate and discussion are obviously essential to developing feminist practices, observing these exchanges has made me take more seriously the position of many students and artists that ‘feminist’ is an identification they wish to avoid in their practice, even at the same time that they would endorse feminist aims. I have never taken that position seriously, but lately I have worried that the associations of the term do more to disrupt, than to build, political alliances between women. 124

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making Angela: For me, there can be no negative consequences in associating one’s work with feminism – unless ‘feminism’ gets to be drastically reduced to some kind of non-politics. On the contrary, not declaring the politics that inform your work may have negative consequences. Yet things have been complicated for feminism with regard to how it has ‘attached’ itself to art. For various reasons, at a certain moment in the twentieth century women artists who declared their feminist politics, or whose work was introduced into a feminist interpretative framework, entered art history; whereas women artists who did not enjoy an association with feminism have not been as visible. I say ‘association’ because sometimes feminism did not appear as part of an artist’s announced intention but became the interpretative context to which a work was introduced, directly or indirectly. (By ‘indirectly’ I mean, for example, that feminism’s emphasis on the politicisation of the body created a vector of reception for a category of works, for an artistic tendency or even for a sensibility.) Just think which women artists’ names you recall from the 1970s and 1980s. I  really doubt that Marina Abramovic and Cindy Sherman would have been as central, had their work not been discussed by feminist critics. That discussion made up for these artists’ declared distance from feminism. Other artists, such as Martha Rosler and Mary Kelly, did not keep their distance and, arguably, their open engagement with feminism contributed to their long-term visibility. This fact alone requires interpretation – not least for the benefit of women artists starting now, when, again, globalisation and its economic horrors demonstrate the relevance of feminism, the renewed urgency of its political demands. All that said, an artwork does not possess ‘feminism’ as an inalienable essence, as Griselda Pollock argued already many years back, but can implicate feminist politics and questions.1 If you make a work addressing domestic violence and say ‘this is not feminist’, it’s ridiculous. On the other hand, did Sanja Ivekovic need to call her work on this subject, Turkish Report (2009), ‘feminist’?2 No, because the work is so obviously based on feminist critique. And equally, it would have been ludicrous to claim: ‘this work on domestic violence does not originate in feminist critique’. Lara: I  appreciate your point about feminism having been successful in asserting the historical presence of some artists, but I suspect most people would say that being a part of feminist art history is still a marginal form of success, and that artists or curators would prefer to be successful in other 125

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Feminism and Art History Now ways. A salient example is Tracey Emin, whose highly successful artwork demands to be interpreted through feminism because of the themes and materials it addresses (as in your examples above), and who says that she herself is a feminist, but who denies an association between her practice and feminism.3 Without wanting to claim Emin’s work for feminist art, I wonder why would she seek to make such a distinction? What is the vulnerability associated with claiming feminism for one’s practice? Angela: First, there is a huge gap between the perception of feminism in the world of academia and in ‘real life’, if I can put it this way. The sophistication of academic research and nuances of theory when it comes to thinking about social issues are absent from the banalised, naïve or wilful misrepresentations of the broader feminist project encountered in the mainstream, for example in ‘women’s magazines’, which is precisely where most women come into contact with ‘feminism’. And we must take into account that the mainstream press has tremendous power, it is an extremely influential apparatus. In handling this divide, artists have a very difficult job to do, because ultimately art is a communication act, addressed to and intended to engage other people. When it comes to communicating their work, artists have to make a choice, and they do. Artists make their choices according to what kind of art they want to (or can, since there is no such thing as ‘free will’) make. Not all artists aspire to be avant-garde, not all artists are interested in changing the world. We really need to acknowledge this. There is nothing immanently heroic, transformative and radical about being a ‘woman artist’. Feminist art historians have been wrong to think that; as wrong as some Marxists have been in thinking that being a worker is, by default, being a revolutionary subject. Secondly, things are complicated because you can identify as a feminist (you mentioned Emin) but see your work as unfree from contradictions. And contradictions allow for all sorts of positions to be introduced and negotiated as part of the art-making process. What do you do then? I think an honest response might be: I subscribe to feminist politics but the choices that guide my creative practice, let alone whatever subconsciously enters the latter, come from diverse places and do not guarantee a feminist understanding of the world. This is not to support some notion of ‘autonomy’ in the creative act, I stress. What I am saying is that there is no perfect correspondence between political affiliations and the process of making art. 126

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making Lara: That is an honest position, but doesn’t what you say about the complexity of acting as an artist also apply to all human activities? How do we address the specific problem that artists (or curators, or historians) have with claiming feminism for their practice? I think that being associated with a ‘banalised, naïve’ or misleading approach to feminism you speak of is an important deterrent to serious people wanting to publicly identify themselves as feminists. But I also think that any assertion of a feminised or even gendered discourse – however sophisticated – is still grounds for abjection in the art world, where it is, after all, still possible for misogynists such as the painter Georg Baselitz to declare, in 2013, that women don’t paint very well.4 Of course, it is important to maintain the distinction between women and feminists because not all of one group is part of the other. But it can be a feminist strategy to write an art history that takes women as its subject, with the aim to dismantle the banal generalisations that are sustained by gendered discourses of the artist, such as that promulgated by Baselitz. This strategy hasn’t to do with changing the world that historic artists lived in, but the one in which we live, as we read and write art history, and in which our art histories sustain current understandings of art practice. Is enhancing the visibility of women artists who aren’t feminists good for women, but not feminism? Could or should we separate those two outcomes? Angela: I have attended quite a few conference panels where being a woman artist was discussed as a source of value (this is not to underplay the incredible difficulties that women artists have faced and are facing). I was referring to a contemporary situation where, in principle, your gender does not stop you from studying art whereas your class and economic background may well do. And yet, if we think that all the women who have graduated from art schools since the 1990s have wished to transform art and society through feminist politics, we are deluded. Instead, we need to ask: why has this not been the case? Since you and I started teaching, we’ve had a critical mass of female art students in an art world that disadvantages them massively. Why have they not all been feminists? This, for me, is a guiding question in writing the feminist art history of the past twenty years. In relation to this very, very important question you just posed (which artists should be prioritised?), art historians at large have an obligation to discuss all artists who play a role in shaping art history, including women and men who were not feminists or committed to any other politics – simply 127

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Feminism and Art History Now because art history is not the place where progressive politics is affirmed but a terrain where various forces operate. This is the case if the model of historiography based on creative subjects (rather than, say, processes and structures) persists. In this kind of art history, the difference with feminist art historians is that we claim the right to examine the criteria for determining what counts as ‘contribution’ as well as the causes that have prevented specific (creative) subjects, many of them women, from making such a contribution, or even the causes that have prevented access to the very identity of the artist which remains socially constructed. But coming back to today, given the numbers of artists, and if it is true that most, or even half of, art-school students are female, it is to be expected that artists who in this case indeed happen to be women will be differentially positioned vis-à-vis any politics, including feminist politics. There are women artists who see themselves as an individual professional – like being a lawyer or an accountant, and so have to compete with other professionals for work and therefore visibility (or vice versa?). The professionalisation of the identity of the artist in a capitalist market economy, persistently cultivated in art schools, is a problem for all politics – again, including feminism. So, I  think that when you say ‘serious people’ don’t want to be associated with a banalised discourse, this may be interpreted as ‘serious professionals’. Yet to the extent that we are talking about visibility, I think it is tragic if an artist is a closet feminist – that is, if she subscribes to feminism but withdraws her work from feminism (as a public discourse incorporating art, theory, activism and anything else that comes into this multi-dimensional struggle that feminism has become) so as to achieve visibility for her work. This self-censorship is far more harmful than the ludicrous assertions of a male artist-dinosaur, for we really cannot have feminism without feminists. So if actually feminist artists or academics opt to hide that they are feminists, it is a highly problematic occurrence that we, as historians, need to contextualise and interpret. But, I am asking, how can we interpret such a fact, without alienating the women who choose to act this way? How can we do this and achieve greater solidarity? We cannot afford to be naïve: no one likes being criticised or having explained to them that their own ‘choices’ (even if forced) have victimised them. People tend to get defensive. Women in particular tend to be very defensive, because they tend to be occupying a victimised position more often. 128

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making Lara: Maybe we should foreclose on such defensiveness by validating, rather than antagonising, those that elect such a strategy. Can we identify allies who may have opted to avoid self-identifying as feminists in order not to be associated with very crude discourses around gender and feminism? In a stimulating volume on gender and art from 1993, titled Unmarked, Peggy Phelan suggested that ‘Visibility is a trap… it summons surveillance and the law’, and results in political fetishisation (and perhaps ossification). Coinciding with the publication of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble in 1990, Phelan’s work was, like Butler’s, an attempt to redirect what were then the focal debates within Anglo-American feminism: how to account for the ‘representation’ of women as objectified, submissive and so on. Phelan’s alternative was not to promote women’s invisibility but practices that ‘make counterfeit the currency of our representational economy – not by refusing to participate in it at all, but rather by making work in which the costs of women’s perpetual aversion are clearly measured’.5 This shifts the burden of feminist practice away from naming or claiming a political position to one which calls for the activation of representations of inequality. Or in your terms, to accede to the demands of professionalism in order to develop and implement working practices that subvert them. Angela: Lara, I disagree here, precisely because the connotations of feminism are being extremely powerful at present. Tactically, this is the moment to say ‘you think you can resolve, or even understand, any social problems without feminism? Well, here’s the gender data, even by the World Bank, and the data concerns anything from religion to violence, the economy and the climate’. In racialised, patriarchal capitalism, which is how I would characterise our global ruling system, women who hold power without openly espousing feminism end up serving policies that hurt most women. In 2015, German activist and feminist Josephine Witt made a great point with her shirt that said ‘End ECB Dick-tatorship’.6 She was wearing it when she jumped up on the desk of Mario Draghi, head of an incredibly powerful supra-national, ‘guardian of capitalism’ institution: the European Central Bank. I hope IMF chief Christine Lagarde and German chancellor Angela Merkel, unofficial leader of the Eurozone, took note, though nothing suggests this so far. Educated women should, in principle, be able to understand what it implies to conceal your politics to gain access to the available kinds of power. Who has authorised these kinds of power? To what extent is the art world an expression of these powers? I do understand the refusal to identify publicly 129

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Feminism and Art History Now as a feminist – by which I mean the refusal of an artist or curator or historian to integrate her feminist politics and her practice. But even if we call it refusal, it borders on opportunism. For me, such a choice screams oppression. Systemic oppression –precisely the oppression that feminism is intended to undermine. I find it hard to endorse a position that reproduces oppression. So, what I  understand is that individuals cannot stand alone against this oppression. Collective action is needed. Feminism provides the means for such collective, even organised, action. Effectively, the issue you raise is why feminism cannot protect the free expression of feminism in a professional context. It is a really important question, which should be connected with workers’ rights. We lack the feminist institutions to address the issue. Lara: The politics of feminism of course require us to act collectively, but does collective action require constant visibility? You have equated the refusal to identify with the refusal to act as a feminist. But surely it is possible to act as a feminist without wearing the t-shirt, as in the example you cited above? The importance of making tactical identifications with one’s gender or other identity was one of the key insights of 1980s academic feminist practice, argued in texts such as Gayatri Spivak’s ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ (1988), or Denise Riley’s book Am I That Name? Feminism and the Category of Women in History (1988). Here I am suggesting inverting the process, to strategically accede to certain forms of oppression, as you describe it, in the same way that we design and negotiate strategic forms of resistance. Are there conditions under which it might be desirable or necessary to enclose (rather than disclose) our feminist politics as a means to appropriate a space within which to act in a feminist way? In this case, feminist visibility may be more of an ethical than a political issue. Angela: You raise an incredibly important question and address a distinction that is most urgent for feminism: between ethics and politics. For me, feminism is both. But I guess you are saying: feminism strives for an ethical outcome (the end of oppression) through a political route (addressing power and interests). After much thought I have come to disagree with John Holloway’s How to Change the World without Taking Power (2000), because only when you try to take power you see how far the system will go to prevent you from taking power. So, feminists need to take power, but how to take it, and how to change the meaning, procedures and effects of power, is the issue here. 130

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making To make an analogy, only when the Left took power as government in a Western democracy (Greece in 2015), a lot of us understood the true size of the forces opposing this taking of power. But, to continue with the analogy, the Left did not take such power by slowly infiltrating the institutions; rather, it declared its politics in the historical circumstances and gained a critical majority. Gaining the critical majority is key for feminism too, even if to demonstrate the true size of forces that oppose feminist politics at present. Otherwise, how will feminism expand its popular appeal? It is not only feminists who can hide strategically, it is also feminism’s enemies who can. Yet feminism does not principally operate as a political party (though why feminist parties don’t do well where they exist is food for thought). Rather, feminism is a social force. It has many ways of impacting politics and policy, at least in a democracy – a term, of course, that is constantly re-interpreted under pressure from capital. Let’s be specific about infiltration as one such way. Infiltration means to enter the institution and then act from the position of power it grants you. Let’s consider the university. So, you don’t say you do feminist research when you get the job but then engage in feminist research after you get it. Given our loss of rights as employees today, what would prevent you from losing this power and your job once it became clear what your work is about? What would protect you, other than public endorsement of your feminist programme, which would require a lot of people to be openly in support of feminism? So, I  am not confident that a tactic of concealing-revealing can be widely adopted. It is however justifiable, politically and ethically, when the conditions of oppression are extreme. And I  guess your question, Lara, raises this issue: are they actually extreme? Lara: I feel that many crises of social justice manifesting themselves at this moment demonstrate how deliberate are the deprivations that secure the power of Western governments and corporations. During these last months that I have spent in Canada, I have been reminded of how racism and its special forms of misogyny are systematically embedded throughout the institutions of governance throughout North America. This is explicit in the refusal of the Canadian Prime Minister7 to launch an enquiry into the reasons for the disproportionate violence against Indigenous women in Canada and in the astonishing police violence against African Americans in the United States, which has been documented, and protested, very prominently over the last year or so.8 The refusal on the part of the most 131

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Feminism and Art History Now powerful agents of state to recognise these degradations seems obviously connected to the necessity of continuing to ensure that these populations are disempowered and dispossessed. These examples provide more obviously extreme cases of the systematic forms of discrimination that shape our world, but I think that these comparisons help us keep in mind the scale of the problem we are facing. Angela: Feminists cannot afford to lose sight of this: discrimination is not accidentally in place but because it serves someone’s interests. This is partly why I subscribe to historical materialism as a feminist, because it points to that social and economic truth. Not everyone does. In the framework I adopt, it is obvious that as much as you re-arrange the furniture, the actual construction/edifice remains faulty. But many others say: re-arranging the furniture can give us more space, and in fact that’s all we are prepared to do because the finitude of human life prevents us from undertaking the more radical and lengthy operation of rebuilding the house. I respect this position but refuse to accept it as the last word on the matter. I can only see re-arranging the furniture as a tactic within a broader strategy practised on many fronts. In short, minimal reforms are to be pursued in parallel with keeping alive a long-term struggle towards the transformation of art and society. When it comes to this transformation, things don’t look at all good: we are in a process of losing rights such as pensions, a welfare state, a working day that leaves room for life that is not work, free education and so on – obviously, all hugely important for feminism and women. Religion, which I see as the enemy of women’s rights, is everywhere. Democracy is something that needs to be defended rather than taken for granted – and, more importantly, democracy is openly used to legitimise racism, authoritarianism and even neo-fascism, which is why we hear about a Weimar revival since the crisis of 2008.9 It is important to remember that this is the context in which we seek mild reforms. So, when we are talking about ‘institutional transformation’, by which I think we mean reform, we must be aware of the broader social context, its historicity. Lara: It is precisely this broader context of which I  am mindful, and the extent to which even apparently minor operations in the machinery of differencing are part of very serious and epidemic discrimination. Perhaps situating the huge range of injustices that feminist art practice and theory has already called out within those broader contexts could help us to understand 132

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making their persistence. I am thinking especially of the ways that judgments about gender are passed off as critical judgments (Griselda Pollock’s work has been particularly good at exposing the operation of these values, for example the essay ‘Modernity and the spaces of femininity’ in her book Vision and Difference, 1988) and how market investments can be expressed as curatorial evaluations (the correlation between market and museum values are hard to overlook, and probably essential to the functioning of the public museum). For forty years or more feminists have confronted the art world with the pernicious effects of its gender ideology expecting that an exposé would suffice to secure corrective action, and yet we still find women disadvantaged in almost every kind of transaction which the art world operates.10 Perhaps we have misunderstood the political scene in which we are involved. It is painful and costly to relinquish privileges: as feminists we know this because we are constantly engaged in exercises of self-reflection and intellectual scrutiny as to the means by which we might develop more inclusivity, more equality. You and I have enough privilege to know that creating the conditions in which inclusivity flourishes can be difficult work, even when one wants to do it. Soliciting such changes from those who do not feel bound by the claims of equality is inevitably going to meet resistance. Angela: Lara, indeed, things are as you say: it is becoming clearer and clearer that we are confronted with a conscious attachment to power that prevents gender equality in the arts. Overall, we cannot talk in the abstract: in this historical moment, we already have generations of feminists in the institution (from the academy to museums) and so we must take collective action to end this terrible dilemma (to be or not to be openly a feminist?) for anyone who is not in the institution and for anyone (numbers increasing, through internships and zero-hours contracts and the like) who is disempowered by, and in, their very relation to the institution. There is a continuum in which we exist as feminists, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, hopefully. I think however that both feminist curating and feminist art history have achieved remarkable outcomes. Therefore the issue is what to do next, where do we go from here. In globalisation, capital’s attack on labour, including artistic and curatorial labour, affects women massively. We know that even if women embrace capitalism and take part in the rat-race organised by its institutions (especially in advanced neoliberalism), they continue being disadvantaged. The art market is a gendered space, and gender is a criterion that regulates prices for works (in fact, all income markets are, if we 133

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Feminism and Art History Now consider the gender pay gap, which exists even in the British universities). And if we have women in museums, are most of them cleaners rather than directors – a hierarchy of more and less valued labour imposed by capitalism? And are the assumed greater numbers of female artists connected with accepting to live and work precariously, with the normalisation of precarity? These questions cannot receive answers immediately, because we lack the data. To me this suggests that feminism must move on to a new stage and invest in data collection. We need a feminism of statistics, transnationally practised. Feminism needs to converse with bureaucrats controlling the cash flow and that’s the language they understand. Do you think it is possible for feminism to carry on by speaking about exclusion simply in terms of women having internalised an inferior position? Lara: I agree that feminist art, art history and curating have achieved remarkable outcomes and that we are able to ask why we have had this much success, and not more, is a marker of that achievement. But what you are suggesting is that our success has been mitigated because we have failed to ask the right questions, or collect the right data, that will reveal more completely the nature of women’s oppression. But what if the problem is not with feminism’s failure to ask the right questions, but with the failure of those with power to act on feminism’s claims? What if the problem is that those with power simply refuse to share it? Ensuring that feminism remains a vulnerable and marginal position, by refusing to recognise its significance, is a way for those in power to keep the gates closed. We always assume that we are facing honourable opposition, when it’s wholly possible – and to me, likely – that we are not negotiating in good faith. The strategy of calling those in power to justice does not appear to be working. Angela: What you say needs to be widely heard: demonstrating that the right is on your side does not mean that those in control will change the structures to honour your position. Ultimately, they have interests to defend. Lara: There is a very interesting discussion taking place in relation to US racial inequality as we start this exchange in the spring of 2015, in which the structures of racial power are being explicitly identified as the interests of possession and ownership. This resonates with the history of AfricanAmerican enslavement and other episodes in North American history including the confiscation of property and internment of the Japanese in the  US and Canada during World War II, and the highly racialised American  penal system which incorporates the exploitation of prisoner 134

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making labour. In relation to these debates, some people have been rereading Cheryl Harris’s 1993 essay ‘Whiteness as Property’,11 in which she writes about the ways in which the American legal system rendered race a form of property by excluding black people from certain kinds of paid employment. She also writes about the practice of racial ‘passing’ as a circumvention of those systems of privilege. In such cases, individuals who would legally have been considered black but who appear to be white avoided the strictures that would normally apply to their occupation. Although instances of ‘passing’ did not explicitly challenge the systems of property privilege associated with race, they did allow some individuals access to wages and property that would otherwise have been closed to them (not without an associated emotional cost). Harris concludes her essay by advocating affirmative action – that is, rendering such challenges to systematic forms of exclusion visible – but I found her discussion of ‘passing’ quite interesting as a means of describing something that has subverted the mechanisms of exclusion without drawing attention to itself. Specifically in relation to feminist art and curating, I was thinking of ‘passing’ as a useful way of describing acts by which people who might or might not describe themselves as feminists have wielded the resources of major art institutions to promote art and ways of thinking about it that challenge the reductive sexism that pertains in so much of the art world. To give two examples: firstly, the 2014 Hannah Höch retrospective at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, co-curated by the art historian Dawn Ades, which was replete with feminist (and anti-racist) content whose presence in the exhibition was treated as a matter of course in Höch’s work and life. Secondly, the exhibition At Work: Eva Hesse/Studiowork, Betty Goodwin/Work Notes, Agnes Martin/Work Ethic exhibited in 2010 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which addressed very feminist issues of labour and materials in women artists’ work, and whose complementary programme included a talk by the well-known feminist writer and curator Lucy Lippard, but whose promotional materials did not use the word feminism or draw attention to the subjects being women artists.12 In museums, galleries, universities, and other areas of what we now call the ‘cultural industries’, we are invited to present our work as novel, challenging, original, shocking, creative, meaningful. Many feminist practices could be presented under one of these guises, rather than as feminism per se. Angela: Well, all these adjectives – especially ‘creative’ – have been hijacked by the capitalist industries you mention, that is, capitalism. And capitalism 135

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Feminism and Art History Now is against feminism unless it can use it to its own ends – this is what Hester Eisenstein and Nancy Fraser have argued, correctly, in my view.13 I have not studied enough how the horrendous system of racial oppression is articulated with capitalism, so I am hesitant in drawing an analogy with racial ‘passing’ in these terms. But given the current exacerbation of racism I don’t think that ‘passing’ can be an oppositional strategy but just a survival tactic. These are two different things. No amount of ‘passing’ can stand against the US police attacking Blacks, British journalists characterising African and Middle Eastern migrants as ‘vermin’ and the EU’s inhuman decision to prevent even by military action people fleeing war and poverty from arriving at European shores.14 This racism requires active and open solidarity that calls for a collective declaration of anti-racism. If the alternative is to stick to achieving small reforms, I actually wonder what these could be at present, given the context created by global capital and racialised patriarchy. As I said previously, if we take the betterment of female art professionals as a feminist objective, we must come up with data that proves the disadvantage. But even if we prove through the data that women artists and many curators work in precarious conditions, if we prove that we keep producing graduates that will never live off their art or curatorial qualifications, my guess (like yours perhaps?) is that nothing will be done. This is because the capitalist ethos that controls the job market wants greater productivity with the lowest labour cost possible and its surplus labour reserves. And it uses racialised patriarchy to differentiate among workers – we have so much evidence of this, it’s been going on since industrialisation, as I was reminded by re-reading Sheila Rowbotham recently, but much more carefully this time.15 Lara: Angela, throughout this conversation we have both been framing the art world and art history within systems of racism, misogyny and material inequality which we see operating within the world at large. For many people, the art world is precisely the place which provides a refuge from such structures – especially the structures of profit and production which characterise capitalism. In the nineteenth century, art ‘for art’s sake’ was understood to evade the imperatives of rational production and, later on, Theodor Adorno identified art as an area of practice which might contest a ‘culture industry’. The justification for having public institutions of art like museums would appear to be that art has a public value relating to education and quality of life, not just an economic one. The choice of art as a career is 136

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making usually seen as a rejection of the values of monetary success, or a challenge to the regime of property in contemporary Western life. Your academic work has been very assertive in challenging this account of the art world, and particularly in identifying feminism’s role as a mode of resistance to the imperatives of capitalism. Are you arguing that any participation in the art world as it stands is a form of complicity with the dominance of capital? Angela: The art world is not an exception within the general regime of production, far from it and contrary to ‘exceptionalism’ positions that come also from the Left.16 Studies such as Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello’s have convincingly argued that the art world, as shaped at some point in the twentieth century, has been a hub of ideological legitimation for the regime of precarious, flexibilised labour.17 And this is something that we must consider very seriously, in addition to Eisenstein’s and Fraser’s arguments that the ways in which women entered the workforce proved in favour of capitalism. I think that a ‘tactic’ of institutional participation at this point in the history of our society can only be justified by material need. We participate because we lack the means to reproduce ourselves if we opt out. And only some of us are allowed to participate because competition (including among women) is structural in capitalism, including its arts sector. An outcome of this competition is also to make desirable the structures that exclude you through this very competition. What about the majority of people who, despite being just as qualified as the artist who sells and the feminist art historian in employment, will never get that job or sell work? This tactic of small reforms will never be a solution to this problem. Unemployment and the dependence on the system it creates sustain our capitalist society. As Silvia Federici has argued, capitalism is practising this expropriation daily.18 Gregory Sholette’s work on the value of the invisibility of most artists – he uses the term ‘dark matter’19 – has been around for some years now, and it needs to be elaborated on by feminism, if we are to understand how the limits of existent tactics work and how feminism can proceed. That said, feminism is a divided field. There exist women who come into feminism thinking ‘my struggle is about achieving equality in this capitalist system, I just want to enter the competition without being disadvantaged as a woman, I want an art market where very few women sell alongside very few men, and the rest of women and men can just remain 137

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Feminism and Art History Now invisible, or poor, or whatever, fine with me’. Besides the ethico-political issues I have with this position, I also find it extremely naïve and ignorant. I think it lacks an understanding of how ‘being a woman’ translates into an actual life, into actual ‘choices’ and actual ‘work and income opportunities’. For example, to compete equally with men would imply a society where women are not tied to the nurturing of children, since men are not. What would this society look like? What would a society look like where neither men nor women are responsible for the nurturing of children so that they can pursue careers, the kind of 24/7 availability capitalism requires? It is a ludicrous idea, but I am trying to make a point. Or, what is this society where both men and women share equal responsibility for the nurturing of children? Is it possible in the format of the nuclear family (heteronormative or not), with two parents working equally inside and outside the home, on the average salary or low-key freelancing and without free childcare, in fact with childcare being so expensive as to make the whole plan unworkable? What part-time salary do you need in order to pay £660 per month for three days of nursery per week, as in Edinburgh in 2016? So, you see, when you consider the specifics, things start looking a lot harder than on paper. I’d rather commit to realising a different social order altogether. Indeed, I don’t think that demanding ‘a bigger slice of a rotten pie’, as Lucy Lippard put it in the mid-1970s, can help feminism’s health. Lara: I  agree that the gains that might be realised from ‘passing’ in the art world have limitations because one is participating in the reproduction of a system that functions through inequality, but is that a reason not to seek those gains, and see what we can do with them? As you said, we have already made a lot of changes. Could we hope to get the big reforms without first winning the small ones? And how can artists, curators, historians, technicians use their working time to move towards those larger goals, if it is not through instantiating those values in their work? It is surely the values, rather than what word we use to name them, that are meaningful. Angela: According to one kind of revolutionary theory, only a regime overthrow can break the vicious circle controlled by an oligarchy. That is, yes, you go for the biggest reform first. Yet we rarely, if ever, see this kind of revolution to be spearheaded by feminism for reasons that cannot be even summarily presented here. If then we concur that feminism does not operate by rupture but by what Antonio Gramsci called ‘passive revolution’,20 then all means are acceptable in this slow, cross-generational process. 138

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making Yet if you consider what passive revolution has achieved since Gramsci came up with the idea, well, it’s not a lot, is it? If patriarchal values were not hegemonic across all classes, we would not have a Tory Health Minister ‘personally and principally opposed to abortion’ in Britain in 2015.21 I can’t see how the final blow to the welfare state will benefit women, and during the Brexit campaign many women believed that exit from the EU might delay this. In July 2016, we can laugh bitterly at Julie Burchill having written that £350 million sent to the EU per week ‘could be better spent on the priorities of women voters, such as healthcare’.22 It was a persuasive lie, because of the crisis of social reproduction experienced in contemporary capitalism.23 This crisis won’t be resolved through piecemeal reforms, it requires a transnational, radical left politics with feminism at its centre. This is not in sight. So in the end, I would say that in our juncture feminism’s passive revolution is a last resort. Yet we have nothing more valuable to do than engage in it daily and see what kind of history it makes – including what history of art. Lara:  I  don’t think there’s anything passive about being a feminist, even when it’s being done on the quiet. But the necessary transformations of feminism in the current political moment may require new commitments to feminist solidarity and education.

Notes 1. See Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference:  Femininity, Feminism and the Histories of Art (London; New York, 1988). 2. Turkish Report was included in the 11th Istanbul Biennial What Keeps Mankind Alive? (2009) curated by the Zagreb-based collective WHW. 3. ‘Intimate with Tracey Emin – My Bed 2012’, Schirn Kunstalle Frankfurt, 4 minutes 14 seconds. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= Kg5ad44knPA (accessed 29 November 2016). 4. Nick Clark, ‘What’s the Biggest Problem with Women Artists? None of Them Can Actually Paint, says Georg Baselitz’, The Independent, 6 February 2013. Available at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/whats-the-biggest-problem-with-women-artists-none-of-them-can-actually-paintsays-georg-baselitz-8484019.html (accessed 29 November 2016). 5. Peggy Phelan, Unmarked (London, 1993), p. 164. 6. Heather Stewart and Agencies, ‘ “End ECB Dick-tatorship”: Woman Disrupts Draghi Speech, Throws Paper at Officials’. Available at http://www.theguardian.com/ world/ 2015/ apr/ 15/ ecb- protest- woman- interrupts- mario- draghispeech (accessed 29 November 2016).

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Feminism and Art History Now 7. The Canadian Prime Minister was Stephen Harper, who was defeated in the October 2015 Federal Election. 8. For more information about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women campaign, Lara suggests that readers look up the Support for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women community-led database and associated webpages. Available at http://www.itstartswithus-mmiw.com/background (accessed 29 November 2016). 9. Richard Seymour, ‘Welcome to Weimar Britain’, Al Jazeera (17 June 2016), http:// www.aljazeera.com/ indepth/ opinion/ 2016/ 06/ weimar- britain160617105948993.html (accessed 29 November 2016). 10. For a survey of these problems see Maura Reilly, ‘Taking the Measure of Sexism:  Facts, Figures and Fixes’, and numerous responses to this piece in ArtNews online, posted 05/26/15 3:45 pm. Available at http://www.artnews. com/ 2015/ 05/ 26/ taking- the- measure- of- sexism- facts- figures- and- fixes (accessed 29 November 2016). 11. Cheryl I. Harris, ‘Whiteness as Property’, Harvard Law Review 106/8 (1993), pp. 1707–91. 12. At Work:  Hesse, Goodwin, Martin, Art Gallery of Ontario September 2010–January 2011. 13. See Hester Eisenstein, Feminism Seduced: How Global Elites Use Women’s Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World (Boulder, CO, 2009) and Nancy Fraser, ‘Feminism, Capitalism and the Cunning of History’, New Left Review 56 (2009), pp. 97–117. 14. See John Wight, ‘Have Police Departments across the US Declared War on Black People?’, RT Question More (5 May 2015), available at http://rt.com/ op-edge/255829-police-brutality-black-us-rights/; Zoe Williams, ‘Katie Hopkins Calling Migrants Vermin Recalls the Darkest Events of History’, Guardian (19 April 2015), available at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ 2015/ apr/ 19/ katie- hopkins- migrants- vermin- darkest- historydrownings; Ian Traynor, ‘EU Draws Up Plans for Military Attacks on Libya Targets to Stop Migrant Boats’, Guardian (10 May 2015), available at http:// www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/10/eu-considers-military-attackson-targets-in-libya-to-stop-migrant-boats (all accessed 29 November 2016). 15. Sheila Rowbotham, Women, Resistance and Revolution: A History of Women and Revolution in the Modern World (London, 2013 [1972]). 16. Indicatively, see Hans Abbing, Why Are Artists Poor? (Amsterdam, 2002) and David Beech, Art and Value (Boston, MA, 2015). 17. Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism (London, 2007 [1999]). 18. Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch:  Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York, 2004).

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A Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making 19. Gregory Sholette, Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (London, 2011). 20. See Antonio Gramsci and David Forgacs (eds), An Antonio Gramsci Reader:  Selected Writings, 1916–1935 (New  York, 1988) and J. Bloomfield, Passive Revolution (New York, 1979). 21. Katie Grant, ‘New Health Minister Opposed to Abortion Urged to Reconsider Stance “that does not reflect the view of the electorate” ’ Independent, 13 May 2015. Available at http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthnews/ charities- urge- new- junior- health- minister- to- reconsider- his- stanceon-abortion-that-does-not-reflect-the-view-of-the-electorate-10248177.html (accessed 29 November 2016). 22. Julie Burchill, ‘The EU is a Feminist Issue. I’m Voting to Leave’, The Spectator (26 March 2016). Available at http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/03/the-eu-isa-feminist-issue-im-voting-to-leave/ (accessed 29 November 2016). 23. See George Kaffentzis, ‘On the Notion of a Crisis in Social Reproduction: A Theoretical Review’, The Commoner 5 (Autumn 2002), http://www.thecommoner.org and Kathi Weeks and Anna Curcio, ‘Social Reproduction, Neoliberal Crisis, and the Problem with Work’, Viewpoint Magazine 5 (2015), https:// viewpointmag.com/ 2015/ 11/ 02/ issue- 5- social- reproduction/ (both accessed 29 November 2016).

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C. Suzanne van Rossenberg, Enlarging Visibility (2007). Digital image.

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Part III

Spatiality|Occupation|Home

Feminist enquiry prompts us to consider how something as seemingly neutral as ‘space’ is in fact invested with political beliefs that shape our actions, behaviours and very subjectivity. The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu described the cultural and symbolic reproduction of power through institutional spaces (including for example the university or museum) and he therefore understood these to be deeply political places where ‘distinction’ between subjects occurs. As women entered universities in unprecedented numbers in the 1960s and 1970s, the hidden rules of these spaces became increasingly visible; women’s absence from (art) history and the taught curricula in most disciplines, already self-evident, was seen by some as a problem to be rectified rather than a natural outcome of different gender roles. While it might be immediately evident that ‘occupation’ links the student sit-in protests of 1968, the feminist struggle for institutional visibility in the 1970s and the Occupy Movement of the past few years, the intricacies of these relations remain to be traced. The gendering of home, the state and its citizenry has tended to form the focus of feminist investigations of gendered space. The divide between the private domestic residence and the ‘public’ world of commerce and politics is an exemplary instance of this entrenched value system, and historians have traced the ‘separate spheres’ phenomenon and its effects on women’s lives across centuries – with ‘the home’ emerging as a necessary

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Feminism and Art History Now site of feminist resistance.1 Nineteenth-century Paris has often provided the archetypical ground for understanding how the art world has been shaped by the spatial articulations of class and gender. Expanding upon Charles Baudelaire’s and Walter Benjamin’s model of the flâneur, the bourgeois man freely able to lay claim to public city streets through acts of voyeuristic wandering, in 1985 Janet Wolff famously wrote of ‘the invisible flâneuse’, contending that women were relatively unfree in public life. Griselda Pollock mapped the urban spaces most closely associated with nascent modernist painting in Paris of the nineteenth century, revealing the extent to which the subjects most closely associated with ‘modern’ art (specifically in T.J. Clark’s 1985 book The Painting of Modern Life) were found in places where the women Impressionists had restricted access. More nuanced accounts of the gendering of public and private have complicated these debates, but these texts established the importance of considering art-making, exhibition and collection as taking place within gendered spaces.2 The influence of spatial thinking about gender is evident in many artworks that have been produced since Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro led the students on the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of Arts from 1970. The Program’s exhibition, Womanhouse, was a pioneering series of sculptural and performance installations that set the tone for many feminist art practices of the succeeding decades. Hannah Hamblin’s chapter provides a valuable overview of Castlemilk Womanhouse, a socially embedded art project that took place in Glasgow in the early 1990s, unmistakeably declaring its indebtedness to the Californian Womanhouse installation in its name: ‘By situating Womanhouse as a “elective foremother”, Castlemilk Womanhouse self-identified in a feminist trajectory of art practice and display.’ However, as Hamblin teases out, there are complexities to this relationship that exceed straightforward artistic inheritance or replication. Rather than focusing on the politics of this matrilineal legacy, the chapter emphasises the differencing effects of space – a condemned Hollywood mansion is clearly distinct from derelict social housing in a deprived area of Glasgow – although this common occupation nicely emphasises feminism’s creative ability to appropriate temporary gaps in the social fabric. The mechanisms by which the social fabric is constituted through space were put under scrutiny by the artist Martha Rosler in If You Lived Here…, an installation at DIA art foundation in New York in 1989. Kirsten Lloyd 144

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Spatiality | Occupation | Home explores how this project exposed the impact of gentrification on urban and home space in New York City, and the ways in which Rosler expanded her artistic practice to include elements of collaborative and participatory practice which expanded the field of artistic production out of the gallery. Her transgression of the limits of the gallery space challenged the segregation of domestic from public, of family from street. In this way, Lloyd argues, Rosler’s exhibition enacted a notion of ‘domestic’ that turned away from models that had preoccupied many feminist artists, such as that of the classed post-war housewife whose situation was characterised by housework, ‘towards the address of an urban subject produced under neoliberal capitalism’. Does such a shift in our conception of ‘domestic space’ allow us to conceive of feminism operating in a different spatial register? Elke Krasny’s chapter proposes a different framing of gendered space by setting about tracing an alternative historiography for contemporary art’s ‘conversational turn’ after 1990, reflecting on the ways in which curatorial and collecting practices manifest gendered ideas of space. Her chapter provides a radical reconfiguration of curating’s historical roots in the eighteenth century, displacing the dominant focus from the public exhibition space onto the semi-private space of the salon. Invoking Tony Bennett’s influential concept of the ‘exhibitionary complex’, which argues that ‘visitors to the museum came to represent the logics of a regulated, governed, and obedient public’, Krasny wonders whether ‘in the context of political thought, governing and conversing represent two different states of society’ which may underpin ‘an analogous dichotomy between the museum and the salon’. In the feminised space of the salon, individuals enjoyed horizontal relationships based on dialogue which stand in direct contrast to the patterns of visual domination that characterise the exhibition. According to Krasny’s logic, visitors to the feminised space of the salon should ‘be understood as a threat to modernity’s project of the individual, independent masculine subject formation’. The radicality of this proposition and its implication for society at large was huge, Krasny contends, but the (re)emergence of conversation-as-artwork in the new institutions of contemporary art permits us to look back with fresh eyes to perceive with greater comprehension the project of the salonnière. As Krasny boldly states, the salonniere’s was ‘a position that we might identify, in hindsight, as a curator’. These chapters take up ideas about space in various ways that call our attention to the historicisation of space, but also the spatiality of history. 145

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Feminism and Art History Now The very language we use to discuss historical knowledge reveals that studies in humanities subjects are replete with spatial metaphors. Mapping, the field, terrain, boundaries, networks: our vocabulary exposes a fascination with spatial organisational modes. Here we can strategically think history as a series of mapped spaces, which permits us to consider the ‘home’ discipline of art history as something feminist researchers can appropriate through intellectual ‘squatting’ in order to repossess and reshape its dominant knowledge. In light of the scale of current geo-political crises concerning borders, self-governance, the status of the refugee and migrant and the apparently unlimited authority of multinational corporations to claim space, questions about the gendering of space and mechanisms by which it is claimed are bound to continue to be transformed.

