What would Paul Durand-Ruel do?

April 3, 2015 · Print This Article

It is intriguing to wonder if, given a hundred year’s worth of hindsight, there are dealers working today who might earn, by way of tribute, a major show at the National Gallery. Such has been the case for Paul Durand-Ruel (1981-1922), the Parisian art mogul who brought Impressionism to the notice of the world.

NG visitors can see for themselves how Durand-Ruel not only ‘invented’ Impressionism, but arguably did the same for the art market as we know it today. The dealer was responsible for innovations in marketing and market manipulation. It is even said that he invented the solo retrospective. Today we wouldn’t think twice about seeing a Monet show, but when the French painter was still alive, it was harder for some to countenance.

Along with Monet, the dealer can lay claim to have discovered Pissarro, Renoir and Degas. And he once lamented that he lacked the funds to buy up every last piece by Manet (haven’t we all), firmly confident that this shocking new painter would repay his investment: “In fifty years they will sell for fifteen or twenty times more,” said the oft-called prophet of Impressionism.

Numbers alone tell a story. In his custody at one time or another were some 1,500 Renoirs, 1,000 Monets and 800 paintings by Pissarro. The Musée d’Orsay owes nearly 100 of its Impressionist stock to the dealings of Durand-Ruel and the National Gallery in London owns 40 of his previous sales. In the US, meanwhile, renowned collector Albert Barnes wrote to the French dealer with the words, “My collection is practically an annex of your business”.

The current show is well staged with a lot more drama than you might expect from a dry lesson in art history. Visitors can enter by way of the dealer’s New York branch, a black and white photo of which fills the lobby. Then once inside he or she will find a partial recreation of Durand-Ruel’s well-populated sitting room. Later in the exhibition is a room devoted to the innovative Monet show and another which takes a major London show as its theme.

So what of the artwork? Well, sexed up by the wheeling and dealing, it is more fresh and exciting than any show about a 19th century moment has any right to be. There are family portraits by Renoir, pastoral scenes by Pissarro and trademark poplars by Monet. In one especially thrilling corner, one finds an oil sketch for Manet’s great masterpiece Bar at the Folies-Bergère.

Manet is well represented, a still life here, a portrait there. But what’s this… a naval battle? In 1864 the French master painted a duel between the U.S.S. Kearsage and the C.S.S. Alabama. As most will be aware this was a moment from the American civil war. But curiously, these ships engaged off the coast of Normandy in North France. In 1886 A New York critic commented that it was “so grand in its treatment of the water that it makes us forget the ships”.

If that scene appears off kilter, it is next to nothing compared with those of the dealer’s other great investment, Edgar Degas. Whether of ballerinas or race horses, these works might just have been the toughest sell of all. Paintings with no central focus still challenge the eye today. Yet somehow, thanks to that, and to the generally polite picture making of the time, we know we gaze upon genius. But what is most remarkable is that Ruel-Durand knew it as well so long ago.

So yes, it makes you wonder if we’ll see his like again. An even better question might be to ask, when faced with today’s market, what would Ruel-Durand do?

Inventing Impressionism is at National Gallery, London, until May 31. The show travels to Philadelphia Museum of Art from June 24 – September 13 2015.

Top 5 Weekend Picks! (4/3-4/5)

April 2, 2015 · Print This Article

1. Were the Eye Not Sunlike – PHYSICAL at Fernwey Gallery

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Work by Lauren Edwards, Assaf Evron, Danny Floyd, Danny Giles and Mia Nolting.

Fernwey Gallery is located at 916 N. Damen Ave. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.

2. LEANDRO & AMARAL SNOW at The Franklin

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Work by Melissa Leandro and Kirk Amaral Snow.

The Franklin is located at 3522 W. Franklin Blvd. Reception Saturday, 6-10pm.

3. Acerbunundrum at Ballroom Projects

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Work by Guy Eytan, Kelly Lloyd, Michael Donovan Moore, Judith Pedroza, Patrick Reynolds, Yuri Stone, Michal Lynn Shumate, and Tina Tahir.

Ballroom Projects is located at 3012 S. Archer Ave. #33. Reception Saturday, 7-10pm.

4. Spatial Agreements at Chicago Artists Coalition

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Work by Sanaz Sohrabi

Chicago Artists Coalition is located at 217 N. Carpenter St. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.

5. Gush at Gallery 400

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Work by Soheila Azadi, Jessica Cobb, Meg Nafziger and Lauren C. Sudbrink.

