Another Side of Feminism in Art: “Not a Women-Only Initiative”

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The artist C. Finley, organizer of the Every Woman Biennial, in front of works by Deming Harriman, Florencia Escudero, Cynthia Alvarez, Amy Vensel and Valincy-Jean Patelli that are part of the exhibition.Credit...Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

The whole world saw this weekend how the feminist movement is still fighting for equality far from being consolidated.

After countries like Mexico, Chile, Turkey, and even South Korea demonstrated against gender-based violence, it goes without saying that this debate remains open, until further notice.

In the United States, the art scene has also had its share of activism, especially after a group of artists and curators created the Feminist Art Coalition, a platform “for art projects informed by feminists.”

Since we announced the creation of this initiative, curators like Apsara DiQuinzio (Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive) have embraced the mission with a much broader vision: to energize “a popular awakening.”

In a conversation with the New York Times, the curator spoke of how the list of participating institutions in the coalition continues to grow every day and how the conversation now encompasses much more diverse topics.

“One of the motivations behind the Feminist Art Coalition was to create a groundwork where important conversations surrounding misogyny, equality and oppression could happen in the lead-up to the election,” Ms. DiQuinzio said.

With a $50,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the options for true intersectional conversation have opened up across a broad spectrum.

“There have been so many efforts in recent years to acknowledge the biases of the art world in which women artists are not as visible, not given as much opportunity, and not valued at the same level as male artists,” said Anne Ellegood, director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and part of the core group of organizers. The coalition “calls attention to what we were already doing,” she said, “making that commitment more transparent and visible.

An example of this has been the initiative of the San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery to present a curatorship “entirely of nonbinary artists working across media,” or the exhibition “Witch Hunt” at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, which reflects on racial, economic, and gender violence in countries like Mexico, and how women are often overshadowed in industries such as the arts.

“The aim is to be very inclusive and we want to leave it open to interpretation and ideological positions,” DiQuinzio concluded. “We have gotten into the situation we are in socially and politically in this country because of problems of exclusion and elitism and the perception of those things.