Performing Feminisms

  • Dirt Palace, print shop/bottle window, 2013. Photo by Xander Marro.

Talk + Performance

  1. Mar 27, 2014, 7 – 9 pm
Level 3, Sert Gallery

Feminism has become a subject of inspired debate in contemporary culture and artistic practice. Some herald a “fourth wave” while others maintain that feminism not only remains too white and too straight but that as a social movement it has lost momentum, waylaid in an academic cul-de-sac. Scholarly endeavors, meanwhile, often periodize feminism as a historical phenomenon belonging to the 1960s and ‘70s. But if feminism’s core principles are anti-oppression and the explosion of received hierarchies, its work is just as urgent for the twenty-first century. New models of feminist practice, political activism, and artistic production make it increasingly clear that feminism has multiplied and continues to perform important, often unprecedented work. This event brings together artists working at the intersection of feminism and performance art, a powerful and distinctly playful conjunction that both extends and departs from movements of the 60s. What does it mean to perform identity and how can the agency of feminism perform most valuably now? The evening will include performance-based works by Bulk Purchases, the Dirt Palace, Malik Gaines/My Barbarian, A.J. Murphy, and A.L. Steiner.

Discussion following performance moderated by Helen Miller, artist and teaching fellow in Visual and Environmental Studies.

Bulk Purchases

Bulk Purchases is an artist collaboration whose work engages the pleasures and production of subjectivity. Past projects include the performance SLAVES (Globe, Frankfurt, Germany, 2011), Poster Launch (Workshop, New York, NY, 2012), Speculations, Potentially Unrealized Commerce (Anfang Gut, Alles Gut, 2011) and the video commission Sitting Up (MOCAtv, 2012).

The Dirt Palace

The Dirt Palace feminist art collective formed in 2000 in an abandoned library building in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence. Now an underground institution, the Dirt Palace supports women artists by providing affordable studio space, facilities and a culture of cooperation, maintaining visibility in the community through a committed public arts presence and long term relationships. Over the past thirteen years the Dirt Palace has served as an incubator for over forty artists working in a variety of media including performance, printmaking, film/video, installation, sculpture, and photography. The collective has exhibited and performed at PS1 as part of WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, Boston Center for the Arts, SOHO20 Chelsea, Space 1026, Hera Gallery, the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, and been published in ANP Quarterly, Cheap and Plastique, Savoir-Faire, as well as their own publications.

Malik Gaines/My Barbarian

Malik Gaines is an artist and writer based in New York. He has performed and exhibited extensively with the group My Barbarian, which has had solo exhibitions at Participant Inc, New York; Hammer Museum, LA; Museo El Eco, Mexico City; Yaffo 23, Jerusalem and others. My Barbarian has been included in Performa 05, 07 and 13 and various Biennials, including 2006 and 2008 California Biennials, 2007 Montreal Biennale, 2009 Baltic Triennial, and 2014 Whitney Biennial. Gaines' scholarship and criticism have appeared in Women & Performance, Art Journal, e-flux, Judson Now, and several exhibition catalogs. Gaines holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UCLA and an MFA in Writing from CalArts. He is currently Assistant Professor of Art at Hunter College, City University of New York.

A.J. Murphy

As unclemumbles, A.J. Murphy makes YouTube videos that embroider on the excess of the internet. Interested in cuteness and inarticulate seduction, Murphy reenacts familiar scenes and realizes half-baked animal and alien fantasies. Originally from Orange County, California, Murphy currently lives in New York, where she is studying the history of managerial thought and practice at Columbia. Her work focuses on the language of workplace self-actualization and the kinds of labor that go into cultivating “corporate culture.”

A.L. Steiner

A.L. Steiner utilizes constructions of photography, video, installation, collage, collaboration, performance, writing and curatorial work as seductive tropes channeled through the sensibility of a skeptical queer eco-feminist androgyne. Steiner is co-curator of Ridykeulous, co-founder of Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) and a collective member of Chicks on Speed. Her works have been featured internationally at such venues as The Whitney Museum, PS1, Tate Modern, OT301, The Center for Sexual Dissidence, The New Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art/Philadelphia, Konsthall C, Centre Pompidou, The Kitchen, The Center, Tallinna Kunstihoone, REDCAT, SFMoMA, and Zacheta National Gallery of Art, among others. Her work is featured in permanent collections including The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Marieluise Hessel Collection and The Museum of Modern Art. Steiner is Assistant Professor and Director of the University of Southern California Master of Fine Arts Program, and Visiting MFA Faculty at Bard College in New York.

Sponsored by the Harvard College Women's Center; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and the the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities at Harvard University. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Living as Form (The Nomadic Version).

BYO (Bring Your Own: Voices of the Contemporary at the Carpenter Center)

BYO fosters discussion and debate about pressing issues in contemporary culture across Harvard and Boston area communities by bringing to campus emerging figures in contemporary art for informal evening conversations.