Sexuality has played a decisive role in the history of art ab initio. Until the 1970s, however, it was the male gaze at the female body which informed the politics of these images. In the first feminist examinations of the erotic which followed, woman artists also focused their explorations on their own body. The (hetero)erotic female gaze, on the other hand directed at the male body continues to be an exception in art. When feminist artists take a desirous look at the male body they break more than one taboo and reverse the power relations inherent to the traditional canon of images. With their own depictions of the erotic male body they raise a claim to sexual self-determination and artistic authority. At the same time they question determined role models and open up the discourse for new options of sexual identities.
Artists include Louise Bourgeois (US), Eunice Golden (US), Herlinde Koelbl (DE), Carolee Schneemann (US), Joan Semmel (US), and Betty Tompkins (US) pushed the development of these feminist approaches from the 1960s onwards. So their work determines this internationally set exhibition along with that of the next generation, including Sophie Calle (FR), Anke Doberauer (DE), Tracey Emin (GB), Alicia Framis (ES), Kathleen Gilje (US), Aude du Pasquier Grall (FR), Anna Jermolaewa (RU), Julika Rudelius (DE), Mwangi Hutter (KE,DE), ORLAN (FR), Jana Sterbak (CAN), Susan Silas (US) and Paula Winkler (DE).
A video of the exhibition "IN THE CUT - THE MALE BODY IN FEMINIST ART" in Stadt Galerie in Saarbrucken, Germany.
The Un-Heroic Act is a concentrated survey of works by a diverse roster of artists representing three generations and including Jenny Holzer, Suzanne Lacy, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Yoko Ono, and Kara Walker, Kathleen Gilje which aims to fill a gap in the history of art, where the subject of rape has been represented by countless historical depictions by male artists, called heroic acts by Susan Brownmiller. What makes womens works radically different is the focus not on the action or drama, but on the lasting psychological devastation of the victim: her suffering, silence, shame, and loneliness. Recent works also address regaining control over the victims sexuality and psyche and reclaiming the cultural narrative. Often strikingly beautiful, these works are rarely shown or their true meaning is obscured.
ARTISTS IN THE EXHIBITION: Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Suzanne Lacy, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Carolee Thea, Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, Kathleen Gilje, Angela Fraleigh, Natalie Frank, Jennifer Karady, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Andrea Bowers, Ada Trillo, Kara Walker, Roya Amigh, Naima Ramos-Chapman, Bang Geul Han, and Guerrilla Girls Broadband.
about Being a Girl: A series of nude full length paintings of young women.
By artist Kathleen Gilje
This video includes audio from Giljes conversations with teenage girls, discussing gender, politics, bullying, beauty, hope, dreams, fears and love.
PDF of catalog for Bruce Museum exhibition. Essays by Peter C. Sutton, John Yau, Linda Nochlin, Robert Rosenblum and Francis Naumann (interview with artist), generously illustrated
Language and Philosophy by Phillip Perry
Kathleen Gilje's retrospective at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT.
Revised and Restored: The Art of Kathleen Gilje
May 11, 2013 - September 8, 2013
Kathleen Gilje's retrospective at the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
PDF of the painting series "48 Portraits: Sargent's Women, Restored" with a description of the women. Essay by John Yau.