Two panel discussions on feminist activism and female leadership in visual arts
Monday, March 8, 2021 at 2 PM
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5 PM
In what was expected to be the renaissance in feminist movement in recent years, art institutions are still clashing with the old familiar predominant histories, stumbling over old traps of institutional patriarchy and systemic discrimination, thus going backwards to middle ages of the historic feminist waves.
In response to the recent events in both countries, and in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy, the unwavering voice in women’s rights activism, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, in collaboration with Residency Unlimited organizes two panel discussions in Women’s Month of March 2021, under the key title, the New Renaissance in Feminist Art, which will examine the new role, progression and challenges of women’s activism in visual arts.
In the Plato’s Cave narrative, a shadow may seem more knowledgeable than its source. As witnessed in the current polarized socio-political and cultural discourses, the lurking Plato’s Cave shadows still channel the perceptions of those who do not believe in empirical evidence as a validating point for knowledge. Sadly what is perceived and accepted as truth is still merely a shadow of the truth. As a result what was seen as dark ages, now comes forward into light, and enlightenment principles are pushed back into shadow.
To deconstruct the shadows of art history, selected major US art museums, like MoMA or The Whitney, have initiated a trend to redefine their collections, and as a result included more women artists and programs calibrating a new look on feminism then and now. However art institutions are still disproportionately representing men in their structures, curatorial programs, collections, as well as wages.
At the same time, feminist narratives had populated the press in the arts and social media with trendy new terms like post-#metoo, post-#feminisms. Are they relevant to the contemporary discourse in art institutions?
Following Plato’s Cave story, speaking out about fear of the darker undertones of familiar predominant landscapes, distrust in what one sees is still the only way to really see. With the US new political shift offering prospectsives for promised change, and Poland facing a new wave of political dissent, it is a fertile ground to move forward in rethinking institutional involvement in feminism in the search for a new renaissance.
The 1st panel will be held on the International Women’s Day, Monday, March 8, 2021 and will engage the women leading art institutions both in Poland and the US, and will reflect on their activism and the background of their involvement with feminist narratives in their lives as well as their institutional programming over the course of the years until now.
Joan Snitzer, the professor of Art History and the Co-Chair Director of Visual Arts at Barnard College at Columbia University. Joan is also an artist painter represented by the A.I.R. gallery and had been involved with the gallery since its early beginnings.
Agnieszka Rayzacher, the founder and director of lokal_30 gallery, a center for feminist art in Warsaw, Poland, with program of exhibitions and discursive programs promoting artists of all generations, focusing mostly on women artists. Agnieszka is a lead activist for women’s rights in Poland, and organizes SemFem, feminist seminars series on current issues in art and feminism.
The panel will be moderated by Jenée-Daria Strand, the Curatorial Assistant for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum where she supports the research and organization of numerous exhibitions as well as examines the performative practices within the museum setting.
The 2nd panel will be held on March 31, 2021 and will engage two female artists Anna Orbaczewska a painter and multimedia artist represented by the lokal_30 gallery in Warsaw Poland, and Rotem Reshef from action painter based in Tel Aviv Israel, also current RU resident artist. Both artists will discuss their engagement with the feminist activism in their lives and through their artistic practice, as well as their participation in feminist art exhibitions in Poland, Israel, and the US. The panel will be moderated by Sheetal Prajapati, an educator, artist and advisor working across the field of art and public engagement, an Interim Managing Director of Common Field, a founder of Lohar Projects, a faculty member at School of Visual Arts (New York) in the MFA Fine Arts program, and the Board Chair (2021 -2023) for Art + Feminism.
This program is initiated and funded by the Polish Cultural Institute New York, presented and co-organized in partnership with Residency Unlimited, in collaboration with lokal_30, the Brooklyn Museum, Barnard College at Columbia University, Lohar Projects, and A.I.R. Gallery.
Lead image: A Heartfelt Event – 2020, 3 scrolls, diluted acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 82 ft | 25 m each (Photography credit: Avi Amsalem).