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Kate Kretz: Common Denominator

January 24 – March 24, 2018
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 24, 5-7pm
Cora Miller Gallery, York College, York, PA
Lecture/Reception: Thursday, March 8, 5:30 PM
DeMeester Recital Hall

This exhibition is the culmination of 7 years of research and 5 years of making. The #bullyculture series explores entitlement and oppression in the myraid of forms that are perpetuated in our society. There are art historically unprecedented images dealing with rape culture. A 68 page catalog will be published.

The exhibition will not be suitable for children and may be triggering for some adults, but I promise it will be memorable, timely and challenging. I hope you can see it. Please spread the word, as we are concerned about censorship.

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

By Banksy, the anonymous British graffitist and now full time artist.

An unusual art piece to say the least, it calls into question the ideas of religious freedom, sexual freedom and personal choice of women - and servitude of women to patriarchy. All that in one painting.

Sister Corita Kent - Feminist Nun turned Artist

Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita Kent) was born November 20th, 1918.

In 1936 started her career as a Catholic nun and educator. During her career she began taking art classes, and received a masters in art history, later chairing the art history department at Immaculate Heart College in L.A. California.

In 1968 she decided to leave the order to pursue a full-time career as an artist. Prior to her leaving, her classes were a mecca to artists, directors and inventors like Alfred Hitchcock and Buckminster Fuller.

Kent was known for her silk screens, and she often juxtaposed spiritual writing alongside symbols of consumerist culture. She was a well-known activist, fighting for civil rights, anti-war causes, and women’s rights.

She died September 18th 1986.


The following film trailer is for a comedy / horror film called "Teeth" made in 2007. I know, I know, it plays into the whole "Vagina with Teeth" concept... but I think it is hysterical and if you haven't seen it you should.

Feminist Art = Stephen Harper Nude

The painting above, for which Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper never posed, was motivated by the political frustration of Kingston, Ontario artist Margaret Sutherland.

The painting depicts Canada’s prime minister reclining on a chaise lounge, in nothing more than his birthday suit.


Sutherland says she was motivated to make the painting because of her frustrations with the Canadians government and it is meant to show that people need to look at issues for themselves without always believing the party line. Or so she says.

Sometimes what the artist says and the actual effect/meaning of the painting is very different. In this case I would argue its actually a statement about the history of men in politics.

In Canada there has only ever been 1 female Prime Minister, Kim Campbell, was only in power for 4 months and 10 days. She wasn't elected either, she was appointed to the position by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney when he was on his way out in an effort to distance his unpopularity with the party in an effort to win the 1993 general election.

But that bid failed so badly that the Liberals were handed a landslide victory.

However Kim Campbell aside lets go back to the core concept. The Canadian leadership has been dominated by men, and in this case Stephen Harper is economically inept man who has followed a laissez-faire approach (do nothing and hope the problem goes away). He is a status quo prime minister who just wants to maintain the current standards, has no vision for the future, and kowtows to the Alberta oil industry.

Plus its basically a remake of Edouard Manet’s 1863 painting, Olympia, which depicted a prostitute in the pose of a Greek goddess. Manet's painting was a slap in the face of the art community of the time which was ultra conservative.

Conclusions? Making a remake of Olympia, itself a feminist piece, of Canada's inept prime minister draws attention to several factors:

#1. Stephen Harper thinks too highly of himself and this painting mocks his arrogance.

#2. Canada needs a more competent leader.

#3. Canada needs more women in politics (not necessarily the prime minister, but at least in parliament).

Tehranian Feminist Art

FEMINIST ART - On the right is Shirin Fakhim's mixed media work "Tehran Prostitutes" from 2008. It is a life size sculpture.

Shirin Fakhim’s "Tehran Prostitutes" uses absurd and sympathetic humour to address issues surrounding the Persian working-girl circuit.

In 2002 it was estimated that there were 100,000 prostitutes working in Tehran, despite Iran’s international reputation as a moralistic country with especially high standards placed on women. Many of these women are driven to prostitution because of abusive domestic situations and the poverty incurred from the massive loss of men during the Iran-Iraq war; in response to Iran’s strict religious laws, some even consider the profession as an act of civil protest.