Gallery 400 is located at 400 S. Peoria St. Reception Friday, 5-8pm.

Revealing Ourselves to the Indifferent Stars

April 1, 2015 · Print This Article

By Kevin Blake

It was dead on all accounts. Dead–curled in a forever pose on the patio chair. Silent. Breathless. Still. It was an omen. It was a sign. It was a memory. It was a haunting. It could be anything that my consciousness willed it to be.

It was a trying winter–one that tested us all. In the early days of spring, the yard came to life. The grass emerged from the hundred day’s winter frost with a new partner–the purple crab grass flower–a weed with a pretty face. The softest limbs of the old oak trees indent the soil of the ground–strewn about the yard by the winds of winter and pushed into the earth by the weight of snow and ice.  All that remained, deserved this spring. This rebirth. This chance to live when survival is seemingly easier.

The paradox that its death suggests is timely. It arrives at a time of life–at a time where all things thrive and multiply. In this moment, the conditions may have made it brave. It may have disrupted its good reason that had helped it survive the winter. The conditions may have made it careless. With its belly full and its mind aloof, dying was easy.

It lay peacefully dead on my chair–the one that I had moved just slightly over so that I could be more comfortable when I was sitting on the deck a few days prior. My instincts told me to place blame. To find fault. To develop reason. To retrace its death so that I could find comfort in whatever loss I felt I had sustained through its death.

I proposed, to myself, that it had fallen from the tree–that it missed its mark on a leap of faith. There were no broken branches to suggest a failure of a known bridge to the neighboring tree and no remnants of the nest to suggest a struggle. Directly below its home in the listing limb it lay, until another force moved it.

Its position on the chair gave me pause and the impetus to take a picture. It looked comfortable. Settled. Dreaming. I felt the need to document the scene. The tree. The squirrel. The chair. The yard. I knew I had to remove it from its final resting place. I had to feel its weight on the end of a shovel–I felt it in my wrist and forearm. It became an extension of me–an alien prosthetic, if only for a moment, that forced me to consider my position.

As I walked the carcass to the front of the house where I intended to put it in the trash, I discovered another dead squirrel next to the curb–a bizarre synchronism. It too remained in a peculiar position–leaving the world in a bed of fallen leaves–a metaphor within a metaphor. Its location relative to a splash of white paint on the yellow curb made the scene appear composed–a work of art. A balanced image in every sense of the word. Diagonals. Space. Bands of color. Range in scale and marks. I could see the paint making this painting. I could see the process of its painted life beginning very much like its birth–thin, hesitant, bare, and vulnerable.

My intuition told me to build this narrative. To find a purpose or lesson in this trauma–in this coincidental ether I am allowing to be the center of my attention. What became glaringly apparent was that I was looking for a profane image from which I would base my thoughts–from which I would create an abstraction worth excavating.

To create anything that conjures abstract thinking is to allow oneself to take their eyes off the ball. To swing at something in the periphery. To focus ones attention away from the center of the mandala is to drift into the unconscious consciously. This is where the waves of casuistry begin to carry you to a composition of your own design. This is where the world resembles a place painted by yourself for yourself.

When you close your eyes, and open them behind the lids, you will not see nothing. You see light. Patterns emerge. If you focus your eyes on one pattern, the others will dissipate and the image you have created takes motion. It will attempt to flee your field of vision and the only thing that will wrangle it back to center, is your focus–your undivided attention to it. This exercise is both a testable experiment and an apt metaphor for the attention we pay to the seemingly pivotal moments in our lives that are, in reality, a portion of something infinite and perpetually moving in and out of focus. Though our individual roles may be finite, we all carry potential–potentials realized through pursuits chosen.

The Latin phrase, omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis–all things change and we change in them–seems useful here to describe our relationship to the incidentals concurrent with our pursuit of what we consider primary objectives. I certainly wasn’t looking for dead squirrels. I am not a photographer. I was drawn into this essay by allowing myself to be–by knowing it would be somehow useful. I took the photos last spring, because I wanted to recognize anomalies of my experience. I wanted to chase a pattern that caught my eye. I wanted to recognize a possibility. I wanted to identify myself in the visual world and reveal myself to myself.

 

EDITION #42

March 31, 2015 · Print This Article

Clothes Don’t Make the Artist

In the words of a great man, “ATTN FASHION CLUB”. This seasons’ looks are something to get worked up about. Here’s a rundown of some favorites:

A vote for Chuy is a vote for classy button wear.