Notes 1. Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850 (Chicago, 1981). 2. See for example Aruna D’Souza and Tom McDonough (eds), The Invisible Flåneuse: Gender, Public Space and Visual Culture (Manchester, 2008); Ruth Iskin, Modern Women and Parisian Consumer Culture in Impressionist Painting (Cambridge, 2007).

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7 The Salon Model: The Conversational Complex Elke Krasny

The second half of the 1990s witnessed a conversational turn in curating. Ranging from small discussion circles to blockbuster-like marathons, conversations abounded in museums, art galleries and exhibitions. The very same period witnessed an increasing number of publications dedicated to museum studies, including the history and theory of curating. Whereas the questions raised by museum scholarship were very much concerned with exhibitions, the same cannot be said about conversations. That conversations are neglected subjects in museum histories betrays a long history of the feminisation of conversation as an intellectual, artistic and political practice, whose significance my chapter attempts to understand and restore while keeping in mind the gendered and other politics that pervade contemporary curatorial practice. The contemporary conversational turn in curating could have motivated a historiographical search for an earlier curatorial model based upon conversations – but, so far, such a search has not happened. The importance of the exhibition has been firmly joined with the logic of the museum by museum studies. In his influential study The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics (1995) Tony Bennett introduces the exhibitionary complex, a concept central to museology and critical museum studies.1 I would like to suggest that there was in fact a historical conversational complex analogous to the exhibitionary complex, which has never 147

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Feminism and Art History Now been fully investigated. While the exhibitionary complex was produced in the museum, the conversational complex was produced in the salon, particularly in the salon cultures of Berlin and Vienna around 1800. Like the museum, ‘salons were among the first institutions of modern culture’.2 Both museum and salon spaces assume an important historical position in the production of modernity, modern culture and modern subjects. In what follows I seek to work out the implications of the salon model and its conversational complex with respect to political thought, curating and art-making. I am particularly interested in understanding the salon model and its conversational complex with respect to introducing a different historiography of curating. Let me now turn to the writings of the British philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), whose description of the penal system of confinement has been central to Bennett’s proposal of the exhibitionary complex. I will show that Bentham’s political thought on conversing is equally important to formulating the concept of the conversational complex. Via Leela Gandhi’s work I will highlight how Bentham joins the prepolitical with conversing and, based upon this, develop further the concept of a conversational complex connected to the salon model. Michel Foucault drew upon Bentham’s two-volume treatise on the panopticon when writing an analysis of ‘power/knowledge relations during the formation of the modern period’, published as Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison in 1975.3 Bennett’s study, The Birth of the Museum, echoes Foucault’s title, and it is via the philosopher’s work on ‘institutions of confinement’ that Bennett develops his analysis of institutions of ‘exhibition’.4 ‘Bentham had envisaged, by making the penitentiaries open to public inspection – that children, and their parents, were invited to attend their lessons in civics.’5 Much rather, as Bennett argues, such lessons were organised through the exhibitionary complex which involved ‘the transfer of objects and bodies from the enclosed and private domains in which they had previously been displayed (but to a restricted public) into progressively more open and public arenas where, through the representation to which they were subjected, they formed vehicles for inscribing and broadcasting messages of power (but of a different type) throughout society’.6 Not only did the visitors to the museum see, and inspect, the objects representing histories of the past and the present, they also saw, and inspected, each other. ‘It was in thus democratizing the eye of power that the expositions 148

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The Salon Model realised Bentham’s aspirations for a system of looks within which the central position would be available to the public at all times, a model lesson in civics in which a society regulated itself though self-observation.’7 The exhibitionary complex transformed the museum from a cabinet of curiosity into an institution of governance. The visitors to the museum were understood to both embody and represent the logics of a regulated, governed and obedient public. I will now turn to A Fragment on Government, the first book by Jeremy Bentham, to work out the underpinnings for the conversational complex and tease out its key differences from the exhibitionary complex. It was the year of 1776 when this book was published, and Bentham wrote: When a number of persons (whom we may style subjects) are supposed to be in the habit of paying obedience to a person, or an assemblage of persons … (whom we may call governor or governors) such persons altogether (subjects and governors) are said to be in a state of political society … When a number of persons are supposed to be in the habit of conversing with each other, at the same time that they are not in any such habit as mentioned above, they are said to be in a state of natural society.8

What provokes my interest here is the dichotomy between governing and conversing. In the context of Bentham’s political thought, governing and conversing represent two different states of society, the political versus the natural, respectively. Leela Gandhi writes: The work of the early Bentham, especially, conveys the clear sense that unmediated relationality, the horizontal arrangement of the ‘face-to-face’ relation, or what he calls ‘conversation’, is constitutively antithetical to the vertical axis of power along which are arranged the motions of obedience, the disciplinary rotations of governmentality. […] That is to say, the condition of horizontal, direct, or immediate relationality – relationality sans obedience – equals a state of prepolitical, nongovernmental, and anarchic sociality. Governmentality becomes shorthand for the improved culture of mediated relationality.9

Via Gandhi’s description of governance and conversation we come to see that there is an analogous dichotomy between the museum and the salon. While 149

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Feminism and Art History Now the exhibitionary complex relies on a vertical axis of power between display and viewer, the conversational complex is based upon horizontality and relationality. I am specifically referring here to the conversational complex as it was cultivated in salon culture in its Berlin and Vienna versions around 1800. In these salons, subjects did not transform into a regulated, governed and obedient public; rather, they conversed in ‘prepolitical’ sociality. The Jewish women who hosted salons, to which they themselves referred as circles or societies, used the economic and spatial resources of their bourgeois homes to offer the supporting infrastructures for conversing subjects. It is of importance to situate the Berlin and Vienna Jewesses and their practice of aesthetic, social, and intellectual conviviality in the specific political and economic context of the time.10 ‘In the early nineteenth century Jews could not live in Vienna unless they purchased the right of toleration for a very large sum of money. In 1829 there were 135  “tolerated” Jews in Vienna, mostly wealthy bankers and merchants, along with their families, employees, servants and assorted hangers-on.’11 Marsha L. Rozenblit writes the following with regard to the specific situation of Jewish women in the Habsburg Empire: They certainly shared legal status with all Jews:  suffering traditional anti-Jewish economic and residential restrictions until Joseph II lifted some of them in his famous Edict of Toleration in 1781 and enjoying civil, legal and political equality after the Austrian and Hungarian governments extended full emancipation in 1867. Yet as women they did not have access to higher education until the turn of the century, nor did they have the right to vote and participate in the political process until after World War I. They could not even join political organizations until 1908.12

The domestic sphere became central to female subjects since the formation of the public sphere precluded their full political participation in the mechanisms of state. Historical female subjects cared for and provided the support necessary for conversation, which was produced in the domestic sphere of the private home. Not only did these salonnières open their private homes as the spatial infrastructures supporting the salon culture, they also actively participated in the conversations. At once hostess and conversationalist amongst other conversationalists, the salonnière performed a dual role. This is crucial to the excavation of a different historiography of curating. The salonnière is at once providing the material as well as immaterial resources 150

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The Salon Model and conversing with others. Here is a position that we might identify in hindsight, as a curator. She curates conversations, which from the twenty-first century we may regard as ephemeral artworks realised in the domestic realm. The fine arts are a public, professional activity, the results of this activity became part of the epistemic power of the exhibitionary complex. ‘What women make, which is usually defined as “craft”, could in fact be defined as “domestic art”.’13 A Western ideology of separate, gendered spheres effectively produced the dichotomy public/domestic art, or, in other words, fine art/craft.14 Both women and men were involved in this domestic art of the ‘conversation as an art work’.15 The salonnière is at once behind and with/in the making of the artwork of conversation. The spatial preposition ‘behind’ places emphasis on the fact that the salonnière acts as hostess providing the material and immaterial support structures and resources, the space of the private home, the food, the skills to make this known as ‘salons or at-homes on a jour fixe’ so local and international visitors could plan their participation.16 As hostess, the salonnière developed the knowledge of how to create ‘a specific social constellation’.17 I activate the figurative meaning of being behind someone, to mean fully supporting someone. The salonière provided other women with intellectual sustenance and access, even as men outranked them as guests in number and renown. […] The company of professionals, moreover, afforded female writers, critics, musicians, and artists a platform for their own creativity and subject matter for their work. […] Composers and artists, men and women, had a place to perform and exhibit when suitable public venues were non existent or inaccessible.18

The salonnière provided the space necessary to have conversations and also participated in these conversations together with her invited guests. The salonnière was with/in the conversation and was therefore actively involved in making ‘conversation as an art work’.19 What we see here are not subjects in isolation, but subjects in conversation. Hanna Lotte Lund stresses that the position of Berlin Jewesses, as subjects without rights, was very different from positions held by French aristocratic gentlewomen and their salons or the Blue Stockings Society in England, led by aristocratic, wealthy and upper-middle-class women.20 Barbara Hahn emphasises that Rahel Levin Varnhagen and other Jewish ‘salonières’ in 151

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Feminism and Art History Now Berlin around 1800 never referred to the gatherings they hosted as salons. ‘Rahel Levin, for instance, called the gatherings staged by the high aristocracy “salons” – for her a distant and inaccessible world. To speak of “salons” inevitably implies a prior history, in particular in the salon culture of the French aristocracy.’21 There is a metonymical operation to be analysed here: society can be understood as society at large as well as a social gathering in the domestic space. The metonymical operation relating the salon or conversation-based gathering to society at large is called pars-pro-toto. The part can stand in for the whole, the social gathering for society at large. In 1799 Rahel Varnhagen wrote: ‘There need be no hierarchy in society. […] The elementary relation within the word society [Gesellschaft] ought to alert us already to this: it is an associate-ness [Gesellenschaft] for joy or the like. There is no master among it, but entirely equal associates [Gesellen]; and it is not appropriate there for anyone to be master.’22 The art of conversation embodies a politics (or utopia) of horizontality and a non-hierarchical society. In the small gatherings no one is a master. There is no hierarchy. Etymology is of importance here. Being without master is etymologically derived in German from the word Gesell/en/schaft: associate-ness. Everybody can become an associate. Everybody can be associated with everybody else. This horizontality and relationality is practised in the domestic sphere, from where it could impact on society at large. This passage from society practised in the domestic sphere to society at large was politically radical. It would have led to a society without hierarchy and without masters. Such a society was put into practice in conversation. The separate spheres model takes on a very different concept of horizontal power in its social potentiality here. We will see how this potentiality was carefully silenced and negated. Jürgen Habermas’ 1962 treatise The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere has informed the majority of political and social history on the social spheres model. What is of interest here, is that Habermas uses the salon as his model to introduce Immanuel Kant’s concept of ‘knowledge of the world (Weltkenntnis)’ and the ‘man of the world (Mann von Welt)’.23 Following Kant, Habermas draws a line from the public sphere via the knowledge of the world and the man of the world to the salon conversations. The gendering and the racialisation of this line is evident. The Jewish women, who initiated and supported salon culture, as well as Jewish men, were effectively excluded from full participation in the public sphere. Jewish men were prevented full access to the public sphere on grounds of 152

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The Salon Model their Jewishness. Jewish women faced a dual oppression that led to their double exclusion from the public sphere as women and as Jews.24 A critical analysis of this constellation evidences that there is no reciprocal line to be drawn from the salon conversations to the public sphere. This was a broken line, interrupted by the absence of those who were excluded from it. Habermas uses the following quotation from Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason (1788) to underline the significance of salon conversations: ‘If we attend to the course of conversation in mixed companies consisting not merely of scholars and subtle reasoners but also of business people or women, we notice that besides storytelling and jesting they have another entertainment, namely arguing.’25 The women-led salon model was written into a public sphere history governed by men of world – at the expense of the women who supported and organised salon culture. Let me turn to the German original in order to draw out the specific gendered operations at work in Immanuel Kant’s choice of words and language. The quote from Kant’s Kritik der praktischen Vernunft reads as follows in German: Wenn man auf den Gang der Gespräche in gemischten Gesellschaften, die nicht bloß aus Gelehrten und Vernünftlern, sondern auch aus Leuten von Geschäften oder Frauenzimmern bestehen, Acht hat, so bemerkt man, daß außer dem Erzählen und Scherzen noch eine Unterhaltung, nämlich das Räsonieren darin Platz findet.26

I want to draw attention to the difference we can discern between the term women and the term Frauenzimmer. Even though one can translate Frauenzimmer into women, much of the nuance that the term Frauenzimmer registers is definitely lost. The word conventionally used for women is Frauen, the word used to refer to female members of the aristocracy or the upper-class bourgeoisie is Dame. The word Frauenzimmer is curiously ambiguous and complex in and of itself: Frauen means women and Zimmer means rooms. Therefore, the literal translation of Frauenzimmer is women’s rooms. Following Duden’s Etymologcial Dictionary of the German Language the word Frauenzimmer developed as follows: The word originated as a spatial term. It first described the rooms designated to be used by the lady or mistress of the house, it later described all the rooms used by all the female servants of the court and even later all the bowers, the women’s private chambers in a medieval castle; eventually the term came 153

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Feminism and Art History Now to describe collectively all the women who actually lived in these rooms; at the beginning of the seventeenth century the term came to be used for an individual woman as well and was particularly used to describe women of noble descent or ladies; then a devaluation process began and since the nineteenth century the word is used to speak of frivolous women and can also be understood to refer to prostitutes.27 The decline of the word Frauenzimmer was already well underway by the time Kant used it in 1788. Therefore, his use of the word is at best ambiguous. Habermas states that ‘It was the world of the men of letters but also that of the Salon, in which “mixed companies” engaged in critical discussions; here in the bourgeois salon, the public sphere was established.’28 Following Kant and Habermas here, the man of world and the public sphere emerge from the salon and its conversations. Yet, the salon as a woman-led space and its complex culture of conversation that effectively bridges between the domestic sphere and the public sphere is not taken into account. On one hand we witness the process of salon culture’s devaluation and feminisation. On the other hand we witness the process of the making of the man of world and his public sphere via salon culture without acknowledging the specific significance of the mixed companies that produced the art of conversation. Taken together, these two lines of thought support each other to arrive at public sphere without equal involvement or participation of women or Jews. The salon is a Frauenzimmer, and I deliberately misread the term now and place my emphasis on its constituent element Zimmer, room. The salon was a Frauenzimmer, a room opened up and created by women as a support structure for the art of conversation. Whilst the salon is acknowledged in its importance within public sphere discourse, it is precisely via this discourse that the salon is rendered a space supporting masculine subject formation, resulting in a man of world. While men of world, artists, thinkers, writers of the Romantic period, enjoyed the fertile and inspiring ground of salon conversations that fuelled their aesthetic and intellectual energy, the very same men put forward a discursive formation that effectively devalued and feminised salon culture. This feminisation had at once political and aesthetic reasons. The practice of a society beyond hierarchy, beyond strict social role models for men and women as well as for Jews and Jewesses, was too dangerous were it to become a political reality and not merely domestic art taking place in the privacy of homes. The practice of conversation as art work,29 at once 154

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The Salon Model co-emergent with and co-dependent upon others, profoundly challenges the artist-as-genius position distinguished by the production of art conceived of in isolation and based upon the subject model of the independent individual.30 Therefore, it proved to be necessary to devalue and feminise the subject formation produced in the art of conversation. ‘The most vehement and influential attack on the art of conversation as shallow, vain and deceptive came from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who also denounced the excessive power of the “gentle sex” in the salons, where the “natural” inferiority of woman to man was subverted and men were feminized.’31 And this is entirely in line with Kant’s use of the term Frauenzimmer I discussed before. Ultimately, this salon culture has to be understood as a threat to modernity’s project of the individual, independent, masculinist subject formation. The aesthetic and political stakes were high: in the salons, a different society and a different art-making appeared possible. Let me now continue to find the man of world in the museum. ‘[T]he displacement, in the art gallery, of the king by the citizen as the arch-actor and metanarrator of a self-referring narrative formed part of a new and broader narrative, one with a wider epistemic reach in which it is “Man” who functions as the arch-actor and metanarrator of the story of his (for it was a gendered narrative) own development.’32 This story produced gendered, classed, racialised exclusions in order to constitute what was considered historically relevant. The curators who provided the material basis, the objects with which to structure these narratives, did not appear to communicate with the public. Rather, the museum accordingly introduced a division of labour. Bennett emphasises the ‘hidden spaces of the museum where knowledge was produced and organized in camera’.33 From this follows a binary between production and reception with a hidden curator as public knowledge producer and a public museum audience that consisted of both women and men. Paul O’Neill describes the historical role of the museum curator as ‘curator-as-carer working with collections out of sight of the public’.34 This curator-as-carer did not provide much in terms of a historical subject formation that was a precedence for the curator-as-author introduced in the second half of the twentieth century. However, the salonnière might have offered a historical subject formation of interest to the contemporary curator positionality. The salonnière’s work was at once curatorial practice and art practice and might therefore have been well suited to be understood as the subject formation 155

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Feminism and Art History Now after which contemporary curatorship was modelled. Yet, the domestic sphere, the feminisation, and the genderedness of her positionality precluded that. Therefore, ultimately the masculinist artist-as-genius concept was activated for the curator-as-author concept. However, the mid-1990s witnessed the passage from museum-curator to curator-as-author, and the arrival of the conversational turn in curating. In their 1996 essay, ‘From Museum Curator to Exhibition Auteur: Inventing a Singular Position’, Nathalie Heinrich and Michael Pollak analyse the passage from ‘curator to creator’, which they link to the individualist, masculinist subject position of ‘the auteur’.35 They state: Therefore, it is in the name of the privilege accorded invention and creation – of the singularity of the individual creator of an artwork and his or her capacity for innovation when faced with the solidified traditions in the institutions  – that the original work, the combination of works and documents, which constitutes an exhibition, can be judged. In other words, in extremis, it is as auteur that an exhibition curator will eventually be regarded. This is certainly an extreme position, but it is the passage to this extreme, which is of interest to us here.36

We have seen that the curator-as-carer was hidden in camera and did not appear publicly in the role of curator-as-author. The salonnière who conversed with other subjects in the process of making art as conversation might have offered a complicated and interesting subject position combining the curator-as-carer with the curator-as-author, but she had never been considered a curator in the first place. The literal meanings of the Latin root of the words to ‘curate’ and ‘curator’ did not lend themselves to the construction of the curator-as-author at all. The meanings found in translation have to do with care, service, maintenance, management, healing, provision and distribution of resources. In a German–Latin dictionary Josef Stowasser offers the following definitions which I have translated into English: care I. look after, to take care of something or to take an interest in something, to take something to heart or to worry, to provide or to manage, to affect II. to take care of; 2. to service or to maintain, to foster or to care for somebody; 3. a (sacrifice) to provide; b. to manage, to

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The Salon Model command; c. (sick people) to treat, to cure; d. (money) to provide, to obtain or to get, to pay.37

The historical role model for the curator-as-author was found in an earlier model of a fully male-identified subject position: the artist-as-genius. Catherine M. Soussloff dates the formation of the artist-as-genius to the Early Modern Period. ‘The situation of the artist whose origins can be identified as textual and located specifically in the early biographies of artists but whose genius is universal is one that we have come to accept as the norm in our culture.’38 According to Catherine M. Soussloff the passage in art history was that from craftsman to artist. We see here that the passage from curator-as-carer to curator-as-author echoes this earlier passage. Conversations have been just as central as exhibitions to art curating since the mid-1990s. In 1995 Hans Ulrich Obrist curated Mind Revolution, which he described as ‘Curating (Non)-Conferences’.39 The event used ‘Ernst Pöppel’s research centre near Cologne in Jülich, where there were hundreds of scientists and laboratories. […] And so the “conference” we organized at the research centre, “Art and Brain”, had all the constituents of a colloquium except the colloquium. There were coffee breaks, a bus trip, meals, tours of the facilities, but no colloquium.’40 What we see here is the production of conditions enabling relationality, horizontality and the avoidance of a vertical axis of power. We also see that existing infrastructure, in this case a research centre, was used as a support structure for ‘private conversations’ between artists and scientists. Again, such private conversations have the potential to impact on art, science, society, economy, politics and so on. In short, such conversations impact on public life. As Obrist elaborates: ‘In my practice, the curator has to bridge gaps and build bridges between artists, the public, institutions and other types of communities. The crux of this work is to build temporary communities, by connecting different people and practices, and creating the conditions for triggering sparks between them.’41 We see here that contemporary curating does in fact encompass curating-as-caring as I have analysed it via the salon model. Such curating provides the support necessary for having conversations. It bridges private and public, conversing and governing, art and science. It creates new constellations for conversations, of which the curator becomes part. There is a gendered dimension to be investigated with regard to curating conversations. While female curators have to tread 157

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Feminism and Art History Now carefully in order to escape the gendered dimension of conversations as a both feminised and fleetingly ephemeral activity, male curators inscribe the curator-as-artist position into the conversation practice by turning it into an identifiable oeuvre. The conversation as oeuvre is no longer fleeting and circulates via publication.42 In 1997, documenta X also witnessed a turn to conversation. The curator, Catherine David, had ‘already extended the spatiotemporal nature of the exhibition format’ by inviting and interacting with 100 guests over 100 days.43 The series of discussions, debates and events featured speakers including Ackbar Abbas, Giorgio Agamben, Edward Said, Etienne Balibar, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Geeta Kapu. Issues of state and nation prevailed and clearly emphasise the post-colonial perspective of the programming and the outreach beyond Western, European-centric thought. The title of the programme, ‘100 Days  – 100 Guests’, refers to hospitality. However, the guest is an ambivalent figure. The Latin root of the word ‘guest’ bears witness to that:  hostis means at once guest and enemy. In a globalised world with ever more borders, not everyone is a welcome guest. Many critical debates followed the public lectures and discussions. These exchanges were a catalyst for the founding of the international antiracist network No Person Is Illegal at documenta X. This network assists immigrants regardless of their immigration status. The salon acted as a bridge between the domestic and the public. Documenta X bridged between the art world context and the larger context of globalisation, society, politics, and migration regimes. Therefore, conversations can, in fact, connect exhibitions ‘like biennials “now understood as vehicles for the production of knowledge and intellectual debate” ’ with public life.44 Five years later, in conjunction with documenta XI, we see again a strong emphasis on curating conversations of global dimension. Curator Okwui Enwezor conceived of five different platforms. They took place in Vienna, New Delhi, Berlin, St. Lucia, Lagos and Kassel. Enwezor describes the term ‘Platform’ as ‘an open encyclopedia for the analysis of late modernity; a network of relationships; in an open form for organizing knowledge; a nonhierarchical model of representation; a compendium of voices, cultural, artistic, and knowledge circuits.’ […] On […] a final level, perhaps the legacy of Enwezor’s contribution was the consciousness-raising [emphasis added] move that momentarily

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The Salon Model shifted the emphasis away from the exhibition, both symbolically and in actuality, by extending the parameters beyond its exhibition framework.45

Again, we see the rejection of a vertical axis of power, and the desire for horizontal exchange and knowledge production as well as its nonhierarchical representation. ‘One of the Documenta curators under Enwezor, Ute Meta Bauer, called this a temporarily “adopted country” for intellectual diasporas from diverse origins and disciplines where art functioned as “a space of refuge – an in-between space of transition and of diasporic passage.” ’46 This description resonates strongly with the spaces created by Jewish women and their salons: For a biblical nation ‘wandering in exile’ and deemed ‘rootless’ by host countries, the salon granted a secure domicile and a sense of belonging – a home of one’s own. Yet it was simultaneously a worldly place – a center for cosmopolitans, who, like the hostess, came from other lands and identified with the international comportment of le monde.47

Hidden in plain sight in curating’s contemporary turn to conversation is the historical subject of the salonnière. ‘Overall, the eighteenth century salonière emerges as muse and patron, and only secondarily as femme savante or femme auteur.’48 The salonnière merges the conflict of providing care and support, muse and patron, with intellectual and artistic achievement, femme savante or femme auteur. The salonnière’s subject formation united what modern ideology constructed as mutually exclusive. The salonnière appears at once as carer and as author. She brings together these functions as a woman. The salonnière never occupied the genius-as-artist position. The subject formation we can discern here is based upon conversing with others. The woman-led salons and their conversational complex clearly demonstrate that modernity could have taken a very different turn with regard to the politics of subject formation, society, politics, and artmaking. The salonière’s authorship or subject position is marked by work considered reproductive work (care), domestic art (taking place in her private home), and ephemeral art (conversation). In today’s institutional frameworks and languages of the art market under capitalist globalisation, the historical subject position occupied by the salonnière becomes legible as the curator of conversations. Yet, so far, she has not been included in the 159

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Feminism and Art History Now historiography of curating. This may have to do with the fact the domestic art of conversations curated by a hostess bore both too much risk of feminisation and the legacy of the salon as a classed space.49 More radical lessons to be gained from the exclusion of the salonnière from the historiography of curating might be the following: first, the woman-led culture of the salon embodied art-making with others based upon conversations as opposed to the artist-as-genius in isolation; second, the politics practised in the salon was a society with no masters and no hierarchy; the domestic art of conversation was based upon care as co-emergence, co-dependence, and co-authorship. Therefore, the risk of feminisation as the reason why the salonnière has not been taken into account as a role model for the curator successfully masks the much larger threats the society practised in the salon posed. Modernity, modern culture and modern subjects might well have taken a different turn: the salonnière demonstrates that horizontality and relationality in making art and making politics is possible.

Notes 1. Tony Bennett, The Birth of the Museum:  History, Theory, Politics (London; New York, 1995). 2. Emily D. Bilski and Emily Braun, Jewish Women and Their Salons: The Power of Conversation (New Haven, CT; London, 2005), p. 1. 3. Tony Bennett, The Birth of the Museum, p. 61. 4. Ibid., p. 59. 5. Ibid., p. 67. 6. Ibid., pp. 60–1. 7. Ibid., p. 69. 8. Leela Gandhi, Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (Durham, NC, 2006), p. 98. 9. Ibid., pp. 98–9. 10. In 1781, Christian Wilhelm von Dohm published two volumes Concerning the Amelioration of the Civil Status of the Jews which were of importance to the process of Jewish emancipation in Germany. Marsha L. Rozenblit, ‘Habsburg Monarchy: Nineteenth to Twentieth Centuries’, in Jewish Women’s Archive. Available at http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/habsburg-monarchy-nineteenth-to-twentieth-centuries (accessed 30 October 2016). In 1812, Frederick William III, King of Prussia, passed the Edict Concerning the Civil Status of the Jews in the Prussian State: ‘almost 70,000 Jews in Prussia became residents of the state’. Yet, Deborah Sadie Hertz emphasises that

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11. 12. 13. 14.

15. 16.

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

24.

25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

‘the ethos of the 1812 edict was a partial and conditional emancipation’. Deborah Sadie Hertz, How Jews Became Germans: The History of Conversion and Assimilation in Berlin (New Haven, CT, 2007), p. 108. Rozenblit, Ibid. Ibid. Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock, Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (New York, 2013), p. 70. Ibid. The distinction made here is between fine art and craft. Yet I  want to deliberately use the term domestic art in a wider sense than suggested here. I propose to understand the art of conversation as a specific domestic art. Lucia Re, ‘The Salon and Literary Modernism: Proust, Wilde, Stein’, in Jewish Women and Their Salons: The Power of Conversation (2005), p. 171. Emily D. Bilski and Emily Braun, ‘The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons’, in Jewish Women and Their Salons: The Power of Conversation (New Haven, CT; London, 2005), p. 1. Ibid., p. 147. Ibid., pp. 14–15. Lucia Re, ‘The Salon and Literary Modernism: Proust, Wilde, Stein’, in Jewish Women and Their Salons, p. 171. Hanna Lotte Lund, Der Berliner jüdische Salon um 1800: Emanzipation in der Debatte (Berlin; Boston, MA, 2011), p. 3. Barbara Hahn, ‘The Myth of the Salon’, in The Jewess Pallas Athena: This Too a Theory of Modernity, trans. James McFarland (Princeton, NJ; Oxford, 2002), p. 42. Barbara Hahn, ‘A Dream of Living Together: Jewish Women in Berlin around 1800’, in E.D. Bilski and E. Braun (eds), Jewish Women and Their Salons, p. 156. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 106. The trauma of the Holocaust and the oppression of Jewish cultural history may have contributed significantly to the forgetting and silencing of salon culture with regard to the histories of what is today understood as curating. History writing repeated the dual exclusion of gender and of Jewishness. Ibid. Ibid., p. 183. Duden, Etymologie: Herkunftswörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache (Mannheim, Wien, Zürich: Dudenverlag 1989), p. 203. Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, p. 183. I refer here to the conversation culture of Jewish salons in Vienna and Berlin and not to the aristocratic conventions and etiquettes of French Salon culture. Jewish salon culture was victim to politicisation and anti-Semitism. Hannah Arendt writes: ‘The salon which had brought together people of all classes, in which a person could participate without having any social status at all, which

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30.

31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42.

43. 44.

had offered a haven for those who fitted in nowhere socially, had fallen victim to the disaster of 1806.’ Hannah Arendt, Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York; London, 1974), p. 121. ‘From 1809 onwards a younger generation of Romanticists […] determined the intellectual tone of Berlin society. […] These groups bore all the earmarks of patriotic secret societies.’ Ibid., p. 123. The open-mindedness of the Jewish salon posed a political threat. The indiscriminateness, relationality, and horizontality of salon culture was rendered precarious. The new societies, called ‘Liedertafel’ or ‘Christlich-Deutsche Tischgesellschaft’ were no longer led by Jewish women, but by nobles and Romanticists. And, they were decisively nationalistic. ‘The bylaws banned admittance of women, Frenchmen, philistines, and Jews. […] The nobles had been the first to admit the Jews to a degree of social equality, and it was among the nobles that systematic anti-Semitism first broke out.’ Ibid., p. 123. Catherine Soussloff has developed a historical analysis of the subject position of the artist since the Early Modern Age in Catherine M. Soussloff, The Absolute Artist: The Historiography of a Concept (Minneapolis, MN; London, 1997). Lucia Re, ‘The Salon and Literary Modernism: Proust, Wilde, Stein’, in Jewish Women and Their Salons: The Power of Conversation (2005), p. 173. Bennett, The Birth of the Museum, p. 38. Ibid., p. 89. Paul O’Neill, The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) (Cambridge, MA, 2012), p. 9. Nathalie Heinrich and Michael Pollak, ‘From Museum Curator to Exhibition Auteur. Inventing a Singular Position’, in R. Greenberg, B. Ferguson, and S.  Nairne (eds), Thinking about Exhibitions (London; New  York, 1996), pp. 237–8. Ibid. Josef M. Stowasser, Lateinisch-deutsches Schulwörterbuch (München, 1994), p. 135. Catherine M. Soussloff, The Absolute Artist, p. 74. Hans Ulrich Obrist, ‘Curating (Non)-Conferences’, in Ways of Curating (London, 2015), pp. 52–6. Ibid., pp. 153–4. Ibid., p. 154. An example for this strategy of counteracting the ephemeral status of the conversation and turning it into an authored ouvre is offered by Hans Ulrich Obrist’s ongoing publication project The Conversation Series. Paul O’Neill, The Culture of Curating, p. 81. Ibid. I do by no means want to downplay the risk of capture, commodification, and pacification of conversation as an art world format. Yet, I do strongly believe that conversations can navigate the power/knowledge relations

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45. 46. 47. 48. 49.

differently, and that conversations can, in fact, support agency, and create new knowledge, forms of solidarity, or living community. Paul O’Neill, The Culture of Curating, pp. 154 and 83. Ibid., p. 83. Bilski and Braun, Jewish Women and Their Salons, pp. 4–5. Ibid., p. 10. Lara Perry’s History’s Beauties: Women and the National Portrait Gallery, 1856– 1900 (Hants and Burlington, 2006) points to the fact that classed dichotomies based upon the bourgeoisie (moral) and aristocracy (immoral) binary fall short of historical realities. This is of interest to understand the dynamics when and if historical subject role models are activated. There are not only gender biases to be taken into account but also other intersectional biases. The artistas-genius model was based upon the passage from craftsman to artist and evidences upward social mobility as well as the ideal of the independent creator as homo oeconomicus. Catherine M. Soussloff, as I have pointed out earlier, has worked out this passage from craftsman to artist in The Absolute Artist. The salon is tainted with its aristocratic past. And, the Jewish salonnières remained tainted as outsiders on the inside. Hannah Arendt states: ‘Rahel had remained a Jew and a pariah.’ Arendt, Rahel Varnagan, p. 203.

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8 Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990: A Report on Castlemilk Womanhouse Hannah Hamblin

In the summer of 1990, a block of flats in the Castlemilk district of Glasgow was home to an unusual artwork-in-progress. Artists from across the UK created installations in the flats and held free workshops for women and children. The project coincided with Glasgow’s much-publicised tenure as European City of Culture. However, it took place in a residential area described by the City Council as a priority for urban regeneration which was peripheral to the city’s circuit of art venues. This ambitious collaborative undertaking was called Castlemilk Womanhouse. The initiative was to exist, in various forms, for a further five years. My aim in this study is firstly to excavate this overlooked example of feminist artistic collectivity and write Castlemilk Womanhouse into art history. Telling the story of women’s art initiatives has been a principal component of feminist art history since its inception as a discipline in the 1970s and I believe that it remains imperative. Until very recently there had been no sustained art-historical consideration of Castlemilk Womanhouse.1 In 2014 the exhibition House Work Castle Milk Woman House was held at Glasgow Women’s Library as part of the exhibition series ‘GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland’, managed by the cultural organisation Glasgow Life and National Galleries of Scotland. This exhibition explored the project and its legacy, and included a newly commissioned work by Glasgow-based artist Kate Davis.2 I carried out 164

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 research in Glasgow Women’s Library’s Castlemilk Womanhouse archive and have drawn on oral histories conducted by Davis with former participants as well as my own interviews.3 Secondly, I wish to evaluate Castlemilk Womanhouse’s legacy on a wider geographical scale than was possible for House Work Castle Milk Woman House, and to consider it in relation to a feminist art intervention that not only influenced Castlemilk Womanhouse’s own emergence, but has a canonical status within feminist art history: namely, Womanhouse, Los Angeles (1971–2). As Victoria Horne has noted, Womanhouse, Los Angeles has the status of a ‘publishing anomaly’ within feminist art history, dominating discussions of exhibition practice, the domestic and separatism in accounts of feminist art.4 I aim to trouble Womanhouse’s iconicity by re-considering it alongside the comparatively little-known Castlemilk Womanhouse. By putting these two projects into dialogue, I follow the work of Clare Johnson, whose 2013 book Femininity, Time and Feminist Art examined feminist art from the USA in the 1970s alongside the work of women artists working in the UK in the 1990s.5 Johnson states that her intention was to ‘produc[e] ideas that derive in some sense from the inter-generational relationship between the two artworks [in her case Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll (1975) and Tracey Emin’s I’ve Got it All (2000)], but cannot be reduced to either’.6 Similarly, I intend to read Castlemilk Womanhouse and Womanhouse, Los Angeles together, to glean new insights into each.