Fakhim’s sculptures play on the duplicitous perceptions of streetwalkers, highlighting the hypocrisy surrounding the sex industry. Made from found materials, her assemblages are grotesque configurations, exaggerating rough-trade stereotypes of wig-wearing, melon-chested slappers contortedly stuffed into ill-fitting lingerie (in reality Tehran vice-girls wear hijabs and are identifiable through more covert and subtle signals). Fakhim farcically combines westernized hooker fashion with the codes of Islamic demur, torsos and heads made from cooking implements, adorned with make-shift veils and chastity belts.

Using ordinary objects and items of clothing, Fakhim exaggerates the less than flattering associations of floozy hygiene, her ready made materials driving home the punch lines of rude jokes. Blond wigs shoved down pants make for Sasquatch bikini lines, wayward bits of rope reveal pre-op transsexuals, and a carefully placed abacus reads more like a send up than evidence of financial acumen. Fakhim ironically stages this menagerie as a source of ridicule, provocatively placing items such as alms baskets and air fresheners to illustrate public scorn and social stigma.

Fakhim’s ladies of the night approach the naked body as a source of taboo. The discomfort of looking at them is displaced through a purile, intolerant, and scapegoat humour, revealing more about public attitudes and ignorance than about prostitutes themselves. Issues such as female genital mutilation, transgender orientation, homosexuality and cross dressing are all awkwardly broached through her vulgar approximations of stitched up crotches and mis-matched private bits, confusing the brutal, illicit, forbidden and desirous.

Fakhim’s life sized sculptures, Tehran Prostitutes, are strangely totemic, connoting a certain black-market power and ritual in their reference to the early 20th century fashion of ‘primitivism’. With hour-glass figures formed from portable stoves and adorned with cheap market-stall wares, Fakhim’s assemblages point to a commodification of necessity, their make-shift charm belied by associations to poverty, domestic violence, economic migration and human trafficking.

Approaching sculpture as an intrinsically tactile activity, Fakhim chooses her materials with a playful sensitivity. Crafted from the female stuff of fabric, clothing, and kitchen apparatus, her sculptures temper benign domesticity with a bawdy coarseness, creating a vaudevillian humour from over-stretched stockings, sickly green terrine masks, and exaggeratedly padded brassieres. Hardy practical tools such as stoves and pots create a physical contrast to the fussy adornments of lace and garters, creating an image of sexual prowess that’s conspicuously ill-fitting, painful, and tragic.

Rama and Sita

By Suzanne MacNevin - February 15th 2012.

Its really early in the morning the night after Valentines... and I am reading poetry.

Not because I am lonely (although I am), but because THIS is a really kewl poem. And although this poem is about relationships, it has a strong feminist slant. Read and see why.

I added the artwork for fun since some of you will be expecting artwork...

Rama and Sita

So sayeth Valmiki...

In Ancient India, in times of old
In the land of Aydohya, lived Rama the Bold
Rama was the perfect son, living by the rules of Dharma
Ever dutiful and responsible, he was blessed with good Karma

Prince Rama was the oldest, but his stepmother was a schemer
She sought for her son Bharata, wanting him to be the next leader
Having saved the king from illness, she sought out the king for a favour
Anything sayeth the king, not knowing the price of her desire

"I wish for you to banish Rama, make Bharata your heir."
Nothing could have wounded the king more, for Rama was most fair
Bound by his word the King obeyed, disliking his wife's demand
Rama heard his father's edict, "I gladly obey father's command."

Rama was married to Sita, whose purity was like a lotus blossom
Sita begged to go with Rama, their two hearts beating like one drum
"As shadow to substance, so is wife to husband."
"Let me walk ahead of you, clear your passage through the land."

Rama agreed to his wife's request, taking her deep into the forest
His brother Lakshmana went too, making Rama's flight his quest
Bharata sought to deny the throne, forsaking his mother's grace
He placed Rama's sandals on the seat, acting as regent in Rama's place

Deep in the forests lived monks, but they were plagued by Rakshasa monsters
Rama's arrows were true, his aim was unsurpassed amongst archers
Wherever Rama went the demons died in hordes
His bow string hummed like a sitar with its chords

To the south on the island of Lanka was the demon king Ravana
An incredible wise man Ravana's ten heads was a match for Rama
He spied Sita and seized her while Rama was chasing a deer
Taking her back to Lanka Ravana had no worries or fear

Across the sea Ravana fled, Sita over his shoulder
Sita wept for Rama but was wiser than her kidnapper
From her arms and neck she dropped her bracelets and jewelry
Sayeth Sita: "Take me back to Rama, stop this foolery!"