Chuy buttons are totes trending. This rainbow version is particularly stylin’, but will Chuy stay en vogue post April 7th?

Hickson bathing suit

Hickson’s suit design.

Clay and Wylie

[Fashion] Designer Clay Hickson with his intern, Wylie.

Friend of WTT? and riso printers alike, Clay Hickson, is exploding the apparel game. Nothing is making me more excited for Summer than these hottie bathing suits by Clay Hickson for Leilanni swimwear. On the more affordable end, Editorial Magazine also recently released a t-shirt and sweater designed by Hickson. If you’re like me and can’t get enough Clay, the Tan & Loose proprietor is opening the third edition of Tan Lines on April 17th at Solid State.

Goyanes and Castillo pose

Goyanes and Castillo’s personality photo.

Boys from Miami (and their strange apparel choices) just make my heart melt. Domingo Castillo and Rob Goyanes are a modern day Don and Pancho, Sacco and Vanzetti, Ru and Michelle. Fashion is all about attitude, man. Scope the cuties and their adventures Goyanes’ piece for the Miami Rail.

dfbrl8r gallery

Dressing the Future in My Humility by Joshua McGarvey at dfbrl8r.

As die-hard anti-pajamas-in-public advocates, we hate to admit that sweatpants are having their day in the sun. We couldn’t deny it anymore after attending Joshua McGarvey’s opening at dfbrl8r on the evening of March 14th. McGarvey greeted each person who entered the space with a child sized pair of blue sweatpants, while the rest of the gallery space was strewn with piles of pants and the vestiges of their making. Wake us up when this sweatpant nightmare is over.

Reading is Fundamental

Think of this as your month in review.

  • Why Do I Give a Shit about Art
    Can’t get this thought piece from resident writer, Jacob Wick, out of our collective hive mind. Please send any and all answers to badatsports@gmail.com. CC Wick.
  • Five Steps to Performative Lectures at Defibrillator
    Sid Branca brings us deep into her brain during the closing performances for Thomas Friel and Dao Nguyen. We can’t wait to see what Branca brings back from her trip to Milwaukee to cover MarKEt/FORWARD.
  • Echo: Jackie Saccoccio at C v. D
    Kevin Blake’s poetic and effervescent review of Saccoccio’s opening muses echos themselves and on the paintings as dialogue between the artist, the viewer and the artists again.
  • Double Duty in Atlanta:
    Eric Asobe asks “If someone slips on a banana peel in a forest and no one sees it, does anyone laugh?” in his review of Pratfal Tramps at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Meanwhile, Meredith Kooi got “Lifted” in her interview with community organizers Clint Fluker, Nasim Mahboubi Fluker, Miriam Denard.
  • Mobility in In the Absence of a Body and Cuban Virtualities
    In her first post for the blog, Vanessa Gravenor asks “Is liberation a blessing, or a curse?”. Turns out when you’re talking about Cuban artists the answer isn’t very simple.

Header image features work by our newest most favorite artist, Mika Horibuchi, in her exhibition View with a Room with work by Dan Rizzo-Orr at Heaven Gallery. Killer exhibition. On view through May 3rd.

Got any T? email me!
(or get @ me on twitter)

Seriously! We want to hear from you now more than ever as we transition into managing the Bad at Sports blog!


The Weatherman Report

Pond Weeds #34, 2014, unique color photograph, frame, 38 x 30 inches, Ed. 1 of 1 + 1AP by Jessica Labatte. On view at Western Exhibitions until April 25th.

Local Art Org Experiencing Seriously Major News Week

How will Chicago deal? After 15 years in Chicago, with 12 at the helm of Chicago’s beloved Threewalls, Chi’s favorite bespectacled Canadian (sore-ry Duncan), Shannon Stratton has finally caught the NYC bug. As that Yankee outlet reported last week, Stratton will join the Museum of Art and Design as their Chief Curator in June. On the bright side, her departure is probably the most simultaneous exposure Chicago’s had in major art news outlets like ever.