Reclaiming History: Castlemilk Womanhouse and Womanhouse, Los Angeles ‘Glasgow’s Womanhouse’, as it was initially named, was initiated by Glasgow-based feminist arts group Women in Profile. It was based in the city’s Castlemilk district that had been created in the 1950s as part of Glasgow’s inner-city slum clearances and re-housing schemes. In the late 1980s, the area faced dereliction, unemployment and high crime rates, and was designated a zone for priority treatment by Glasgow City Council.7 Castlemilk was one of the main districts in which single-parent families were housed by the authorities and for this reason there was an unusually high proportion of single mothers in the area.8 The choice of location for  Castlemilk Womanhouse was closely tied with the area’s social 165

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Feminism and Art History Now context, as part of the project’s goal was to use the extra funding opportunities afforded by the City of Culture status to benefit women who had little access to cultural activities.9 Three recent graduates of Glasgow School of Art’s sculpture department – Rachael Harris, Julie Roberts and Cathy Wilkes – took on the majority of preparatory and administrative work for the project. The process of obtaining a building was no minor undertaking, involving extensive negotiations with the City Council housing department. The artists’ willingness to work with the local council indicates a desire for institutional legitimacy (though significantly not art institutional legitimacy) not present in the similar collaborative art project ‘A Woman’s Place’ based in a house in south London in 1975, which was closely affiliated with the squatters’ movement.10 The building in which Castlemilk Womanhouse took place was a four-storey tenement of council housing scheduled for demolition. Unusually for an art installation, the bottom floor of the building was used as a crèche, allowing mothers a temporary release from the responsibilities of childcare to participate in the art and social activities.11 Wages were allocated in the project budget for a childcare worker during workshops, which drew attention to, and temporarily counteracted, the often-unwaged status of childcare. Over the summer of 1990, artists completed residencies consisting of room installations and/or workshops. There was an ‘open day’ where local residents (including men) were invited to visit the house and see projects in progress, which demonstrated a focus on process as well as the finished art object, and a commitment to local – not only art-world – audiences. At the beginning of September 1990, the house was opened to the public. The art installations in the house examined different aspects of women’s relationship to the home. Some focused on the functions of the rooms in which they took place. Annie Lovejoy’s A Sense of Purpose took as its theme the ‘endless cycle’ of cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and Rachael Field and Nenagh Watson’s On the Throne constituted a queer subversion of a bathroom into a ‘lesbian closet throne room’.12 Claire Barclay’s bathroom installation played with ideas of cleanliness and propriety, combining starched white sheets and the smell of carbolic soap with washed and unwashed coal. Others reflected more generally on the meanings attached to the home. Julie W. Roberts’s photorealistic paintings of threatening-looking household objects connoted confinement and the uncanny, and Harris’s The House that 166

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 Jill Built (Figure 8.1), a child-sized, house-shaped structure within a room, commented on women’s relationship to the built environment.13 There were also performances by Bobby Baker, Shirley Cameron and Evelyn Silver.14 Shortly after the exhibition closed, Harris and Wilkes left Castlemilk Womanhouse. Roberts, who had been the thrust behind the group’s intention for a long-term project, remained, and Barclay and Ann Quinn, another local artist, took on increased responsibilities.15 Around this time, Castlemilk Womanhouse relocated to a one-bedroom ground-floor flat at Ardencraig Road after the Glenacre Quadrant premises were demolished. The project joined with other ventures under Castlemilk Fringe, a community arts organisation funded by the Glasgow City Council regeneration project. An exchange with Berlin arts projects was undertaken and a promotional video filmed.16 Castlemilk Womanhouse continued to run in coordination with Castlemilk Fringe until 1995. During this time, the Women in Profile group evolved into the Glasgow Women’s Library and ceased to have a direct link with the activities of Castlemilk Womanhouse. I will focus primarily on the first stage of the project at Glenacre Quadrant in 1990, which had the fullest documentation in Glasgow Women’s Library’s Castlemilk Womanhouse archive. Womanhouse, Los Angeles was an initiative of the Feminist Art Program created by Judy Chicago at Fresno State University, California in 1970, which transferred with Chicago to California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles in 1971. The Womanhouse project was suggested by Paula Harper, an art historian at CalArts, and supported by Chicago and her fellow teacher Miriam Schapiro. Students on the Feminist Art Program were instructed to locate a house in which they could both work and exhibit, negotiate the terms of their occupancy and prepare the house for art-making and exhibition. After finding a disused mansion in Hollywood whose owners let the students work rent-free, the women cleaned and renovated the house and worked individually or collaboratively to create room installations. Chicago and Schapiro also contributed works and invited three Los Angeles-based artists to participate: Sherry Brody, Carol Edison Mitchell and Wanda Westcoast. Castlemilk Womanhouse maintained a historical consciousness of Womanhouse from its inception through to the realisation of the project and its artworks. Harris claims in her oral history that ‘[t]he whole thing started off from this meeting where Adele [Patrick, of Women in Profile 167

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Feminism and Art History Now and now Glasgow Women’s Library] suggested that we might want to run a Womanhouse-type project’, and the artists foregrounded this link in the project’s name.17 The efforts that the artists made in order to obtain information on the earlier initiative demonstrates the importance it held for them, and they referenced it in documents throughout the development of their project.18 By situating Womanhouse as an ‘elective foremother’, Castlemilk Womanhouse self-identified in a feminist trajectory of art practice and display.19 Castlemilk Womanhouse’s aim to reclaim the history of its predecessor was met with a frosty reception by Judy Chicago, who in correspondence with Harris suggested that Castlemilk Womanhouse was erasing the history of the earlier model by using its name: The title Womanhouse is a copyrighted work of art […] It is bad enough that women’s art and achievements are omitted from art history – we don’t have to do it to each other.20

Given Chicago’s preoccupation with celebrating women’s historical achievements in artworks including The Dinner Party (1974–9) and awareness of the historical elisions of women’s agency, her remark might be surprising. By invoking the legal mechanism for maintaining the individual’s rights over their intellectual property, she implies that Castlemilk Womanhouse’s evocation of the earlier project’s name would be derivative of Womanhouse as an original project, rather than an artistic and political strategy with its own creative worth. Furthermore she suggests that the use of the title would be damaging to Womanhouse’s historical reception, rather than beneficial. Chicago’s attempt to make Castlemilk Womanhouse downplay its link with Womanhouse, Los Angeles seems to me to be based on a limited conception of the possibilities of history production that works such as Castlemilk Womanhouse succeed in transcending. She speaks of Womanhouse, a collaborative venture, with an individualistic conception of artistic creation upheld by copyright law.21 Though favoured by modernism, this ideology of artistic creation has been criticised from a feminist perspective for its reliance on a bourgeois understanding of the (artistic) subject as unified, autonomous and universal, and its obfuscation of the sociality of art – its capacity to affect and be affected by wider social forces.22 By contrast, Castlemilk Womanhouse undertook a radical historical strategy as a feminist art practice, which consisted in re-activating a previous feminist project whilst remaining attentive to the demands of its 168

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 own socio-political situation. Even while acknowledging Womanhouse’s vital role in its own emergence, Castlemilk Womanhouse did not aim to re-create the earlier project; on the contrary, it situated itself in a critical relationship to its predecessor. It drew on key themes of Womanhouse – collaboration, separatism, and art’s potential in feminist activism – and developed their implications in awareness of the exigencies of its situation in Glasgow in the late 1980s. The critical, creative relationship to its antecedent is emphasised in the catalogue text written by Harris, Wilkes and Roberts: In embarking on the project and to give it some visible reference we looked initially to Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro’s ‘Womanhouse’ […] with the intention of reclaiming and reassessing some of the ideas with which it dealt.23

This stresses not only Womanhouse’s role as precedent, but the authors’ historical consciousness and their intention to interrogate Womanhouse’s treatment of key ideas. Castlemilk Womanhouse undertook a form of radical history production in reclaiming the earlier project, which was both celebratory and interrogative. This negotiation of a politically active relationship to a past event puts Castlemilk Womanhouse in the position of a subject of historical knowledge, in the sense discussed by Elizabeth Grosz in her 2004 book The Nick of Time. In this volume Grosz defines history as the ‘ongoing revision of the past in the light of its changing relevance to the present’, arguing that the practice of history must be ‘balanced between a certain fidelity to the past and the demands of living in the present in the welcome anticipation of a future’.24 A  feminist study of the past, according to Grosz’s formulation, can be understood as the revision of the past in light of its relevance to the feminist (political) present, and is answerable to the demands of this present. Grosz’s understanding of feminism, as ‘the production of futures for women that are uncontained by any of the models provided in the present’, emphasises its necessarily temporal dimension.25 Hence, Castlemilk Womanhouse should not be seen as a derivative copy of the earlier project; rather its evocation of Womanhouse is a form of feminist history production which establishes a connection with fellow feminists across decades (and geo-political locations) as part of its intervention in its own historical moment. 169

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Classing Womanhouse As part of its historical strategy, Castlemilk Womanhouse both drew on Womanhouse’s form, politics and methods, and drew away from them in several key respects, notably along the axis of class. Although the two projects shared formal similarities and a commitment to a feminist politics of women, art and the home, the class backgrounds of participants and audiences and the environment of each exhibition were quite dissimilar. The framing of the artworks in their differently located buildings established a fundamental difference between them. Womanhouse took place in a privately owned Hollywood mansion loaned to the Feminist Art Program as a philanthropic gesture on the part of its owner before its demolition. Conversely, Castlemilk Womanhouse was situated in a tenement of state-owned housing. Several artworks in Castlemilk Womanhouse demonstrate a decisive move away from the earlier project along class lines, including in particular Val Murray’s Visibility and Claire Barclay’s untitled bathroom installation. Womanhouse, Los Angeles focused several installations on the bathroom, highlighting the room’s function as a private space for women. In Robbin Schiff ’s Nightmare Bathroom, a woman created from sand lay in a bath. For visitors to enter the installation was a trespass on the woman’s intimate space. Yet with the name Nightmare Bathroom, the inwardness of the installation connoted a disturbing vision: a woman destined to erode in solitude, literally worn away by the cleansing ritual of femininity – the ‘trapped American housewife’ of Betty Friedan’s germinal feminist text of 1963, The Feminine Mystique.26 The other bathroom installations in Womanhouse were similarly concerned with the bathroom as a site of the performance of femininity. Chicago’s Menstruation Bathroom was filled to overflowing with feminine hygiene products and an overtly exposed used sanitary towel. Camille Grey’s Lipstick Bathroom contained a display of hundreds of lipsticks, implying an underlying obsession connoting both Freudian penis envy and Marxist commodity fetishism. A shared theme amongst these works was the burden for women of the performance of femininity and its psychological consequences. This was in line with a key strand of second-wave feminist ideology in the wake of Friedan’s publication; the feminist consciousness represented in these works focuses on a problem preoccupying middle-class housewives at the time – the pressure to conform to ‘feminine’ stereotypes, including 170

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Figure 8.1 Rachael Harris, photograph of The House that Jill Built by Rachael Harris at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library.

that of the consumer. Thus Womanhouse can be seen to have represented a classed, as well as gendered, subject. The theme of domestic containment in these artworks of Womanhouse is shared by several installations in Castlemilk Womanhouse. However, in the latter project, women’s confinement in the home is featured as embedded in a different social reality. For the installation Visibility (Figure 8.2), Murray constructed washing lines of sheets demarcating a walkway of tiles leading 171

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Figure 8.2 Val Murray, photograph of Visibility by Val Murray at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Collection of the artist.

to a window, the view through which was obscured by fabric. Transparent casts of women engaged in domestic tasks could be glimpsed through gaps in the sheets. The floor-to-ceiling sheets hanging in strict lines created a claustrophobic atmosphere, heightened by the obscured view outside. The installation’s title Visibility ironically misdescribed the work, which comprised various forms of invisibility: glimpses, transparent objects and veils obscuring women at work in the home. The fact that the tenement was part of a mass housing development linked this uncomfortable space to a social reality existing just outside Castlemilk Womanhouse  – crucially through 172

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 the veiled window, the visual focus of the installation. The associations of domestic labour and enclosure and the disconcerting atmosphere created by the lack of visual clarity formed a critique of women’s position in the home. Barclay’s installation (Figure 8.3) also evoked notions of labour and enclosure. Situated in a bathroom, the artwork made use of sheets as a central motif of domesticity and housework, similarly to Visibility. Here,

Figure 8.3 Claire Barclay, photograph of bathroom installation by Claire Barclay at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Collection of the artist.

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Feminism and Art History Now they were hung over a bath filled with coal. The installation was realised through the artist’s own physical toil; the coals were hand-scrubbed and the sheets starched. The obscured window was covered with bars of carbolic soap, redolent of the labour involved in maintaining propriety in the home. The soap bars were placed as if bricking up a window, which associated domestic chores with masculine-connoted manual labour. Overall, Barclay demystified the work involved in home-making in an overwhelming environment of looming starched sheets and the smell of soap. In Murray’s and Barclay’s artworks, domestic labour – rather than the performance of femininity – is implicated as a temporal, physical and psychological burden. The feminine rituals and products presented in Womanhouse’s bathroom installations sit in a stark contrast to the austerity of the materials used in both Murray’s and Barclay’s installations, and neither artwork alluded to branded consumer goods. Barclay’s allusion to manual labour in the bricked-up window serves furthermore to link her piece to the working-class neighbourhood in which it was located. According to the artist, the blocked window was also intended to connote the derelict buildings of the neighbourhood.27 Similarly, Murray’s installation was envisaged in situ, drawing on her experience of the space and the locality, and the work was constructed using materials found locally. The working-class character of Castlemilk Womanhouse’s domestic spaces emphasises the relocation of a feminist art from a suburban neighbourhood in Los Angeles to a social housing estate in greater Glasgow.

Feminist Resonances: Collaboration and Separatism 1972/90 As part of its engagement with its predecessor, Castlemilk Womanhouse built on Womanhouse’s emphasis on collaboration as a feminist strategy, pushing its implications further than the earlier initiative had done. This can be witnessed both in the project’s administration and its artworks. The organisation of Castlemilk Womanhouse was carried out in an inclusive and non-hierarchical manner. The three principal organisers made extensive efforts to include as many women as possible given the constraints of time and money, and to provide opportunities for the women involved to shape the programme. As Harris wrote in 1988 in a letter to 174

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 Pauline Barrie of the Women Artists Slide Library in London, ‘by its very nature, the [Castlemilk] “Womanhouse” is open to include a growing number of women’.28 The artists’ residencies were chosen by a voting procedure which was well-received by the local women involved.29 This was quite different from the stringent procedure undertaken by Chicago to select students for the Feminist Art Program, and the degree of control and authority she and Schapiro exercised over the project and its artworks.30 Whereas Chicago and Schapiro drew on their status as teachers to claim authority over the art and activities of Womanhouse, Castlemilk Womanhouse did not operate under a formal educational or art-institutional remit, and its organisers were adamant that their role was administrative and facilitative rather than authoritative: It was hugely important to us that we didn’t become the proprietors of it. We had to be the leaders, it wouldn’t have happened otherwise, we went in there to set it up and then the whole idea was to try and engender enough confidence in the women, and skills so that they could ultimately themselves [run it].31

Moreover, Castlemilk Womanhouse was situated in an area that lacked public facilities, in which women in particular had few opportunities. The organisers aimed to include not only students who intended to pursue careers in art, as in the Feminist Art Program, but also women who had little prior experience of art. When asked by Davis about their motivations for choosing a non-‘art world’ space for the project, Roberts invoked the sculptural principle of ‘an authentic setting, “truth to materials” ’ to contextualise their decision.32 This aim dovetailed with the second-wave feminist preoccupation with the home and gendered divisions of public and private space inherited from, amongst other influential sources, Womanhouse. Though the home was waning as a primary site of women’s experience by the late 1980s in the West, with the rise of women’s employment, it was still very much the locus of the lives of many women in Castlemilk. Furthermore, Castlemilk Womanhouse extended Womanhouse’s legacy in forging a separatist space for collaborative creativity (though with slightly blurred lines, as Harris notes, when it came to welcoming children and young people).33 In Womanhouse, thematic concerns were raised collectively, and group discussion sessions were important to the development of a feminist aesthetic that guided participants. Chicago 175

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Feminism and Art History Now later recalled the importance of the social, separatist environment for the development of her own feminist art practice.34 The hard graft of preparing the house was undertaken as a group, although as art historian Amy Tobin notes, this was detached from the artistic practice: ‘individual artistic production was foregrounded while the on-going activity of home-making remained unseen’.35 The installations were credited to the artists individually (some were also dual-authored), and Womanhouse itself was presented as an exhibition venue rather than an overarching collective artwork. Though Womanhouse’s emphasis on group learning and exhibition pointed towards a notion of artistic authorship beyond individualism, the separation of individual art practice from the communal preparation of the building indicates that this potential was not fully realised. Collaborative art production was central to Castlemilk Womanhouse. Though some rooms were credited to individual artists as in Womanhouse, several artists-in-residence undertook workshops rather than creating their own installations.36 Additionally, several pieces included in the final exhibition were created in a collaborative environment. Harris’s The House That Jill Built (Figure 8.1) was constructed by children along with Harris from found materials; and Catrin Williams, an artist from Wales, co-ordinated mural painting with a workshop group. An installation consisting of a cupboard stuffed full of shoes was created by one of the Castlemilk residents after a group visit to a local market.37 A Girls’ Night Out (Figure 8.4) – an installation of papier-mâché mannequins sat as if applying make-up at mirrors in candlelight – was realised during a workshop with two artists, Josie Wilkinson and Aideen Cusack. According to Barclay, the artwork was envisaged by the artists after an actual night out with women involved in Castlemilk Womanhouse.38 This work presented a more positive interpretation of the theme of feminine rituals than artworks in Womanhouse. It emphasised not the labour involved in the performance of femininity, but the social aspects: the work’s collective realisation and the crowd of completed figures represent this ritual as a group experience. By contrast, Lea’s [sic] Room in Womanhouse focused on the lonely efforts of self-preparation of Léa, an ageing courtesan from Colette’s novel Chéri. Karen LeCoq and Nancy Youdelman, who alternately performed as the character, outlined their motivations thus: ‘Lea’s [sic] room is a room of lush beauty and suffocating oppression. […] We wanted 176

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Figure 8.4 Claire Barclay, photograph of A Girls’ Night Out by Josie Wilkinson, Aideen Cusack and workshop participants at Castlemilk Womanhouse (1990). Collection of the artist.

to deal with the way women are constantly intimidated by the culture to maintain their beauty’.39 However, in A Girls’ Night Out, feminine beauty routines were recalled not as oppressive work, but as an occasion of conviviality among women, both within the work’s process of creation and in the end installation. The artwork demonstrated its own collective creation, emphasising the sociality of art-making. The social aspects of Castlemilk Womanhouse seem to have contributed in themselves to the empowerment of the women involved. The case of Lorraine Shadoin, the former crèche co-ordinator of Castlemilk Womanhouse, is emblematic here. She became involved with Castlemilk Womanhouse as a single mother recently settled in the area – one of many single-parent families re-housed in Castlemilk. Castlemilk Womanhouse provided employment that fitted around her own childcare commitments. In her oral history, Shadoin relates that participating in Castlemilk Womanhouse gave her a sense of freedom from isolation and the opportunity for social encounters outside of the spaces of the school playground, shops, community centre and home, and their implied social identities of mother and home-maker.40 The enthusiasm in both Shadoin’s and her daughter Stephanie’s memories of Castlemilk Womanhouse twenty-four years on is a testament to the impact it had on their lives. 177

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Feminism and Art History Now Lorraine Shadoin and Barclay indicate that Castlemilk Womanhouse had a similar impact on other women: [The crèche workers] got involved in the art stuff, and really thoroughly enjoyed it and actually blossomed, actually came out of themselves. You could see it even in their body language, physically, that their confidence was built.41 It was a friendly, welcoming place, and it was creative and could be fun. And I  remember at the time, women were just starting to say ‘I’ve met such-and-such who lives across the road’ or even in the same close, and they hadn’t spoken to one another.42

This is also demonstrated in the video made about the project in 1995, which includes interviews with women involved.43 One woman juggling the demands of two children on camera claimed it was ‘a total lifesaver […] I felt connected to the bigger world out there, it wasn’t just being a mum and being at home’.44 Through Castlemilk Womanhouse, women whose lives were otherwise structured by the spaces, routines and identities of motherhood on a council estate of greater Glasgow were able to engage in creative and social activities. Part of Castlemilk Womanhouse’s contribution to a radical feminist politics was thus the creation of a separatist space in which women could ‘take time out’ of their lives in a patriarchal order. Castlemilk Womanhouse’s creation of a separatist environment in which women were able to investigate new modes of sociality and creativity negotiated a politically engaged relationship to a past feminist practice, while looking towards a future outside of patriarchal social models. That the artists involved used a historical strategy in their feminist intervention reinforces Horne’s argument in an article from 2015, that feminist archival work predates the ‘historiographic turn’ in contemporary art, as theorised by Dieter Roelstraete and others, and should be considered a fundamental strategy within feminist art.45 Castlemilk Womanhouse’s attendance to a feminist past with thoughts to the future it wished to create resulted in marked divergences from its predecessor. It encouraged collective art-making and fostered a social, nonhierarchical environment, thereby continuing elements that were present in Womanhouse, though unfulfilled. Val Murray’s Visibility and Claire Barclay’s bathroom installation exemplified a transition from Womanhouse’s 178

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 consideration of the labour of the performance of femininity, to a focus on the physical toils of home-making. The later project’s organisational structure differed from Womanhouse, with collaborative production seen as a counterpoint to the isolation and labour involved in home-making. Castlemilk Womanhouse investigated modes of creativity and sociality, drawing from this past event to work towards an unknown future.

Notes 1. Brief accounts can be found in Sarah Lowndes, Social Sculpture:  Art, Performance and Music in Glasgow: A Social History of Independent Practice, Exhibitions and Events Since 1971 (Glasgow, 2003), p. 104; Malcolm Dickson, ‘Another Year of Alienation: On the Mythology of the Artist-Run Initiative’, in D. McCorquodale, N. Siderfin, and J. Stallabrass (eds), Occupational Hazards: Critical Writing on Recent British Art (London, 1998), p.  88; Sarah Smith, ‘In Celebration of Grassroots and Grass Widows:  Women’s Art Collaborations in Glasgow’, MAP Magazine, November 2012, http://mapmagazine.co.uk/ 9607/ celebration- grass- roots- and- grass- widows- womens- ar/ (accessed 28 October 2016). 2. 18 October  – 18 December 2014, Glasgow Women’s Library, Glasgow. An online counterpart to the exhibition can be found at http://womenslibrary.org. uk/discover-our-projects/house-work-castle-milk-woman-house/ (accessed 28 October 2016). 3. Interviews between Kate Davis and Rachael Harris, Julie Roberts, Adele Patrick, Lorraine and Stephanie Shadoin and Claire Barclay conducted in 2014 and deposited in the Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library; see also Hannah Hamblin, ‘Castlemilk Womanhouse: History, Labour, Feminism’ (unpublished master’s thesis, University of Edinburgh, 2014), Appendices. 4. Victoria Horne, ‘A History of Feminist Art History:  Remaking a Discipline and its Institutions’ (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh Art and Architecture Library, 2014 [draft]), Chapter 4. 5. Clare Johnson, Femininity, Time and Feminist Art (Basingstoke, 2013). 6. Ibid., p. 58. 7. ‘Glasgow, Castlemilk Housing Scheme’, 1989, Royal Commission of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), pp. 8–9. 8. ‘Response to Council Development Proposals’, Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Box 3, Glasgow Women’s Library. 9. Rachael Harris, ‘Justification for the Project’, MFA submission, Rachael Harris Donation, Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Box 3, Glasgow Women’s Library, p. 1.

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Feminism and Art History Now 10. Amy Tobin, ‘A Group Show of Our Own: Collaboration and Conflict in Womanhouse (Los Angeles) and A Woman’s Place (London)’ (Paper presented at the conference Writing/Curating/Making Feminist Art Histories, 27–28 March 2014, Edinburgh). 11. One significant case of childcare being taken into account in gallery planning would have taken place when Tate Modern opened in 2000, had earlier plans for a crèche facility in the Turbine Hall been realised. Lara Perry, ‘“A Good Time to Be a Woman”? Women Artists, Feminism and Tate Modern’, in A. Dimitrakaki and L. Perry (eds), Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (Liverpool, 2013), p. 44. 12. Castlemilk Womanhouse [ex.cat.] (1990), Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Box 1, Glasgow Women’s Library, n.pag. 13. Julie W. Roberts, painter, should be distinguished from Julie Roberts, sculptor and one of the three principal organisers of Castlemilk Womanhouse. 14. See the Shirley Cameron Donation, Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Box 3, Glasgow Women’s Library. The performances are discussed in Kate Davis, ‘Interview with Claire Barclay’ (2014), Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library. 15. Ibid. 16. Kate Davis, ‘Interview with Lorraine and Stephanie Shadoin’ (2014), Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library; Davis, ‘Email Interview with Julie Roberts’ (2014), Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library. Paul Cameron, Castlemilk Woman House, online version of video recording (Arts and Cultural Development Office, South East Area, Glasgow City Council, 1995). Available at http://vimeo.com/96899317 (accessed 29 October 2016). 17. Kate Davis, ‘Interview with Rachael Harris’ (2014), Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Glasgow Women’s Library. Adele Patrick was a co-founder of Women In Profile and has worked at Glasgow Women’s Library since its launch in 1991. 18. Harris met and dined with Chicago in Santa Fe whilst on an exchange programme in Albuquerque. Following this they had a brief correspondence. Letters from the time indicate that Castlemilk Womanhouse organisers were in contact with groups in London, Northern Ireland and Leeds regarding Womanhouse, Los Angeles and other similar projects. See Judy Chicago [Letter to Rachael Harris], 5 February 1990, Rachael Harris Donation, Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection; Harris [Letter to Pauline Barrie], 23 August 1988, Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Box 3. 19. ‘Elective foremother’ is a term introduced by Lisa Tickner in her 2003 article which explores ‘the patterns of inheritance and affiliation productive for women artists’. ‘Mediating Generation: The Mother-Daughter Plot’, Art History 25/ 1 (2002), pp. 23, 29.

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Los Angeles, 1972/Glasgow, 1990 20. Judy Chicago [Letter to Rachael Harris]. 21. The extent to which Womanhouse could be seen as an exemplary collaborative project is certainly disputable, as will be discussed later in this chapter. See also Paula Harper, ‘The First Feminist Art Program: A View from the 1980s’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society, 10/4 (1985), pp. 762–81; Laura Meyer and Faith Wilding, ‘Collaboration and Conflict in the Fresno Feminist Art Program: An Experiment in Feminist Pedagogy’, n.paradoxa, 26 (July 2010), pp. 46–7. 22. Mary Kelly, Imaging Desire (Cambridge, MA, 1998), p. 86; Griselda Pollock, ‘Art, Art School, Culture: Individualism After the Death of the Artist’, in J. Bird and G. Robertson (eds), The Block Reader in Visual Culture (London, 1996), p. 53; Amelia Jones, Body Art/Performing the Subject (Minneapolis, MN, 1998). 23. Castlemilk Womanhouse [ex.cat.], Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection. 24. Elizabeth Grosz, The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely (Durham, NC, 2014), pp. 253, 257. 25. Ibid., p. 255. 26. Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (New York, 1963), p. 25. 27. Davis, ‘Interview with Claire Barclay’. 28. Harris [Letter to Pauline Barrie], 23 August 1988, Castlemilk Womanhouse Collection, Box 3, p. 2. 29. Davis, ‘Interview with Lorraine and Stephanie Shadoin’. 30. Chicago interviewed all women who applied to the course, and admitted only those who persuaded her they wanted to become professional artists. Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, ‘A Feminist Art Program’, Art Journal, 31/1 (1971), p. 48. 31. Davis, ‘Interview with Rachael Harris’. 32. Davis, ‘Email Interview with Julie Roberts’. 33. Davis, ‘Interview with Rachael Harris’. I follow Horne’s definition of separatism as ‘the (usually temporary) separation of a group of individuals from a larger social group; determined by the shared terms of their oppression, usually along an axis of identity’. Horne, ‘A History of Feminist Art History’, Chapter 4. 34. Judy Chicago, ‘Feminist Art Education:  Made in California’, in Entering the Picture:  Judy Chicago, the Fresno Feminist Art Program, and the Collective Visions of Women Artists, ed. Jill Fields (New York, 2012), p. 106. 35. Tobin, ‘A Group Show of Our Own’. She contrasts this to A Woman’s Place, where the ‘shared experience of housework [was put] on display’ (ibid.). 36. See Hamblin, ‘Castlemilk Womanhouse:  History, Labour, Feminism’, Appendix G for a list of the artworks, performances and workshops at Glenacre Quadrant. 37. Davis, ‘Interview with Claire Barclay’; Davis, ‘Interview with Rachael Harris’.

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Feminism and Art History Now 38. Davis, ‘Interview with Claire Barclay’. 39. Karen LeCoq and Nancy Youdelman in Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, Womanhouse [ex.cat.] (Valencia, CA, California Institute of the Arts, 1972). 40. Davis, ‘Interview with Lorraine and Stephanie Shadoin’. 41. Ibid. 42. Davis, ‘Interview with Claire Barclay’. 43. Cameron, Castlemilk Woman House. 44. Ibid., 00:20;2:35. 45. Victoria Horne, ‘Kate Davis: Re-visioning Art History after Modernism and Postmodernism’, Feminist Review 110:1 (2015), pp. 34–54. See Dieter Roelstraete, ‘After the Historiographic Turn: Current Findings’, e-flux journal 6 (May 2009). Available at http://www.e-flux.com/journal/after-the-historiographic-turn-current-findings/ (accessed 29 October 2016).

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9 If You Lived Here…: A Case Study on Social Reproduction in Feminist Art History Kirsten Lloyd

From Housework to Housing ‘Come in, We’re HOME’: the welcome message painted in red serif letters onto the door glass immediately proposed an alternative relationship to the Dia Art Foundation exhibition galleries in New York’s Soho district. Pointing to a hospitable – if incongruous – set of associations, the sign indicated that over the threshold the usual white cube fare would be in short supply. Sure enough, despite responding to an invitation extended by a prestigious institution known for its programme of solo exhibitions by white male artists, reports and visual documentation suggest that Martha Rosler’s project If You Lived Here… felt more akin to an occupation or, perhaps more appropriately, a squat. Packing in an unholy array of activities over the first half of 1989, including three sequential exhibitions, four ‘Open Forums’ and street-based interventions, it addressed issues relating to urban space with gentrification, housing and homelessness positioned as central themes.1 If You Lived Here… captured many of the salient features associated with contemporaneity in artistic practice. Conceived as a discursive documentary project, it encompassed a negotiation of conceptions of ‘community’ as well as an overt concern with capitalist economic relations while deploying collaborative production methodologies that engaged with social activism. 183

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Figure 9.1 Exhibition view of Home Front, part of If You Lived Here… (1989).

At the same time, it furthered Rosler’s enduring commitment to institutional critique:  in a later essay, the artist acknowledged her recalcitrant desire to ‘violate the pristine qualities of their perfect little white-walled box’.2 The sheer range of materials, data and positions that were brought to bear on the core themes was indeed jarring for the time, as was the evident reliance upon documentary modes. A heterogeneous collection of work by over 200 invited artists, activists, architects and local people, it incorporated videotapes screened on television monitors, urban plans and an example of an emergency hut-shelter erected by the Mad Houser collective. Photography, woodcuts, collages and children’s drawings crammed the walls alongside real estate adverts and graphs illustrating steeply rising levels of wealth inequality. Any lingering associations with rarified cultural space were dispelled by the presence of sofas and soft furnishings, while active participation was encouraged through the inclusion of reading rooms, recycling points and, as part of the second exhibition installment, a temporary office space run by Homeward Bound Community Services.3 The open forums and associated book proceeded along similar lines, resisting closed or authoritative formats and prioritising use value. Stating in her essay contribution that If You Lived Here… ‘was not only about but explicitly in the city’, Rosalyn Deutsche pointed to the situated character 184

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If You Lived Here… of an art project that was at once highly reflexive (particularly with regards to Dia’s own role in the transformation of the local urban context into an ‘Artists’ Zone’) and that aimed to create a genuinely alternative kind of social space in response to the urgent issues of the time.4 The perplexing absence of If You Lived Here… from established lineages of contemporary art (particularly in terms of site-specific and socially engaged practice) has recently been redressed in both the curatorial and academic spheres through archival displays, re-presentations and explications that acknowledge its prescience and influence.5 If a feminist perspective has been missing from these recoveries, it must be noted that the project has also been neglected by surveys of ‘feminist art’ – despite Rosler’s undoubted prominence within these histories both in terms of practice and theory as well as her readiness to affirm feminism as her ‘central frame of reference’.6 Instead, discussions tend to centre on her brief but hilariously acidic performance-to-tape Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975) and other works within her substantial oeuvre that deal explicitly with sexual politics, the economies of service and sites of domesticity.7 Yet while her Dia project did not conform to the thematic dominance of the gendered private sphere observed in prior intersections of feminism and art, Rosler dedicated the associated book to ‘women around the world who organize their buildings and their blocks and their neighborhoods to secure decent conditions for everyone and to maintain a sense of place’.8 If You Lived Here… enacts a significant shift, then: away from models that had preoccupied many feminist artists, such as that of the classed post-war housewife, towards addressing an urban subject produced under neoliberal capitalism. My aim in this chapter is to reappraise If You Lived Here… by employing theories of ‘social reproduction’. At the most basic level social reproduction concerns how we live, survive and thrive. What value can the theories associated with this concept, later elaborated in feminist political economy, bring to feminist art history? Can the adoption of such a viewpoint identify and illuminate previously neglected threads connecting artistic production from the late 1960s through to the present day? My intention here is neither to simply undertake a historical inventory nor to expand, and thereby implicitly fix, the boundaries of feminist art history. Rather, I intend to advocate the usefulness of a social reproduction perspective to the facilitation of current struggles and the future of a contemporary feminism. 185

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Social Reproduction and the Feminisation of Survival9 If the terms ‘labour’ and ‘economy’ have forcefully emerged at the heart of contemporary arts’ critical lexicon, the same feat cannot be claimed for the more unwieldy (yet deeply connected) ‘social reproduction’. That in 2015 ‘social reproduction’ has failed to assert itself as one of the early twentyfirst century’s keywords does not reflect developments within feminist thought on the Left, where it has undergone something of a resurgence. Historically, social reproduction has been connected to discussions of the private domestic sphere where normally female labour sustains and then replenishes the working population, both on a daily basis and over the course of generations. Taking a more comprehensive view, recent feminist literature usually identifies three main aspects of social reproduction summarised by Isabella Bakker as: (1) biological, encompassing both the reproduction of the species and the environment, (2) the maintenance of working subjects, and (3) those activities, practices and services connected to caring, socialisation and the fulfillment of human needs.10 It involves the provision of necessities such as food, shelter and healthcare right through to the production of social values through culture and education.11 In recent years, what Kathi Weeks has described as its ‘contradictory’ relationship with capital accumulation has become yet more pronounced: intensified processes of globalisation, the associated restructuring of the nation state, together with the re-privatisation of previously shared services, responsibilities and risks, have been concomitant with significant changes in labour patterns.12 While capitalist structures of domination and exploitation remain predicated on race and class, it is also amongst the experiences of women that the impact of these dislocating re-organisations can be most plainly witnessed, as the prevalence of phrases like the ‘feminisation of poverty/labour/survival’ attests.13 Meg Luxton has argued that though the accumulation of theoretical work that has developed around the concept of social reproduction has its roots in the analysis of the sex/gender division of labour and the domestic labour debates, ‘too often conventional feminist use of social reproduction still focuses on women’s work in the home’.14 For her, the strength of the concept lies in its potential to develop a perspective capable of apprehending how various institutions (from the market and the state to the family 186

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If You Lived Here… and third sector) intersect, and which, at the same time, remains alert to the specificities of gender, race and class: By developing a class analysis that shows how the production of goods and services and the production of life are part of one integrated process, social reproduction does more than identify the activities involved in the daily and generation reproduction of daily life. It allows for an explanation of the structures, relationships, and dynamics that produce those activities.15

Unsurprisingly, much recent writing tends to focus on the social and spatial impact of fresh attacks on the connections between production and reproduction.16 In doing so, it frequently offers valuable integrative accounts that attempt to illuminate the hidden – and often remote – structural supports and shadows of conventional production and the formal economy, capturing connections between disparate contexts and situations. Though the concept of social reproduction offers a range of analytic tools and perspectives, in this chapter I focus primarily on one particular research strategy and how it might begin to shape a consideration of If You Lived Here…. US geographer Cindi Katz’s conception of ‘topography’ was developed around the turn of the century in response to the requirement for a gendered oppositional politics focused on social reproduction: ‘the early 21st century’, she argues, ‘requires a new form of organizing, a new political agenda, and a new more nuanced scale of practice’. For Katz, the era of globalised or ‘vagabond’ capitalism (‘that unsettled, dissolute, irresponsible stalker of the world’) demands approaches capable of examining its complex, interlinked effects and repercussions.17 The process of gathering and mapping topographical data appropriates techniques of surveillance and control, generating thoroughly material place-based knowledge in ‘thick descriptions’ that apprehend both the descriptive detail of particular sites as well as the ‘totality of the features that comprise the place itself ’.18 Grounded in the social sciences, her own academic work takes the form of multi-angled textual examinations of the disruption of social reproduction in particular locations, such as a village in central eastern Sudan and Harlem in New York. So, while Marx ventured into the ‘hidden abode of production’, Katz offers topographies and countertopographies as methodologies suitable for excursions into the diffuse, tangled and arguably even more obscured arenas of globalised social reproduction. 187

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Feminism and Art History Now The resonance between Katz’s proposals and Fredric Jameson’s earlier call for a new aesthetics of ‘cognitive mapping’ is clearly apparent (albeit for the social sciences rather than the arts).19 First elaborated in a lecture in 1983, then published as a short essay in 1988, Jameson’s conception sought to revive the pedagogic function of the work of art while pushing to the fore questions of representation; that is, the substantive challenges posed for the work of art in terms of addressing the unrepresentable conditions, processes and sites of late capitalism. Though Jameson acknowledged his inability to imagine the precise form of such an aesthetic, his hopes for the ‘the emergent primacy of mechanical reproduction’ (photography and video) have certainly been borne out, while the intervening years have also seen contemporary art’s drive towards research and knowledge production lend a particular weight to processes of mapping and critical cartography.20 Katz’s conception of topography offers one way then to add meat to the bones of Jameson’s sketched outline as well as a productive framework for examining the strategies adopted within If You Lived Here…. As I will discuss, implicitly recognising the impossibility of representing social reproduction, both Katz and Rosler privilege the relations between fragments in their respective attempts to bridge the gaps between the economic, the ideological and lived subjectivity. At the same time, the importance afforded by Katz to the accrual and mapping of data is analogous to the central place held by documentary modes in If You Lived Here…. For not only did the cycle of exhibitions include a large proportion of documentary video and photography, the project frame also served to force an expansion of the definition of ‘document’ beyond stylistic tropes or conventional genre categorisations. Excised from their usual contexts and treated as repositories of information, individual components (from the recreated tenement kitchen to the posters, recycling bins and spoken testimonies) were ascribed an evidential status – even whilst, in some cases, retaining their use value. Of course Rosler’s sceptical attitude towards traditional documentary is well known through her influential theoretical writings on the subject that point to the genre’s naturalisation of unequal power relations and evacuation of politics. Here then is an artwork developed in the light of these trenchant critiques that experiments with new approaches to the documentary project. A crucial aspect of this enterprise is the attempt to describe, engage with, and intervene in the territories and practices of social reproduction. Moreover, in significantly extending the Left’s long-standing association 188

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If You Lived Here… with documentary modes it offers an important precedent for the critical or ‘imaginative’ approaches that have become so central to an updated feminist critique in more recent contemporary art practices.21

Home Truths: in and around the City ‘If you can’t afford to live here, mo-o-ve!!’22

If You Lived Here… was undoubtedly realised under contradictory and crisis– riven conditions; a moment when social polarisation in the US had reached achingly visible levels. For many the provision of basic human needs was faltering, rendering the true costs of social reproduction starkly apparent. As the 1980s housing crisis deepened Peter Dreier and Richard Appelbaum observed that: ‘[t]he spectacle of homeless Americans living literally in the shadow of luxury condos and yuppie boutiques symbolized the paradox of the decade’.23 Fundamental economic shifts including de-industrialisation and reduced or stagnating incomes gave rise to an ‘affordability gap’ as real-estate speculation and gentrification schemes became widespread, their effects compounded by changes in public policy and budgets which saw federal housing assistance radically cut and a chronic dearth in supplies of homes for those on low incomes. Statistics on homelessness over this period have been much contested – both in terms of scale and composition. Joel Blau’s account of the various wrangles over figures identifies a study cited in 1988 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness as the most reliable judgment: 735,000 people on any one night across the US, and 1.3 to 2 million people over the course of an entire year.24 One year later, during the If You Lived Here… programme, this figure translated into 82 per cent of New Yorkers encountering the homeless during the course of their daily routine.25 Arguably, what became known as the city’s ‘homeless crisis’ was very much predicated on this relatively sudden, yet relentless, visibility. Alive in the mind of the project’s audience would also have been the police riot in Tompkins Square Park on the city’s Lower East Side just a few months prior. A sleeping place for the dispossessed, the site had become charged with tensions around gentrification.26 The pivotal confrontation in August 1988 was ignited by brutal police attempts to impose a curfew, clear encampments and evict squatters. During the ‘Housing’ open forum the geographer and project interlocutor Neil Smith referenced this notorious incident, tracing a shift in urban discourse from the 1960s onwards 189

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Feminism and Art History Now in which fear of the blighted and declining US city was steadily replaced by the romantic optimism – and violence – of the frontier.27 Likening the language of gentrification to nineteenth-century literature on the conquest of the wilderness, he argued that the ‘pioneering’ spirit framed both sites as socially uninhabited: just as Native Americans were considered to be less than social and effectively part of the physical landscape, so was the urban working class. If You Lived Here… dealt with this neoliberal ‘taming’ process and its fallout.28 While the gendering of the terminology Smith cites is plain, contemporaneous debates were beginning to attend to a class-based division of female experiences of gentrification, addressing women’s position as both drivers and victims of a process influenced by transforming patterns of production and reproduction.29 In terms of the former, women’s struggle for inclusion and subsequent entry into the workforce was frequently credited with stimulating demand for expensive private housing in central locations as well as alternative lifestyles. Yet the successful incorporation of some women did not entail a substantive challenge to the exclusionary order of the system itself, resulting in disparities of experience across a range of positions, with those nearer the bottom of the income hierarchy often subjected to displacement.30 Countering the formerly prevalent picture of white, male alcoholic street dwellers, the statistics gathered by Blau indicate that women made up 46 per cent of the total homeless population across the US, while slightly more than half were people of colour. His figures also suggest that the latter years of the 1980s saw the number of homeless families in certain cities (including New York) rise starkly, again to more than half of the population.31 Materials mobilised as part of If You Lived Here… addressed these complexities together with the centrality of gender and race to the transformations of social relations underway. As in other projects however, Rosler does not directly acknowledge their thematic prominence. For example, discussing her Garage Sales of 1973 and 2012 she notes that, though an analysis of the position of women was integral, she preferred to leave the topic unspoken, partly on the basis that ‘feminist talk’ tended to foreclose responses but also because she aimed to implicitly connect such questions to issues of value, commodity fetishism and community.32 Similarly, the tactical invocation of what Rosler called the ‘(trendier) issues of “the city” ’ in If You Lived Here… at once glossed the unusually high visibility of women in public space and served to bring fresh and valuable perspectives to the public/private dichotomy that feminism was so keen to deconstruct in the 1970s.33 190

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Relational Documents Like Katz, Rosler was concerned with performing excavations, with reviewing and critiquing ‘the social and political-economic relations sedimented into space’.34 The artist later asserted that it was her interrogation of power relations within a very particular place, rather than pursuing a more abstract ‘critique in general’, that made If You Lived Here… so distasteful to the art world of the time.35 No doubt the large proportion of ‘non-art’ documentary materials exacerbated this response, yet their descriptive attributes were plainly indispensable in terms of denaturalising neoliberal urbanism and rendering social contradictions visible. To give just a few examples, MarieAnnick Brown presented documentation tracing the financial history of a single apartment building in Harlem, from construction to neglect and subsequent revival as a highly desirable real estate; Bob McKeown’s documentary photographs covered the formation of the Homeless Union in Wayne County, Michigan in 1988 while Dan Graham and Robin Hurst’s contribution tackled corporatised ‘public’ space using images and text.36 Notably the items and works selected by Rosler for display approached the negotiation of space not only as classed but also as gendered. Many of the video works in particular dealt with specifically female perspectives, giving voice to mothers concerned about rising rents and following others in their experiences of eviction, fights for access to adequate housing and attempts at homemaking. This focus addressed the relative lack of visibility around family experiences of housing crises, where reliance upon the homes of relatives or other forms of stop-gap accommodation was common. Other inclusions documented and interrogated the harrowing challenges that faced maligned ‘bag ladies’; lone, highly vulnerable women precariously reproducing themselves on the streets and through a dysfunctional shelter system. These close descriptions entwined geographic anchors with personal chronicles, documenting how – and to what level – social reproduction was accomplished in a range of contexts from dispossessed families to artist collectives. Captured and disseminated by videotapes, audio and written recordings as well as through testimonies at the open forums, they provided vital topographic coordinates that grasped the intimate dimensions neoliberalism. The centrality of embodied or ‘situated’ knowledge within If You Lived Here… must be seen in relation to the feminist acknowledgement of the importance of such perspectives to any history or indeed political project.37 191

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Figure 9.2 Exhibition view of Home Front, part of If You Lived Here… (1989).