Sayeth Ravana: "Sita, I will make you my wife."
"You will come to me willingly and I shall spare your life."
Sayeth Sita: "I love only Rama. I cannot love another."
"I belong to Rama like the ground belongs to the earth mother."

Sayeth Ravana: "Nonsense, what does Rama have that I do not?"
"I will have you for my wife Sita as surely as the sun is hot!"
Sayeth Sita: "Rama is powerful, you would be foolish not to run!"
"I belong to Rama like the rays belongs to the sun!"

In the forest Rama met the monkey king Hanuman
Together they searched for Sita and came up with a plan
Hanuman found Sita's jewelry on the shores of the sea
Across the water lay the island of Lanka and he knew where Sita must be

Hanuman went to Lanka and saw Sita in the garden
She had gracefully refused to enter Ravana's home or den
Ravana did not force her, he left her alone to her prayers
Hanuman went to her and tried to soothe her tears

Sayeth Hanuman: "Never fear dear Sita, Hanuman is here."
"Come with me back to Rama and we shall disappear!"
Sayeth Sita: "Ravana's demons are many, even now they come."
"You must run Hanuman, don't you hear their drum?!"

The Rakshasa demons seized Hanuman and set fire to his tail
But Hanuman leapt away, jumping on the palace wall and leaving a fiery trail
The Rakshasa demons chased him but Hanuman left only ruins in his wake
Ravana's palace was burned down and he swore at his demons for their mistake

Hanuman returned to Rama and told him where Sita was held
He told Rama everything he saw, touched and smelled
Rama called upon Hanuman to raise the monkey warriors
Hanuman did as he was bid, by the tens of scores

Rama and his monkey army built a causeway to Lanka
They toiled day and night to reach the island and Sita
When they arrived the monkeys slew all the Rakshasa demons
Rama himself slew Ravana and all of his sons

Sita wept with love, proud that her husband was so bold
But when he came near her he began acting cold
Sita professed her love and thanking him for his actions
She knew in her heart she would bear Rama's sons

Sayeth Rama: "You have stayed in another man's house."
"I have done my duty to rescue you but I cannot be your spouse."
Sayeth Sita: "If I had known this would happen I would have killed myself."
"Build me a funeral pyre so you may see my purity yourself."

Rama and Hanuman built a funeral pyre as they were commanded
Sita walked amongst the flames untouched, true to her marriage bed
Rama forgave her, his love and loyalty for her renewed
They flew back to Ayodhya in a Pushpaka with the end of their feud

Rama was crowned king, the happy couple began their reign
Everything was joyous again but Rama overheard one man complain
Sayeth the man to his wife: "Do you think I am like Rama?"
"You have slept with another man, I don't need your lies or drama."

Sayeth Sita: "Husband I have really great news."
"Our bed has been fruitful, someday your sons will fill your shoes."
Sayeth Rama: "I cannot keep you my dearest."
"My people don't respect me even though you passed the test."

Rama sent Sita away, craving the respect of his people
Sita went obediently, residing instead in a temple
She met there the poet Valmiki and told him her story
Her tale told of Rama in all his greatness and glory

Sita gave birth to two sons with eyes like Rama's
But Sita was still sad, remembering everything that once was
Valmiki helped to raise the two boys, teaching them songs of trust
"Rama is great, Rama is just, Rama does what Rama must."

One day Rama went for a stroll and heard the two boys singing
"My sons!" sayeth Rama. "You must come live in Ayodhya with your king."
But then Rama noticed Sita and realized she must come too
"Perhaps a trial by water, such a trick should not be too difficult for you."

Sayeth Sita: "I will prove my love to you dearest Rama."
"If I have always been true to you, from Lanka to Ayodhya."
"If I have always been the perfect bride to the perfect groom."
"Then may mother earth please take me back into her womb."



The poem itself was written by Toronto poet Charles Moffat, but I think the story gives a very strong feminist message. Sita gets sucked back into Mother Earth and Rama loses his perfect bride whom had been loyal to him all this time.

Just desserts in my opinion. He didn't deserve her. Rama was a jerk and only cared about his dharma (duty / honour).