Of course, it’s not Stratton’s style to just up and leave in the middle of the night one night stand style. Her outgoing initiatives at Threewalls are some of the organization’s most ambitious to date. In particular, a fundraiser for the fourth edition of PHONEBOOK (a biennial-ish directory of independent and noncommercial art spaces, programming, and projects throughout the United States) just launched this week. New this year is a stretch goal to create the Phonebook App, which I really REALLY hope gets funded (in other words, give it $ up y’all!). To us, the app seems like the natural expression of the PHONEBOOK project, and would enable users to find and add alternative art venues in real time and space via their smart phone. But, y’know, don’t take my word for it, Stratton and now-Interim Director, Abby Statinsky, make a much more compelling case in their promo video:

As if that wasn’t enough to hold you over, Stratton also recently announced her final mega-event with Threewalls, NEON DREAMS, on May 29th. Everyone within earshot of this blog is already very aware of Threewalls ability to throw a bangin party, but we can’t help but mention the triumphant return of Patti Spliff (aka the most gorgeous Sailor Moon-esque queen we’ve ever seen). We challenge you to plan a more exciting going away party than this one.

Stratton’s last curatorial effort at Threewalls, Fraser Taylor’s Orchid/Dirge, opens this Friday evening from 6-9PM.

T around Town

Taking on the editorship of Bad at Sports has been interesting (to say the least) it’s also led us to neglect this little ole column, but like suburbanites on St. Paddy’s Day, WTT? is back! Between Kanye, Chuy and Shannon, shit has just been too OOC lately. We couldn’t help ourselves.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been work to talk about in the meantime. A few moments stick out: EJ Hills’ Form Fit lecture at Gallery 400 in January, Meghan Moe Beitiks’s exhibition on the Fermilab at Water Street Studios, and Third Object’s Mossy Cloak at Roots & Culture. With the beginning of Spring flirtations and the 500th episode of the B@S podcast in the can (miss you already, Rich), we’re looking forward to catching up and walking outside with less than 6 layers on! Here are some of our more recent spring awakenings:

Smart Museum Opening

Visitors at the opening of the Smart Museum’s Objects and Voices around Antony Gormley’s Infinite Cube (2014)

Kayla Guthrie performs songs from her album Blue inside the Contemporary Art Daily offices on March 16th.

If you haven’t seen this little gem of an exhibition, go see Gordon Matta-Clark’s Circus at Rhona Hoffman, before the show closes April 18th. The images are from Matta-Clark’s last sculptural building cutting before his untimely death in 1978. Oh yeah, and it just happens to be the old MCA building on Ontario, NBD (wait, YBD).

Really enjoyed Alfredo Salazar-Caro’s Border Crossing Simulator Beta in the recently closed EXODUS exhibition at the Arts Incubator in Hyde Park.

If loving camouflage is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. If you missed Mossy Cloak curated by up-and-coming collective Third Object, well shame on you. You can make it up at the opening of the collabo’s newest exhibition, Were the Eye Not Sunlike, this Friday night (4/3) at Fernway Gallery. The exhibition continues online at ACREtv.org, so there’s really no excuse this time.

Kind of really feeling these dyed worked by Cody Tumblin (best name or what?) on view now at Devening Projects. His and Angharad Davies (also very worthwhile, but difficult to photograph) work is also on view through April 18th.

Was really excited to get a glimpse into what Alberto Aguilar is cooking up with Laura Shaeffer at her new art space in the former O’Gara and Wilson book store in Hyde Park. We shared a lovely afternoon over lunch talking about the possibilities and history of the space. And heard Regin Igloria is already hosting book binding classes in the space.

USA Fellows Gather at the W Hotel in Chicago

Stars Align for Artists Assembly

Have you ever thought about how much cooler art panels would be if you were sitting elbow to elbow with acclaimed artists like Ann Hamilton and Wangechi Mutu? Sounds like some sort of weird art historian dream, but that pretty much sums up our experience last Tuesday at the Artists Assembly, hosted by United States Artists at the W Hotel on Lakeshore. The Assembly had everything we needed for a day of arts engagement. The space was impeccable, coffee was readily available, and USA’s gorgeous program schedule featured a very useful facebook (the analog kind). We were impressed to see our good friend Todd King’s name listed as its designer.

Mark Bradford fields a question during the morning’s “Creative Conversation”.

Tuesday morning started off with an introduction from USA Director, Carolina García Jayaram, and a conversation on Artists and Developers as Community Stabilizers, featuring USA Fellow and Trustee Mark Bradford who spoke on his newly opened Art + Practice Foundation in LA. As you might expect, Bradford was charming and droll, and along with Mitch Cope of Power House Productions, an interesting counterpoint to USA Board Chair, Steve Oliver, a San Francisco Developer.

