Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Woman Made Gallery: AMY

This is PART II of a series of blog entries devoted to
I recently sat down for a conversation with Amy (above), gallery coordinator for Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, the midwest regional coordinator for the Feminist Art Project, and adjunct Art History prof at DePaul University.

On having a women only gallery: “Woman Made couldn’t be called a feminist gallery because we have shows that are abstract and geometric. Feminism has a connotation that is more political. Its really important to have that kind of show because women artists are underrepresented in the art world and just because an artist does abstraction or geometric forms doesn’t mean we can’t be an advocate for them. Being an advocate for all women artists is where the name Woman Made comes from. For our audiences the idea of a feminist made gallery would mean political art. Would more people come to the gallery if it was called WM gallery, would more collectors buy from us? What connotations are we promoting with our name? Ultimately it's not about identity, its about women being underrepresented in the art world.”

On younger artists aversion to being labeled feminist: “We had an emerging art show called ‘Feminist Interrogations,’ all about how feminism can be used as a tool of social activism. I encouraged younger artists associated with our gallery to apply, and a lot of them didn’t. Their idea of feminism was about images of women and this way we think about feminism traditionally. It seems there is a gap there in terms of how younger artists are getting involved with feminism and making it relevant to their lives… There are young artists who don’t want to show here. They don’t want to make that distinction, that their work is only supposed to be shown at a Woman’s Gallery, they don’t want to put that on their record. They don’t want the issue of personal identity associated with their work, and I can understand that, but I would still advocate for them.”


Monday, May 19, 2008


Dorothee: 24, lives in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, and went to high school in Germany. She runs an online video magazine called Fresh Cut, and works at a foundation downtown "to pay the bills." Is a feminist "but I don't think about it every day."

On being called a feminist:

"Being a woman has definitely made me more sensitive to being taken seriously. I've checked myself if I really want to say that something's unfair about being a girl, like not wanting to sound like a militant feminist. I totally censor myself because I don't want to seem aggressive or unattractive. People are really turned off by it; they don't want to hear it...And [women] are raised in our society, too, so we're sexist against ourselves almost. We're turned off by it too."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Overheard in Chicago #1: JANE

Every weekend we will post overhead musings from friends and random women we run into in bars, cars, restaurants, and on the streets.
One of my best friends Jane came into Chicago this weekend to help me celebrate my 23rd birthday. As we lay in bed one morning, groggily addressing our hangovers and our hungry bellies, we got to talking about the female obsession with weight. Jane had thoughts to share:

“Even if we blame the patriarchy for planting the seeds of body image anxieties, it seems to me that it was women themselves who disseminated and watered these seeds into the monstrous weeds they are today. I’ve observed that perhaps contrary to biological instinct, women mainly base their aesthetic self worth upon the assessment of other women: I dress to impress my female friends, not my boyfriend. These friends are more conscious, critical of weight fluctuations, bad haircuts, and make-up faux pas than my boyfriend—if he even notices that anything is different, he would be incapable of verbalizing the nuances desired in such a critique. A female friend satisfies the neurotic dressing room desire for abasement (honesty), she would tell you that your ass looks too fat in that miniskirt, your boyfriend would say, ‘you look hot…' ”