A.L. Steiner + robbinschilds, Stills from C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience), Part 1, 2007, Digital video.
I feel a little like it’s feminism all day every day here lately, but since the subject doesn’t get enough coverage and there are a number of exhibitions up right now addressing the topic, it only seems appropriate to be covering a lot of it. This week at The Reeler I discuss the film program in Gallery LeLong’s exhibition Role Play: Feminist Art Revisited 1960-1980 at Gallery LeLong and A.L. Steiner + robbinschild’s C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience) at Taxter and Spengemann. As always, I’ve provided a quote from the piece below, but you’ll need to click through to read the whole piece.
Call it pathological, but I can’t look at an exhibition of video and other wall-mounted works from the 1960s without thinking about the lineage of that genre and how it affects art making today. In the case of a movement like Pop Art, the results are fairly obvious as artists continue to make work inspired by mass culture iconography. But try pinning down feminism, and you’ll have a much more difficult time. Part of this stems from the fact that most contemporary artists resist being identified with a particular movement, but this is especially true for feminism, a label that tends to be a bit of liability, even if the same can be said for its more politically maligned counterpart chauvinism.
Role Play: Feminist Art Revisited 1960-1980 at Gallery LeLong and A.L. Steiner + robbinschild’s C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience) at Taxter and Spengemann inspired my most recent thinking on the subject; using these two exhibitions as a reference point, a viewer can find as many similarities as differences in feminist video art made yesterday and today. Comprising heavyweights Marina Abramovic, Lynda Benglis, Yoko Ono, Martha Rosler and Hannah Wilke, the film program at Gallery LeLong includes a major feminist work by each artist, with all but one video specifically addressing the body. Abramovic brushes her hair to the point of pain, repeating “art must be beautiful, artist must be beautiful”; a naked woman’s body slowly becomes covered with flies in Ono’s Fly; Benglis’s 12-minute video Female Sensibility features a close up of two women French kissing; and Through The Large Glass, by Wilke, documents the artist disrobing behind Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, (also known as The Large Glass) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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