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Monday, March 12, 2007

11:57 AM Posted by Cindy Nemser 1 comment

"Women's Work: Homage to Feminist Art"
curated by Cindy Nemser

March 28 - May 13, 2007
Artists Reception: Wednesday, March 28, 2007
5:30 - 8:00 PM

Gallery hours: THURSDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY Noon - 5:00 pm
Other weekdays: by appointment
718. 833-9100 718. 768-0305

Tabla Rasa Gallery

224 48 Street

Brooklyn, NY 11220



Renowned pioneer of the Feminist movement, art historian and critic Cindy Nemser returns to the world of contemporary art to curate an all women's exhibition entitled “Women’s Work: Homage to Feminist Art” at Tabla Rasa Gallery, 224 48th Street, Brooklyn, opening on March 28, 2007. Nemser believes a woman doing her art, whether it is overtly political or not, is a feminist action. The show includes 20 artists represented by one work each. For Nemser, feminism is the gateway to humanism, to a place where every race and religion as well as both genders will be evaluated strictly on their merit and prejudice will finally be abolished. That is how she believes society will move forward.

The exhibition features celebrated women artists who emerged in the 70’s. Among the artists included in the exhibition are Eleanor Antin, (who embodied different personas long before Cindy Sherman) and Hannah Wilke, an astonishing beauty, who had the courage to have herself photographed in the last debilitating stages of the cancer that killed her. Other artists in the show are Howardena Pindell, Sylvia Sleigh, Mary Grigoriadis, Judith Bernstein, and Dotty Attie, all of whom were early members of A.I.R., the first women’s gallery. Lil Picard, cult performance artist who also wrote for the legendary East Village Other and never missed an opening, and Sue Coe, who documented the hostile senate hearings that took place when Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment are part of the exhibition. Monumental sculptors Audrey Flack and Lila Katzen, as well as controversial Nancy Grossman, are featured as well as the phenomenal painter Deborah Remington, poetry collaborator Oriole Farb Feshbach and notorious Anita Steckel.

To give the exhibit a richer overlay of meaning, Nemser also invited some younger women such as painter, experimentalist Audrey Anastasi, mixed media artist Orly Cogan, video artist Bec Stupak, and exquisite painter on found objects Irene Hardwicke Oliveri, among others. The exhibition creates a visual dialog between the older women artists of the feminist second wave and the younger women of the emerging third wave.

Ms. Nemser, a brilliant writer and impassioned feminist, was a firebrand of the women artists’ movement from 1969 on. Besides publishing the groundbreaking Feminist Art Journal, her book Art Talk: Conversations with 12 Women Artists, Charles Scribner, 1975, was reprinted in 1995 as Art Talk: Conversations with 15 Women Artists by Harper Collins. It was the first book to be written about women artists since the 1930’s. Considered a classic, it was recently translated into Chinese, and can still be purchased today. Among her long list of credits are feminist pieces on women in Ms, New York Times, Arts Magazine, Artforum, Art in America, Newsday, as well as monographs, journals, newspapers and lectures at prestigious universities, museums, art organizations and women’s galleries all over the country including Yale University, the Maryland Institute of Art, The Smithsonian National Collection, the Brooklyn Museum, Berkeley Museum and the Maryland Institute of Art, the women’s cooperative gallery A.I.R., in New York, ARC and Artemisia in Chicago, the Women’s Building in Los Angeles and the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota, (W.A.R.M.).

Adjunct events during the show include Cindy Nemser reading from her new book Firebrand: The Autobiography of a Feminist Art Critic ( 3:00 pm, Saturday February 14, 2007) in which she uses personal experience to document the birthing of the women artists’ movement in the late 60’s and 70's as well as a filmed memoir entitled "Lil Picard,"by Silviana Goldsmith (3:00 pm, Saturday, March 31, 2007.) Additional presentations will be scheduled from March 28, 2007 to May 13, 2007.

The gallery is located at 224 48th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in SPArC (Sunset Park Artists' Community). From Manhattan, "D" train to 36 Street in Brooklyn, cross platform, and take "R" train one stop to 45th Street. Street parking is available.

Tabla Rasa Gallery is free and open to the public Thursday through Saturday, noon until 5 pm, from the opening reception on Wednesday March 28, 2007 until the closing on Sunday, May 13, 2007.

See, or call 718. 833-9100 or 718.768-0305 for additional information.

