the fall of 2007 Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution opened at the
National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. A reflection of
feminist history, art history and how the world was forever changed
through the feminist movement and the art that defined it was a moving and
powerful exhibit that not only told the story of the lives changed in the
movement, but changed the lives of those who visited the exhibit.
Wack! included the work of over 120 artists represented from the United
States, Central and Eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America,
Asia and Canada. With various media including photography, film, video,
painting, sculpture and performance art, the exhibition was organized
around themes such as politics, media, geography and aesthetic. This was
the first comprehensive, historical exhibition to address the world wide
issues and impressions of feminist art. Focusing on the time period when
most of the feminist activism and producing of art took place around the
world, the exhibit is comprised of works created from 1965-1980.
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Connie Butler, organizer at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it
opened in the spring and Susan Fisher Sterling, the women's museum's chief
curator and acting director, are credited with the amazing task of
bringing more than 300 works by 118 artists into one exhibit that could
accurately convey the breadth of feminist art. An edgy account filled with
history, passion and scandal, Wack!, nothing short of phenomenal,
addressed such issues as male biases, body image, sexuality and media
interpretation of feminism from the perspective of many traditional and
controversial artists over several decades.
Featuring such works as Judy Chicago's "Pasadena Lifesaver Red #5," Louise
Bourgeois's "Unconscious Landscape," Elaine Sturtevant's film "Duchamp Nu
Descendant un Escalier," Thriller," a 1979 video by Sally Potter that
explores the causes of Mimi's death in the tragic opera "La Boheme," and
Martha Roslerís "Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain," Wack! captured
a treasure of masterpieces in this tribute to art intended to change the
way we live.
Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution was a thrilling journey through the
womenís movement and the art that was not only a result but a catalyst for
the changes that resulted. Feminist art has influenced identity-based art,
crafts-derived art, performance art as well as post-modern art. While the
exhibit could in no way be considered comprehensive, the artistic and
feminist statement will affect generations to come.
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Copyright Carole Phillips 2007