The rest of the day was filled with panels interspersed with PechaKucha presentations by USA’s extremely diverse group of fellows. I fell in love with the work of Deanna Dikeman, a photographer and ballroom dancer, who showed gripping images of her Midwestern family. Other memorable presentations included 2014 USA Rockefeller Dance Fellow, d. Sabela Grimes’ rousing afro-futurist one man show, and home team heroes, Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson, presentation of a usually unusual telling of the collaborative work of Every house has a door.

Ann Hamilton and Candida Alvarez at the Artists Assembly closing event.

Weirdly (or maybe no so weirdly) our favorite moments of the conference took place in between presentations in hallways, bathrooms and the like. Elevator conversations with Visual Arts Fellows Willie Birch and Ann Hamilton (who also serves on USA’s Board) were major highlights. We had a splendid time discussing Kansas City with Deanna Dikeman (of ballroom fame) and Esther Park (of Youngarts in Miami) over lunch. Meeting Darryl Montana (aka Big Chief Yellow Pocahontas) of New Orleans at the end of the days program was beyond major. The Chief gave us a short primer on the history of the Black Indians, and his family’s involvement going back six (!) generations. His latest costume, a white triple crowned ensemble that would put any drag queen to shame, was nothing sort of immaculate.

USA CEO Carolina García Jayaram and Kristen Kaza of No Small Plans looking way too fab at the AA closing event.

Due to prior obligations, we unfortunately had to miss the tours of the Poetry and Rebuild Foundations and the closing party (which social media tells us featured MANY disco balls), but we’re already planning our outfits for next years’ Artists Assembly in Miami!


THERE’S A LOT GOING ON HERE:THE WOMEN’S CENTER FOR CREATIVE WORK

March 31, 2015 · Print This Article

Guest post by Crystal Baxley.

 

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles!

After 17 years, I’ve recently relocated to Los Angeles from Portland. It’s not fucking easy[1]; but I’m generally really stoked on the whole thing. I’ve got a lot to learn about L.A. art, and there’s a hole in B@S L.A. coverage – so here we are, together.
You might know me from my years helping to organize Open Engagement. By “know me” I mean if you ever attended Open Engagement while it was at Portland State University, you might have seen me running around with some kind of clipboard, some number of days into a blowout. (I had several kinds of clipboards, but never time to wash my hair during the conference.) I work part-time[2] as the Studio Manager to an amazing pair of artists, I focused on Art and Social Practice for my BFA, and I co-created Songs on Conceptual Art, the L.A. release party of which Christopher Knight called a joke created to dis the project’s inspiration, John Baldessari (THX, DUDE) and Getting to Know You(Tube).

The weirdness of trying to get acquainted with and eventually participate in a new art scene is next level. The weirdness of trying to make new friends as an adult is ultra next level. So to find an arts related venture that addresses both of these current life dilemmas for me is really exciting. I found out about the Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW) from another recent Portland transplant, and it is an immensely encouraging endeavor for me as an artist, a feminist, and someone who is looking for opportunities to get out of the house[3] and start this new life.

 

But first, some history:
The Woman’s Building (1973 – 1991)

Doin It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building, part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980, was an exhibition at OTIS that extended into two publications and public events that documented, contextualized and payed tribute to the “groundbreaking work of feminist artists and art cooperatives that were centered in and around the Los Angeles Woman’s Building in the 1970s and 1980s.”

 

The Woman’s Building was founded in 1973 by artist Judy Chicago, art historian Arlene Raven, and designer Sheila Lerant de Bretteville as a public center for women’s culture with art galleries, classrooms, workshops, performance spaces, bookstore, travel agency, and café – all dedicated to women’s culture. At the time, it was described as ‘a special place where women can learn, work, explore, develop their own point of view and share it with everyone. Women of every age, race, economic group, lifestyle and sexuality are welcome. (Meg Linton, 2011, p. 11)


 

Women’s Center for Creative Work logo

Women’s Center for Creative Work logo

The Women’s Center for Creative Work (2013 – NOW)

Inspired by the rich history of the Woman’s Building presented at Doin’ It in Public, The Women’s Center for Creative Work was founded in 2013 by artist Katie Bachler, graphic designer Kate Johnston, and producer Sarah Williams. Bachler, Johnston, and Williams were galvanized by the energy of the exhibition and the subsequent responses they were receiving from female peers when asked about creating a creative-woman-centered initiative. Starting with a dinner in the desert with 60 of their closest female-identifying friends, Bachler, Johnston, and Williams have only been expanding their endeavor, which currently has over 1,400 members.