The original story, the Ramayana, is a 26,000 couplet poem by the poet Valmiki. This version is much shorter and gives Sita more attention.

Mapping Rape: Cartography and Feminist Art

Cartography isn't a normal medium for feminist art, but when it comes to mapping rape reports it does.

In 1977, Los Angeles was called the USA rape capital. Nearly 2,400 rapes were reported to police that year alone. Less than 10% of the rapes were reported to police. In 2011 LA’s reported rape count stands at 683.

Suzanne Lacy's "Three Weeks in May" from May 1977 mapped rape reports in L.A. county. It was one of the most important examples of feminist art from California during the 1970s.

Below: In 2012 Suzanne Lacy created "Three Weeks in January", a redux of her original show from 1977. The map is on display outside of LAPD Headquarters in downtown LA until February 1st 2012.

La Lutxona

Blanca Amezkua, La Lutxona, 2007; embroidery on cotton fabric and crochet, 30 x 31,”.

Body Gesture

Body Gesture: A Group Exhibition of Feminist Art is at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. 10:30 am-5:30 pm Tuesday-Saturday. Closes January 28th 2012 (today, sorry for the late post).

The feminist art show features thoughtful and provocative artwork as it explores feminist themes such as body image, gender polarization and a woman’s right to choose. The artwork is by 17 artists who hail from the feminist art movement’s heyday in the 1960s and ’70s, but several younger artists rode in on feminism’s second and third waves.

Below: Nicole Eisenman's "Brillo".

Rachel Kneebone's The Descent

Rachel Kneebone's sculptural women are perched on pedestals, their torsos deformed and twisted, their arms intertwined with flowers and plants creating abstract shapes in a hellscape.

Kneebone's most ambitious work includes "The Descent," from 2008.

"The Descent" is a 11½-by-5-foot porcelain caldron filled with hundreds of tiny human forms being pulled into a hellish pit. Kneebone's figures become more abstract the deeper they fall into hell. She notes, to "the loss of the individual, of self" amid chaos.

Kneebone says her inspiration was Rodin's magnum opus, "The Gates of Hell" (1880-1917), a pair of monumental doors illustrating Dante's "Divine Comedy".

Catherine Morris, the curator of the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, says there is a striking resemblance between the feminist art of Rachel Kneebone and Auguste Rodin.

Rodin was famous for affairs with his models, but instead it was often "personal, sensual, physical," she says. "Rachel takes that same notion and feminizes it."

Rachel Kneebone, 38, studied at the Royal College of Art in London where porcelain caught her interest early on. "Porcelain is a very definite material," she says. "It has boundaries within its possibilities and I work with or against them, depending on what I am asking in the work."

"Rachel Kneebone: Regarding Rodin" runs through August 12th 2012 at the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Feminist Abstract Art

Today we're going to talk about Canadian abstract artist Laura Warburton... if you Google her name you will find she is one of the top 5 abstract artists currently living in Canada.

But what is more her work deals with a variety of topics, including female sexuality and how we're treated by men. In particular I want to speak about her 'Yellow, Red and Blue' (untitled) paintings which use newspaper clippings of ads for sex workers as the 'skin' of the female figures.

Thought provoking? I think so. Its really about the sexualization and commodification of the female body.

But more so it proves that abstract art can also be feminist art. Way to go Laura Warburton!

YELLOW: Emotion of Optimism

RED: Emotion of Desire

BLUE: Emotion of Dreams

Sita Sings the Blues

Below is the animated film "Sita Sings the Blues" which tells the Indian tale of the goddess Sita (the wife of Rama)... [Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Hare Rama Hare Rama... you know it!]... and splices it together with a modern story about marriage disharmony.

And better yet its free and you will see by the ending it has a strong feminist message about independence.


The film was created by Nina Paley, an anti-copyright activist and feminist. Her film has sparked protests amongst some Hindus because Rama ends up ditching a pregnant Sita and treating her like dirt, but she outsmarts him in the end. (Which is completely accurate to the story, so why the heck are they protesting part of their own culture?! Silliness.)

!Women Art Revolution in Detroit

Miranda July, Yoko Ono and the Guerilla Girls are just a few of the artists featured in "!Women Art Revolution". The new documentary, playing this weekend at the Detroit Film Theatre, is a collection of interviews with female artists done over 40 years by filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Leeson, a multimedia artist, began interviewing artist friends in her Berkeley, Calif., living room around 1966. The women weigh in on everything from gender politics to the finer points of their works in very different genres.

Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward, Detroit. 313-833-4005 or $7.50; $6.50 students, seniors.

If you are not in Detroit then check out your local listings for !Women Art Revolution to see when it is showing near you.

Check out Pussy Casting Art

You will probably enjoy this post:

The Truth about Pussy Casting

Ylva Maria Thompson is a Swedish artist who specializes in Pussy Casting.... :)

Feminist Art at the Subliminal Projects Gallery

Posted by Suzanne MacNevin.

Above: "The Creation" painting by Judy Chicago, 1985. One of the works on display at Subliminal Projects through August 20 2011.

The new exhibition showcases the legacy of feminist art with works by Judy Chicago, Mary Beth Edelson and more.

Katherine B. Cone, director of Subliminal Projects Gallery, has put together its newest exhibition, "Eve." From July 23 through Aug. 20, the gallery, created by renowned street artist Shepard Fairey in 1995, will show a diverse collection of works by nine revolutionary female artists, including pioneers of the feminist art movement such as Chicago and Mary Beth Edelson, and others expanding the legacy today, such as Alex Prager and Swoon.

Shirin Neshat

Posted by Suzanne MacNevin.

Shirin Neshat شیرین نشاط (born March 26, 1957 in Qazvin, Iran) is an Iranian feminist artist who lives in New York. She is known primarily for her work in film, video and photography.


Feminist Art Books

Carrie Mae Weems


"My responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the rooftops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specificity of our historical moment." --Carrie Mae Weems

In 1981 Weems was graduating from California Institute of the Arts and moving on to an MFA from the University of California-San Diego.

She was part of a political artist group that was pairing text with photographs. The above piece is a great example of that form.

Below is a sample from The Kitchen Table Series (1990):

When you look at these photos you might be reminded of the complex relationships among women; the different roles we play-mother, daughter, sister, friend. The emotions we inflict on our loved ones and even when we try to love sometimes it comes across as shame. We think about the desire to please those we care about. The bonds that don't break dispite immense tension.

The documentary style is raw and beautiful.

Carolee Schneemann

FEMINIST ART - Artist Carolee Schneemann gives new meaning to feminist art. She's more of a punk artist than anything else.

She is probably most known for her performance art piece entitled Interior Scroll (1975). From the accounts others have written it seems she would peel off her clothing, cover herself in mud (or paint?), and then extract a scroll from her vagina and read it. The image I have posted to the right is from the Tate website and apparently the writing on the side is from the vaginal scroll. How daring is that?! Love it or hate it.

She says of this piece: "I thought of the vagina in many ways-- physically, conceptually: as a sculptural form, an architectural referent, the sources of sacred knowledge, ecstasy, birth passage, transformation. I saw the vagina as a translucent chamber of which the serpent was an outward model: enlivened by it's passage from the visible to the invisible, a spiraled coil ringed with the shape of desire and generative mysteries, attributes of both female and male sexual power. This source of interior knowledge would be symbolized as the primary index unifying spirit and flesh in Goddess worship."

Among many in your face installations/performances/films (she was also a painter among other things) another one of note is Eye Body: 36 Transformative Actions (1963). Here Schneemann covers herself in her environment while Icelandic artist Erró photographs. She says:

"I wanted my actual body to be combined with the work as an integral material-- a further dimension of the construction... I am both image-maker and image. The body may remain erotic, sexual, desired, desiring, but it is as well votive: marked, written over in a text of stroke and gesture discovered by my creative female will."

Unfortunately she was "pigeon holed" and typecasted as an "erotic artist". She was unhappy with this because she wanted not to be this delicate female erotic image but hardcore, ugly, in your face, I don't fuck around sexuality: a quality that more die hard feminists appreciate

Carolee Schneemann's collaborative art includes the performance piece Meat Joy (1964). In her words:  

"Meat Joy has the character of an erotic rite: excessive, indulgent, a celebration of flesh as material: raw fish, chickens, sausages, wet paint, transparent plastic, rope brushes, paper scrap. It's propulsion is toward the ecstatic-- shifting and turning between tenderness, wilderness, precision, abandon: qualities which could at any moment be sensual, comic, joyous, repellent."

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