However, just as Katz (echoing Jameson) asserted that ‘situated knowledge alone is not enough, and the notion may even have begun to hobble our political imaginations’, Rosler couldn’t accept ‘straight’ documentary forms that stop – so to speak – at the experiential.38 Rather, they had to be mediated, or (in her words) ‘intelligently situated – and that usually means textually anchored’.39 In this case of If You Lived Here…, mediation took the form of experimental curatorial strategies that established lines of elevation by setting a variety of topographic coordinates – subjective, statistical, theoretical – in relation to each other. While the range of perspectives Katz advocates are readily apprehended in Rosler’s eclectic, polyvocal project, the artist’s use of the expanded exhibition form spatialised the investigations and pluralised their interpretations. Also in evidence are the beginnings of something comparable to Katz’s ‘contour lines’: connections drawn between geographically and culturally distinct places or instances as part of a process she calls ‘countertopography’. Though the majority of the exhibition materials presented concerned housing and gentrification in New York City at the tail-end of the 1980s, a good proportion focused on how the same issue played out across other sites in the US as well as internationally in other 192

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Figure  9.3 Meeting conducted by Homeward Bound Community Services, Homeless: The Street and Other Venues, part of If You Lived Here… (1989).

so-called ‘originating cities’ such as London.40 In Katz’s words, ‘[f]inding, demonstrating, and understanding these connections and what they give rise to are crucial to challenging them effectively’.41 The strength, then, of Rosler’s engagement with what I am calling ‘topographical curating’ lay in this cumulation of heterogeneous materials to build thick descriptions that attended to the causes, effects and contexts of a crisis in social reproduction. Engineering receptive contexts in which artists, activists, community groups, support organisations, theorists, urban planners and homeless people could come together, If You Lived Here… clearly took a different approach to the ‘taking care’ of art that the etymological roots of the verb curare are often taken to imply. Not limited to the organisation and preservation of objects, the project addressed a need to forge connections: Neil Smith later noted that although a number of groups and struggles were formed around the intersecting issues relating to homelessness, squatting and housing at this time, in New York at least, they rarely came together in city-wide movements.42 It was in this fractured context that Rosler’s brand of radical hospitality aimed to produce and consolidate a community of interest. The importance accorded to the series of four open forums is indicative: held monthly on weekday evenings, invited speakers and audience members responded to specific themes ranging from housing and homelessness to planning.43 With the exception of the 193

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Feminism and Art History Now forum dedicated to the complexities of artists’ positions vis-à-vis gentrification, only one creative practitioner was represented on each panel. Reporters, lawyers, members of community action organisations and academics took up the majority of positions while advertising posters emphasised the open-floor policy, appealing to local people to attend and speak out. These public forums were far from ancillary and were organised in close conjunction with the exhibition programme. Just as in the displays, distinct areas of concern and struggle were drawn into close proximity through the participation of groups variously battling to enhance the visibility of the specific challenges facing people living with AIDS (ACT UP), secure adequate accommodation for precarious families living in the Brooklyn Arms Hotel (Parents on the Move) or offer practical assistance for artists interested in developing collectively owned studio co-ops (ArtistSpace). Edited transcriptions of the animated discussions later appeared in the associated publication, tellingly labelled by Publishers Weekly as ‘a practical manual for community organizing’. Rosler’s desire to use her practice to create ‘an imaginary space in which different tales collided’ found concrete expression in If You Lived Here….44 However, despite clearly inheriting the commitment to collaborative working methodologies that shaped so many of the previous crossings between feminism and artistic practice, Rosler’s gestures towards the dispersal of creative production did not ultimately trouble her own position. Her retention of authorship status both nods to the project’s location in the heart of the mainstream art world and prefigures the current requirement for participatory and social practice to promote a marketable name or, in its place, brand. Nevertheless, If You Lived Here… must be viewed as an experimental worktable that effectively produced both the displayed materials and live contributions as relational documents. As Rosler’s previous writing on the subject suggests, their most significant attribute was their supportive relation to (and direct engagement with) social activism; for her, a prerequisite for the necessary reinvention of the documentary project.45

Bringing it Back Home: Life at the Frontier Occupying a hinge historical moment, If You Lived Here… signalled core themes that have come to define the outset of the twenty-first century – (forced) mobility, precarity and, not least, shelter. Smith described the 1970s and 1980s as the ‘anchoring phase’ of gentrification, the wave before the process became a truly global urban strategy.46 The intervening years 194

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Figure  9.4 Exhibition view of City Visions and Revisions, part of If You Lived Here… (1989).

have seen this more recent (uneven) systematisation intersect in complex ways with the 2008 financial crisis. With housing debt at its epicentre, mass insecurity, evictions, abandonment, homelessness and escalating struggles for the right to housing have figured prominently in its long wake. It is under these material conditions that social reproduction has been propelled to attention. Considered from this vantage point, the selection of If You Lived Here… as the case through which to affirm the concept’s relevance to feminist art history and begin the process of identifying a continuum of women artists’ engagement with reproduction makes more sense. Moreover, its out-of-time character has much to recommend it: realised just a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing consolidation of capitalist globalisation, it predates the exponential rise of participatory and social art practice. Productive connections can then be traced both ahead to the turn of the millennium and beyond as well as back, as can be demonstrated through Rosler’s own practice. Alexandra Kokoli has observed that: ‘[l]ike the body, ‘home’ never ceases to be a major concern for feminism’.47 Indeed, feminist activists, scholars and artists have long countered the autonomous conception of the home as a neutral, congenial and self-contained space, seeking instead to connect it to 195

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Feminism and Art History Now other sites of social and economic life. Those video works within Rosler’s oeuvre, now so deeply embedded within the established narratives of feminist art history, were concerned with precisely this effort. Whether recording her parody of a housewife aggressively wielding cooking utensils in Semiotics of the Kitchen or the systematic measurement of her naked body by clothed clinicians in Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained (1977), Rosler’s early videotapes observed the private female, isolated in highly controlled domestic and pseudo-scientific environments. If You Lived Here… takes the next step, describing and addressing women (in the plural) as subjects that ‘live’ under the general pressure of the neoliberal remaking of the urban fabric. Even without naming it as such, each of these works implicitly acknowledge the pivotal place that social reproduction holds in the organisation of a given capitalist society. The pronounced, and unfamiliar, presence of women in the context of a project focused on the city is a consequence of the way in which If You Lived Here… foregrounded social reproduction by connecting the public (urban space) to the private (the lives of the people it presents). The documents of women forced to exist publicly, shamed for failing to make ‘happy homes’, undoubtedly constitute the most extreme articulation of this presence, brutally demonstrating that domestic space is classed and materially under threat. Yet throughout the wide spectrum of perspectives and information presented – and despite the fact that Rosler did not explicitly connect the project with a strictly female experience – the social truth that it is women who carry the burden of reproducing social life, of being homemakers, is strikingly apparent. Another inclusion for the alternative lineage called for here would be Kay Hunt, Margaret Harrison and Mary Kelly’s Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry (1973– 5). In this case attention was focused exclusively on the relationship between two very different private spaces where women’s labour is valued very differently: the home and the workplace. Displayed at the South London Art Gallery during the time of the implementation of the Equal Pay Act, it presented a sociological analysis of a nearby metal box factory in Berdmondsey, London. Documents included typed summaries of workers’ daily schedules, setting out in dry but arresting detail the weight of the double labour performed by women both inside and outside the home. Identifying social reproduction as the ‘pulsating heart’ of the entire capitalist system, Leopoldina Fortunarti recently noted that the reproductive sphere has also been the site of the most relevant political and social 196

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If You Lived Here… movements of the last decades, from the Arab uprisings to the Indignados movement in Spain, to Occupy Wall Street in the United States.48 This focus is mirrored in the field of social art practice where projects frequently respond to contradictions and crises in social reproduction, whether concerning maquiladora Mexico (Ursula Biemann), those with no access to reproductive healthcare and abortion (Women on Waves), or unemployed women living on the periphery of Glasgow (Wochenklausur). In bringing new dimensions to discussions on the constitutive role of culture in the preservation of power and the reproduction of the dominance of capital (both at an ideological and material level), social practice both acts within the terrains of social reproduction and finds itself caught in its predicaments: on the one hand, operating as a palliative (symbolic or concrete) and thereby reproducing capitalist social relations while, on the other, offering potential grounds for counter struggles. In chronicling the ways in which individuals, families and communities negotiated a large-scale economic project, If You Lived Here… registered the same enduring paradox: the close descriptions and propositions at once revealed the creativity of everyday practices centred on resistance and the invention of new forms of social reproduction as well as the apparently boundless (though certainly not painless) human capacity for absorption, adaption and survival. The inherent difficulties of organising politically within the territories of social reproduction are now frequently acknowledged.49 Seen in the light of Katz’s critical topographies, Rosler’s project can be viewed as a prescient attempt to prepare the grounds for action by apprehending the intersections between state policies, the logic of capital accumulation, domestic life and the formation of subjectivity. In their respective offers of an analytic research tool and an experimental documentary project, Katz and Rosler join many others in stressing the importance of material social practices to understanding and opposing the ‘abstractions’ of neoliberal urbanism and globalisation.50 In both the political value of theorisations of social reproduction are brought into sharp focus: namely, the articulation of the urgent need for a materialist feminism that addresses the actual conditions in which most women live.

Notes 1. The exhibitions were titled Home Front, Homeless: The Street and Other Venues and City:  Visions and Revisions. Published two years later, the associated

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2. 3.

4.

5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

12. 13.

book If You Lived Here…: The City in Art, Theory and Social Activism (Seattle, 1991) was edited by Brian Wallis. Rosler, ‘If We Lived Here…’, in I. Gevers (ed.), Place, Position, Presentation, Public (Amsterdam, 1993), p. 83. A self-organised collective of predominantly male and African American members who had inhabited City Hall Park for six months in 1988 to protest political indifference to homelessness. Rosalyn Deutsche, ‘Alternative Space’, in Wallis (ed.), If You Lived Here…, p. 45. The project title was appropriated from the advertising slogans that lined the commuter rail tracks, attempting to entice the middle classes in from their suburban fold: ‘If you lived here, you’d be home by now.’ Its recent recuperation was instigated 2009 through both Nina Möntmann’s analysis of its significance for the histories of 1990s ‘New Institutionalism’ in the pages of e-flux journal and a display of the project archive in the same organisation’s basement gallery in New York’s Lower East Side. The archive exhibition later toured to Europe with presentations at Casco (Utrecht) and La Virreina (Barcelona). In 2015, the curator Jorge Ribalta’s Not Yet: On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism adopted a different approach, recreating a segment of one of the original exhibitions at the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. See also Nina Möntmann, ‘Martha Rosler, If You Lived Here…, 1989’, in E. Filipovic (ed.), The Artist as Curator 3, Mousse #44 (2014) and Adair Rounthwaite, ‘In, Around, and Afterthoughts (On Participation): Photography and Agency in Martha Rosler’s Collaboration with Homeward Bound’, Art Journal 73/4 (2015), pp. 46–63. Martha Rosler, Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Writings, 1975–2001 (Cambridge, MA, 2004), p. x. See Helena Reckitt, Art and Feminism (London, 2001) and Helen Molesworth, ‘House Work and Art Work’, 92 (October 2000), pp. 71–97. Martha Rosler, ‘Fragments of a Metropolitan Viewpoint’, in B. Wallis (ed.), If You Lived Here..., p. 43. This latter phrase is borrowed from Isabella Bakker and Stephen Gill (eds), Power, Production and Social Reproduction (Hampshire, 2003), p. 18. Ibid, p. 4. Kate Bexanson and Meg Luxton (eds), Social Reproduction: Feminist Political Economy Challenges Neoliberalism (Montreal & Kingston, London, Ithaca, NY, 2006), p. 3. Kathi Weeks, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries (Durham, NC; London, 2011), p. 27. See Diane Elson (ed.), Male Bias in the Development Process (Manchester; New York, 1995) and Mary E. Hawkesworth, Globalization and Feminist Activism (Lanham, MD, 2006).

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If You Lived Here… 14. Bexanson and Luxton (eds), Social Reproduction, p. 36. 15. Ibid, p. 37. 16. Some hold that ‘Social Reproduction Feminism’ constitutes a theoretical framework though this has been contested. See Susan Ferguson, ‘Canadian Contributions to Social Reproduction Feminism, Race and Embodied Labor’, Race, Gender & Class 15/1–2 (2008), pp. 42–57. 17. Cindi Katz, ‘Vagabond Capitalism and the Necessity of Social Reproduction’, Antipode 33/4 (2001), pp. 709–28. 18. Ibid, p. 720. 19. Fredric Jameson, ‘Cognitive Mapping’ in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Basingstoke, 1988), pp. 347–57. 20. Fredric Jameson, ‘Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’, New Left Review 146 (1984), pp. 53–92. See, for example, Angela Dimitrakaki’s analysis of Ursula Biemann’s output which explicitly connect her video essays to mapping processes in relation to feminism: Angela Dimitrakaki, ‘Materialist Feminism for the Twenty-first Century: The Video Essays of Ursula Biemann’, Oxford Art Journal 30/2 (2007), pp. 205–32. The artist herself refers to her work as topographic. See Ursula Biemann, ‘Remotely Sensed: A Topography of the Global Sex Trade’, Feminist Review 80 (2005), pp. 180–93. 21. Consider the work of Maria Ruido, Hito Steyerl, Petra Bauer, Rehana Zaman. 22. New York City Mayor Ed Koch’s exhortation was quoted on the wall of the If You Lived Here… Home Front exhibition. 23. Peter Dreier and Richard Appelbaum, ‘American Nightmare:  Homelessness’, Challenge 34/2 (1991), pp. 46–52. 24. Joel Blau, The Visible Poor:  Homelessness in the United States (New  York and Oxford, 1992), p.  24. See pages 15–24 for an account of the data and interpretations. 25. Cited in Ibid., p. 3 and p. 220. 26. See Rosalyn Deutsche and Cara Gendel Ryan, ‘The Fine Art of Gentrification’ (31 October 1984), pp. 91–111. 27. See ‘Housing: Gentrification, Dislocation and Fighting Back’ held on 28 February 1989 as part of the If You Lived Here… programme. Transcript in Wallis (ed.), If You Lived Here…., pp. 108–14. Similar points are rehearsed in Neil Smith, ‘Of Yuppies and Housing: Gentrification, Social Restructuring, and the Urban Dream’, Environment and Planning D 5 (1987), pp. 151–72 and Neil Smith, The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City (London, 1996). 28. Rosler certainly wasn’t alone in focusing attention on the housing crisis and privatised urban renewal:  artistic responses to gentrification are well represented within the Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D) archive. See Gregory Sholette, Dark Matter:  Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (London, 2011).

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Feminism and Art History Now 29. See Liz Bondi, ‘Gender Divisions and Gentrification: A Critique’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 16/2 (1991), pp. 190–8. 30. This is not of course to argue that women were the sole cause of urban transformation during this period; as Damaris Rose maintains, a ‘multiplicity of processes’ precipitated gentrification. See Damaris Rose, ‘Rethinking Gentrification:  Beyond the Uneven Development of Marxist Urban Theory’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1, p. 62. 31. Ibid., pp. 25–6: ‘[t]he 40 percent of the sheltered population in families in 1988 was almost twice the proportion of 21 percent who were homeless four years earlier’. 32. See Abbe Schriber, ‘In Conversation: Martha Rosler with Abbe Schriber’, The Brooklyn Rail (5 February 2014). Available at www.brooklynrail.org/2014/02/ art_books/martha-rosler-with-abbe-schriber (accessed 29 October 2016). 33. Rosler, ‘Place, Position, Power, Politics’, p. 69. 34. Katz, ‘Vagabond Capitalism’, p. 721. 35. Rosler, ‘Place, Position, Power, Politics’, p. 60. 36. Notably not all documentary inclusions could be described as ‘reconstructed’. Admitting that many displayed little evidence of reflexivity, Rosler was careful to foreground questions of representation within the project narratives, at one point using the exhibition context to foreground trenchant debates around what she refers to as ‘victim photography’. Rosler, ‘Fragments of a Metropolitan Viewpoint’, p. 37 and p. 34. 37. See Donna Haraway, ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’, Feminist Studies, 14/3 (1988), pp. 575– 99 and Ferguson, ‘Canadian Contributions to Social Reproduction Feminism, Race and Embodied Labor’, p. 47. 38. Katz, ‘Vagabond Capitalism’, p. 723. 39. Steve Edwards, ‘Secrets from the Street and Other Stories’, Ten.8 35 (1989/ 90), p. 41. 40. Overseas examples included Lorraine Leeson, Peter Dunn et al.’s Docklands Community Poster Project, based in London’s East End throughout the 1980s. 41. Katz, ‘Vagabond Capitalism’, p. 721. 42. Neil Smith, ‘New Globalism, New Urbanism: Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy’, Antipode 34/3 (2002), p. 442. 43. The open forums were titled:  ‘Housing:  Gentrification, Dislocation, and Fighting Back!’ (28 February 1989), ‘Artists’ Life/Work:  Housing and Community for Artists (14 March 1989), ‘Homelessness: Conditions, Causes, Cures’ (26 April 1989), ‘Planning: Power, Politics, and People’ (16 May 1989). 44. Rosler, ‘Place, Position, Power, Politics’, p. 58. 45. Rosler, ‘In Around and Afterthoughts (on Documentary Photography)’, in Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Writings, 1975–2001 (Cambridge, MA, 2004), p. 196.

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If You Lived Here… 46. Smith, ‘New Globalism, New Urbanism’, p. 40. For a critical account of gentrification processes and debates pertaining to the global south see Loretta Lees, Hyun Bang Shin (eds), Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (Bristol, 2015). 47. Alexandra M.  Kokoli, ‘Undoing “Homeliness” in Feminist Art: Feministo: Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife’ (1975–7)’, n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal 13 (2004), p. 83. 48. Leopoldina Fortunati, ‘Social Reproduction, But Not As We Know It’, Viewpoint Magazine, 5 (2015), website, unpaginated. Available at https://viewpointmag.com/2015/10/31/social-reproduction-but-not-as-we-know-it/#fn45164 (accessed 29 October 2016). 49. Katz, ‘Vagabond Capitalism’, p. 718. See also Jo Littler, Nina Power and members of the Precarious Workers Brigade, ‘Life After Work’, Compass (May 2014), website unpaginated. Available at http://www.compassonline.org.uk/ life-after-work/ (accessed 29 October 2016). 50. Cindi Katz, ‘On the Grounds of Globalization:  A  Topography for Feminist Political Engagement’, Signs 26/4 (2001), pp. 1213–34.

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D. Suzanne van Rossenberg, Lightness of Being (2012). Digital image.

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Part IV

Temporality|Ghosts|Returns

The chapters gathered in this section are linked by a common attention to historiography’s internal temporal logics, the organising rhythms that structure and cohere the inchoate events of feminism’s past into a recognisable and legible historical form. Philosopher Victoria Browne has termed this heightened interest within feminist scholarship ‘the time and history boom’, suggesting that ‘as feminism itself has become a political tradition, significant questions have emerged’.1 These questions have to do with the telling of feminism’s own histories, in which there is a search to understand how modes of historical time, change and thought which underpin historiography could limit or empower political action in the present. It is possibly unsurprising that the three writers included here employ curatorial case studies to explore the question of time, given both the conspicuous triumph of feminism’s ‘blockbuster’ shows since c. 2007 and a long-established association between the ‘tomblike’ museum repository and the stifling of animate time. Moreover, the museum trend for spectacular re-enactments of 1960s and 1970s performance works has called attention to the politics of time, duration and presence with unusual force in recent years. Clare Johnson’s book Femininity, Time and Feminist Art (2013) concentrates on further dismantling the generational paradigm of feminist history that Julia Kristeva rejected in her influential essay ‘Women’s Time’ (1981). Kristeva’s essay is notable for its promise of providing a substitutive, anti-linear model of historical temporality and it set the tone for much

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Feminism and Art History Now subsequent feminist analysis (including, most relevantly, curator Catherine de Zegher’s exhibition and catalogue Inside the Visible: An Elliptical Traverse of 20th Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine, 1996). However, while a consideration of time has emerged very strongly in psychoanalytically inflected feminist studies such as Kristeva’s, it would appear that a materialist conception of time is also gaining in preference as our current conditions of existence direct attention towards the never-enough-time of 24/7 capitalism.2 The Kierkegaardian concept of ‘recollecting forward’ has moreover been called upon to interrupt or rethink linear patterns of historical thought.3 Forward recollection stands as an invitation to rethink the relationship between past, present and future; to take into consideration feminism’s past while keeping attention plainly focused on the future-perfect sense of what will come, a sense that is itself undergoing transformation. Theoretically, these varied models are connected by the proposition that unfixing past events from immobilising temporal frameworks would be linked to the unfixing and revising of potential feminist futures. Francesco Ventrella’s contribution takes a 2007 UK newspaper article declaring ‘the feminaissance’ of contemporary art museums as a jumpingoff point to discuss three curatorial projects staged in cities across Italy during 2005, 2010 and 2013. The problem of the ‘rebirth’ or ‘return’ rhetoric prevalent in mainstream accounts of feminism, he argues, is that it masks historical complexity by insisting that feminism ‘was over and now it is back’, a timeless attitude that ‘reproduces the idea that the subject of feminism remains the same’. The influence of Clare Hemmings’ ‘painstaking’ research into feminist theory’s dominant models of time is strongly indicated by Ventrella, who develops her method to isolate the models of progress, loss and return that have underpinned the narratives of feminist exhibitions in recent years. His chapter provokes many useful enquiries in relation to feminism and historical time, including: how might we conceive of repetition as creatively transformative? how do geographical qualities intersect with the temporal? Here Ventrella wisely does not attempt to provide neat closures or conclusions and instead considers the efficacy of adopting an inter-generational ‘we’ as a generative political statement that defies the (sometimes) restrictive grammar of linear time. In the second chapter, Kimberly Lamm shifts focus from Italy to Brooklyn, New York: the site of the first museum centre for feminist art, the opening of which in 2007 was marked with the large-scale exhibition Global 204

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Temporality | Ghosts | Returns Feminisms. Lamm provides an incisive reading of two juxtaposed images from the exhibition catalogue. The unexpected connection between a contemporary photograph and nineteenth-century painting is claimed to reveal how the exhibition’s ‘gestures of inclusion’ were ‘haunted by colonial relations’. Lamm’s chapter recalls how images of black women’s bodies have historically functioned to reaffirm white European female identity, and how these images even helped ‘substantiate the political progress white European women were claiming for themselves’. Did the selection and display of images of women’s bodies in Global Feminisms reinscribe that relationship by overlooking the myriad ways in which systemic economic exploitations underpin current models of the ‘global’? Here the past resurfaces as a ghostly apparition reminding us that feminism can be a disruptive but also a complicit force in neo-colonial discourses. Catherine Grant’s chapter builds upon her earlier, widely cited research on feminist fandom, strategies of artistic re-enactment and intergenerational attachment. Here, The Emily Davison Lodge project prompts Grant to search out documentation in support of the Lodge’s alleged nineteenth-century existence. Finding very little beyond a slight reference she wistfully concludes that, ‘[f]rom such meagre information a world can be imagined’. This particular, and popular, mode of contemporary art practice is described as employing ‘archival research, temporal disruptions and fantasy’ as part of a creative learning process. Such artworks, Grant contends, speak ‘an encouragement to engage with history as a script to be played with, sat with, contemplated, performed, discussed’. While such re-enactments have been widely understood as staging ‘temporal disruption as a space of possibility’, Grant seeks to extend this analysis by specifically considering its temporal disruption as a ‘space of learning’. This process, it is reasoned, relates to Bertolt Brecht’s idea of learning play, a self-consciously inventive method of addressing the past in order to enable possible futures for its subjects. Grant’s exploration of Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue’s Killjoy’s Kastle, a ghoulish project of remembrance in which gravestones are marked with the details of queer and feminist organisations that no longer exist, reminds us of the ambivalent status of the past within progressive social movements. Reconceiving historiography as a primarily creative process, Grant implies, would allow us to re-present the material of history in order to bring ‘the audience into an active dialogue’ with feminism’s past, galvanising a future feminist community. 205

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Feminism and Art History Now Where is that community, and what will it try to achieve? The material and digital networks which connect the globe seem to have been intensified rather than disrupted by the collapse of the financial sector in 2008. This intensification has prompted many progressive social movements, including feminism, to reflect on and debate anew the methods, processes and aspirations associated with social change in and through time. Feminist art histories generally share an aspiration to reshape the relationship between past art and present values. These three chapters invite us to confront in imaginative and challenging ways the mechanisms by which we propose a relationship between the art of the past, our understanding of it in the present, and its contribution to a more equitable future.

Notes 1. Victoria Browne, Feminism, Time and Non-Linear History (London, 2014), p. 2. 2. See Jonathan Crary’s influential book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (London, 2013). 3. A 2014 conference panel echoed Kirkegaard’s concept, ‘Recollecting Forward: Feminist Futures in Art Practice, Theory and History’, in which organisers Alexandra Kokoli and Catherine Heath called for papers to ‘redress this focus on linear progression and generational division by reconsidering the question of temporality in feminist art practice, theory and history’. 40th Annual Association of Art Historian’s Conference, Royal College of Art London: 10–12 April 2014.

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10 Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ Francesco Ventrella

For me, feminism has been one of the most creative things I have made in my life, even more than art […] – Suzanne Santoro.1

Returns and Revivals When Viv Groskop’s article ‘All Hail the Feminaissance’ appeared in the Guardian on 11 May 2007, the hype of feminist art events on the global art scene that year had already been interrogated by the press: ‘in recent months, art with feminist themes has undergone a massive resurgence, dominating the cultural agenda in the United States and being dubbed “the feminaissance” ’. Written as a review for Matthew Buckingham’s multimedia installation about Mary Wollstonecraft at the Camden Arts Centre in London, Groskop also expanded on a list of art initiatives celebrating the return of feminism encapsulated by a triumphant headline: ‘For years feminist artists have been sidelined, or even derided. But now, almost overnight, the art world can’t get enough of them’.2 The article fully recognises the importance of these events, and it does so by conveying a message full of optimism (arguably shared among other professionals at the time) set in opposition to a period of neglect. Yet, narratives of return are always complicated by ideas of loss and progress. Whereas I do not intend to reconstruct the critical appraisal of the feminaissance, I would like to linger on 207

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Feminism and Art History Now this one article to investigate how ‘art with feminist themes’ itself becomes a document of the past, rather than a proposition for the present. Here I am not only interested in the cultural perceptions of ‘feminist art’ as a current phenomenon in contemporary art, but also, to paraphrase Griselda Pollock and Alison Rowley, as a phenomenon synchronous with the cultural processes ‘happening in the now, and with the ways in which these processes may challenge the will to historical understanding’.3 Groskop’s writing is replete with references that stress the temporal shift evoked by such ‘resurgence’, and in order to give evidence for the silence about feminism and make its return more meaningful, she makes reference to Judy Chicago’s installation The Dinner Party being kept in storage for twenty years after its first showing in San Francisco in 1979. However, as an erratum published later by the paper makes clear, The Dinner Party was not hidden for two decades, but travelled to the US, Europe and Australia between 1980 and 1986, and was again on show in Los Angeles in 1996.4 Groskop’s misinformation about The Dinner Party becomes useful to gauge a feminist historical imagination, while the exhibition life of The Dinner Party challenges the very idea of the rebirth of feminism around 2007. Although I am not trying to propose that the history of a single work ought to be taken as the paragon to assess the history of feminism in art, let alone the impact of the feminaissance, this instance seems symptomatic of the feelings, expectations and desires that have made it easier to imagine the histories of feminism through the tropes of loss, return and progress. Groskop’s historical slip seems to show that pointing at women’s absence from history is somehow more seductive than thinking about the ways in which they have been making themselves differently present throughout history. The problem remains of what subject such narratives make historically legible in the present. Clare Hemmings has argued that Western feminist progress and loss narratives mutually reinforce their meaning within a common storyline: ‘While they each represent their own logic as singular and as running directly counter to the other, their use of similar markers and points of transition might better be read as a debate within the same terrain’.5 Groskop’s narrative betrays an attachment to the story that ‘feminist art’ was over and now it is back, and thus also reproduces the idea that the subject of feminism remain the same. The problem with a feminist revival lies not so much in the stories that we want to retrieve from oblivion and share with others, but in the politics of historiography, especially today that feminism itself has become a teaching object in the classroom as well as 208

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ in the gallery.6 The format of the art exhibition seems to accommodate well the narratives of loss and progress which have become particularly amenable to selectively isolate feminism as one movement within the history of art. Since Groskop published her article, even more feminist shows have been organised giving rise to a broad discussion within academia and museum curating of whether these events are the symptoms of a resurgent interest in the histories of ‘feminist art’, or just the effects of financial speculation on works made by women from the 1970s and 1980s, which are considerably cheaper than those of their male counterparts. Does this revival mark a new wave of feminist politics, or has the nostalgia conveyed by the narrative of revival created yet another separation between institutions and activism? These questions were already crucial in the 1970s, when feminist debates seemed polarised around two main positions. The first argued that women’s works had been deliberately neglected in the past, as they still are in the present history of art; the second proposed that women had always been present as artists but in a variety of positions and competencies which did not necessarily correspond to the parameters established by the canons of modern art history.7 These two positions were often presented in opposition to one another, but it would not be impossible, forty years on, to think about some commonalities, for they both pose the question of historical transmissibility. While these two stances appear in contradiction when discussed along the Anglo-American axis, by moving away from this axis such polarisations become no longer legible. Turning to this narrative difference is vital to challenge the ‘unmarked identity’ of the voice of feminist theory and art history in the West.8 The recent turn to temporalities in feminist and queer theory has highlighted the role of narratives in dislocating or fixing bodies and subject positions, temporality being only one conduit by means of which unmarked positions become naturalised in historical discourse.9 Clare Hemmings’ recent plea that feminists should acknowledge the temporalities of the stories they tell about the feminist past is especially useful to interrogate the politics of the feminaissance. In a painstaking survey of the narratives constructed by feminist academic journals in the past decades, she highlights recurring tropes associated with progress, loss and return according to different, but entwined, temporalities in which feminist subjectivities have become legible in relation to a number of intellectual and cultural manifestations, among which I would like to consider art, art history and curating. 209

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Feminism and Art History Now Hemmings’ arguments have been fruitfully applied elsewhere with great effect in the context of telling the stories of feminist art history. Michelle Meagher has navigated Hemmings’ theorisation to take to task the dominant narratives in feminist art history which maintain the artificial divide between an essentialist first generation and a poststructuralist second generation – a divide which, she argues, performs the function of disidentification that is necessary for one generation to disconnect from, or disavow, the other.10 However, rather than matching Hemmings’ three narratives to the feminist problem of generations alone, I would like to use her ideas about temporality to complicate the geographical maps of feminist art history. In this chapter, I am going to look at three exhibition projects which took place in Italy to examine how the temporalities of the feminaissance make illegible some geographical differences, alongside generational ones.11 The dominant discourse of the feminaissance shows that this temporal construct cannot account for projects which may have set themselves apart from the art world also assumed in Groskop’s article. Nostalgic narratives of loss are activated through a fantasy of progress that makes emancipation legible along a monological and chrono-normative vector embodied in the very etymology of the portmanteau feminaissance – with its obvious reference to the Renaissance, the historiographical period which has set the tempo of art historical narration in the Western canon.12 Thus, the feminaissance conveys historical representations which have a retroactive effect, as they turn feminist art into a movement which sits alongside other movements such as pop art and minimalism. Rather than thinking emancipation though linear progress, one can start to imagine the relationship between art and feminism, as ‘a synchronic configuration of debates within feminism, all of which have something valuable to contribute to the enlarging feminist enterprise’.13 Shifting the focus from ‘feminist art’ to art as a feminist practice could be one initial step towards a more complex understanding of the relations between art and feminism, rather than by amalgamation with the globalised language of contemporary art practice.

On Not Translating ‘Feminist Art’ While reviewing the exhibition catalogue of Wack!, in order to answer the question of why feminism had suddenly become so ‘sexy’ in 2007, Bojana Pejic made the interesting remark that ‘the text on Italian feminist art 210

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ criticism by Judith Russi-Kirshner, at least for me, is a historical discovery’.14 Followed by only two other studies in the catalogue dealing with specific locations of the postcolonial Anglophone world and Chile, the essay on Italy revolves on three major art critics associated with the 1970s feminist movement in Italy: Carla Lonzi, Anne-Marie Sauzeau Boetti and Lea Vergine.15 Russi-Kirshner explains that in Italy the theories and politics of sexual difference have been more influential than the struggle for gender equality, and argues for taking into account this difference when we look at the works made by women.16 Most women artists mentioned here, and indeed the two Italian artists included in the exhibition, Carla Accardi and Ketty Larocca, did not easily identify with a feminist art movement.17 Russi-Kirshner astutely explains that these works could have not been made from within the context of a feminist art movement and, in fact, gain their potency from working on what Sauzeau-Boetti called a ‘negative capability’. Rather than investing their energies in fighting for inclusion in the male-dominated art world, ‘Lonzi, Suzeau Boetti, and Vergine deliver themselves from patriarchal culture and from the general constraints of modernism’ in order to reimagine ‘the potential of creativity and critical discourse to liberate their subjectivity’.18 Along the same lines, Jo Anna Isaak has argued that, amongst the preoccupation with ‘reliving and rebutting our feminist history’, Italy seems to represent an exception for ‘almost no mention is made of Italian women artists in Italian histories of art’.19 In focusing on a feminist curatorial initiative instigated by co-curators Gaia Cianfanelli and Caterina Iaquinta, Isaak emphasises that in this project there is no specific position taken against women’s exclusion from the art world, and she concludes that the project to reinsert women in the canon of art history does not seem to have the same urgency in Italy that it had in North America: ‘No one seems to be doing the Guerrilla Girls’ job of keeping statistical track of the inequities of the art world’.20 However, the two readings that Isaak and Russi-Kirshner give of the Italian scene also differ, for only the latter proposes historical and institutional arguments to explain how those women artists did not receive critical attention beyond Italy, as during the 1970s and 1980s they were overshadowed by the ‘cultural packaging’ of mostly male neo-avantgarde artists associated with Arte Povera and Transavanguardia.21 And both scholars turn to the legacies of Italian feminism, especially mentioning Rivolta Femminile and the writings of Carla Lonzi, a former art critic who, while rejecting art criticism as a profession, offered a sustained and consistent critique of the ‘myth of male culture’.22 In fact, the 211

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Feminism and Art History Now same year Linda Nochlin’s groundbreaking essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ appeared in ARTnews (1971), Rivolta Femminile published a short manifesto titled Assenza della donna dai momenti celebrativi della manifestazione creativa maschile (Woman’s absence from the celebratory moments of male creative manifestation, 1971) in which women’s refusal to celebrate male creativity (‘art that is made by men for men’) as spectators becomes the only condition of possibility for their creativity through feminism.23 Unlike Nochlin, however, Lonzi was not interested in surveying those historical and institutional conditions which prevented women from entering the canon of art history, but she turned to the separation between active makers and passive viewers to interrogate another axis for the perpetuation of patriarchal culture. According to Lonzi, when they look at their relationship with male creativity, women find themselves with two options: the first one, which has been employed so far, entails the achievement of equality on a level that has historically been defined by man […]; the second, which is sought by the feminist movement, deals with woman’s autonomous liberation to regain a creativity of her own fuelled by the repression imposed through the models of the dominant sex.24

North American scholars have looked at Lonzi’s position as a claim for autonomy resonating with the autonomist movements of the 1970s. Rather than investing energies in the institutions that have been shaped by the very absence of women from their rooms, ‘contemporary Italian women artists do not seem to be looking for compensation for the way they are excluded from the art world’.25 Our temporal distance should not obliterate the historical and political issues posed by Lonzi’s separatism, but it may create a space of resonance to counter the segregation of ‘feminist art’ into yet another period of Western art history. Lonzi did not recognise ‘feminist art’, and by not doing that she has left us with a creative demand to experience art as a feminist practice.26 The intersection of the temporal problematic of the feminaissance with one specific location does not only represent cultural difference, but implies the production of differences. Griselda Pollock reminds us that ‘to make a difference is to work to create the means to signify difference, and that cannot mean merely changing sides or perspectives’.27 The radical position against culture that was expressed by Rivolta Femminile today resonates with a number of transnational feminist movements which have 212

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ started to tackle the complexities of gender equality in order to open up a space of discussion for difference as a means of emancipation.