1 comment:

  1. nyankowitz@aol.com11:40 PM

    I was recently looking at the Global Feminism exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and was asked why I thought abstract art created by women in the 1970’s should be considered feminist art? I answered, using this exhibit as an example. My perception of this exhibit seemed defining Global Feminism as artists under the age of forty and artists dealing with the body as means of expression. Although many of the body/figurative artworks represented in the show had real impact when portraying feelings of impotence, subjugation, and/or rage, this shouldn’t exclude artworks created with machines, perhaps constructed to squeeze liquid and leave stains, or other artworks whose walls perhaps built with remnants of the past in search for ‘Home’, as any less meaningful productions. If feminists promote the belief that women artists are “male identified” if they are using metal, wood, or other materials usually associated as materials within the male domain, then women are constructing the same chauvinist cages and ghettos they initially intended to tear down.

    The problem of eroding reality continues as survey exhibitions proliferate. Curators mine their shards of information from anthologized writings by critics. Many of these collected essays exclude consideration of artists whose careers might currently be in eclipse and are therefore deemed unimportant to discuss; frequently their names and contributions are excised entirely from the record. This process in itself perpetuates the vast burial ground in which Unknown Artists are interred, though many of who were powerfully influential to other artists during the particular period being excavated. It has taken me a long time to sort out my feelings and to understand that this effort at righting history is not my personal gripe or a reflux of sour grapes! I strongly believe that when the history of any group has been fabricated and deformed to fit an agenda, it is the responsibility of those with memories and passion to correct and/or add to the record.

    I’m disenchanted by the fabricating of a monogenic feminist history built upon bones gathered from the seemingly same initial writings about feminist artists authored in the ‘70’s. These days, many curators include artworks because they were made by artists who are currently in the spotlight as opposed to selecting all works because of their influential contributions at the time. This is the same curatorial mantra repeated ad nauseum in most feminist and other survey exhibitions exploring the '60's and '70's, such as David Reed and Katy Siegel's 'High Times Hard Times ...1967-75' exhibit.

    The concept of simultaneity is the key to understanding what women artists were doing to effect political change during late1960’s-1970’s in the predominantly male art world. This era drove a pluralist discourse and portrayed multifarious voyages that many women artists traveled in order to claim a personal female identity. Some individual pursuits were formulated outside of group activism and these artists often saw their contribution to feminism as giving other women artists the permission to investigate whatever artistic territory they found interesting in the hope to erase pre-conceived guidelines as to what are male or female creative domains. Many of these artists helped fuel and lay platforms from which sprung the frames of references, rebuttals, and source materials for the birthing of the feminist imagery movement that was soon to be developed. In 1997, I was part of a panel designed to stretch the definition associated with the term "feminist artist." This was held at the College Art Association Conference in New York City and the session was called: The Lone Rangers: Beyond Feminist Orthodoxy. Aretha Franklin's R.E.S.P.E.C.T. blared as the audience entered before viewing and exploring some seminal artworks created by women during the 60's-70's, works NOT contextually based upon so-called 'feminist imagery.' During the session, we discussed the multifarious artworks and journeys that women artists traveled during the 1970's. Panelists included Jackie Windsor, Pat Steir, Mary Miss, Jackie Ferrara, Michelle Stuart, Nina Yankowitz and Carey Lovelace, the latter serving as Co-chairs. Most of these women have not been represented in the historical overview exhibits. Although the seats were filled to capacity and the event wildly successful, it is bewildering and frustrating to realize that the panelists and the concepts discussed only ten years ago have so quickly been forgotten.

    In 1996 I conceived and organized an exhibition for Fredereika Taylor's TZ'ART gallery, then in Soho, called BARE BONES. I paired and installed paintings, sculptures, and architectural projects from the 1960s and mid 1990s. The exhibition was created in order to pose questions and theories about how structural elements have been handled in both the minimalist and post-minimalist eras. My intention was to select artworks in order to illuminate an ongoing dialogue, not to rigidify them as "THE" historical record. I would hope that a major exhibition such as Robert Storr's upcoming Venice Biennial exposition, which is ostensibly dealing with Then And Now, will maintain a high quality and wide-ranging discourse rather than pretend to represent some impossibly inclusive history.

    Far more rigorous research - a genuine search backwards is needed to stimulate the birth of a full and comprehensive portrait of an era. Survey exhibitions in particular need to reflect numerous perspectives and should depend on inclusive source material of the time frame being examined. This alone could encourage the creation of realistic surveys that don't masquerade as "THE" historical record. If this is done, I look forward to amplifying the scene by curatorial presentations with a revisionist perspective and/or a polemic for reconsideration. Maybe then, valuable artistic and influential works made by artists who reflected their time will remain for future generations to discover and simultaneously halt the deletion of important contributions disappearing, as if aliases dragged into the trash-Poof!