The Political Grammar of Curating 1: Venice, 2005 Whereas I concentrate on the syntax of exhibitions, I am aware of the risk of erasing the agency of artists and artworks in defining the content of exhibitions themselves. Another essay should be written on how artworks can resist the overwriting of a curatorial rationale. My focus here is twofold: on the one hand, I am interested in analysing the frame of exhibitions, which I intend as the semiotic and spatial context (not necessarily a physical container) that create narratives by choreographing bodies through itineraries and soliciting interactions and associations; on the other, I will attend at the discourse of the show, intended as what the show shows, and shows off.28 Since there is no instructive intention in this research, my chapter will favour analysis over judgment. My attempt to read the temporalities of art exhibitions does not amount to a calendar of feminist curatorial practices, but will inform a very partial and very personal and self-reflexive journal. By engaging with Clare Hemmings’ provocative study on the political grammar of feminist theory I wish to ask whether the return of ‘feminist art’ in curating has any potential to imagine the feminist past differently ‘as a series of ongoing contests and relationships rather than a process of imagined linear displacement’ in which the past exists only as an exhibit.29 The fifty-first edition of the Venice Biennale, curated by Maria de Corral and Rosa Martínez, was significantly dubbed ‘the Feminist Biennale’. The fact that the main curators of this edition were two women was then unprecedented in the centenary lifespan of the biennial. That year, three women artists received distinctions for their achievements: Barbara Kruger was awarded the golden lion for her career, Annette Messager received the golden lion for the best pavilion and Regina José Galindo the golden lion as best young artist. Finally, in the exhibition installed at Le Corderie, curated by Rosa Martínez and titled Always a Little Further, over 50 per cent of the artists were women of different generations. The press was particularly taken by Joana Vasconcelos’ installation welcoming the astonished audience in the antechamber of the Corderie with a gigantic chandelier made of tampons. The installation, physically invasive and visually compelling, required visitors 213

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Feminism and Art History Now to go closer to find out that the shiny pendants constituting the chandelier were indeed commercial tampons individually wrapped in industrial cellophane. In the same room, the large-scale posters of the Guerrilla Girls appeared almost like a backdrop to Vasconcelos’ installation. One of their posters addressed Venice historical museums and showed the male icon of 1960s Italian cinema Marcello Mastroianni riding Anita Ekberg in a scene of Fellini’s movie La dolce vita (1960). The text reads: ‘Where are the women artists of Venice? Underneath the men’. The reference is to the number of works by early-modern artists such as Marietta Robusti, Rosalba Carriera, Giulia Lama and Isabella Piccini which are kept in storage, or have rarely been on display. Another poster, instead, appropriates Canaletto’s eighteenth-century vistas of Venice to function as the background for a number of claims and sarcastic questions speaking directly to the Biennale institution: ‘French Pavilion has solo show by a woman: Who cares if it’s the first time in 100 years!’ The statistics at the bottom of the poster show that the percentage of women from the first Biennale in 1895 until 1995 shifted from 2.4 per cent to 9 per cent (Figure 10.1). A mock-up version of the same poster, which is only reproduced in the exhibition catalogue, shows one Guerrilla Girl holding a placard with a message that points the finger at the Italian art system: ‘Mamma mia! Why don’t Italian women artists win more prizes?’30 When I visited the show in 2005, these questions resonated with my desire to critique patriarchal culture and radicalise art history in Italian – a desire that I had at least begun to satisfy in a foreign language. However, the culture wars are not a ubiquitous phenomenon, let alone a universal one: how does their question, in spite of its subversive intent, reproduce the ‘peripheralisation’ of Italian women artists, both in temporal and spatial terms?31 The questions posed by the Guerrilla Girls do not account for the number of Italian women artists, radicalised during the 1970s, who have continued to show their work in feminist spaces, women artists co-ops and anti-violence groups. As Jo Anna Isaak illustrates in her essays, Italy still is home to a constellation of feminist initiatives in which artists have shown their work outside the conventional circuits of the art world. Far from being a choice of invisibility, these contexts have proved instrumental to showing art made by women and this is demonstrated by the growing number of academic studies on women’s networks and spaces.32 The press release, published for the opening conference of the Biennale, unpacks the title of the exhibition – Always a Little Further – which derives from the adventures of Corto Maltese, the male hero created by Venetian 214

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Figure  10.1 Guerrilla Girls, Where are the Women Artists of Venice? C-print on vinyl, 518 × 335 cm.

writer and illustrator Hugo Pratt. In the introduction of the exhibition catalogue, Rosa Martínez explains Pratt’s writings have turned Corto Maltese into a legend: ‘he personifies the myth of the romantic traveler always open to chance and risk, and always crossing every imaginable frontier in pursuit of his own destiny’.33 The title both frames and showcases the work of many artists, while producing an uncomfortable resonance between 215

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Feminism and Art History Now feminism and the male hero. Martínez obviously wanted to celebrate the ways in which feminism has changed art history, which it did. As she claims in another recent essay, women artists ‘demand that the values of the old French revolution  – equality, freedom, fraternity  – be readdressed from the new perspectives of gender, race and class’.34 However, in 2005 feminism was presented as a universalising theme (rather than as a transnational effort), as one moment within a narrative of progress that is redolent of the modernist caveat that art is moving ‘always a little further’. In the context of a global art biennial, putting forward ‘a shared feminist future requires the fantasy of a shared oppressive past’, which corresponds to the erosion of dissonant stories.35 Such representations become coextensive with the globalised view of the contemporary art world, in which gender equality becomes the marker of ‘our’ democratic present, while we become increasingly unable to question who ‘we’ are to speak for others.36 Hemmings identifies in the narrative of progress a desire to reassure the subjects of feminist thinking ‘that the present is a time of proliferation’.37 This does not entail a refutation of the achievements of feminism, as these two perspectives do not necessarily exclude one another. However, by locating ‘feminist art’ and the ‘feminist biennale’ through the chronotope described as ‘always a little further’, Martínez allegedly conveys a perception of time that is in line with the modernist (oedipal) narrative of art history, in which the new is always exchanged, as a commodity, in place of the old. Indeed, it was exciting for me to hear the very expression la biennale femminista in the sound of my mother tongue. Yet, the universalising grammar of Martínez’s exhibition project illuminates a uniformity of progression that is as seductive as it is misleading, since the narratives of global feminisms cannot rely on one (and indeed one’s) lingua franca. What this seduction concealed was that feminist art had become the next big thing. Embracing new knowledges or forgetting old ones are two options that appear as mutually exclusive only while they remain fastened to a progress narrative that is also a story of consumption and commodification.

The Political Grammar of Curating 2: Rome, 2010 In the ongoing mapping of current feminist exhibitions undertaken by scholars through academic conferences and round tables since 2007, the 216

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ exhibition Donna: Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s is an interesting inclusion (Figure 10.2). Curated in 2010, it was a collaboration between Angela Andreina Rorro, director of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, and Gabriele Schor, curator of the Verbund Collection in Vienna, which has become prominent in Europe for the acquisition of feminist artworks. The collection has been on tour around Europe for many years, and it was again on display in London at The Photographers’ Gallery in 2016. The Italian show included the works of seventeen artists from the collection, among the most popular in the recent feminist blockbusters: Cindy Sherman, Suzanne Lacy, Francesca Woodman, Ana Mendieta, Hannah Wilke, Nil Yalter, to name just a few. Being a selection from one single collection, the project did not aim to create links with the Italian feminist movement, nor to engage with a critique of the rampant sexism broadcasted by the ‘pornocratic’ regime enforced in twenty years of media culture under Berlusconi.38 Donna is obviously not the first exhibition to showcase the work of women artists in Italy. Only the appendix at the end of the exhibition catalogue, compiled by Alessandra Lanzoni, shows the variety of curatorial initiatives which have involved both institutional and independent spaces since the 1970s. By not engaging with the present, however, the exhibition relied on

Figure 10.2 Donna: Avanguardia femminista negli anni ’70 – dalla Sammlung Verbund di Vienna. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. Installation view.

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Feminism and Art History Now a sense of nostalgia drawing on an exclusive archive of the ‘feminist avantgarde’ that included only one Italian artist, Ketty Larocca (whose work was acquired in this occasion). The paratactic arrangement chosen for the hang emphasised the museological mind in operation in lending a corporate collection to a national museum. Occupying a museum space between the rooms of Joseph Kosuth and Arte Povera, Donna perhaps materialises a limited art-historical intervention, but it also lends itself to an investigation of the role of women artists in the history of twentieth-century art.39 By making the case for a feminist avant-garde, this exhibition aligned itself along the trajectory drawn by other feminist exhibitions, such us Wack!, oriented to find a place for feminist art in the history of art history after 1945. The exhibition catalogue makes an important attempt to rewrite the historiography of the avant-garde by putting women back where they belong.40 In the latest English version of the catalogue, Schor clarifies this position and stresses her intention to create a connection between ‘feminism’ and ‘avantgarde’ in order to enlarge the male canon of the avant-garde and to ‘embed the decade’s consequential feminist activities and production in the historiography of the avant-garde’.41 But what does it mean to reinsert women artists into a historiographic category that has been shaped by a masculine discourse? As many scholars have demonstrated, the category of the ‘woman artist’ seems to clash with the historiography of the avant-garde, for it undermines the very authenticity of the modern artist by contamination with gender.42 Since the history of the women’s exhibition has been tinted with exceptionalism, it may not be enough to claim and expansion of the canon without tackling the problem of how the canon in question was created first. In spite of art exhibitions being organised by women’s societies since the nineteenth century, the woman artist remained a sub-category of modern art history and visual culture. The surrogate of an ideal (male) great artist, the woman artist has been a disqualifying category according to modernist standards, because it is defined by sex, rather than by the quality of the art.43 Although Donna seems to propose that gender and sexuality do not undermine the avant-gardism of women’s works, but are an integral component of the avant-garde, the implication produced by the singular subject in the title is that of an alignment of the woman artist with a male historiographical project, in which ‘woman’ occupies the space of an ‘other’ that is designated and set apart by the history of art.44 Like the title of another major blockbuster show to come out of the feminaissance, elles@centrepompidou 218

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ (2009), the title Donna too presents a set of problems dealing with the very symbolic and political boundaries of a women’s exhibition. Elisabeth Lebovici has argued that ‘The resistance of women artists to the woman in the artist is rooted less in the forgotten histories of the practices themselves than in the history of art as a chronological, canonical account, a discipline of separation and hierarchical order’.45 The history of the woman’s art exhibition must therefore be examined in relation to the political and institutional conditions that help define such a category in a historical perspective, and which include disciplinary historiography. The challenge, therefore, is not simply to do away with women’s exhibitions and embrace a genderless curatorial rationale, for this claim of equality is in fact an effacement of the social, historical and symbolic conditions that mark difference. Instead, Lebovici indicates that women’s exhibition should take up the task of challenging the very hierarchical orders that give art exhibitions its set of rules, conventions and expectations. A women artists exhibition organised in the very rooms shaped by their exclusion seems to defeat the purpose, especially when the curators’ task of recovery and inclusion is the only vehicle to interpret the artworks.46 The showing of the Verbund collection in Rome did not establish any link with the local feminist community nor attempted a translation of feminist art for the Italian context which has traditionally challenged the definition of ‘feminist art’. The aesthetics of the exhibition, mostly comprising of black-andwhite photographs and videos, unwillingly endorsed a sense of nostalgia and created a strange consistency with which to frame the feminist avant-garde like an old photo-album. The problem of loss narratives, Hemmings writes, is that they ‘require the “death of feminism” in order to retain a static and familiar object to be lamented, in order to ensure at all costs that they do not encounter that object in the present’.47 Furthermore, the turning of feminism into a series of exhibits is also symptomatic of its potential commodification, that is reflected in the twenty-first-century shift of the museum from the shrine of national patrimony into a realm of commerce and consumption.48 In the Rome exhibition, this shift has left legible traces of the inequalities among employees. Some of the captions on the gallery walls were signed by Angela Andreina Rorro, some by Gabriele Schor, and others were not signed at all. Why was the work of the wider team not acknowledged? This erasure of intellectual labour within the spaces of the museum triggers the question of what the difference between a feminist exhibition and an exhibition whose theme is feminism might be: this issue becomes especially strident when one 219

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Feminism and Art History Now considers the feminisation of the workplace in the museum environment, let alone the critical mass of female interns who statistically represent the majority of students coming from art history and curating degrees. Indeed, while women artists are underrepresented in Italian museum collections and art history, women represent the largest group working in the museum sector. This paradox instigates the discussions around my third case study, Autoritratti: Iscrizioni del Feminine Nell’arte Contemporanea Italiana (Selfportraits: Inscriptions of the Feminine in Contemporary Italian Art), a project organised by a collective of women working at the Museum of Modern art of Bologna in 2013, under the coordination of Uliana Zanetti, an employee of the museum collection department.

The Political Grammar of Curating 3: Bologna, 2013 In approaching my third example I am aware that its position in my story might also create a progress narrative. In fact, neither Always a Little Further nor Donna should be judged as ‘bad’ exhibitions, in opposition to my third example as ‘good’. My aim here has been to focus on the temporalities inscribed in the stories curators tell about feminist art, and my discussion of a Bolognese project will further explore the entwinement of loss, progress and return narratives. Before becoming an exhibition, the project originated in the initial discussions for a potential rehang of the permanent collection to bring out the works made by women. An all-woman workforce has been involved, to the extent allowed by their time and willingness to participate in the elaboration of the project. Contributors to these discussions became quickly aware that a new display showcasing women’s works in an institutional space whose authority has been defined by their exclusion would have resulted only in a temporary concession. Nonetheless, as co-curator Uliana Zanetti argues, the museum could still be used as a laboratory ‘to stage and experiment with new forms of relations’.49 When thinking about women, Zanetti does not think of museums only as physical spaces and containers demarcated by their absence. If the task of the museum is that of preserving and disseminating heritage, one should also include the museum’s institutional and interpersonal dynamics, real and virtual publics, and the daily labour of its employees. Thus, the starting point of this project lies not in the attempt to fulfil a historical void, but from the desire to explore common 220

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ stories, continuities and attachments, what women have in common in spite of the physical separation and institutional hierarchies of knowledges and skills in operation within a museum institution. As the subtitle of the project indicates, the women’s group returned to Griselda Pollock’s concept of ‘inscription of the feminine’ in order to revise how sexual difference is inscribed in the work place, as well as in the history of art, the history of philosophy, family relations and so on, in the recognition of ‘those working within the predicament of femininity in phallocentric cultures in their diverse formations and varying systems of representations’.50 In this sense, Autoritratti: Iscrizioni del Feminine Nell’arte Contemporanea Italiana (Figure 10.3) re-narrates post-structuralist feminist theories, to show how these questions do not eschew an encounter with the problematics of labour and agency. This ex-centric reading of Pollock’s ideas is a revision through which the project might be seen as an embodiment of a ‘return narrative’, which Hemmings associates with the current interest in new materialism elaborated in response to the apparent ineffectiveness of the cultural turn, and the stress on discursive practices fostered by poststructuralist theories (including psychoanalysis). The incommensurability of the cultural turn and materialism produced in return narratives retells the story […] of a feminist political landscape and its subjects. […] In return narratives there are two primary political motivations for a revised materialist approach that necessitate the abandonment of a focus on representation. […] In the first, performative theory has failed to achieve social transformation, implying that without the interruption of such theoretical approaches, social conditions might perhaps have improved. In the second, the political interruption that cultural theories and debates represent can no longer be justified in the face of re-emergent inequalities.51

Only later the collective envisaged the possibility of organising the exhibition, and turned to Carla Lonzi’s thought to find a model of feminist authority that derives from women’s mutual recognition (riconoscimento), and the necessity for women to represent themselves without the interference of others.52 The title of the show declares their desire to engage with Lonzi’s legacy, for Autoritratto was the title of the collection of artist interviews she published in 1969. While Autoritratto represented Lonzi’s definitive resignation from the art world, Autoritratti (the exhibition) has turned 221

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Figure 10.3 Autoritratti. Iscrizioni del femminile nell’arte italiana contemporanea. Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bologna. Installation view.

the so-called missed encounter between art and feminism in the institutional art world into an advantage. The project propagated also outside the museum, thus involving a wider network of participants, among artists, curators, art historians and thinkers, who progressively joined in. Zanetti describes the aim of this methodology as twofold: firstly, they wanted to make visible the traces of a network that already existed and which could link, from within the institution, some women to other women; secondly, 222

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ these discussions soon merged into broader issues about life and politics outside the museum, thus turning the institution into a space in which women could talk about themselves to themselves and, consequentially, produce culture from the standpoint of mutual recognition.53 Rather than taking Lonzi’s choice as a historical interdiction, the exhibition Autoritratti embraces Paola Di Cori’s proposal that the history of feminism can be told only via continually reinventing, revisiting and re-visioning the asynchronic stories of feminisms.54 ‘From Paola di Cori’, Zanetti explains: we got the idea that only by continually reinventing feminism can we trace its history back without turning it into an innocuous archival object. I am convinced that it is neither right nor fair to assimilate everything into a kind of ‘dominant feminism’ (this risk exists and it would be only a sad replica of the very mechanisms that we would like to undermine), but the issue, for how I see it, stands in the very possibility of a translation among different languages.55

The exhibition showcased artists selected by following a methodology of mutual recognition among women. These included artists who belong to different generations and different stages of their career, and who also operate on different fringes of the national and international art world. Many works were produced specifically for the show and addressed feminist memories and genealogies: Sabrina Mezzaqui made a transcription of Simone Weil’s notebooks; goldiechiari showed the video Anygirl (2012) which documents the murdering of Wilma Montesi, the first case of feminicide to be discussed in postwar Italy; Paola Anziché looks at another woman artist in the work Sur les traces de Lygia Clark. Souvenirs et évocations de ses années parisiennes (2011); Moira Ricci, Marzia Migliora and Letizia Renzini explored the mother/daughter relationship. The exhibition catalogue explains that the show was not the end goal of the project, but only one stage among talks, workshops and publication. Indeed, the process behind the show was hardly visible in the museum space. Does this mean that an art exhibition is not able to accommodate the practice of riconoscimento upon which the initial discussions had slowly and organically developed into a curatorial project? Like many art projects variously associated with relational aesthetics, this relational form of curating too survives only in the stories that we tell about it.56 The stories that were told during the meetings and workshops 223

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Feminism and Art History Now inevitably exceed the walls of the museum. Yet, what may appear as a failure is perhaps also a success. As the title of the show declares, this project did not aim to give one single monumental history, but a series of self-portraits, inevitably subjective and singular, which await, like portraits do, for another subject to recognise them. I do not think the collective of Autoritratti wished their initiative to become a model for feminist curating. This encounter represents a demand, rather than a description or representation, for difference and singularity. ‘An exhibition in which women artists actively enable each other and are accountable to and for each other’ Jo Anna Isaak writes, ‘represents a feminist future in the making: “once connected, the excluded are not marginalized” ’.57

Conclusion Who is the subject of these three exhibitions? The narratives of the feminaissance often naturalise the use of ‘we’ and, consequentially, iron out the cultural and geographical differences of the stories ‘we’ tell about feminist art history: ‘it is precisely the endowing of one feminist subject and not another with the capacity to take feminism forward that produces the shared narrative of feminism as over in the first instance’.58 While the desire for a collective political subject remains amenable and reassuring, today it has become tinted with the nostalgia of loss narratives which have tamed its potential and distracted ‘us’ from unforeseen encounters with what ‘we’ could become. As a generational pronoun, ‘we’ marks the territory of a potential exclusion and inclusion – in the three projects discussed here, it has implied the exclusion of non cis-gender women artists. But we could be generatively formed as a subject that enables the telling different stories, through projective acts of identification and disidentification. By challenging naturalising assumptions about sex and gender, feminist artists (then and now) show that ‘we’ can reshape gender identities in a way that allows more of us to feel at home in them. I am not trying to define a feminist-specific pronoun here: saying ‘we’ is especially problematic for me because, although I want to work for and with feminism, I do not want to speak for women. However, I think it is important to imagine a way of saying ‘we’ which is not merely replicative, but one which is instead transformative of the relationship between sex and gender. Indeed, ‘we’ can be used not to naturalise oppositions from, but to make bridges with. According to Iris Van der Tuin, if we want to encounter the 224

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ unforeseeable, and the new, we need to embrace non-linear and non-causal temporalities for ‘bridging what was conflictual for a previous generation is an instantiation of jumping generations’.59 It is an assumption that new generations ought to interact in favour of or in opposition to only one wave or theoretical strand in order to start a ‘new’ categorisation. This monological way of representing feminist epistemologies is structurally oedipal for it requires a progress narrative to be discernible. Therefore, van der Tuin proposes upsetting this process through the methodology of ‘jumping generations’ which instead enables ‘bi-directional running on single or multiple tracks’.60 This different mode of thinking about generationality and gender in feminism reveals itself as a generative way of thinking through which we can address those shared conversations that happen in a creative mode through a non-linear representation of time. This is not given as a prescription, but it would be good material to relay ‘our’ certainties about what we know of the past of feminist art history, and what makes us feel good about imagining its future. Perhaps, as Hemmings suggests at the end of her book, we can do without the feminist narratives of progress, loss, and return ‘because we would like a present and a future with some unpredictability in them’.61 I would like to thank the editors for their helpful comments. I am also especially grateful to Abi Shapiro and Suzanne van Rossenberg for their constructive criticism on earlier versions of this chapter, and to Alexandra Kokoli for picking my brain on the transformative meanings in saying ‘we’.

Notes 1. Suzanne Santoro and Marta Serravalli, ‘Intervista a Suzanne Santoro (Capranica, 9 dicembre 2010)’, in Marta Serravalli, Arte e femminismo a Roma negli anni settanta (Roma, 2013), p. 222. 2. Vivian Groskop, ‘All Hail the Feminaissance’, Guardian, 1 June 2007. Available at http:// www.theguardian.com/ artanddesign/ 2007/ may/ 11/ art.gender (accessed 3 November 2016). 3. This quote comes from the call for papers of the academic session ‘The Year Was 2007: Historical Understanding, Difference and the Contemporary Exhibition Effect’, AAH Conference, London 2008. Available at http://www.aah.org.uk/ annual-conference/past-conferences/2008/academic-sessions-2008/academicsessions-london-2008–19#sthash.Q92fo2ma.dpuf (accessed 3 November 2016). For a discussion and selected references about the feminist revival in the visual

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4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9.

10. 11.

12.

13.

arts see Amelia Jones, ‘The Return of Feminism and the Visual Arts 1970/2009’, in Jessica Sjöholm Skrubbe and Malin Hedlin Hayden (eds), Feminisms is Still Our Name: Seven Essays on Historiography and Curatorial Practices (Newcastle, 2010), pp. 11–56; Angela Dimitrikaki and Lara Perry, ‘How to Be Seen: An Introduction to Feminist Politics, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions’, in Angela Dimitrikaki and Lara Perry (eds), Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (Liverpool, 2013), pp. 1–21. See Jane Gerhard, ‘From Controversy to Canonization: The Dinner Party’s Journey to Brooklyn’, in Judy Chicago (ed.), The Dinner Party. Restoring Women to History (New York, 2014), pp. 265–76. Clare Hemmings, Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory (Durham, NC, 2011), p. 61. See Alexandra Kokoli, ‘Fetishism and the Stories of Feminist Art’, in Alexandra Kokoli (ed.), Feminism Reframed: Reflections on Art and Difference (Newcastle, 2008), pp. 206–26; see also Victoria Horne and Amy Tobin, ‘An Unfinished Revolution in Art Historiography, or How to Write a Feminist Art History’, Feminist Review 107 (201s4), pp. 75–83, reprinted as Chapter 1 in this volume. Griselda Pollock, ‘Feminism, Femininity and the Hayward Annual Exhibition 1978’, Feminist Review 2 (1979), p. 34. Hilary Robinson, ‘Introduction: Feminism-Art-Theory – Towards a (Political) Historiography’, in H. Robinson (ed.), Feminism-Art-Theory: An Anthology 1968–2000 (Hoboken, 2001), p. 3. See Elizabeth Freeman (ed.), ‘Queer Temporalities’, special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, 13: 2/3 (2007). Catherine Grant has eloquently discussed some of these concerns with temporalities in relation to the politics of looking back at 1970s feminism in contemporary art. Catherine Grant, ‘Fans of Feminism’, Oxford Art Journal, 34/2 (2011), pp. 265–86. Michelle Meagher, ‘Telling Stories About Feminist Art’, Feminist Theory, 12/3 (2011), pp. 297–316. While I  speak about Italy, I  am not assuming one Italian national identity. This definition is especially problematic, and requires taking into account the history of internal migration as well as global migration movements. For an intersectional analysis of these problems see Cristina Lombardi-Diop and Caterina Romeo, Postcolonial Italy:  Challenging National Homogeneity (New York, 2012). See Nanette Salomon, ‘The Art Historical Canon: Sins of Omission’, in Donald Preziosi (ed.), The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology (Oxford, 1991), pp. 344–55. Griselda Pollock, ‘The Politics of Theory: Generations and Geographies in Feminist Theory and the Histories of Art Histories’, in Griselda Pollock (ed.), Generation and Geographies in the Visual Arts. Feminist Readings (London, 1996), p. 5.

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ 14. Bojana Pejic, ‘Why is Feminism Suddenly So “Sexy”?’, Springerin (2007). Available at http://www.springerin.at/dyn/heft_text.php?textid=2025&lang=en (accessed 3 November 2016). 15. Marsha Meskimmon, ‘Chronology through Cartography: Mapping 1970s Feminist Art Globally’; Nelly Richard, ‘Fugitive Identities and Dissenting Code-Systems: Women Artists During the Military Dictatorship in Chile’, in Butler (ed.), Wack!, pp. 322–35; 414–27. 16. Judith Russi-Kirshner, ‘Voices and Images of Italian Feminism’, in Cornelia Butler (ed.), Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Cambridge, MA, 2007), p. 386. 17. While Ketty Larocca was never involved in the feminist movement, Carla Accardi did not want to be associated with feminism after the Cooperativa Beato Angelico was dismantled in 1978. See Katia Almerini, ‘The Cooperativa Beato Angelico: A Feminist Art Space in 1970s Rome’, in Francesco Ventrella and Giovanna Zapperi (eds), Feminism and Art in Postwar Italy: The Legacy of Carla Lonzi (I.B.Tauris, 2017). 18. Russi-Kirshner, ‘Voices and Images’, p. 389. 19. Jo Anna Isaak, Gaia Cianfanelli, Caterina Iaquinta, ‘Curatorial Practice as Collaboration in the United States and Italy’, in Jill Fields (ed.), Entering the Picture: Judy Chicago, The Fresno Feminist Art Program, and the Collective Visions of Women Artists (New York; London, 2012), p. 296. 20. Isaak, Cianfanelli, Iaquinta, ‘Curatorial Practice as Collaboration’, p. 298. See also Cianfanelli and Iaquinta, Dissertare/Disertare (Genoa, 2008). 21. Russi-Kirshner, ‘Voices and Images’, p. 387. 22. See Zapperi’s chapter in this volume. 23. Isaak, Cianfanelli, Iaquinta, ‘Curatorial Practice as Collaboration’, p. 306. 24. Carla Lonzi, ‘Assenza della donna dai momenti celebrativi della manifestazione creativa maschile’, in Carla Lonzi, Sputiamo su Hegel e La donna clitoride e la donna vaginale e altri scritti (Rome, 1974), pp. 64–5. 25. Jo Anna Isaak, ‘Insights from Italy. Pleasure, Plurality and the Shaping of the Present’, in Dimitrikaki and Perry, Politics in a Glass Case, p. 170. 26. Francesco Ventrella, ‘Carla Lonzi’s Artwriting and the Resonance of Separatism’, European Journal of Women’s Studies 21/3 (2013), pp. 282–7. 27. Griselda Pollock, ‘Painting, Feminism, History’, in Michèle Barrett and Anne Philips (eds), Destabilizing Theory: Contemporary Feminist Debates (Stanford, CA, 1992), p. 158. 28. Mieke Bal, Double Exposure:  The Subject of Cultural Analysis (London; New York, 2006). 29. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, p. 131. By ‘grammar’ Hemmings means ‘the techniques (oppositions, intertextual references, and so on) that serve as narrative building blocks’. She then uses the expression ‘political grammar’ to address

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30.

31.

32.

33. 34.

35. 36.

37. 38.

39.

40.

the political life of these stories, the way in which they are stitched together and make some things visible, while they hide some others. Ibid., p. 227. Rosa Martínez, Always a Little Further:  51st International Art Exhibition (New York, 2005), p.  125. As it often happens with big shows, the mock-up version reproduced in the exhibition catalogue is different from the final work. I am grateful to Käthe Kollwitz for discussing the project with me and allowing me to mention the line in the draft version. I am borrowing this question from Angela Dimitrikaki who has critiqued the uncritical valorisation of cultural difference in an essay that examines the reception of feminist art history in Estonia, Greece and Great Britain. Angela Dimitrikaki, ‘Researching Culture/s and the Omitted Footnote: Questions on the Practice of Feminist Art History’, in Gerardo Mosquera and Jean Fisher (eds), Over Here:  International Perspectives on Art and Culture (New  York, 2004), p. 354. See Katia Almerini Arte e femminismo in Italia negli anni Settanta. Il caso della Cooperativa Beato Angelico, MA dissertation, Università degli Studi di Roma Tre (Rome, 2009). See also Serravalli, Arte e femminismo. Martínez, Always a Little Further, p. xvi. Rosa Martínez, ‘Women in Art, a Politically Unbalanced Relationship’, Quadernes de la Mediterrània 14 (2010), p. 175. Interestingly, this article contains a reproduction of the mock-up version of the poster by the Guerrilla Girls and not the final work. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, p. 149. Cornelia Butler, for instance, stated that her curatorial ambition with Wack! was ‘to make the case that feminism’s impact on art of the 1970s constitutes the most influential international “movement” of any during the postwar period’. Cornelia Butler (ed.), Wack!, p. 15. What Butler does not explain is why the achievements of women artists since the 1970s should also not be helpful to question, rather than endorse, the canonical periodisation of art history and its institutions. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, p. 39. The feminist movement in Italy is mentioned only twice in the exhibition catalogue. Firstly, the introductory by Gabriele Schor makes reference to Rivolta Femminile. Secondly, Suzanne Santoro’s work is discussed in Gislind Nabakowski’s essay on Nil Yalter. Gabriele Schor (ed.), Donna: Avanguardia femminista negli anni ’70 (Milan, 2010), pp. 26; 72. The title Donna was used in the occasion of the Roman show only. A new catalogue has now been issued in German (including 34 artists) and in the expanded English version (including 48 artists). Gabriele Schor (ed.), The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s: Works from the Sammlung Verbund Vienna (München, London, New York, 2016). Gabriele Schor (ed.), Donna: Avanguardia femminista, p. 23.

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Temporalities of the ‘Feminaissance’ 41. Schor, The Feminist Avant-Garde, p. 20. 42. Griselda Pollock, ‘The Missing Future:  MoMA and Modern Women’, in Cornelia Butler and Alexandra Schwartz (eds), Modern Women:  Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2010), p. 67. 43. On this matter see Catherine Gonnard and Élisabeth Lebovici, Femmes/ artistes, artistes femmes. Paris, de 1880 à nos jours (Paris, 2007). 44. Alexandra Kokoli, ‘The “Woman Artist” as a Curatorial Effect’, in Dimitrikaki and Perry, Politics in a Glass Case, pp. 187–204. 45. Élisabeth Lebovici, ‘Women’s Art: What’s in a Name?’, in Camille Morineau (ed.), elles@centrepompidou (Paris, 2009), p. 278. 46. Helen Molesworth, ‘How to Install Art as a Feminist’, in Butler and Schwartz (eds), Modern Women (New York, 2010), p. 504. 47. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, p. 73. 48. Lara Perry, ‘ “A Good Time to be a Woman”? Women Artists, Feminism and Tate Modern’, in Dimitrikaki and Perry, Politics in a Glass Case, p. 43. 49. Uliana Zanetti (ed.), Autoritratti. Iscrizioni del femminile nell’arte italiana contemporanea, Corraini and MAMbo, Bologna, 14. 50. Griselda Pollock, Differencing the Canon: Feminist Desire and the Writing of Art’s Stories (London; New York, 1999), p. 33, cited by Zanetti, Autoritratti, p. 17. 51. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, pp. 104–5. 52. Uliana Zanetti, ‘Autoritratti. Iscrizioni del femminile nell’arte contemporanea’, Via Dogana 105 (June, 2013), pp. 26–7. 53. I would like to thank Uliana Zanetti for taking me through the many stages of the project. 54. Paola di Cori, Asincronie del femminismo. Scritti 1986–2011 (Pisa, 2012). 55. Zanetti, ‘Autoritratti’, p. 27. 56. See Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells. Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London, 2012), pp. 11–40. 57. Isaak, ‘Insights from Italy’, p. 170. 58. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, p. 193. 59. Iris van der Tuin, ‘Jumping Generations: On Second- and Third-wave Feminist Epistemology’, Australian Feminist Studies 24/59 (2009), p.  24. I would like to thank Alex Martinis Roe for discussing this article with me. 60. Ibid., p. 26. 61. Hemmings, Why Stories Matter, p. 226.

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11 Gestures of Inclusion, Bodily Damage and the Hauntings of Exploitation in Global Feminisms (2007) Kimberly Lamm

Since 2005, museums around the world have devoted space to feminist art, narrated stories of its emergence, and speculated about its futures. There is no disputing that these ‘big exhibitions’ marked a positive shift for both women artists and feminist art practices alike. Vibrant careers, long submerged by the patriarchal criteria of choice (both within the art world and the world at large) were brought into well-deserved public view, and feminist art began to shake off the stubborn accusation of its obsolescence, making new and revived forms of engagement possible. To build upon the phenomenon of these ‘big exhibitions’, it is necessary to think through their relationships to global capital and not simply assume that making feminist art global will make it conscious and therefore better suited to contributing to feminist progress. Therefore, the question animating this chapter is this: have the exhibitions deepened our understandings of the complexities connecting feminism, visual culture and contemporary art, or are they reinforcing global spectacle culture in which ‘images of women’ from around the globe perform so much highly visible – but mostly unnoticed – work mollifying the impact of globalisation? To pursue this question, I analyse the 2007 Brooklyn Museum exhibition Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art and its efforts to showcase contemporary artwork from around the globe that explicitly 230

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Gestures of Inclusion engages with feminism and issues pertinent to women. Curated by Linda Nochlin and Maura Reilly, Global Feminisms exhibited artwork produced since the 1990s by women artists born after 1960. Expanding feminist art beyond the Euro-American axis was central to the curators’ stated goals. As Reilly states in her introduction to the catalogue, together she and Nochlin ‘aim[ed] to be inclusively transnational’.1 Therefore, in addition to displaying the artwork of prominent women artists from the United States and Europe, they chose work by artists hailing from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. While Nochlin and Reilly sought to unsettle the assumption that contemporary feminist art’s primary origins are in the Euro-American 1970s, they also underscored the importance of that place and period for contemporary art practices produced by women. The exhibition was organised to announce and celebrate the establishment of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art as a wing in the Brooklyn Art Museum, which now provides a permanent place for Judy Chicago’s epic installation The Dinner Party (1974–9), which for many is an emblem of 1970s feminist art. Chicago’s unequivocal emphasis on articulating the value of women’s bodies, sexualities and achievements seems to have shaped the curatorial logic of Global Feminisms. The Dinner Party influenced the curatorial logic of Global Feminisms. Its focus on reclaiming female anatomy through the 39 place settings Chicago sculpted into elaborately designed vulvas manifests in Global Feminisms’ strong emphasis on artwork that takes the body as its primary medium and subject. Complicating the collective vision of The Dinner Party is the fact that the plate commemorating Sojourner Truth was not sculpted into a shape meant to resemble a vulva but was represented instead by a set of three African masks. (The plate representing the British composer Ethel Smyth was not commemorated with a vulva shape either. Smyth is represented with a piano instead.) In the case of Truth, replacing her vulva with masks, which has been rightly understood as a denial of Truth’s sexuality, expressed a fear about rearticulating the sexual availability historically attributed to black women and reinforced the idea that women of colour are outside the category of woman.2 A related impasse regarding racial difference reappeared in Global Feminisms, despite, or perhaps because of, its global framework. My analysis develops questions that have been raised by feminist scholars and art historians regarding Global Feminisms and the larger exhibition history of which it was a part.3 Such work involves attending to what Angela 231

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Feminism and Art History Now Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry have identified as the ‘entanglement of the political and curatorial’, a phrase that captures the argument that art institutions, and the curatorial practices they rely upon, are by no means exempt from global capitalism and the neoliberal ideologies that foster its dominance.4 Attending to this ‘entanglement’ means deploying what they call ‘museum materialism’: ‘a politically mindful, theoretically alert investigation of feminist confrontations with the complex actuality and conditions of art world institutions’.5 Two aspects of Global Feminisms make the ‘museum materialism’ for which Dimitrakaki and Perry call particularly pressing. The exhibition premiered in Brooklyn just a few months before the first signs of an impending economic crisis became visible, and though the exhibition suggests the connection between Global Feminisms and globalisation, Nochlin and Reilly do not explicitly pursue globalisation as a political or economic force. In a published conversation led by Rosalind Deutsche, artist Senam Okudzeto addresses this gap and argues that Global Feminisms demonstrated the ‘prejudices of global capital’ – prejudices that may have shaped how the artwork was chosen and presented (both in the exhibition itself and the catalogue), but also manifested in the treatment of the artists themselves.6 In this chapter I build upon Okudzeto’s claim about the ‘prejudices of global capital’ and read Global Feminisms through two intertwined dimensions of feminist scholarship: work that puts pressure on Euro-American feminism’s global turn, and work in feminist post-colonial theory that draws upon psychoanalysis to argue that Western feminisms are haunted by histories of colonialism and slavery. I argue that because Global Feminisms did not take up globalisation as a force of economic exploitation that builds upon the inequities colonialism and slavery name, the exhibition’s gestures of transnational inclusion were haunted by these older but still crucial mappings of the world. Part of what makes this haunting possible is the fact that Global Feminisms is inadvertently aligned with a global visual economy that relies upon images of women’s victimisation, which I identify as a visual form of affective labour in which women are assigned the work of mollifying the corrosive impacts of globalisation.

A Striking Juxtaposition To signal the contemporaneity of Global Feminisms and to highlight the gestures of inclusion animating its logic, Nochlin and Reilly made 232

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Gestures of Inclusion the 1976–7 exhibition Women Artists: 1550–1950 a point of departure. Curated by Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris, Women Artists: 1550– 1950 is a vast compilation of artwork produced by women since the onset of the European Renaissance, and can be considered a curatorial extension of Nochlin’s canonical essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ (1971). The exhibition demonstrated quite explicitly that there are long histories of women artists who defied the patriarchal privileges that support and emerge from the canon of Western art history. However, because the curators of Women Artists: 1550–1950 were working within and against a white Euro-American art-historical narrative that allowed them to ‘reclaim women lost from the Western historical canon’, Reilly explains that when curating the 2007 exhibition she sought to ‘respectfully update’ the earlier exhibition by opening their curatorial frame to the global present.7 Exhibitions such as Global Feminisms and the curatorial efforts it represents are important for the continuation of feminist art and the writing of its histories – this cannot be denied – and certainly the project of making feminist art reflect the global present is crucial and challenging work. At the same time, it is necessary to complicate the feminist desires Global Feminisms expresses, even if that means calling the curators’ statements into question and putting pressure on their good intentions. It was not the exhibition itself, but the arrangement of two images placed at the beginning of Maura Reilly’s catalogue essay that provoked me to think that Global Feminisms’ gestures of inclusion could be read as haunted. On the left page is Tracey Rose’s Venus Baartman (2001), a large colour photograph (117.5 × 118 cm) composed to evoke the dioramas that can be found within natural history museums (Figure 11.1). Venus Baartman depicts a dark-skinned woman, naked, bent at the waist, and stealthily moving through a grassy hillside landscape. To the right of Venus Baartman, and placed within the textual surround of Reilly’s essay, is a cropped reproduction of Adrienne Marie-Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy’s The Studio of Abel de Pujol, a French neo-classical oil painting that depicts a women’s art class taking place in Pujol’s studio (Figure 11.2). This painting was Grandpierre-Deverzy’s debut at the Salon of 1822, and it appeared on the cover of the exhibition catalogue for Women Artists: 1550–1950. A South African artist who came of age at the onset of the post-apartheid period, Rose is known for her provocative and confrontational performances that are displayed and archived through photography and 233

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Feminism and Art History Now

Figure 11.1 Tracey Rose, Ciao Bella Ms Cast: Venus Baartman, 2001, Lambda photograph, 117.5 × 118 cm.

video. Unfaithful to any medium except the malleability of her body, and consistently focused on the psychic legacies of apartheid, Rose’s work is an example of African conceptualism, which, in the words of Kellie Jones, took hold when the ‘euphoria of independence wore thin’.8 Indeed, Annie E. Coombes writes that Rose’s work ‘create[s] a taxonomy of how apartheid ideology was internalized’, and many pieces in Rose’s oeuvre explore the ways in which sexual difference figured into that internalisation.9 In Venus Baartman, Rose embodies the fugitive Saartjie Baartman, a Khoisan woman born in 1789 on the colonial Cape of South Africa. Likely separated from her family because of the violent upheaval inflicted by Dutch colonialists, Baartman was forced to work as a servant in Cape Town for the family of Peter Cezar. In 1810, she was taken from Cape Town by Peter Cezar’s 234

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Gestures of Inclusion

Figure 11.2 Adrienne Marie-Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy, The Studio of Abel de Pujol, exh.1822.

brother Hendrik and transported to England, where she became a living fragment of the ‘dark continent’ (and its dense associations with the feminine and the primitive). Hendrik Cezar first exhibited Baartman in London’s Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly Circus. She was displayed, as Deborah Willis puts it, ‘on stage and in a cage’.10 Forced to live as an emblem of the sexual excesses attributed to the black female body, Baartman became a well-known spectacle nineteenth-century European culture. Replicating the fascination and repulsion of the colonial encounter, the image of Baartman’s body was voraciously consumed, not only on the stage, but also through the emergent visual culture that mechanical reproduction had begun to make possible. After her death in 1816, the anatomist George Cuvier dissected Baartman. Her brain and sexual organs were displayed in jars at Le Musée de l’Homme, ‘evidence’ of distinct racial origins and the sexual excesses attributed to the black female body. In 2002, France reluctantly allowed Baartman’s remains to be repatriated to South Africa, but the symbolic reclamation of Baartman had begun much earlier through the work of black feminist scholars and artists who make images of the black female 235

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Feminism and Art History Now body their subject. Substantiating Nicole Fleetwood’s claim that Baartman ‘casts a broad shadow over both cultural production and scholarship on the black female body’, many artists have made the image of Baartman a site for creative and political intervention: Renée Cox, Carla Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Renée Greene, Penny Siopis, Deborah Willis, Kara Walker, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Hank Willis Thomas. Each of these artists have exposed, unravelled and resisted the denigrated iconicity Baartman represents.11 Though motivated by desires for reclamation, it could be argued that this consistent return to Baartman forces her image to continue bearing the history of denigrations attributed to the black female body. However, in the inventive frames these artists create, Baartman becomes a nuanced image of the exploitation to which black women have been subjected, a visual metaphor that sutures the individual inscription of damage to the larger historical arcs of the African diaspora. Rose’s Venus Baartman is in dialogue with this archive of Baartman’s portrayals. She depicts her running somewhere between the visual fictions of the ‘woman herself ’ and ‘Venus Hottentot’, between an actual South African woman and the fragmented spectacle she was forced to become on the stages of early nineteenth-century European culture. Rose’s photograph could be a depiction of Baartman before she was captured, therefore eluding – if only for a brief moment – the reinscription of her enslavement and evoking the possibility of her freedom. However, when placed next to GrandpierreDeverzy’s painting The Studio of Abel de Pujol in the Global Feminisms catalogue, the subversive potential of Venus Baartman dissipates, as the image is arguably reappropriated to a colonial narrative that forces her to become the constitutive outside to both European culture and the long history of European women’s efforts to achieve full cultural citizenship (Figure 11.3). Reading the complicated inter-relation between Grandpierre-Deverzy’s painting and Rose’s photograph reveals how this reappropriation took place. Working with the genre of the painter’s atelier, GrandpierreDeverzy’s The Studio of Abel de Pujol is a depiction of women embarking upon art training with the French painter Pujol, a student of Jacques-Louis David, and, incidentally, Grandpierre-Deverzy’s husband. In the essay that accompanies the reproduction of this painting in the catalogue for Women Artists: 1550–1950, Nochlin and Sutherland Harris claim that GrandpierreDeverzy’s style has a ‘slightly modest charm’ that is ‘almost indistinguishable from the other minor artists of her time’.12 236

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Figure 11.3 Tracey Rose, Ciao Bella Ms Cast: Venus Baartman and Adrienne Marie-Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy, The Studio of Abel de Pujol as illustrated in Linda Nochlin and Maura Reilly (eds), Global Feminisms: New Directions in Feminist Art (New York, 2007), pp. 14–15.

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Feminism and Art History Now Analysing paintings that depict the female art student, Christine Havice argues that The Studio of Abel de Pujol is a ‘glorification of her husband’. The painting substantiates claims about its minor status and the suggestion that it ‘glorifies’ Pujol.13 However, looking at the painting closely, one can read it as a commentary on the strictures that impeded the education of women artists. While Grandpierre-Deverzy does represent young women in the process of being trained as artists, the painting also suggests how that training is compromised by a careful adherence to the presumptions of masculine superiority and feminine submission. Pujol is the most prominent figure in the composition. Grandpierre-Deverzy has placed him slightly to the right of the painting’s center. The women have been arranged in the studio space such that they seem to revolve around the artist/master/teacher with their lady-like grace and admiration, participating in, but mostly mirroring, his privileges. Pujol sits with a sketch board propped at an angle from his lower torso. A circle of four women students look on, though two of them are distracted and peek out the window. The angle of Pujol’s sketch board, and the white paper placed upon it, point to the small gathering of women in the back corner drawing from a fully clothed model (this part of the painting was cropped for the cover of Women Artists: 1550–1950). The model’s coat, bonnet and shawl are draped over a sculpture of Venus and a sculpture of a male nude on the shelf above them has been turned to demurely face the wall. These small but significant details support Nochlin’s argument that institutional rules barring women from working with nude models perpetuated the institutional neglect of women artists.14 The differences between The Studio of Abel de Pujol and Venus Baartman could not be more striking. The contrasts between this painting that portrays a group of fully clothed ‘civilised’ white women and a photograph of a single naked black woman who was perceived to be an embodiment of savagery may be why they were placed together, but it is through the contrasts that Venus Baartman is reappropriated into a colonial narrative. Grandpierre-Devezry is clearly referencing her own unique and relatively privileged position in early nineteenth-century French culture. She depicts a safe, pleasing and decidedly contained expression of European women’s interest in accessing a key privilege men were granted: to create artistic representations rather than be simply subjects within them. The containment Grandpierre-Deverzy depicts is figurative as well as literal, as it is clear that this scene takes place within an enclosed interior space, which the parted curtains highlight. Except through the display of 238

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Gestures of Inclusion the actual painting in the Salon, the women learning how to make images are not subjected to public scrutiny. In contrast, Rose’s Baartman is decidedly exposed; she is ‘outside’ in the fullest sense of the word. Though Venus Baartman is a still photograph, Rose has composed the image to evoke Baartman’s fugitive movement. She is not standing frozen and fixed in her subjection to the white colonial gaze, but is instead moving stealthily through the tall grass. Her gaze is active and alert and her back forms a straight line that contrasts with the undulating hills on the horizon. An idea informing Baartman’s capture and exploitation is that African women’s bodies were a readily available ground, subject to the meanings and definitions of Western culture and not allowed to make their own. Perhaps Rose’s Venus Baartman defies this, and highlights an artistry that is not necessarily considered ‘art’, but perhaps should be – that of fugitivity, survival and escape. Particularly when set against the narrow range of differentiation women are granted in The Studio of Abel de Pujol, Rose’s Venus Baartman re-presents the historical and conceptual collapse of a woman and a continent, a collapse that that further justified the making of both Africa and African women into primitive grounds, prime for economic exploitation. Janelle Dobson argues that the image of Baartman may have played a pivotal role in the nineteenth-century colonial forays into Africa as well as the exploitation of women’s reproductive capacities to produce more enslaved bodies, which became an institutionalised strategy for maintaining profits after the abolishment of the slave trade in 1807.15 Baartman is a condensed image of the sexual excess attributed to black women’s bodies, an excess that in turn figures for the surpluses that were extracted from their bodies during colonialism and slavery. If we were to reverse the order in which Rose’s Venus Baartman and Grandpierre-Deverzy’s The Studio of Abel de Pujol have been placed in the Global Feminisms catalogue, the two young women in the empire dresses parting the thick curtains of Pujol’s studio and stealthily looking out the window would seem to be catching sight of an icon that represents the forms of exposure and denigration their lives had been arranged to avoid. It is probably safe to claim that the women in The Studio of Abel de Pujol would see Baartman as a confirmation of their rightful places in a civilised world. The image of Bartmann’s body becomes the neglected but necessary outside through which their proto-feminist assertion of women’s art education 239

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Feminism and Art History Now started to become accepted. Certainly Reilly, Nochlin, or the designers who produced the catalogue did not consciously intend for the complicated inter-relation between the two images I have outlined here. But the juxtaposition of Rose’s photograph Venus Baartman and Grandpierre-Deverzy’s painting The Studio of Abel de Pujol does suggest the ways in which their gestures of inclusion are haunted by colonial relations.

Seeing Progress I have argued that by juxtaposing Rose’s Venus Baartman and GrandpierreDeverzy’s painting The Studio of Abel de Pujol, Rose’s photograph becomes reappropriated into a colonial narrative in which African women help to substantiate the political progress white European women were claiming for themselves at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Rose’s Venus Baartman also serves as an image of progress for Global Feminisms, this time in an effort to make up for what is assumed to be second-wave feminism’s fraught and incomplete relationship to Euro-American dominance and the racial hierarchies that have produced debilitating impasses and divisions among women. Placed in relationship to The Studio of Abel de Pujol, Rose’s Venus Baartman makes the exhibition’s gestures of inclusion look and feel complete. And yet, as I suggested above, the two images – one depicting the production of white ladyship through art training and the other revealing an African women as the ‘dark continent’ – suggest that the desire to transcend histories of racism can ultimately reinscribe their presence. This reinscription manifested in the exhibition Global Feminisms itself, which relied heavily on images of women’s mostly naked and damaged bodies for its articulation of feminist art practices. Global Feminisms seemed to respond to an implicit call to make the particular forms of violence to which women are subjected visibly and explicitly present. This emphasis on making violence present is very much in line with the dominant logic of depicting the victimisation of women in global spectacle culture. Often such images – and their flipsides, images of women overcoming victimisation – appear as transparent, clear and irrefutable. They possess insidiously pornographic dimensions that transmit moral, sexual, and narcissistic satisfactions. In Women in Dark Times (2014), Jacqueline Rose argues that the recent upsurge of violence against women makes a return to feminism at the present historical conjuncture necessary: ‘Pick one 240

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Gestures of Inclusion newspaper at random any day of the week’, she writes, ‘[e]vidence of cruelty and violence against women is found on every page’.16 Rose cautions against this assertion, however, noting that these stories are often ‘meant not to appall but excite’.17 Rose points to a visual economy that relies upon images and stories of women’s victimisation for their titillating appeals. Noting that pornographic depictions of women are rhetorically deployed is not the same as claiming that violence against women does not run rampant, but instead acknowledges that the dominant visual grammars for depicting the victimisation of women might actually impede seeing and understanding women’s oppression, and distract viewers from the larger forces of global capitalism of which that oppression is a part. Efforts to problematise the spectacularisation of women’s victimised bodies, which has been a crucial part of feminist visual studies since the 1970s, did not prominently factor into Global Feminisms. There are definitely nuanced works of art in Global Feminisms, but as a whole the exhibition underscored the positioning of women as raw visual material and highlighted violence against women as a means to create transnational commonalities among them, which risks making the damaged female body a site for feminist universalising. From Regina José Galindo’s photographs of herself walking naked through Venice in her performance Skin (Piel) (2001) to Catherine Opie’s photographic depiction of herself breastfeeding in Self-Portrait/Nursing (2004), from Canan Şenol’s video of lactating breasts in Fountain,Çeşme (2000) to Jenny Saville’s paintings of thick, fleshy bodies in Untitled (Study) (2004) and Fulcrum (1999), Global Feminisms was definitely a visceral exhibition. Flesh served as a signifier of authenticity. The consistent emphasis on exposed and taboobreaking bodies harkens back to the feminist interventions into erotic art of the late 1960s and 1970s. Recall that in ‘The Body Politic: Female Sexuality & Women Artists since 1970’, Lisa Tickner archived women artists’ efforts to carve out and claim an ‘authentic sexuality’ for women and free women’s bodies from the visual codes of Western art history that make women’s bodies into a ‘colonised territory’.18 While her analysis is celebratory, Tickner also questions the extent to which feminist artists could claim an ‘authentic sexuality’ given the long and entrenched histories in which images of women’s bodies have been shaped to serve patriarchal wishes and demands. Global Feminisms could have usefully deployed the scepticism Tickner brings to ‘The Body Politic’, particularly since so much of the artwork is placed within the frameworks of national histories and their ‘colonised territories’. 241

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Feminism and Art History Now As feminist investigations of the nation demonstrate, the nation is not necessarily a neutral or benevolent political form. Aligned with Etienne Balibar’s insight that the nation itself is a kind of ‘fictive ethnicity’ that relies upon ‘historical reciprocit[ies]’ among nationalism, racism and sexism, feminist investigations of the nation demonstrate that women are expected to produce nations, ‘biologically, culturally, and symbolically’, as Nira Yuval-Davis argues in her study Gender and Nation.19 Clearly, the management of women’s reproductive capacities is necessary for assigning the intertwined forms of reproductive and affective labour Yuval-Davis identifies, and the scholarship of Alys Eve Weinbaum analyses how those capacities have been configured as the source of racial identities and put to work to substantiate the fiction that nations are natural extensions of racial origins.20 Needless to say, the role of women as the bearers of national and racial identities does not translate into full political representation, even as their productive force offers imaginary cohesion to such borders. As Anne McClintock argues, women are ‘[e]xcluded from direct action as national citizens’, and ‘are subsumed symbolically into the national body politic as its boundary and metaphoric limit’.21 These formulations reflect a basic premise in feminist analyses of the nation – that it is gendered masculine, and that women are simultaneously excluded from and central to its imaginary coherence. Contributing to and drawing from feminist analyses of the nation, theorists of the post-colonial argue that the nation form is constituted through traumatic violence, and scholars who work at the intersection of post-colonial and feminist theories argue that this trauma becomes displaced on to women’s bodies, making them corporeal, affective and even ‘authentic’ embodiments of what national collectivities refuse to remember about the violence that constitutes them.22 The imbrication of race and the nation form contributes to the expectation of traumatic authenticity, particularly if we think of race and racism as mutually reinforcing technologies through which people are placed in relationship to the legitimising frame of the nation. What we know of Baartman’s life dramatically represents how authenticity can be punitively wielded within the context of racial exploitation and exclusion. Early nineteenth-century European culture made her into a living figure of the Negro race and a hyper-authentic example of the excess sexuality thought to be at its core, which made the image of her body perform the work of justifying racial exclusion. 242

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Gestures of Inclusion The artwork in Global Feminisms seemed to answer a demand for authenticity that manifests through the consistent emphasis on two categories of corporeality: the visceral and the shocking. Images of women’s bodies – damaged, cut and bloodied – are the sites where these categories converge, and often the nation is the frame through which shocking violence and visceral bodily pain gets expressed. Sigalit Landau’s video Barbed Hula (2000) represents the torso of a naked woman at the southern beach of Tel-Aviv playing with a barbed-wire hula hoop that leaves bloody cuts across her abdomen. In her wallpaper drawing Thousand and One Day (2003), the artist Parastou Forouhar depicts Iranian women being tortured through variations of hanging, binding, whipping and stoning. The photographs in Ryoko Suzuki’s Bind (2001) series portray a woman’s face bound in thin red rope that has left bloody marks and red indentations on her face. In Ingrid Mwangi’s Static Drift (2001), two photographs depict the artists’ torso, which has been painted with images of the continents the artist identifies as home: a light-skinned Africa, across which Mwangi has stenciled the statement ‘Bright Dark Continent’, and a dark Germany, across Mwangi stenciled the phrase ‘Burn Out Country’, clearly reversing the habitual ways these continents and countries have been perceived. In all of these pieces, a woman’s body becomes the site of the violence and the possibility of its recovery. The work produced by artists from the United States and Europe seems to have been chosen for either its display of sexual violence or the violent effects of gender inequity, thereby mirroring what is likely to be the image of feminist art in many viewers’ minds. Annika von Hausswolff ’s Back to Nature (1992) is a set of three photographs that depict women face-down, their lower bodies exposed, raped and left for dead on the side of a road, in a swampy marsh and in a dark wooded area. The horizontality of the women’s bodies in Back to Nature and their alignment with the ground are echoed in Claudia Reinhardt’s photograph Sylvia, part of her series Killing Me Softly (Todesarten) (2000–4). In Sylvia, the German artist restages the scene of Sylvia Plath’s infamous suicide. The photograph has been taken from the far corner of a kitchen ceiling so viewers see the backside of a woman’s body lying prostrate on the kitchen floor, creating a diagonal line across it. In Mary Coble’s video Binding Ritual, Daily Routine (2004) the artist binds and unbinds her breasts with thick silver duct tape, a painful, hard-to-watch procedure that leaves an angry stripe of raw pink across her chest. 243

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Feminism and Art History Now All the artwork I have cited here is compelling. Some of the work creates forms of repetition and seriality that take the inscription of violence from the body to the psyche and then back to the body again. (I am thinking particularly of Landau’s Barbed Hula and Coble’s Binding Ritual Daily Routine.) However, I maintain that Global Feminisms risked reifying a visual economy that unreflectively relies upon images of women’s bodies to make violence and victimisation explicit and therefore reaffirmed women’s bodies as the sites of the nation’s traumatic origins. This is particularly true since individual pieces of artwork were made to represent the national/ geographic locations from which the artists hail, and were displayed together in a large global group that unhinged the artwork from the depth and complexity of the artists’ oeuvres. I think the premise of Global Feminisms’ curatorial logic was that women should be able to access images of themselves that move toward authenticity and wholeness – which obviously is not altogether wrong – and represent progress. And yet, the unquestioned value of progress seems to have informed the curators’ choices to display artwork that represents violent impediments to it. These impediments were signified through explicit depictions of bodily damage and created imaginary networks of feminist identification across the exhibition. Such efforts should not be dismissed out of hand, but, as I have been suggesting here, can be inflected by the knowledge that images of women’s damaged, fragmented, and vulnerable bodies are the means by which collectivities such as the nation – and even feminism itself – are imagined to be authentic and whole.

Feminist Globalisation Of course Reilly did draw from post-colonial feminist theory to conceptualise Global Feminisms. In her introduction to the catalogue, Reilly gestures to the work of Chandra Mohanty, noting that in her efforts to make the exhibition ‘inclusively transnational’, she drew from Mohanty’s concept of ‘common differences’, which Reilly defines as ‘significant similarities as well as localised differences between women across cultures’.23 This definition is derived from Mohanty’s 2003 essay ‘ “Under Western Eyes” Revisited:  Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles’, where she reflects back upon her ground-breaking essay ‘Under Western Eyes:  Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, published in 1986. 244

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Gestures of Inclusion As the ‘eyes’ in the title of Mohanty’s first essay suggests, perceptions and images are important parts of her analysis. The ‘Anticapitalist Struggles’ in the title of her second essay signals Mohanty’s increased attention to capitalism as a global force. These aspects of Mohanty’s arguments do not factor into Reilly’s engagement with ‘common differences’. In ‘Under Western Eyes’, Mohanty argues that dominant EuroAmerican feminisms have discursively produced what she identifies as the ‘Average Third-World Woman’: a ‘singular, monolithic subject’ that consistently appears in Western feminist scholarship.24 This composite figure enables a discursive colonisation of women in the Third World, and occludes what Mohanty identifies as the ‘material and historical heterogeneities’ of their lives and therefore quite insidiously helps keep their oppression intact.25 By identifying the ‘Average Third-World Woman’, Mohanty draws attention to Western feminism’s unreflective production of an image that ostensibly represents women who are not the beneficiaries of Western capitalism, but actually crystallises feminism’s fantasies of its own goodness. The ‘Average Third-World Woman’ is a frozen icon of exotic otherness and mute immanence through which feminist scholarship in the west builds its body of knowledge and justifies its self-serving gestures of inclusion. Women whose lives were situated in places where the extractions and divisions of colonialism, imperialism and the Cold War took place were subsequently placed ‘under’ the patronising gaze of dominant Euro-American feminisms. Compelled to respond to the increased strength of the ‘global capitalist hegemony’ since ‘Under Western Eyes’ was first published, Mohanty revisited her essay sixteen years later and placed an even stronger emphasis on global capitalism as a crucial force in the lives of women.26 As Mohanty explains, ‘global economic and political processes have become more brutal, exacerbating economic, racial, and gender inequalities, and thus they need to be demystified, reexamined, and theorised’.27 Part of this demystification involved continuing to develop her attention to the stagnant images through which women are perceived and represented – images that work so efficiently to occlude the fact women are ‘central to the labor of global capital’.28 Mohanty focuses upon a narrow repertoire of ‘‘global’ representations of women’, which reiterates, in Mohanty’s words, ‘a divide between false, overstated images of victimised and empowered womanhood’.29 These representations not only ‘negate each other’, but simplify and falsify 245

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Feminism and Art History Now the commonalities and differences among women, which impedes the possibility of what Mohanty identifies as ‘noncolonizing feminist coalitions across borders’ and the concept of ‘common differences’ that inform those coalitions.30 Global Feminisms does not engage with Mohanty’s attention to polarised images of women as manifestations of global capitalism. But since the exhibition is, by definition, devoted to visual art, and Mohanty makes such strong connections among global capital, images and women, this is a significant omission, one that gets in the way of Nochlin’s and Reilly’s goals to make the exhibition address ‘significant similarities as well as localised differences between women across cultures’.31 By displaying works of art produced by women from around the globe, Global Feminisms does trouble modes of perception that reinforce the ‘Average Third World Woman’ and the homogenisation that accompanies it – but only to a limited degree. Neglecting to consider the visual economy of globalisation, the exhibition risks replicating the logic of nineteenthcentury World’s Fairs, and makes transnational feminism, as Alys Eve Weinbaum puts it, ‘a form of regional tasting’.32 Weinbaum’s pithy and sarcastic formulation comes out of her contribution to an essay co-authored with feminist scholars Priti Ramamurthy and Miranda Joseph, ‘Toward a New Feminist Internationalism’. These authors take as their starting point the fact that ‘globalization is the horizon the feminist imaginary in the United States’, and insist upon the importance of attending to the relationship between economic processes and cultural representation. Since the exhibition worked to undo feminist art’s Euro-American axis by exhibiting work from around the globe, ‘Towards a New Feminist Internationalism’ can be productively brought to bear on Global Feminisms. Rather than move immediately into the transnational, Ramamurthy, Joseph and Weinbaum reanimate a Marxist internationalism to underscore the fact that ‘nation-states are powerful global forces that shape individual lives’.33 This emphasis is part of their efforts to scrutinise the imperative within US feminist thought to map a transnational future and argue for making the gross inequities of global capitalism central to US feminism’s global turn. In order to map the ‘possibilities and pitfalls of making a move from a US-centered feminist multicultural approach to globalization’, Weinbaum outlines the schemes of global knowledge production shared by women’s studies anthologies and highlights their tendency to universalise women’s oppression.34 She argues that many of these 246

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Gestures of Inclusion anthologies rely upon universal definitions of both the local and the global, which allows them to render ‘US feminism’ as a ‘viable national import’.35 This sidesteps an important set of questions that reveal and put pressure on ‘feminist complicities with global capitalism’. Without questioning these complicities, Weinbaum argues that feminism risks missing how ‘the globalization of feminism can serve as an alibi for feminist globalization with deep ties for older forms of colonialization and imperialism’.36 In this formulation, Weinbaum is drawing our attention to the fact that the circulation of feminist ideas and the spread of feminist movements can be appropriated by Western feminist discourses, which have themselves been appropriated by Western imperial projects (which we witnessed in the rallying cries for women that preceded the US and British invasion of Afghanistan). Following Weinbaum, we could argue that Global Feminisms collapsed the globalisation of feminism with feminist globalisation. To think about how the forces of appropriation animating feminist globalisation might be productively countered, Weinbaum returns to the issue of culture and the relationality that constitutes it, positing it as a perceptual filter that simultaneously impedes and allows access to another culture. This is a call to attend to one’s own cultural situatedness as much as one ‘travels’, conceptually or actually, to other places. Alluding to the work of Gayatri Spivak, Weinbaum writes: To imagine that feminist scholars and students situated in the United States can apprehend the impact of globalization on the cultural formations and political movements of ‘women around the world’ without intimate knowledge of the languages and social conditions in which such cultural formations and political movements are articulated is…to eliminate the potential insight that comes from being conscious of the place from which we speak.37

This statement stresses the importance of intellectual and experiential immersion in global spaces of enquiry, but does not subscribe to the fantasy that scholars located in the West could actually unhinge themselves from the cultural and political contexts in which they are a part. Weinbaum ends her part of ‘Towards a New Feminist Internationalism’ by ‘arguing for a carefully crafted feminist hermeneutic’ that can encourage feminist scholars to factor in – rather than unreflectively cover over – Western feminism’s imbricated relationship to global capital and the blind spots such imbrications produce.38 247

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Feminism and Art History Now Contemporary feminist art practices can play a significant role in the creation of the hermeneutic for which Weinbaum calls, particularly if they engage with the visual economy of globalisation. Of course the global image economy is the means by which contemporary art has proliferated over the course of the last two decades, so they cannot be completely separated from each other. But contemporary works of art can offer nuanced counterpoints to spectacle culture and highlight the complicated relationships between images of women and the work women are expected to perform as images. My current research identifies this work as the affective labour of the image: an imperative that women create or present images of their bodies that give viewers a sense of wholeness – often through images of the body’s fragmentation, vulnerability and denigration – and thereby help collectivities possess an image of themselves as complete. In a particularly brutal form, this is the work Baartmann’s life represents. Forced to perform the denigration of her own captive status, Baartman was made into an image that justified the enormous surpluses nations of the Global North extracted from African continent and through which the people of Euro-America imagined themselves as civilised.

The Affective Labour of the Image Considered a subset of ‘immaterial labour’, the term ‘affective labour’ has been circulating for over a decade in Euro-American academic contexts. Analyses of ‘affective labour’ build upon a number of different but related strands of feminist thought that came out of the 1970s: namely, scholarship in Marxist Feminism that has sought to problematise forms of labour that are often unremunerated (in the home) or undervalued (in the public sphere), partially because the work requires skills that are assumed to be the natural attributes of those who are asked to wield them – women and people of colour.39 Traversing mind and body, affective labour provides the ground of human contact.40 When performing ‘affective labour’, others’ feelings of comfort and satisfaction are the ‘products’, and the work of producing them a service. The category of affective labour helps to identify how the production of feelings became a dominant form of work in the wake of Post-Fordist deindustrialisation and the transition to what was heralded as a new service economy. Such feelings and senses can be transmitted through physical proximity, or virtually through images, which is the case in contemporary visual culture. 248

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Gestures of Inclusion The global recession of 2008 made the critical attention to affective labour – and its connection to women – all the more pressing. The recession has further justified what Wendy Brown identifies as neoliberalism’s ‘normative order of reason’ which, ‘disseminates’, as she puts it, ‘the model of the market to all domains and activities’.41 Under the dominant model of the market, social safety nets are eroded and broken, and those who cannot thrive within the mandates of the market are rendered disposable. There is, of course, that one ‘acceptable social harbor’, the family, and Brown makes a feminist claim that neoliberalism’s deliberate undoing of public infrastructure deepens the imperative that women identify with the responsibility to hold families together and produce forms of cohesion that compensate for ‘the lack of social stickiness in human capital itself ’.42 Women become, as Brown argues, the ‘unavowed glue for a world whose governing principle cannot hold it together’, which could serve as a definition of affective labour, and one that has strong connections back to the Marxist/Feminist investigations of reproductive labour that emerged in the 1970s.43 One such investigation is Angela Davis’ 1977 essay ‘Women and Capitalism: The Dialectics of Oppression and Liberation’. In ‘Women and Capitalism’, Davis provides a connection between reproductive and affective labour (before the latter was identified as such) and thinks through how these related forms of work inflected African-American women’s lives during slavery. She argues that because women and their reproductive capacities have been posited as ‘nature’ by capitalist ideologies, they have been expected to compose a seemingly distinct arena for ontology so it is not wholly eroded by capitalist alienation. This is what she identifies as the ‘special mission’ assigned to women, an imperative to cover over the fact that men have ‘severed the umbilical cord between themselves and nature’.44 Davis’ description of the ‘special mission’ women are assigned – giving the care and sustenance that capitalism relies upon but refuses to support – can be revisited to think about how affective labour manifests in images of women and our responses to them. Moreover, the historical arc of Davis’ analysis, which extends back to chattel slavery in the United States, strongly suggests that perhaps the affective labour of the image is not limited to the de-industrialisation of the late twentieth century, but was a form of work assigned to women during earlier historical periods. Posited as nature, women are, according to Davis, both ‘dominated and exalted’, and Davis’ concept of the ‘special mission’ assigned to women 249

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Feminism and Art History Now resonates with the exalted part of the dialectic that she attributes to the femininity that white women have been encouraged to access and claim. Davis highlights the racialisation of domination and exaltation by analysing representations of black women. Turning briefly to the novels of William Faulkner, Davis argues that the exaltation involved in linking women to nature becomes a ‘thinly veiled endorsement of oppression’.45 And when it came to slavery, any form of idealisation that might be granted to women was ruthlessly eschewed. The making of women into ‘breeding instruments’ became an institutionalised fact, and Davis cites reports from slave narratives that testify to ‘special forms of punishment meted out to pregnant women’, which included making black women put their abdomens in holes made into the ground so they could be flogged more efficiently. Certainly images of Baartman and the perceptions of African women they solidified helped to justify such acts of violent denigration and polarised domination and exaltation across racial differences. It is in this sense that the theatres in which Baartman’s body was put on display can be considered early laboratories for the visual dimension of affective labour. Announced most explicitly through the invention of photography, modern visual culture became one of these ‘theatres’. Indeed, it is well known that since its inception in the first half of the nineteenth century, photography, closely aligned with both mimetic and affective truths, was crucial for circulating the purported ‘truth’ of black women’s excessive sexuality and a raw material available to the imprint of others. Deborah Willis’ scholarship on the black female body demonstrates how pornographic photographs, which ‘sold a fiction of availability’, linked occupational and sexual vulnerability, which led to images of black women becoming ‘the visual metaphor for the sexually debased woman’.46 As Willis explains, Her supposed availability as a sexual being coincided with her actual availability as a worker. Ultimately the image of the black woman was associated with prostitution, pornography, and deviant sexuality. Above all else, her image, and particularly her body, was understood to represent that which could be dominated and that which could be possessed, especially sexually.47

Willis’ argument strongly suggests that pornographic images of black women not only depicted their status as workers, but also became a place where the affective labour of the image was assigned and reinforced. 250

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Gestures of Inclusion Baartman, who died only fifteen years before photography’s European debut, embodies this assignment. Moreover, the ordeals to which she was subjected demonstrate that the colonial encounter provided a context for finding bodies that would create images of sexual exposure and vulnerability that normalised and justified the continued exploitation of women of African descent. Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida (1980) is helpful for thinking about how this visual history, and its connection to assumptions about racial difference and women’s reproductive capacities, might haunt an exhibition such as Global Feminisms. As is well known, Camera Lucida highlights the affective dimension of image production and demonstrates its connection to the maternal. While discussing photography’s ‘carnal mediums’, Barthes writes: ‘A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze’.48 Particularly when understood as part of Camera Lucida’s nostalgic longing for the lost mother, Barthes’ figure of the umbilical cord testifies to the connections among assumptions about women’s reproductive capacities, the qualities and characteristics those capacities are assumed to translate into and the affects photographs produce. These formulations are complicated by the troubled representation of class and racial difference within Camera Lucida, signified most notably by Richard Avedon’s photograph William Casby, Born in Slavery (1963). Through his up close focus, Avedon makes Casby’s face and black skin a transparent vehicle of slavery’s history. Ruby Tapia makes the compelling argument that Camera Lucida’s depictions of racial difference are intimately connected to Barthes’ emphasis on the maternal. Highlighting the relationship between Barthes’ mourning of his recently deceased mother (who is not visually depicted in Camera Lucida, but ‘haunts’ every one of his sentences and formulations) and the photographs that illustrate ‘detestable bodies’ and the epidermalisation of racial difference, Tapia argues that ‘racialized and classed social death’ is configured within but also occluded by the maternal idealisation Barthes brings to photographic images.49 Tapia posits the images that emerge from and reinforce maternal ideality as dense sites where affects have disproportionately congealed and through which the value or disposability of people is determined. As Tapia explains, ‘what haunts Barthes’ text is not only his deceased mother, but the racialized and classed social death that makes the “detestable bodies” imaged in Camera Lucida the marginal but constitutive material of the ideal maternal body’.50 That is, the high visibility of classed and raced bodies in Camera Lucida are made to give their affective presence 251

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Feminism and Art History Now to the idealised figuration of the maternal, which white women have easier access to, and help contour a space through which that figuration emerges. These rich formulations can inform our understanding of the haunting I see in the juxtaposition of Rose’s photograph and Grandpierre-Deverzy’s painting. We could say that Global Feminisms, Women Artists: 1550–1990, and The Studio of Abel de Pujol all work to interrupt the ‘special mission’ assigned to women and strive to defamiliarise the expectation that women are naturally meant to compose and give affectively pleasing images of their bodies. Staging these interruptions, however, they inadvertently reinscribe the particular form of affective labour Baartman gave to EuroAmerican culture through the display of her denigrated and vulnerable body. Baartman received no remuneration for the feelings the image of her body gave to others, only orders for more punishment and exploitation. This is the exploitation that haunts Global Feminisms.

The Haunting of Feminism Haunting is a way to account for the unconscious: the dimensions of selves, institutions and histories that unhinge from conscious will and acquire an agency of their own. Haunting is an important figure in both psychoanalytic and Marxist thought. It names a process by which historical events affectively extend beyond their initial impacts, resonating unpredictably in and moving through historical time. Many feminist theorists and historians are drawn to haunting as a way to think about feminism’s own exclusions, repressions and impediments.51 Within this body of work, the post-colonial theorist Ranjana Khanna (2003) has focused on the ways in which colonialism haunts contemporary feminisms and the efforts to make them transnational. I engage with Khanna’s theorisation of feminism as an intellectual and political enterprise haunted by colonialism because it helps reveal that Global Feminisms was a haunted exhibition, but also because it contributes to the development of the feminist hermeneutic I think the exhibition and its feminist desires warrant. Khanna’s meditations on transnational feminisms appear within Dark Continents, a book devoted to analysing the imbrications of colonialism and psychoanalysis. Khanna posits psychoanalysis ‘as a reading practice that makes apparent the psychical strife of colonial and post-colonial modernity’.52 Which is to say that psychoanalysis is not a separate enterprise from 252

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Gestures of Inclusion the unfolding histories of colonialism and the economies of exploitation that constitute it, but has contributed significantly to colonialism’s project of producing ‘dark continents’ – women and those designated primitive – as sites of projection and fascination as well as easily exploitable forms of labour power and raw material.53 It is precisely because of its enmeshed relation to colonialism that psychoanalysis offers a ‘carefully crafted hermeneutic’ (to return to Weinbaum’s phrase) capable of reading the forms of psychic strife colonial exploitation inscribes. For Khanna, it is the psychoanalytic concept of melancholia through which psychoanalysis and colonialism link most explicitly. As is well known, melancholia is a state of loss that distinguishes itself from mourning (its healthier sibling) through its inability to assimilate the loss of the object. This results in the subject turning the dejection she feels upon losing the beloved object to herself. The melancholic is haunted by losses of which she is not conscious. Khanna posits transnational feminisms as melancholic, haunted by the colonial histories which they are tied to but do not see. These histories manifest indirectly, according to Khanna, through feminisms’ ‘patronizing and ill-informed gestures’ that rely upon presumptions of women’s sameness. Examples of these gestures include ‘urgent but sensational struggles’ against genital mutilation and reactive responses to sweatshops that might preclude understanding their function within the histories and political economies of a specific geographic location. Khanna argues that such gestures move in both directions. She notes that feminist activists in formerly colonised countries are likely to automatically view gestures from nonlocal feminists as suspicious, for obvious and quite good reasons. Subtending these reactions is the idea that colonialism is automatically ‘transparent or knowable in its entirety’.54 Khanna argues that the ‘spectral overshadowings’ of colonialism must be accounted for in order to imagine futures for transnational feminisms that are not unreflectively beholden to these hauntings. This accounting does not take place through easily recognisable, pragmatic, or positive assertions, but is instead attentive to remainders, to that which exceeds an insistence upon equity or exclusion. As examples of this attention to remainders, Khanna poses the following questions regarding the law: ‘[W]hat remains of a crime, once reparation is awarded? What remains once a right has been secured?’55 In the context of Global Feminisms, we might pose an aligned question: What questions and laments linger after the curatorial gestures of transnational inclusion? 253

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Feminism and Art History Now It is the psychoanalysts Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok who have articulated the relationship between melancholia and haunting with the most precision. For these post-Freudian thinkers, the phantom is a ‘metapsychological fact’ that helps account for how the secrets and shames lodged in the unconscious of one person are transmitted from one generation to another. ‘What haunts are not the dead’, Abraham explains, ‘but the gaps left within us by the secrets of others.’56 The phantom is a way to describe the excesses of individual repression. As Abraham explains, ‘the phantom’s periodic and compulsive return lies beyond the scope of symptom formation in the sense of a return of the repressed; it works like a ventriloquist, like a stranger within the subject’s own mental topography’.57 Abraham’s figure of the ventriloquist underscores the fact that haunting is a way to identify how the unconscious undermines individual agency and conscious will. Most of Abraham and Nicholas’ case studies involve individuals who are burdened by their parents’ unconscious. However, their translator Nicholas Rand argues for the applicability of their theorisations to collective social forms. The phantom, according to Rand, has the potential to illuminate the genesis of social institutions and may provide a new perspective for inquiring into the psychological roots of cultural patterns and political ideology. For example, a phantom can help account for a periodic return of political ideologies rendered shameful with the military defeat of their proponents.58

Here Rand is identifying how large-scale denials and repressions take place in and re-emerge through historical time. Something similar is at work in Global Feminisms:  histories of colonialism and enslavement haunt its feminist gestures of inclusion and its overreliance upon bodily damage. This not to say that Global Feminisms is a defeat, or a source of shame, but to suggest that the exhibition might be an attempt to wilfully transcend the complicities that are part of feminism’s histories. The connection Abraham makes between the melancholic’s haunted speech and ventriloquism manifests in a lecture Tracey Rose gave at the Brooklyn Museum in conjunction with Global Feminisms. This performance was called ‘The Cant Show’ and is clearly an effort to perform what cannot (can’t) be said. Rose wrote the title of the performance in deliberately 254

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Gestures of Inclusion sloppy red letters on a cardboard sign and taped it to the podium with blue tape.59 Rose takes mittens – one hot bright pink and the other turquoise blue – and makes them into hand puppets. She uses a deliberately stagey and overly melodic high-pitched voice to stage a conversation between these two puppets. Within this conversation is a scathing critique of Global Feminisms: its racial tokenism; its neglect of artists of colour from the United States; the sheer number of artworks in the exhibition, which Rose describes as a ‘marketplace’. The performance also pays attention to the fact that the artists were not given a ‘per diem’ and were asked to serve as ‘tour guides’ for the exhibition – a form of affective labour that is far more likely to be assigned to women. This aspect of the exhibition is part of what motivated Senam Okudzeto to claim that Global Feminisms manifests the ‘prejudices of global capital’. Rose’s criticism of Global Feminisms extends to feminism itself. The voice of one puppet rejects feminism for humanism, and the other names feminism a ‘white women’s movement’ and expresses scepticism about white feminists’ commitments to eradicating oppression since they are intimately connected to white men as lovers and mothers. To dramatically render the power of white women in the art world, the hand puppets hyperbolically accuse Barbara Kruger of killing Adrian Piper and accuse Linda Nochlin of killing off scholars of colour. These claims are all part of a larger argument that connects Global Feminisms to the long histories of racial exploitation. In ‘The Cant Show’, Rose identifies ‘2007 years of white hysterical oppression’ that inflicted ‘Theft of labour, theft of expression, theft of time, time, time. Time has been our greatest theft. They stole our time.’ ‘2007’ is the year Global Feminisms premiered. ‘The Cant Show’ is an unabashedly provocative argument. Okudzeto argues that Rose’s ‘crude language was a performative exaggeration of the feelings’ evoked by the exhibition.60 I think it is clear that ‘The Cant Show’ deliberately stages the exploitations that have been haunting feminist art and can be considered a trenchant archive of Global Feminisms’ bitter remainders.

Conclusion In this chapter I have argued that the choice to place Venus Baartman and The Studio of Abel de Pujol side by side at the opening of the Global Feminisms exhibition catalogue highlights the importance of reflecting upon 255

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Feminism and Art History Now feminism’s own complicities with capitalism and the histories of exploitation colonialism and slavery name. This reflection entails confronting the reality that capitalism has made certain articulations of feminism possible. In this sense, the link between feminism and global capitalism could be considered a secret of feminist art, haunting the gestures of those who seek to include artwork produced by women of colour from the Global South as an affirmation of feminisms’ present abilities to transcend the histories of exploitation to which feminism is inextricably tied. In the process of writing this chapter, I have become more assured about my reading of Global Feminisms, but also more wary of articulating it. Engaging with feminism and feminist art practices as sites of conflict and contestation is necessary for their continued vitality, and bringing psychoanalysis to bear on both feminism and feminist subjects is crucial so those working in and on feminism do not always assume the good intentions animating their gestures are self-evident, transparently good, or outside of history. At the same time, in the current academic climate, which is very much aligned with capitalism’s forward movement and fast pace, feminism continues to be dismissed as obsolete – even as the category of ‘feminist art’ has experienced a celebratory resurgence. At least implicitly, part of this dismissal manifests through the pervasive sense that feminist scholars should always be drawing attention to feminism’s problems, mistakes and omissions, which erodes feminism’s legitimacy rather than deepening our understanding of feminism’s challenges. Implied in Rose’s ‘The Cant Show’ is the idea that feminism and its mistakes are one and the same, and should be dismissed on moral grounds, an idea I find ultimately unproductive. All of this is to say that I think feminist art is better off with Global Feminisms than without it, and I hope my analysis here registers as support for the feminist desires the exhibition expresses, even as I have called them into question.

Notes 1. Maura Reilly, ‘Introduction: Toward Transnational Feminisms’, in Linda Nochlin and Maura Reilly (eds), Global Feminisms: New Directions in Feminist Art (New York, 2007), p. 15. 2. Hortense Spillers, ‘Interstices: A Small Drama of Words’, in Black, White, and in Color (Chicago, 2003), p. 156.

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Gestures of Inclusion 3. Carol Armstrong, Review of Global Feminisms and Wack!, Artforum 45.9 (May 2007), pp. 360–2; Kathy Battista, ‘Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution’, Third Text 21.4 (July 2007), pp. 463–72; Angela Dimitrakaki, ‘The 2008 Effect: Thoughts on Art World Feminism in the Shadow of Global Capitalism’, Third Text 27.4 (August 2013); Amelia Jones, ‘1970/2007: The Return of Feminist Art’, http:// x- traonline.org/ article/ 19702007- the- return- of- feminist- art/ (accessed 5 November 2016); Siona Wilson, ‘Destinations of Feminist Art: Past, Present, and Future’, Women’s Studies Quarterly 36.1/2 (Spring/Summer 2008), pp. 324–30. 4. Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry, ‘How to Be Seen:  An Introduction to Feminist Politics, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions’, in Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry (eds), Politics in a Glass Case: Feminisms, Exhibition Cultures, and Curatorial Transgressions (Liverpool, 2013), p. 1. 5. Ibid. 6. Rosalyn Deutsche, Aruna D’Souza, Miwon Kwon, Ulrike Müller, Mignon Nixon, and Senam Okudzeto, ‘Feminist Time: A Conversation’, Grey Room 31 (Spring 2008), p. 43. 7. Reilly, p. 15. 8. Kellie Jones, ‘Tracey Rose:  Postapartheid Playground’, NKA:  Journal of Contemporary African Art 19 (Summer 2004), p. 26. 9. Annie E. Coombes, History After Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa (Durham, NC, 2003), p. 254. 10. Deborah Willis, ‘Introduction: The Notion of Venus’, in Deborah Willis (ed), Black Venus 2010: They Called Her ‘Hottentot’ (Philadelphia, PA, 2010), p. 4. 11. Nicole R. Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (Chicago, 2011), p. 118. 12. Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris, Women Artists:  1550–1950 (Los Angeles; New York, 1976), p. 240. 13. Christine Havice, ‘In a Class by Herself: 19th Century Images of the Woman Artist as Student’, Woman’s Art Journal 2/1 (Spring–Summer, 1981), p. 37. 14. Linda Nochlin, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays (New York, 1988), pp. 158–9. 15. Janell Hobson, Venus in the Dark:  Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture (New York, 2005), p. 35. 16. Jacqueline Rose, Women in Dark Times (London, 2014), p. 260. 17. Ibid, p. 263. 18. Lisa Tickner, ‘The Body Politics:  Female Sexuality & Women Artists Since 1970’, in Art History, 1/2 (June 1978), p. 239. 19. Etienne Balibar, ‘Racism and Nationalism’, in Phillip Spencer and Howard Wollman (eds), Nations and Nationalism: A Reader (New Brunswick, 2005), p. 169. Etienne Balibar, ‘The Nation Form: History and Ideology’, in Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, with Immanuel Wallerstein, trans. Chris

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20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

25. 26.

27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

Turner (London, 1988), pp. 86–106; Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender & Nation (London, 1997), p. 2. For key articulations of feminist work on the nation, see Caren Kaplan et. al, Between Women and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and the State (Durham, NC, 1999). Alys Eve Weinbaum, Wayward Reproductions: Genealogies of Race and Nation in Transatlantic Modern Thought (Durham, NC, 2004). Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Conquest (New York, 1995), p. 354. This argument is central to Ranjana Khanna’s Algeria Cuts: Women and Representation, 1830 to the Present (Stanford, CA, 2007). Reilly, ‘Introduction: Toward Transnational Feminisms’, in Global Feminisms, p. 16. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, in Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (Durham, NC, 2003), p. 17. Ibid, p. 19. Chandra Mohanty, ‘ “Under Western Eyes” ’ Revisited:  Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles’, in Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, p. 213. Ibid, p. 230. Ibid, p. 233. Ibid, p. 232. Ibid, p. 224. Reilly, ‘Introduction: Toward Transnational Feminisms’, in Global Feminisms, p. 16. Alys Eve Weinbaum, Miranda Joseph, and Priti Ramamurthy, ‘Toward a New Feminist Internationalism’, in Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, and Agatha Beins (eds), Women’s Studies for the Future:  Foundations, Interrogations, Politics (New Brunswick, 2005), p.  218. This essay is collectively authored, but each author has composed separate analyses within the essay. Ibid, p. 207. Ibid, p. 215. Ibid, p. 214. Ibid. Ibid, p. 216. Ibid, p. 219. Nancy C.M. Hartsock, ‘The Feminist Standpoint: Developing the Ground for a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism’, in The Feminist Standpoint Revisited and Other Essays (Boulder, CO, 1998), p. 119; Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling (Berkeley, CA, 1983), p. 7.

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Gestures of Inclusion 40. Michael Hardt’s ‘Affective Labor’ provides a key definition of the term, which I have drawn upon extensively here. ‘Affective Labor’, boundary 2, 26.2 (1999), pp. 89–100. For a feminist critique of Hardt’s articulations, see Silvia Federici, ‘On Affective Labor’, in Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labor, eds Michael A. Peters and Ergin Bulut (New York, 2011), pp. 57–73. 41. Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), p. 31. 42. Ibid, pp. 37, 102. 43. Ibid, p. 105. 44. Angela Y. Davis, ‘Women and Capitalism:  Dialectics of Oppression and Liberation’, in Joy James (ed.), The Angela Y.  Davis Reader (Oxford, 1988), p. 163. 45. Ibid, p. 149. 46. Deborah Willis and Carla Williams, The Black Female Body: A Photographic History (Philadelphia, PA, 2002), p. 49. 47. Ibid, 3. 48. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida:  Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York, 1981 [1980]), p. 81. 49. Ruby Tapia, ‘Suturing the Mother: Race, Death, and the Maternal in Barthes’ Camera Lucida’, English Language Notes 44.4 (Fall/Winter 2006), p. 204. 50. Ibid, p. 207. 51. For scholarship on feminism and haunting, see Avery Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Minneapolis, MN, 2008); Victoria Hesford, Feeling Women’s Liberation (Durham, NC, 2013). 52. Ranjana Khanna, Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism (Durham, 2003), p. x. 53. Ibid, p. 5. 54. Ibid, p. 211. 55. Ibid, p. 212. 56. Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, The Shell and the Kernel (Chicago, 1994), p. 171. 57. Ibid, p. 173. 58. Nicholas Rand, ‘Secrets and Posterity:  The Theory of the Transgenerational Phantom’, in The Shell and the Kernel, p. 169. 59. http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/video/ (accessed 15 January 2015). 60. Rosalind Deutsche, Aruna D’Souza, Miwon Kwon, Ulrike Müller, Mignon Nixon, and Senam Okudzeto, ‘Feminist Time: A Conversation’, p. 45.

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12 Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories Catherine Grant

At the end of Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve’s zine The Suffragette as Militant Artist, an unattributed quote introduces The Emily Davison Lodge. The reader is told how Mary Leigh and Edith New set up the organisation following their friend Emily Davison’s death, with its aim being: ‘to perpetuate the memory of a gallant woman by gathering together women of progressive thought and aspiration with the purpose of working for the progress of women according to the needs of the hour’.1 This quote is followed by the sentence: ‘Closed since the 1940s, The Emily Davison Lodge has now been reinstated by Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve (2010).’2 In a simple performative act, the artists take on the mantle of a long-defunct organisation, one little-known beyond its intentions to honour the memory of a notorious suffragette, whose death from injuries sustained from the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby on 4 June 1913 is one of the most well-known events in suffragette history. As in many contemporary artworks that delve into the archives, The Emily Davison Lodge has an air of ambiguity and fictionality.3 Did this organisation actually exist? Is it a convenient device for the artists to reignite a relationship to a history of protest and sisterhood? My first enquiries to the artists were met with a vagueness of recollection that suggested that the Lodge could indeed be a fictional creation. Visiting the Women’s Library archive in London, a search for ‘The Emily Davison Lodge’ raised 260

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories no distinct entries. Trawling through a microfiche roll containing the papers of Emily Wilding Davison, a two-page document is titled ‘Copy of Resolution passed at the Memorial Meeting of Emily Wilding Davison, Hyde Park, Sunday June 5/21, also at meeting held at the Emily Davison Lodge, 144 High Holborn, Thursday June 9/21’.4 This document was the only piece of evidence I could find in the archive that confirmed the existence of the Lodge, although prior to my visit a search through Google books had brought up three published references, including what seemed to be the source of the quotation used by Plender and Reeve. On my computer screen a snippet of Diane Atkinson’s The Suffragettes in Pictures revealed the start of the quote.5 Unable to order up the correct book from the Women’s Library archive, I employed the default research method when books are hard to come by locally: I ordered a copy for one pence from an online second-hand book dealer, and waited for it to arrive. The two other references that came up were tantalisingly brief, but confirmed that the Lodge was indeed a place, as well as a society. A listing in Elizabeth Crawford’s The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, gave the following information: EMILY WILDING DAVISON CLUB, 144 High Holborn, London WC, was founded as the Emily Wilding Davison Lodge by Mary Leigh in memory of her friend (see Emily Wilding DAVISON)…. The Club was still in existence in 1940 when members of the WFL [Women’s Freedom League] were informed that they might ‘find it convenient to know that they can get a good mid-day meal at the Emily Davison Club, 144 High Holborn’.6

From such meagre information a world can be imagined. Somewhere between an organisation and a place, The Emily Davison Lodge is a memorial to friendship and a place to continue political agitation or eat a meal. Why begin with this tale of archives and Google searches? How does this relate to my title and the re-enactment of feminist histories? Before continuing, I want to pause for a moment and set up the terms of this discussion. To explore the re-enactment of feminist histories I’ve researched contemporary artworks that take a pre-existing film, image, text or idea, and re-present it in some way.7 This can be a faithful replay or a fantastical re-imagining. I am using an expanded idea of re-enactment, so rather 261

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Feminism and Art History Now than literal re-presentation, I’m interested in the process of embodying and analysing an event, text or idea. In 2011, performance studies theorist Rebecca Schneider produced one of the most thorough and useful discussions of re-enactment and what it can do in relation to time.8 She explores ‘the syncopated time of re-enactment, where then and now punctuate each other’.9 She asks ‘what if time (re)turns? What does it drag along with it?’10 As I have done in previous writing, she looks at Elizabeth Freeman’s concept of temporal drag, in which the performance of historical material in the present is not seen simply as quotation, but looks at how it is reshaped by being replayed in the present, as well as creating folds within time through moments of resonance and replication.11 Schneider works through a wide range of philosophical models for thinking about how reenactment might ‘open up’ history, whilst acknowledging that re-enacting a past event can also spectacularise or stabilise it.12 Schneider’s reference to ‘syncopated time’ takes a comment from Gertrude Stein about theatre, in which Stein talks about feeling nervous about the syncopated time on stage in relation to the audience’s sense of lived time. This syncopated time is also referenced by Elin Diamond’s repurposing of Brechtian ideas for feminist theatre, exploring how ‘syncopatedness, the visceral and cognitive sense of temporal otherness, becomes methodological, a praxis of seeing/knowing and performing/writing in which the object belongs not to me but to a historical force-field which is never fully knowable’.13 Across the literature on re-enactment, there is this attention to temporal disruption as a space of possibility, and here I want to explore it as a space of learning. My title ‘Learning and Playing’ invokes Bertolt Brecht’s idea of the learning-play (this is his translation of the German Lehrstück). For him, this was a suggestive, rather than programmatic theory of how to break down the interface between rehearsal and performance, actors and spectators, discussion and enactment. I want to return to his theorisation of the learning-play, rather than the particular plays he wrote under this title, to think through its potential to conceptualise uses of re-enactment in contemporary art as forms of learning about history to inform our present. I  will suggest that re-enactment is one way to engage with the past as a site of fantasy, creation and possibility for the future, using my own syncopation of second-wave feminist thinking about Brecht to provide a structure for the artworks under discussion.14 In this chapter I will explore two contemporary artworks that utilise re-enactment as scenes of learning in a 262

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories variety of ways: Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve’s rebooting of The Emily Davison Lodge and their involvement in the display of Sylvia Pankhurst’s artworks at Tate Britain (2013–14) and Canadian artists Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue’s installation Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House (2013), particularly its incarnation at the BFI in London in 2014.

The Learning Play Developed during the 1920s in Germany, a period of profound social change and possibility, the learning play feeds into Brecht’s broader ideas of epic theatre. With the learning play, he focused on the act of rehearsing, watching and discussing a play, as much as performing it. He compares the process to reading: In studying an interesting book we must ‘look back’, we reread passages in order to grasp them entirely, and so too in theatre. Revisiting a play is like rereading a page of a book. Once we know the contents of it, we can judge more closely of its meaning, or its acting, and so on.15

By translating the process of reading and rereading to that of embodying, discussing and viewing a script, Brecht provides ways of thinking about gesture, collective learning and discussion that are often key to contemporary artworks that return to feminist and queer histories.16 He made a number of experiments, often written collectively, that included audience participation or dispensed with the audience entirely so that the process of rehearsal and reflection formed the key activities, as well as incorporating responses to questionnaires in versions of scripts, or using choruses.17 He says of the learning play that it is ‘essentially dynamic; its task is to show the world as it changes (and also how it may be changed)’.18 Roswitha Mueller explored the importance of the learning plays being developed during Weimar Germany, with Brecht interested in how to instruct his participants on how to be members of a communist collective. She discusses how ‘the historical basis for the Lehrstück is a society in transition to socialism’.19 After Brecht returned to more realist modes of dramatic presentation in the late 1930s, Devin Fore argues that the emphasis on quotation and re-enactment of gesture continued to create plays that are to be analysed and interrogated, through a process of ‘demonstration’: ‘Instead of 263

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Feminism and Art History Now eliminating representation entirely, Brecht compounded it by reproducing the reproduction, as it were, by quoting secondhand speech, by acting out the film. “Show that you are showing!” Brecht enjoined his actors’.20 This process of demonstration and the emphasis on creating a collective are two important aspects in the artworks explored here. For me, re-enactment thought as a form of learning play is a method of bringing the audience into an active dialogue with the historical material being presented, and about the activation of a feminist community.

Killjoy’s Kastle As I was writing an early draft of this chapter, I went to see Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue’s Killjoy’s Kastle, a film of which was installed as part of the BFI’s Flare season (previously the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival) in March 2014. Mitchell and Logue’s interactive work draws on American evangelical hell houses, but draws its horrors from lesbian feminist literature, icons, stereotypes and myths. In its original version (staged in Toronto, October 2013), participants were guided around by a demented Women’s Studies Professor, who instructed them on the queer dimensions of Women’s Studies, and dramatically introduced a lively cast of riot grrrl ghouls, ball-busters and polyamorous vampiric grannies, ending with a processing room where visitors could talk about their experience of the installation with real-life feminist killjoys.21 Mitchell and Logue’s installation demonstrates how re-enactment’s historical returns do not have to be factually accurate, but can play with our mythologising and fantasising around feminist pasts. Alongside film footage of the haunted house in Toronto in October 2013, the installation at the BFI recreated some of the cheesy, faux-creepy imagery from the original, including a series of gravestones, marking the passing of various feminist and lesbian organisations and institutions (Figure 12.1). Alongside SCUM, dated ‘1968 – infinity’, there were a range of UK and London specific markers – including Silver Moon, Circles and the Lambeth Women’s Project – a list of the deceased that made the installation space one of campy mourning and reflection. Individual memories of various organisations were invoked by the presence of these gravestones, a wake for feminist and queer pasts that doesn’t always make the history books. Speaking to one of the London-based collaborators who had worked on the gravestones, 264

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Figure  12.1 Installation of Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue’s Killjoy’s Kastle:  A  Lesbian Feminist Haunted House at BFI, London, 2014. London grave makers: Nazmia Jamal, L. Schwarz, Ros Murray, Ochi Reyes, Arvind Thandi, Sita Balani.

she described how the collective activity of making them had also been a chance to find out about organisations being inscribed into the slabs of polystyrene.22 There was an active element of engaging with and illuminating these organisations both in the production stage and for the viewers of the final installation that brought to mind Brecht’s model of the learning play. Intrigued by this process of creating the gravestones, I spoke to 265

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Feminism and Art History Now Nazmia Jamal, who had curated the installation at the BFI.23 She explained how working on the gravestones had been collaborative in part, but also a rather solitary activity, as she made them in her front room. She described the act of carving the polystyrene as melancholic, a working-through of her own relationships to the organisations that she had elected to commemorate. The list of organisations to be commemorated was drawn up from her own experience of London’s feminist and lesbian organisations, as well through asking friends to contribute, such as Helen DeWitt at the BFI and Louise Carolyn at Diva Magazine. Also included in the list are names of organisations she hadn’t heard of, but was intrigued by, taken from backs of books such as Lesbians Talk Making Black Waves.24 Here Jamal drew upon the now mostly defunct ‘Resources’ section that featured in many feminist publications pre-internet. The gravestones provide a mainly London-specific account filtered through Jamal’s contact with lesbian, feminist and black organisations, from bookshops to short-lived political groups to nightclubs. Jamal’s involvement with Killjoy’s Kastle points to the evolution of the installation as initially conceived by Allyson Mitchell, and produced an iteration of the artwork that continued its participatory logic.25 As a script to be interrogated, Jamal and her collaborators as the ‘grave-makers’ produced a space of reflection and analysis on the organisations commemorated, both for the producers and in the subsequent installation, for the viewers to come and discuss and bring to mind. As a curator and activist, rather than an artist, Jamal’s formation of the list of gravestones and their creation by her and a small group of friends, is a version of the learning play, with the gravestones providing the script, which itself has been generated collaboratively through research, personal memory and calls for information. When I sent her a draft version of this paper, she emailed back with the gravestones I had missed from her list, as well as commenting ‘They are all carved into my brain. Playing is learning.’26 For Jamal, the installation at the BFI produced a space similar to the final processing room in Mitchell’s original version, a space of discussion and conversation that used the material on show as a starting point for the viewers to reflect on their own relationship to a network of lesbian and feminist communities. The style of Killjoy’s Kastle and the emotional attachment to the material on display brings to mind Elizabeth Freeman’s commentary on camp. ‘Camp is a mode of archiving, in that it lovingly, sadistically, even 266

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories masochistically brings back dominant culture’s junk and displays the performer’s fierce attachment to it.’27 Here the junk is a range of organisations and groups that are mostly left in memory rather than archival substance, marked by gravestones that activate the viewer’s memory and imagination, as well as the process of creation and contemplation experienced by the grave-makers themselves. For Freeman the ‘stubborn lingering of pastness (whether it appears as anachronistic style, as the reappearance of bygone events in the symptom, or as arrested development) is a hallmark of queer affect: ‘a “revolution” in the old sense of the word, as a turning back’.28 This invocation of ‘revolution’ as a turning back is instructive as to the forward and backward pull of artworks such as Killjoy’s Kastle. Whilst the queer humour of Mitchell and Logue’s Killjoy’s Kastle might not seem to map on to our popular conception of Brecht’s theatre, he was also interested in how quoting from popular culture, along with collective participation and activation of the theatre space, could create new forms of political engagement. In Fore’s analysis of Brecht’s experiments, he discusses how the spectator has to be involved in the ‘art of watching’, that ‘cultivates non-cathartic strategies of observation and study’. Fore argues that this art of watching ‘brings to mind an encounter with an artwork in a museum far more than any experience of watching naturalistic drama’.29

The Emily Davison Lodge This encounter with an artwork in a museum returns me to Plender and Reeve’s re-imagining of The Emily Davison Lodge. Inaugurated at the Women’s Library in 2010, the Lodge was their contribution to an exhibition where artists where asked to respond to the Women’s Library collection. Plender and Reeve created a series of proposals after viewing archival material on suffragette art and activism, including the zine from which my opening quote is taken. Another of these proposals was a letter to the Head of Collections at Tate Britain requesting that Sylvia Pankhurst’s artworks be included in the Tate Collection. As a gesture that the artists did not necessarily foresee coming to fruition, their letter was received at a time when the then-new Director of the Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis, was setting up the rehang of the permanent collection. Four years later, the artists were credited (as The Emily Davison Lodge) as co-curators with Emma Chambers of a BP Spotlight display on Sylvia Pankhurst’s artwork and designs for 267

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Feminism and Art History Now suffragette artefacts. In this display, Plender and Reeve’s involvement was indicated by the inclusion of their letter to the Head of Collections, made into part of their artwork Working Table of The Emily Davison Lodge, 2010– 13 (Figure 12.2). This also included drawings depicting key moments from Pankhurst’s political career, which take the form of ‘imagined photographs’. Reeve explains how she drew scenes from Pankhurst’s political career as if they were photographed, although none of the events had been. She also points to these scenes allowing for the inclusion of Pankhurst’s political campaigning alongside her artistic practice. She says ‘we did not include any historical documents of her non-art related political activity in the show. However, we did feel that it was important to evidence it subtly somewhere… and it could be argued today that her political campaigning was hugely creative’.30 Plender also points out that the Working Table makes the exhibition’s beginnings visible.31 The ‘imagined photograph’ drawings are a form of re-enactment that does not entail exact copying, but instead transposes an event described in words to a visualisation of the scene. In the zine The Suffragette as

Figure 12.2 Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve, Working Table of The Emily Davison Lodge, 2010–13. On display in the exhibition Sylvia Pankhurst, Tate Britain, 2013–14.

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories Militant Artist, Plender and Reeve employed a process of re-drawing and painting to include material from the Women’s Library that was too expensive to reproduce photographically due to copyright.32 Apart from this practical issue, the process of re-drawing is one that Plender in particular has engaged with for a number of years. Re-drawing acts as a form of gaining knowledge of the source material, a way of spending time with photographs, newspaper clippings, journal entries. I have begun to think of this process as a form of life-drawing, drawing from life to learn not about anatomy or proportions, but about the documents they have come across in the archive. Examples of this process of re-drawing in the zine include a statement by Mary Richardson, who slashed the Rokeby Venus, next to an image of members of the Suffragette Artists’ Atelier getting ready for a demonstration with palette placards in hand. The re-drawing makes the viewer aware of the processing of this material through the artists’ hands, and that they are passing on their impressions to us. These acts of re-drawing and painting also relate to Sylvia Pankhurst’s own attempt to draw from life, with her visits to women in factories being represented through paintings and reproductions of these artworks alongside her written accounts in magazines, both of which were on display at Tate Britain.

Women and Work There was a strange liminality to the Sylvia Pankhurst exhibition, suspended between a straightforward display of a marginalised artist and a contemporary art project. This was compounded by the transitory nature of the exhibition, part of a changing BP Spotlight Display. Barely signposted, the room was not connected to the twentieth- or twenty-first-century permanent exhibitions where I had expected to find it. Instead, it took a diligent viewer, or a chance encounter to come across it. For me, the experience of trying to find and see this display foregrounded the continuing need to re-imagine feminist histories in the present, as they are constantly slipping out of memory, or relegated to a footnote or minor addition. Only as a contemporary artwork was this display possible, although hopefully it began a conversation that might lead to Pankhurst’s work being taken up by the permanent collection in the future. Plender discusses her ambivalence of showing in institutional spaces such as Tate Britain, but that it was 269

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Feminism and Art History Now important for it to be there as a statement of what was missing from a social history of art.33 She then pointed out how the exhibition has lead to invitations from various feminist organisations that extend The Emily Davison Lodge beyond the confines of the Tate exhibition. Like the gravestones in the Killjoy’s Kastle, the Lodge has a life of its own, a pedagogical frame that can be extended in different contexts.34 To get to the Sylvia Pankhurst exhibition, the viewer had to work through another BP Spotlight display in which a more well-known feminist project was installed: Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry (1973–5) by Margaret Harrison, Kay Hunt and Mary Kelly.35 Made some sixty years after Pankhurst’s writings and artworks, and with a markedly different visual aesthetic, Women and Work nonetheless provided an echo of her campaigning for women’s equal pay and an assessment of women’s labour in the workplace and the home. In the two displays a link through time was created between projects that had socialist and feminist aims, to reveal the conditions of working women as bringing together struggles around class and gender, the workplace and the domestic sphere.36 Plender expressed her interest in Sylvia Pankhurst’s socialist politics, as well as in representing the figure of the suffragette artist.37 She explained how Pankhurst had split from the Women’s Social and Political Union because the politics of her mother and sister were focused on the rights of upper and middle-class women, and how she had formed the East London Federation of the Suffragettes. Plender and Reeve were interested in complicating the image of suffragettes from popular culture as being a group of middle-class, middle-aged women, often depicted as genteel and batty, citing films such as Mary Poppins, 1964 and Kind Hearts and Coronets, 1949.

A Time of One’s Own I will now return to my attempt to track down material relating to The Emily Davison Lodge. An email comes through minutes after I’ve sent through my request to the curator, asking if she has any information on The Emily Davison Lodge. I’m still trying to track down the source of the unattributed quote from the book Suffragettes in Pictures, the quote that begins this chapter. I’ve been trying to get hold of the book’s author, and as it was made whilst she was working at the Museum of London, I ask a student who has contacts there 270

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories if he can help. He puts me in touch with Beverley Cook, the curator sending the email. She says there is a leaflet in the Museum of London collection, a membership form for the Emily Davison Lodge. In the following two emails, she tells me, she will send scans. The emails ping into my inbox. I click on the attachments. The first shows the front and back of the leaflet, with sparse text, simply saying ‘The “Emily Davison” Lodge, 144, High Holborn, (Entrance at back, in Bury Street.) LONDON, W.C.’ Underneath, handwritten in oldfashioned script, fountain pen ink ‘Started by Mary Leigh 1915’.38 The second jpg shows the inside of the leaflet, which sets out the Lodge’s Object and Rules (Figure 12.3). It turns out the quote I’d been chasing down is ‘The Object’ of the Lodge. Even through it is an unwieldy sentence, its aspiration had been exciting, both for me, and the artists Plender and Reeve: The Object: To perpetuate the memory of a gallant woman by gathering together women of progressive thought and aspiration, with the purpose of working for the progress of women according to the needs of the hour.

‘[A]ccording to the needs of the hour’. It is this phrase that stays with me. What are the needs of the hour now? There seem to be so many. But right now, I’m interested in imagining how the Lodge contributed to gathering together women according to the needs of the hour in 1915. As I look at the leaflet, the list of rules demonstrate how the Lodge was set up as a formal club, mirroring gentlemen’s clubs:  spaces of relaxation, places of refuge. On the facing page is the Membership form, neatly flanked by a row of punched holes so it can be easily detached. To join one must have a proposer and seconder, with an asterisk marking the statement ‘It is assumed that the Proposer vouches that the Candidate is a supporter of the cause of Women’s Enfranchisement.’ No imposters allowed. Before I  got the email from the curator at the Museum of London, I  went to 144 High Holborn to see if there was any trace of the Lodge, and the suffragette headquarters it was above. After walking down High Holborn I found the number, but no sign of the Lodge, instead a high office block with nondescript revolving door, and a Foxtons estate agents beside it. I took a picture anyway, wondering whether it was a pointless endeavour. After sending the leaflet to Hester Reeve she sent me a picture of a 271

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Figure 12.3 Membership form for The Emily Davison Lodge, Museum of London, accession number Z6069/3.

placard acknowledging the Lodge’s existence, which must have been inside the office block foyer. I should have been more intrepid. I print out the membership form and look at it. What to do with this historical document that represents an institution that is barely mentioned in the history books? Apart from the artists Reeve and Plender, who knows about the Lodge? The curator, who seems excited about my enquiry, has forwarded my original email to a group of historians who specialise in suffragette history. The information from them gives me no more than I’ve already managed to uncover, but does reveal a conversation between a group of women that seem to echo my own interests. One mentions that Hester has visited her. What becomes clear is that the Lodge’s founder, Mary Leigh, left little trace behind her, although she obviously was a woman with bold ambition, and was a central part of the suffragette community for many decades.39 The Lodge bears the name of her friend, rather than herself and her co-founder, who apparently took a pilgrimage to Emily Davison’s grave every year. 272

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories In finding this membership form, I  feel the elation of historical research concluded successfully, whilst also feeling relieved that it was through the knowledge and kindness of a curator, rather than time it would have taken for me to undertake more archival scavenging. The immediacy of digital imaging has opened up the circulation of archival material, and this relates to the syncopated time referred to by Schneider and Diamond in their discussions of re-enactment. This syncopated time is found in the everyday back and forth of imagery and ideas, so that precious objects, moments, obscure videos and documents are easy to share, look at, circulate. In thinking about this syncopated time, and the interest in how to reimagine and re-enact feminist histories in the present, I reread Virginia Woolf ’s A Room of One’s Own.40 As an argument made through fiction and anecdotal experience, presented to a group of young women in an Oxbridge college, Woolf ’s book is a clever staging of the modes of archival research, temporal disruptions and fantasy that join the contemporary artworks I’m interested in here. As is well known, her precise, sardonic argument about ‘women and fiction’ centres around the necessity of money and a room of one’s own. As I work on artists engaging with feminist histories as forms of learning-plays, I think about Woolf ’s words, and how increasingly we could reframe her call for a room of one’s own as a time of one’s own. Time to think, write, agitate. My use of this phrase ‘a time of one’s own’ is meant to suggest both the need for time in the present, and an embracing of previous moments to create a context for our ‘now’. Importantly, to take part in a learning play requires time on the part of the participants, as well as insisting on close attention being paid to the historical material under analysis. For me, the time needed to be a creative or political person is brought to life in a number of sections of Woolf ’s text. The first occurs within a couple of pages of beginning the book. She writes of sitting on a riverbank, and whilst contemplating the scenery, a thought darts into her mind, which she vividly describes as fishing a fish that flits in the water: Thought – to call it by a prouder name than it deserved – had let its line down into the stream. It swayed, minute after minute, hither and thither among the reflections and the weeds, letting the water lift it and sink it, until – you know the little tug – the

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Feminism and Art History Now sudden conglomeration of an idea at the end of one’s line: and then the cautious hauling of it in, and the careful laying of it out?41

As we sit with her, she tantalises us with the statement that although this thought is small, it can still be found within the pages of this book. However, as the scene continues, her moment of creative thinking is disrupted by her being apprehended by a Beadle, who tells her only Fellows and Scholars are allowed to walk on the grass: she must return to the gravel path. In this scene, as in many that follow, Woolf brings to life the many and often petty ways in which creativity requires support: institutional, financial and intellectual. Whilst Woolf appears to be alone in much of the book, she is in fact surrounded, first by the women students in the lecture hall to whom she first frames her fictional anecdotes, then as we follow her through her research and musings we meet the women from history who both make it as writers and those who have to be imagined, as well as members of Oxbridge colleges enjoying (or not) their lunches and dinners. As readers we take part in this collective, addressed by Woolf ’s intimate tone to come closer, to join in the discussion. Rereading A Room of One’s Own articulates the structures that often remain invisible behind the capturing of even a small thought, and how being creative so often requires being part of a collective, both in terms of a history to identify with and as a peer group in the present. Like the artworks discussed in this chapter, re-enactment and re-imaging are tools of learning, to begin the process of analysis through playing with research and fiction. In a section in the second chapter she reflects on receiving a legacy from an aunt, stating, only slightly ironically: ‘Of the two – the vote and the money – the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important.’42 She describes various odd jobs that constituted the livelihood for middle-class women such as her semi-fictional narrator, jobs such as writing about weddings for newspapers, teaching children in kindergarten, addressing envelopes. Her reasons for privileging her aunt’s legacy over the vote is due to her impassioned description of the detrimental effect of ‘always to be doing work that one did not wish to do, and to do it like a slave, flattering and fawning, not always necessarily perhaps, but it seemed necessary and the stakes were too great to run risks’.43 She concludes: ‘What a change of temper a fixed income will bring about. No force in the world can take from me my five hundred pounds. Food, house, and clothing are mine for ever.’44 Continuing her analysis on the ways in which women’s creativity is thwarted, her comments on the necessity 274

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories of a secure income to have a sense of self and time are increasingly pertinent across occupations and classes, from the working women’s conditions documented by Pankhurst and Harrison, Hunt and Kelly, to the forms of precarious labour that percolate throughout the creative industries in the present. The foregrounding of socialist feminist struggles in The Emily Davison Lodge speaks to current conditions, just as the demise of so many lesbian and feminist organisations commemorated in the Killjoy’s Kastle’s gravestones points to a narrowing of collective spaces available to us. These are questions and concerns that go beyond this chapter, but also show how the projects I’m discussing urge a learning to take place far beyond a simple viewing in a gallery. In needing a time of one’s own, there is an attention to the temporal loops and historical resonances that might help us undo or remake the present. In the two projects discussed here, there is an encouragement to engage with history as a script to be played with, sat with, contemplated, performed, discussed. In this chapter, that script may be found in archival fragments such as the fleeting references to The Emily Davison Lodge; memories of feminist groups and institutions, or repeated narratives that define concepts such as lesbian feminism, generating clichés and stereotypes in their wake. To take time with the material, learn from it, enjoy the privileges of thought that Woolf explores as so often being dependent on time, money and community. To use Brecht’s idea of the learning play also functions as a way of re-framing debates around re-enactment in writings from art history and performance studies over the last decade. In discussions of re-enactment, notions of disrupted temporality often reference Walter Benjamin’s famous theses ‘On the Concept of History’. For example, Amelia Jones gives a montage of famous lines in discussing the potential of reperformance: ‘The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognised and is never seen again… To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognise it “the way it really was”… It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.’45 I want to think through what it means to take hold of a memory, to re-enact a fantasy of the past as a means of understanding the present and the future. This flash also echoes Woolf trying to keep her thought in mind whilst being told she does not belong. Brecht’s notion of the learning play suggests a prosaic model to grapple with a Benjaminian notion of history, particularly in being able to historicise the present through an engagement with the past.46 To be aware of the constructed nature of our contemporary moment is one way to start 275

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Feminism and Art History Now to imagine it differently. The past can be engaged with as a book to return to, understanding the material under discussion as necessarily fictitious, a ‘script’ compiled from a past which can never be completely knowable. I finish writing this chapter in December 2014. The academic term draws to a close, providing pockets of time to write, to stitch together the syncopation of research, discussion and writing that have taken place over the past couple of years around the everyday busyness of life. As I travel into work, rehearsing the final passages of the text in my head, I listen to the poet Ian McMillan discussing a re-enactment of the football match that took place on the Western Front, Christmas Day, 1914. He describes how this re-enactment is important as World War I ‘slips from memory into history’.47 When dealing with the historical material of feminism, so much seems to slip from memory and out of history. I wonder what the centenary commemorations of The Emily Davison Lodge might consist of, and hope that this chapter is published during its centennial year, 2015. (The syncopated time of academic publishing creates a gap between the time of this conclusion and the publication of the book. Writing parenthetically as this book goes to press, I will simply note that 2015 did not bring celebrations for the Lodge, but it did bring a resurgence of interest in suffragette activism, particularly around the release of the film Suffragette.) In Woolf ’s discussions of temporality and its cultural and historical shifts, she pays attention to what can and can’t be lived at a particular time, for example, citing the inability for the poetry of Alfred Tennyson and Christina Rossetti to be hummed alongside the conversation at luncheon parties after World War I.48 I wonder what poetry can no longer be heard one hundred years later? Woolf speculates in 1928 that it will take one hundred years for her fictional author Mary Carmichael to write poetry: a hundred years, a room of her own, and five hundred a year.49 The ability to gather together enough money, time and space is still a challenge as we draw closer to Woolf ’s projected future. In the artworks discussed here, time is given over to re-enact a history, to research it, imagine it, discuss it and embody it, by both the artist and viewer. In taking part in these re-enactments as learning-plays, perhaps this is a place poetry can be heard. I think it is the ability to hear both the poetry and the politics of historical moments that draws me in. A place of collective listening, playing and learning. In this chapter I have performed some of my own experiences of taking part in these re-enactments to show how researching and writing about 276

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories them extends the scene of learning that they prompt. To attend to the specificity of re-enactment means attending to the specificity of our own ‘intense, embodied inquiry’.50 To write about these works and the varied experiences of time, history and feminist communities that they bring into view has required me to make my writing process visible, to put myself on stage as well as the artworks being seen as a radical form of theatre. My writing is both an art-historical analysis and an opening for the reader to take up the discussion, to join in the process of playing and learning. I’ll finish with a quote from Brecht in which he describes the transformation that takes place in the theatre when used for the learning-play. We could replace theatre here with gallery, seminar room, or living room, and philosophers with feminists: ‘The theatre then becomes a place for philosophers, and for such philosophers as not only wish to explain the world but wish to change it.’51 This chapter has been researched and written with the support and advice from many people. I would like to acknowledge and thank the following: my students at the Courtauld Institute of Art, 2010–11, my students at Goldsmiths, University of London, members of the Postgraduate Feminist Reading Group, Flora Dunster for prompting me to visit Killjoy’s Kastle and for transcription work, Nazmia Jamal, Allyson Mitchell, Deirdre Logue, Olivia Plender, Hester Reeve, Sam McBean, Elsa Richardson, Laura Guy, Beverley Cook (Museum of London), Diane Atkinson, Guy Atkins, Dominic Johnson, Sarah James, Helena Reckitt, Ian Hunt, Elizabeth Crawford, Victoria Horne and Lara Perry.

Notes 1. Quoted in The Emily Davison Lodge (Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve), The Suffragette as Militant Artist, 2010, np. Published as part of the exhibition Out of the Archives, The Women’s Library, London, 2010. The references to the Lodge that I have found credit only Mary Leigh as the founder. The exception to this is Elizabeth Crawford’s essay on the centennial of Emily Davison’s death, which gives Rose Lamartine Yates as co-founder. She describes the founding of the Lodge as ‘a manifestation of protest against the Pankhursts’ decision to disband the WSPU in order to support the war effort; the Suffragette Fellowship… paid little regard to Emily Davison’. ‘Emily Wilding Davison: Centennial Celebrations’, Women’s History Review, 23/6, 2014, p. 1000. My focus in this chapter is on The Emily Davison Lodge,

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2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

7.

8.

9. 10. 11.

rather than Davison herself, so I have not referenced the considerable literature on her. The Emily Davison Lodge, The Suffragette as Militant Artist, np. Key discussions of ‘the archival turn’ in art include Hal Foster’s ‘An Archival Impulse’, October, vol. 110, Autumn 2004, pp. 3–22; Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings (Durham, NC, 2003); Elizabeth Freeman Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Durham, NC, 2010). Carolyn Steedman’s book Dust explores the relationship between archives, memory and history, giving this definition of ‘the Archive’: ‘a name for the many places in which the past (which does not now exist, but which once did actually happen; which cannot be retrieved, but which may be represented) has deposited some traces and fragments, usually in written form’. She goes to add ‘And: the Archive is also a place of dreams’, Dust, Manchester, 2001, p. 69. Emily Wilding Davison Papers, Women’s Library, London, Ref:  GB/106/7/ EWD/34(1) (accessed 12 September 2014). Diane Atkinson, The Suffragettes in Pictures (London, 1996), p. 150. Elizabeth Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement:  A  Reference Guide 1866–1928 (London; New  York, 2003), p.  120. See also Elizabeth Crawford, ‘Emily Wilding Davison: Perpetuating The Memory’, Untold Lives Blog, 7 June 2013, http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/untoldlives/2013/06/emily-wildingdavison-perpetuating-the-memory.html (accessed 6 November 2016). This chapter is part of a bigger project, which began with the article ‘Fans of Feminism: Re-writing Histories of Second-wave Feminism in Contemporary Art’, Oxford Art Journal (Summer 2011). A companion article to this one, with some overlapping material on Killjoy’s Kastle and the learning-play as a way to think about ‘a time of one’s own’ is published as ‘A Time of One’s Own’, Oxford Art Journal, December 2016. Rebecca Schneider, Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (London; New York, 2011). Other key discussions of reenactment in contemporary art include, Sven Lutticken (ed.), Life, Once More: Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art (Rotterdam, 2005); Amelia Jones (ed.), ‘Performance, Live or Dead’, Art Journal, 70/3 (Fall 2011) and Amelia Jones and Adrian Heathfield (eds), Perform, Repeat, Record (Bristol, 2013). Giovanna Zapperi’s article ‘Woman’s Reappearance: Rethinking the Archive in Contemporary Art – Feminist Perspectives’, Feminist Review, 105 (2015), pp. 21–47, summarises much of the recent literature. Thanks to Victoria Horne for directing me to this. Schneider, ‘Foreword – By Way of Other Directions’, Performing Remains, p. 2. Ibid. Schneider, ‘Foreword  – By way of other directions’. See also Grant, ‘Fans of Feminism’.

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories 12. I am referencing here Michael Lowy’s discussion of Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’ as being concerned with ‘The Opening-Up of History’. Michael Lowry, ‘The Opening-Up of History’, Fire Alarm:  Reading Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’ (2001), trans. Chris Turner (London, 2005), p.  115. As well as the writers referenced in note 5 above, I  take this reference to Lowry’s work from Nicholas Ridout’s exploration of theatrical disruptions to the productive time of capital, in Passionate Amateurs: Theatre, Communism, and Love (2013). 13. Elin Diamond, ‘Mimesis in syncopated time’, in Unmaking Mimesis: Essays on Feminism and Theater (London; New York), p. 104. The Stein reference is to her essay ‘Plays’, in Patricia Meyerowitz (ed.), Gertrude Stein: Writings and Lectures 1909–1945 (Baltimore, 1967), pp. 60–1. 14. It does not seem that the idea of the learning-play was taken up extensively in visual art influenced by Brecht’s thought during the 1970s. Martha Rosler says she was influenced by the learning-plays in an interview with Benjamin Buchloh, in Catherine de Zegher (ed.), Positions in the Life World (Cambridge, 1999), p. 55. Thank you to Catherine Long for sharing her research on Rosler. 15. ‘The German Drama:  pre-Hitler’, from the New  York Times, 24 November 1935, reprinted in Brecht on Theatre, ed. and trans. John Willett (London, 1964), p. 80. 16. As well as the examples discussed here, I  have been researching a range of artworks by Sharon Hayes, LTTR, Ridykeulous, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Lisa Castagner and Lucy Reynolds. See notes 3 and 7 for key essays. 17. Brecht discusses these in ‘The German Drama: Pre-Hitler’. 18. Brecht, ‘The German Drama: Pre-Hitler’, p. 79. 19. Roswitha Mueller, ‘Learning for a new society: the Lehrstück’ in Peter Thomson and Glendyr Sacks (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (Cambridge, 1994), p. 82. 20. Devin Fore, ‘Gestus Facit Saltus: Bertolt Brecht’s Fear and Misery of the Third Reich’, in Realism after Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 167–8. 21. The term ‘feminist killjoy’ has been coined by Sara Ahmed, as a way to think through the wilfulness needed and disruption caused by going against the social order, and the affects that this can cause. See Sara Ahmed, ‘Feminist Killjoys (And Other Wilful Subjects)’, The Scholar and Feminist Online, 8.3 (Summer 2010). Available at http://sfonline.barnard.edu/polyphonic/print_ ahmed.htm (accessed 6 November 2016). 22. Email correspondence with Ochi Reyes, 29 March 2014. 23. Comments in this section are taken from an interview with Nazmia Jamal, 22 August 2014.

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Feminism and Art History Now 24. Valerie Mason-John and Ann Khambatta, Lesbians Talk Making Black Waves (London, 1993). 25. This participatory logic has been continued with the change of authorship of Killjoy’s Kastle since the BFI installation. Further iterations of Killjoy’s Kastle credit Deirdre Logue as co-creator alongside Allyson Mitchell, and so I have credited both artists in this chapter. Logue and Mitchell run the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) in Toronto, Canada, and decided to formalise Logue’s collaboration on the project after the BFI installation. 26. Nazmia Jamal, email to the author, 19 November 2014. 27. Freeman, ‘Deep Lez: Temporal Drag and the Specters of Feminism’, in Time Binds, p. 68. In this chapter Freeman discusses other works by Allyson Mitchell. Some of the gravestones are archived in The Feminist Library, London; some were sold in aid of the charity Lesbian Immigration Support Group. 28. Freeman, ‘Introduction: Queer and Not Now’, Time Binds, p. 8. 29. Fore, ‘Gestus Facit Saltus’, p. 168. 30. Hester Reeve, email to the author, 25 November 2014. 31. Telephone interview with Olivia Plender, 28 August 14. 32. Reeve, email to author. 33. Telephone interview with Plender. 34. For example, Plender and Reeve were invited to give the Sylvia Pankhurst annual memorial lecture at Wortley Hall in Sheffield following the exhibition. Telephone interview with Plender. 35. This display had been curated by Emma Chambers, who is credited as co-curator alongside The Emily Davison Lodge, and also Katherine Stout. See Julia BryanWilson’s article regarding this display and the irony of it being exhibited as part of the BP sponsored Spotlight Displays: ‘Miens of Production’, Artforum (May 2014), p. 147. See also Victoria Horne, ‘Institutional Dissonance: Tate, BP and Socialist Feminist History’, Radical Philosophy 186 (June/July 2014), pp. 64–9. 36. See Griselda Pollock’s essay ‘Screening the Seventies:  Sexuality and Representation in Feminist Practice  – A  Brechtian Perspective’, Vision and Difference:  Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art (London, 1988), pp. 155–99. 37. Comments in this section are taken from telephone interview with Plender. In the zine The Suffragette as Miltant Artist, a short bibliography is given on the rich literature on suffragette history. Both artists have carried out a considerable amount of research into both Sylvia Pankhurst and the broader intersection between activism and artistic production in the suffragette movement. A key book is Lisa Tickner’s The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign 1907–14 (London, 1987). 38. Membership Form, The Emily Davison Lodge, Museum of London, accession number Z6069/3.

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Learning and Playing: Re-enacting Feminist Histories 39. Mary Leigh (née Brown) is mentioned briefly in many histories of the suffragette movement, but there is little focused writing on her, except for the essay ‘ “No Surrender!”: The Militancy of Mary Leigh, a Working-class Suffragette’, by Michelle Myall, in Maroula Joanou and June Purvis (eds), The Women’s Suffrage Movement: New Feminist Perspectives (Manchester, 1998), pp. 173–87. The essay demonstrates Leigh’s importance to militant campaigning, and her gradual disillusionment with the WSPU and alignment with Sylvia Pankhurst ELF. However, there is much to still be uncovered about Leigh – including the year of her death. The difficulty includes Leigh’s decision to sometimes use her maiden name, Brown, from the World War I onwards. I am not a specialist in suffragette history, but my encounters with the available material on Mary Leigh and the Emily Davison Lodge demonstrate the ways in which artists can point to histories that are under-researched and offer them as starting points both for their artworks and the viewers’ own investigations, as explored in Foster’s ‘An Archival Impulse’. 40. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (Harmondsworth, 1972 [1928]). 41. Ibid., p. 7. 42. Ibid., p. 39. 43. Ibid. 44. Ibid. 45. Walter Benjamin, ‘On the Concept of History’ (1940), quoted by Jones in ‘Performance, Live or Dead’, p. 34. 46. For a discussion of Benjamin’s theorisation of temporality in relation to Brecht’s idea of the learning play see Ridout on Benjamin’s essay ‘Program for a Proletariat Children’s Theatre’, in Passionate Amateurs, particularly the introduction and chapter 3. Thank you to Dominic Johnson for this reference. See also Freeman, Time Binds, which has an extensive discussion of challenges to what she calls ‘chrononormativity’. 47. Ian McMillan, ‘Midweek’, BBC Radio 4, broadcast 10 December 2014. 48. Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, pp.  14–17. Woolf plays with temporal shifts across her writing, often dramatising her scenes through changes of date, season and weather. 49. Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, p. 93. 50. Schneider, ‘Foreword – By Way of Other Directions’, Performing Remains, p. 2. This is one of Schneider’s descriptions of re-enactment, which also provides a model for my approach to writing about re-enactment. 51. Brecht, ‘The German Drama: Pre-Hitler’, p. 80.

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E. Suzanne van Rossenberg, Being Born This Way (2012). Digital image.

Afterword The essays collected in this volume were written between 2014 and 2016. Underpinning our co-authored introduction at that time was an insistence on ‘making and maintaining the past’, an acknowledgement that art historians produce, sustain and patrol disciplinary knowledge through their actions. Feminism therefore must continue to reflect and evolve its own power relations if its critical edge is to remain sharp. In the years that have passed between the completion of the original manuscript and the date of its re-publication, feminist methodologies in art history have developed and deepened their engagement with the questions that were raised in this book. Certain areas of travel have been of particular, and often interrelated focus – that is the complex work of anti-racist feminism and the intersectional engagement with matters of race and gender in art. These matters are often (though not always) also engaged through a historical lens that identifies racism and sexism as structurally integral to histories of colonialism and its twin, capitalism. We note, positively, that the work of Black artists and those of the global majority has been subject to renewed levels of attention both within academic research and in museum and exhibition practices. A large number of publications have contributed new methodological perspectives to the cultural study of gender, race and class; while we cannot mention them all here, we would particularly recommend that our readers explore the more recently published works of the following authors: Anna ArabindanKesson; Deborah Cherry; Alice Correia; Angela Dimitrakaki; Aruna D’Souza; Saidiya Hartman; Clare Hemmings; Marsha Meskimmon and Dorothy Price (including her work as editor of the journal Art History). There have been a number of major exhibitions which have presented the work of artists from the global south and Black heritages from feministinflected positions (for example, the Berlin Biennale X, 2018; We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965–85 and Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 at the Brooklyn Museum in 2017 and 2018; East Asia Feminism: FantASIA at the Seoul Museum of Art 2015). A number of emerging scholars and organisations are developing work in these areas, 283

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Feminism and Art History Now 24. Valerie MasonJohn and Ann Khambatta , Lesbians Talk Makingtopics Black in Waves which should dramatically change our perspective on these the ( London ,  1993 ). future. In order to support this development, royalties from this reissued 25. Thisof participatory continued with be thedonated change oftoauthorship of edition Feminism logic and has Art been History Now will Black and Killjoy’s Kastle since the BFI installation. Further iterations of Killjoy’s Kastle indigenous led organisations undertaking this work.

26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

35.

36.

37.

38.

credit Deirdre Logue as co-creator alongside Allyson Mitchell, and so I have credited both artists in this chapter. Logue and Mitchell run the Feminist Art Lara Perry and Victoria Horne Gallery (FAG) in Toronto, Canada, and decided to formalise Logue’s collaboration on the project after the BFI installation. Nazmia Jamal, email to the author, 19 November 2014. Freeman, ‘Deep Lez: Temporal Drag and the Specters of Feminism’, in Time Binds, p. 68. In this chapter Freeman discusses other works by Allyson Mitchell. Some of the gravestones are archived in The Feminist Library, London; some were sold in aid of the charity Lesbian Immigration Support Group. Freeman, ‘Introduction: Queer and Not Now’, Time Binds, p. 8. Fore, ‘Gestus Facit Saltus’, p. 168. Hester Reeve, email to the author, 25 November 2014. Telephone interview with Olivia Plender, 28 August 14. Reeve, email to author. Telephone interview with Plender. For example, Plender and Reeve were invited to give the Sylvia Pankhurst annual memorial lecture at Wortley Hall in Sheffield following the exhibition. Telephone interview with Plender. This display had been curated by Emma Chambers, who is credited as co-curator alongside The Emily Davison Lodge, and also Katherine Stout. See Julia BryanWilson’s article regarding this display and the irony of it being exhibited as part of the BP sponsored Spotlight Displays: ‘Miens of Production’, Artforum (May 2014), p. 147. See also Victoria Horne, ‘Institutional Dissonance: Tate, BP and Socialist Feminist History’, Radical Philosophy 186 (June/July 2014), pp. 64–9. See Griselda Pollock’s essay ‘Screening the Seventies:  Sexuality and Representation in Feminist Practice  – A  Brechtian Perspective’, Vision and Difference:  Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art (London, 1988), pp. 155–99. Comments in this section are taken from telephone interview with Plender. In the zine The Suffragette as Miltant Artist, a short bibliography is given on the rich literature on suffragette history. Both artists have carried out a considerable amount of research into both Sylvia Pankhurst and the broader intersection between activism and artistic production in the suffragette movement. A key book is Lisa Tickner’s The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign 1907–14 (London, 1987). Membership Form, The Emily Davison Lodge, Museum of London, accession number Z6069/3.

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Index Page references in bold refer to areas of major coverage; those in italics refer to illustrations. 1876 64–6 Aagerstoun, Mary Jo 73–4 abortions 48, 73, 197 Abraham, Nicholas 254 Abramovic, Marina 125 Abstract Expressionism 88, 95 abuse 70, 72 Accardi, Carla 105, 107–8, 113–14 Ackerman, Nance 72, 73 ACT UP 194 Adorno, Theodore 136 African Americans 131, 134 Ahmed, Sara 49 AIDS 194 Always a Little Further 213–14 Am I That Name? Feminism and the Category of Women in History 130 apartments 191 Appelbaum, Richard 189 Applin, Jo 39 Archibald, Jo-Ann 70–1 archives 178, 218, 260, 267, 273 Arnell, Malin 43–4, 54 art, role of 188 art criticism 108–12, 116 Art Gallery of Ontario 135

art history 32–9, 125–6, 127–8 art production 126, 148, 151, 164, 175–8 art schools 45 artistic practices 268 artists 108–10, 155–7, 175 ArtistSpace 194 arts, visual 71 artworks, in storage 214 At Work: Eva Hesse/Studiowork, Betty Goodwin/Work Notes, Agnes Martin/Work Ethic 135 audiences 51, 115, 166, 189, 212, 263, 274 auteurs 156 Authur, Elissa 73–4 autocoscienza 105, 113–16 see also consciousness-raising Autoritratti 221–2 Autoritratto 105, 108–12, 114–15, 118–20, 221 Baartman, Saartjie 234–6, 242, 248, 251–2 ‘bag ladies’ 191 Baker, Emerance 75–6 Bakker, Isabella 186 Balibar, Etienne 242 285

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Index Barclay, Claire 166–7, 170, 173–4, 176–8 Barrie, Pauline 175 Barthes, Roland 251 Baselitz, Georg 127 bathrooms 166, 170, 173–4 Bauer, Ute Meta 159 bed sheets 172–4 Beneath the Surface/Hidden Place 69 Bennett, Tony 147–8 Bentham, Jeremy 148–9 Berlin 148, 150, 158, 167 Bird, Nicky 69–70 Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics, The 147–8 Black Art 45 Blau, Joel 189–90 blood memory 67–8 Blue Stockings Society 151 ‘The Body Politic: Female Sexuality & Women Artists since 1970’ 241 Boetti, Anne-Marie Sauzeau 211 Boltanski, Luc 37, 137 Boudry, Pauline 45 Brecht, Bertolt 262–4 Brody, Sherry 167 Brooklyn Arms Hotel 194 Brooklyn Art Museum 231 Brown, Marie-Annick 191 Brown, Wendy 249 Build a Fire 64–5 Burchill, Julie 139 Burk, Tara 48 Butler, Judith 129 Butt, Gavin 92

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) 167 Camera Lucida 251 ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ 130 Canada 66, 70, 72–3, 131 ‘The Cant Show’ 254–5 capitalism 133–7, 183, 187–8, 195–6, 232, 241, 245–6 Castlemilk Fringe 167 Castlemilk Womanhouse 164, 165–9, 171–3, 174–8 Celant, Germano 115 Cezar, Hendrik 235 Charming for the Revolution 45 Chiapello, Eve 37, 137 Chicago, Judy 74, 167, 170, 175–6, 231 children (childcare) 49–50, 138, 164, 166, 177 Cianfanelli, Gaia 211 civics 148–9 class 127, 170–1, 186–7, 251, 270 coal 174 Cold War 91 collaboration 174–8, 183, 266 collectives 34–8, 54–8, 130, 133 Colman, Felicity 45 colonialism 68, 72, 75, 239, 241, 247, 252–4 communication 126, 148–9, 155 communities 183, 190, 275 Consagra, Pietro 105, 108, 117, 118 consciousness-raising 73–4, 77, 105–6 consumerism 170–1, 174, 190, 219

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Index ‘contour lines’ (connections) 192, 193, 195 conversations 105, 108–9, 117, 147, 157–9 see also salonnières; salons Cook, Beverley 271 Crawford, Elizabeth 261 creativity 112–14, 117, 274 criminalisation see discrimination critics 108–12, 116 Critique of Practical Reason 153 cultures 69–71, 111, 186–7, 197, 238, 247–8, 276 mainstream 118, 211, 240, 250 curating 147, 150–1, 155–7, 192, 219, 266, 273 Cusack, Aideen 176 Cuvier, George 235 Dahlberg, Kajsa 43–4, 54 Danbolt, Mathias 57 Dark Continents 252 data 129, 134, 136, 187, 188 Davison, Emily Wilding 261 see also Emily Davison Lodge, The Davis, Angela 249–50 Davis, Kate 164–5, 175 de Corral, Maria 213 deculturation 111, 113 Deepwell, Katy 45–6 Deutsche, Rosalyn 184 Di Cori, Paola 223 Dia Art Foundation 183 Diamond, Elin 262, 273 Dimitrakaki, Angela 33, 231–2 Dinner Party, The 208, 231

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison 148 discourses 39, 45, 110, 223, 255, 263 see also conversations discrimination 95, 131–4 displacement 189–90 disruption 33, 48–50, 54, 70, 90 Dobson, Janelle 239 documenta IX 48 documenta X 158 documenta XI 158 documentaries 183–4, 188–9, 191–2, 194 documents 188–89, 191–4 domestic spaces 51, 171, 186, 191, 196, 248, 270 Krasner 93–4, 96 salons 150, 152, 154, 156 domination 110, 186, 250 see also colonialism; exploitation; oppression Donna: Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s 217–18 Dreier, Peter 189 Dropout Piece 45 Dyke Manifesto 49 dyke 41–2, 49 Edelman, Lee 49 Edinburgh, University of 31 Edison, Carol 167 education (lessons) 70, 148–9, 186, 208–9, 238 higher 36, 111, 136 see also learning Eisenstein, Hester 136 287

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Index elles@centrepompidou 218 Emily Davison Lodge, The 260–1, 267–73, 275 Emin, Tracey 126 employment 131, 135, 166, 175, 177, 274–5 Enwezor, Okwui 158–9 Equal Pay Act 196 equality 48, 95, 112, 133, 236, 270 see also inequality European Central Bank 129 European City of Culture 164 exclusion 134–5 exhibitions 192, 213, 230 Bologna 220–4 Rome 216–20 spaces 147–8, 150, 209 Venice 213–16 exploitation 72, 205, 232, 236, 239, 249, 251–3 oppression 134, 241–2 families 165, 177, 191, 194, 249 fantasy 261–2, 273 Fazlalizadeh, Tatyana 77 Federici, Silvia 137 female bodies 231 feminaissance 207–10 Feminine Mystique 170 feminine products 170, 213–14 femininity, performance of 170, 174, 176, 179 feminisation 147, 154–6, 160 feminism 33, 39, 125, 131, 208–9 Feminist Art Program 167, 175 Field, Rachael 166

fires 64 Firestone, Shulamith 49 floorboards 93–5 football match 276 Fore, Devin 263, 267 Forer, Anne 74 Fortunarti, Leopoldina 196 Foucault, Michael 148 Fragment on Government, A 149 Fraser, Nancy 39, 136 Frauenzimmer 153–4 Freedom Charter 66 Freeman, Elizabeth 46, 266–7 Friedan, Betty 170 ‘From Museum Curator to Exhibition Auteur: Inventing a Singular Position’ 156 furniture (analogy) 132 Galindo, Regina José 213 Gandhi, Leela 148–9 Garage Sales 190 gay politics 47–9, 57 gender 37, 127, 153–5, 190, 212, 242–3, 270 art history 33, 34 conversations 157–8 equality 133–4, 211, 216, 218–19, 245 harassment 77 social reproduction 187 spaces (spheres) 89, 151, 171, 175, 191 Springs 92, 93–5 Gender and Nation 242 Gender Trouble 129 General Election 2015 (UK) 42 288

287

Index gentrification 189–90, 192, 194 Germany 263 Gesellschaft 152 gestures 253, 263 Girls’ Night Out, A 176–7 Glasgow 164, 197 Glasgow City Council 165, 167 global capital 230 Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art 230–3, 236–7, 239–41, 243–4, 246–7, 251–5 globalisation 186–7, 195, 244–8 Graham, Dan 191 Gramsci, Antonio 138 Grandpierre-Deverzy, Adrienne Marie-Louise 233, 235–8 Grant, Catherine 46 gravestones 264–6 Greece 131 Grey, Camille 170 Groskop, Viv 207–9 Grosz, Elizabeth 169 Guardian 207 Guerrilla Girls 214, 215 Gustavsson, Johanna 43–4, 54 Habermas, Jürgen 152–4 Hahn, Barbara 151 Harlem 191 Harris, Cheryl 135 Harris, Rachael 166, 169, 171, 174–6 Harrison, Margaret 196, 270 haunting 252–4 healthcare 139, 186, 197 Heinrich, Natalie 156

Hemmings, Clare 34, 209–10, 216, 219, 221 history 105–6, 169, 178, 262, 269, 275–6 HIV/AIDS 47, 50 Höch, Hannah 135 Holloway, John 130 Homeless Union 191 homelessness 189–90, 193 homes (shelter) 166, 175, 186, 189–91, 195–6 homosexuals 48 Horne, Victoria 178 House that Jill Built, The 166–7, 171, 176 housewives 170, 196 housing 172, 189, 191–5 How to Change the World without Taking Power 130 Hunt, Kay 196, 270 Hurst, Robin 191 ‘I Want a President’ 42, 44, 52–3 Iaquinta, Caterina 211 identity 92, 168, 211, 216, 244–6, 249, 275 artists 73, 114, 128–9 Indigenous 66, 68, 75 Lonzi 110, 111, 116–17, 119 politics 39, 242 If You Lived Here… 189, 191, 192–3, 195 overview 183–5 images 77, 108–9, 248–52 imperialism 247 inclusion 190–1, 196, 219, 232–3, 240, 245, 253–4 289

288

Index incomes 189 Indian Act 64–6 Indian Residential Schools (IRS) 69–70 Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit 70–1 industry 93–4, 189, 275 inequality 45, 73, 77, 95, 129, 136, 211 infiltration 131 institutions 36, 38, 132, 238, 269 see also exhibitions; museums internet 37–8, 46, 71 internment 134 interviews 72, 95, 108–9, 165, 178, 221 invisibility 48, 99, 117, 129, 137, 208, 214 Isaak, Jo Anna 211, 214 isolation 178 Italy 210–11 Ivekovic, Sanja 125 Jamal, Nazmia 266 Jameson, Fredric 188 Jews 150, 159 Jones, Amelia 90 Jones, Caroline A. 88, 97–8 journalism 136 journals, private 105 Kant, Immanuel 152–4, 155 Karlholm, Dan 32 Katz, Cindi 187–8, 197 Kelly, Mary 33, 125, 196, 270 Khanna, Ranjana 252–3

Killjoy’s Kastle 264–6 knowledge 32–7, 57–8, 110, 269 Kokoli, Alexandra 195 Krasner, Lee 87–95, 101 as widow 96–97 at work 98–100 Kruger, Barbara 213 labour 186, 219, 242, 248–52, 253, 270, 275 capitalism 133–7 domestic 172–4, 196 Lacy, Suzanne 76, 217 Lagarde, Christine 129 land disputes 72–3 Lanzoni, Alessandra 217 Larocca, Ketty 211, 218 learning 50, 263, 269, 274 see also education (lessons) Léa’s Room 176 Lebovici, Elisabeth 219 LeCoq, Karen 176 Left, the 131, 137, 186 Lehrstück 262–3 Leigh, Mary 260, 272 Leonard, Zoe 43–7, 50 ‘I Want a President’ 41–2 manifestos 51–4 political situation 47–50 readings 54–8 lesbian politics 48–9, 57, 264, 266, 275 Lippard, Lucy 135, 138 Lipstick Bathroom 170 location 68–70, 174, 187, 191–2, 231, 244, 247 Logue, Deirdre 264–5 290

289

Index Longhi, Roberto 110 Lonzi, Carla 104–12, 115–21, 211–12, 221 Lorenz, Renate 45 Lovejoy, Annie 166 Lozano, Lee 39 LTTR (lesbian feminist collective) 51–2, 54 Lund, Hanna Lotte 151 Luxton, Meg 186 Lyon, Janet 44–5, 49 Magenta, Muriel 36 Maltese, Corto 214–15 ‘Manifesto for Maintenance Art’ 45 ‘Manifesto of the Women Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation’ 45 manifestos 43–50, 55–8, 105, 112–13 Martinez, Rosa 213 McBean, Sam 46 McClintock, Anne 242 McKeown, Bob 191 McMillan, Ian 276 McRobbie, Angela 39 Meagher, Michelle 210 media (press) 117, 126, 136 melancholia 253–4 memory 66–70, 264–7, 275–6 Mendieta, Ana 217 Menstruation Bathroom 170 Merkel, Angela 129 Messager, Annette 213 Mexico 197 Mind Revolution 157

misogyny 136 Mitchell, Allyson 264–5 Mithlo, Nancy Marie 67–8 Mohanty, Chandra 244–5 mourning 251, 253, 264 Mueller, Roswitha 263 Munro, Eleanor 96–7 Murray, Val 170, 171–3 museums 136, 148, 149, 155, 218, 220 Namuth, Hans 87, 97 narratives 38, 110, 209, 219, 221, 275 National Alliance to End Homelessness 189 nationalism 242, 244 neglect 70, 72 networks 37–8, 51–4, 221–2 New, Edith 260 New York City 192 Nick of Time, The 169 Nightmare Bathroom 170 No Future 49 No Person Is Illegal 158 Nochlin, Linda 36, 212, 231, 233, 236 nostalgia 67 Obrist, Hans Ulrich 157 observation 110, 149 obsessions 170–1 Oka Crisis 72–3 Okudzeto, Senam 232, 255 Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology 89 On the Throne 166 291

290

Index O’Neill, Paul 155 opposition 129–30, 134 oppression 37, 39, 131, 176–7, 246, 250, 255 women 74, 117–18, 134 Ortiz, Simon 70–1 Pankhurst, Sylvia 267–70 Parents on the Move 194 Parker, Rozsika 89 pars-pro-toto 152 ‘passing’ 135–6, 138 patriarchy 33, 114, 117 see also stereotypes Pejic, Bojana 210–11 performances 90, 167, 185, 203, 233, 254–5, 262 Perry, Lara 232 phantoms 254 Phelan, Peggy 129 photography 66, 188, 191, 219, 243, 250–1 re-enactment 268 storytelling 71 see also images; individual artists by name plays, learning 263–6, 273, 275–6 Plender, Olivia 260, 268 police 131, 136, 189 politics 39, 43–4, 49, 126–8, 130, 139, 268 documentaries 188 storytelling 74–5 Pollak, Michael 156 Pollock, Griselda 33–5, 89, 125, 133, 208, 212, 221 Pollock, Jackson 88, 91, 93–94

Pollock-Krasner House and Studio (Springs) 87, 88, 90–4, 98–9 see also studio-barn postcards 51–2 posters 214 power 157, 159, 188, 191, 197 political 130–1, 134 Pratt, Hugo 215 Preziosi, Donald 34 professions 128, 130, 136 prostitution 72 psychoanalysis 252–3 public readings (speeches) 54–8, 191, 193 Publishers Weekly 194 puppets 255 queer politics 44–7, 49, 166, 205, 263–4, 267 theory 6, 13, 46, 57, 89, 209 Quinn, Ann 167 racism 190, 231, 233–6, 240, 242, 245, 250–1 Canada 131 social reproduction 186–7 USA 134–6 Rand, Nicholas 254 readers see audiences readings 34, 42–3, 54–8 real estate 189 recession, economic 249 re-drawing 269 re-enactment 261, 264, 268, 273, 274–6 Reeve, Hester 260, 268 292

291

Index refugees 158–159 see also salonnières regeneration 69, 96–7, 164, 167 Reilly, Maura 3, 231, 244 religion 132 representation, political 73 reproduction 239, 242, 251 see also social reproduction resistance 71, 72–3, 75–6, 197 Richardson, Mary 269 Rickard, Jolene 71 riconoscimento 221, 223 Ridykeulous 52–54 Riley, Denise 130 Ringgold, Faith 45 Rivolta Femminile 105, 107, 112– 14, 118–19, 211–12 Roberts, Julie W. 166–7, 169 Roelstraete, Dieter 178 Room of One’s Own, A 273 Rorro, Angela Andriena 217 Rose, Jacqueline 240–1 Rose, Tracey 233–4, 237, 254–5 Rosler, Martha 125, 183–5, 190, 191 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 155 Rowbotham, Sheila 136 Rowley, Alison 208 Rozenblit, Marsha L. 150 Russi-Kirshner, Judith 211 salonnières 150–2, 155–6, 159–60 see also Frauenzimmer salons 148, 149, 152, 154, 159–60 Sandlund, Fia-Stina 43–4, 54 Schapiro, Miriam 167, 175 Schiff, Robbin 170

Schneider, Rebecca 262, 273 Schor, Gabriele 217, 218 Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky 50, 89 Semiotics of the Kitchen 185, 196 Sense of Purpose, A 166 Sergels, Torg 54 sexism 64, 135, 242 sexuality 231, 235, 239, 241, 250–1 Shaidoin, Lorraine 177–8 Sherman, Cindy 125, 217 Sholette, Gregory 37, 137 slavery 239, 249–50, 254 Smiley, Cherry 63–6 Smith, Neil 189, 193–4 soap 174 social change 66, 68, 75–7, 138 social environment 178 social interactions 116 social media 36 social networks 37–8 social reproduction 183–6, 189–97 feminisation of survival 186–9 society 120, 132, 149, 152, 154 Solanas, Valerie 116 Soussloff, Catherine M. 157 South London Art Gallery 196 spaces (spheres) 51, 175 public 77, 152–4, 191, 193, 196, 248 see also domestic spaces spectators see audiences speeches, political 42–3 Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty 55–8, 130 squatters 166, 189, 193 state (government) 50 see also individual countries 293

292

Index status 71, 76, 194, 238 Stein, Gertrude 262 stereotypes 96, 170–1, 238 Stockton, Kathryn Bond 49 Stop Telling Women to Smile 77 storytelling 64, 66–9, 70–5, 75–9 Stowasser, Josef 156 Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The 152 Studio of Abel de Pujol, The 233, 235, 237, 238 studio-barn, Pollock-Krasner House 87–8, 92–93 studios 89–90, 99, 194, 236–8 Suffragette as Militant Artist, The 268–9 suffragettes 260, 267, 270, 272, 276 Sutherland Harris, Ann 233, 236 Swedish General Election 54 Takashashi, Ginger Brooks 51 Tapia, Ruby 251–2 Tate Britain 263, 267–9 Tate Modern 55 temporal drag 46, 49, 262 texts, written 71, 77, 95, 98, 109–10 thoughts 273–4 Three Weeks in May 76 Tickner, Lisa 33, 241 time (tenses) 43, 45, 110, 254, 262, 273, 275 see also temporal drag Tobin, Amy 176 Tompkins Square Park 189 topography 187, 192 see also ‘contour lines’ (connections)

Torok, Maria 254 Trafalgar Square 42 translations 55–8 Tremblay, Gail 75 truthfulness 110 Turkish Report 125 Ukeles, Mierle Laderman 45 unemployment 137, 197 universities 131 Unmarked 129 USA 36, 47–8, 68, 131, 134, 136 Vai pure. Dialogo con Pietro Consagra 117, 119 value (worth) 190, 209 Varnhagen, Rahel Antonie Frederike (née Levin) 151–2 Vasconcelos, Joana 213–14 Venice Biennale 213–14 ventriloquism 254–5 Venus Baartman 233–4, 236, 237, 240 Vergine, Lea 211 victimisation 128, 241, 244 videos 188, 191, 219 Vienna 148, 150 violence 76, 125, 240–1, 242–4 see also women, Indigenous visibility 125, 127, 128, 173, 190 Krasner 87–9, 94, 96, 99–100 Visibility 170–3 Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and Histories of Art 133 Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained 196 294

293

Index Wack! 210, 218 Wagner, Anne 96 Warner, Michael 47–48 Wathahine: Photographs of Aboriginal Women by Nance Ackerman 72 Watson, Nenagh 166 Weeks, Kathy 186 Weinbaum, Alys Eve 246–7 Westcoast, Mitchell and Wanda 167 white women 238, 250, 252, 255 Whitechapel Art Gallery 135 Whiteness as Property 135 ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ 212 widowhood 92, 96 Wilke, Hannah 217 Wilkes, Cathy 166, 169 Wilkinson, Josie 176 Williams, Catrin 176 Willis, Deborah 250–1 windows 172, 174 Witt, Josephine 129 Womanhouse, Los Angeles 167–8 women 111, 116, 151, 157–8, 159 black 231, 236, 239, 250 Indigenous 66, 68, 71–3, 75–6, 131 white 238, 250, 252, 255 see also oppression; victimisation ‘Women and Capitalism: The Dialectics of Oppression and Liberation’ 249 Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry 270

women artists 136–8, 218, 223, 238 Women as Artists: 1550–1950 233 Women in Profile 167 Women’s Art History Collective 35–6 women’s bodies 241, 243 Women’s Library 260 women’s movements 32, 73, 74, 76, 150 women’s roles 89, 96 Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, The 261 Woodman, Francesca 217 Woolf, Virginia 273, 276 workers (population) 186, 196, 220, 250 rights 132 working classes 190 Working Table of The Emily Davison Lodge 268 workplaces 96, 196, 220, 270 workshops 31, 164, 223 World Bank 129 World War I 150, 276 World War II 134 worth, see value (worth) Writing Feminist Art Histories (WFAH) 2, 11, 28, 31–9 Yalter, Nil 217 York, University of 31 Youdelman, Nancy 176 Yuval-Davis, Nira 242 Zanetti, Uliana 220, 222

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