In their own words:

The Women’s Center for Creative Work is a collaboration of Los Angeles-based women engaged in conversations about creative practices and contemporary feminisms of all kinds. We represent a network of women interested in supporting each other socially, creatively and economically and building the structures (physical and transcendental) that maximize connectivity and empower us collectively. The organization has existed nomadically through events, workshops, conversations, screenings, residencies, collaborations, and site-specific projects for over a year, and is looking to establish a permanent, physical home base beginning in early 2015.

Rather than propagate a set system of beliefs, the WCCW acts as a hub for a powerful network of feminist groups in Los Angeles, each with their own agendas. We don’t all have the same wants and needs. What we share is a sisterhood with our fellow feminists, regardless of gender. We stand in solidarity, together, no matter how each of our current projects differ.

Our network is tiered with multiple ways to engage –sharing studio space, working together at long tables, hosting events and conversations, participating in Women’s Dinners, being part of the economic network. When we stand together we are powerful force of feminists across L.A. and beyond, a place from which a culture of support, equality and inclusivity can be nurtured and grow, where we can all find power in a collaborative structure, to redefine value in our community at large.

 

“Exquisite Collage” making at the LA Art Book Fair

“Exquisite Collage” making at the LA Art Book Fair

 

So far the WCCW has hosted workshops on welding, ceramics, and grant writing, just to name a few. WCCW co-organized L.A.’s most recent Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at LACMA, and had a booth at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair with publications from their own projects and programming, alongside a community marketplace for members to distribute their own publications and Rad Ladies in Residence: “a rotating cast of special guests in casual conversation and site specific projects”. In August of 2014 they had a residency at Echo Chamber, with programming including a Worker in Residence program and a weekly Feminist Film Series.

Untitled

Nodes

The organizers of the WCCW want to say “YES”. They want to support as many projects that are in line with their mission as possible; to be as many places as they can. Down to just two (volunteer) administrators, often the most they can do is acknowledge the numerous emails they receive proposing ideas and detailing projects from other L.A. based creators with the response that what you are doing or want to do sounds cool – and you should do it. The WCCW supports that you want to do that, and here are some ideas for people or places that might be interested in doing that with you, too.

 

One Axe Plays

One Axe is an incubator and quarterly showcase of emerging women playwrights and directors. Ranging from absurdist comedies and serious monologues to tragedies and melodramas, the plays we produce pride themselves on high-quality innovation with a low budget. We strip down to the barest and most essential elements—writers, actors, and directors—to allow our playwrights room to experiment and workshop their ideas. We encourage audience interaction. We encourage spontaneity and fun. We encourage anything you feel you can’t do in another theater, but, mostly, we encourage women. We want to live up to our motto: Sharp. Singular. Plays. And we want you to join us.

 

Feminist Library on Wheels

The Feminist Library On Wheels (F.L.O.W.) is a multimedia collection of feminist texts, artifacts and ephemera made available to as diverse an audience as possible, by bicycle. The collection is created exclusively by donation, asking the community share the resources it believes are important to feminist dialogue.

 

Feminist Reading Group

The Feminist Reading Group, which meets bimonthly in NE Los Angeles, is a community working to understand ourselves, the worlds we occupy, and the texts we read in deep, truthful, respectful, and joyful ways. The Group explores many themes: feminist histories, race, class, gender, space, sexuality, art-making, culture, creative practices, relationship, conflict, globalism, family, colonialism, media, aging, work, organizing, reading, politics, writing, activism, and technology, among others. Members are invited to participate in an open process of sharing, to be generous and honest with ourselves and others through our thoughts and actions, when speaking and when listening. We are committed to making this space safe; it is not like a class or other institutional structure, based on hierarchies of knowledge or experience. We don’t convert or correct each other — each person’s agency is protected. We support and celebrate our different forms of creativity, expression, and expertise. All who wish to join us in this spirit are welcome.

 

The group meets every other Wednesday at Otherwild, with a new second group currently operating out of a member’s home on Thursdays to accommodate varying schedules. I attended a Wednesday meeting in February to discuss We Should All Be Feminists, and it felt great to be in a space with others and openly discuss how Beyoncé’s use of a sample of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Tedx Talk in the ***Flawless video feels problematic in the catchiest way.

 

 

Poster by Kate Jones, for Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction results, 2014

Poster by Kate Jones, for Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction results, 2014. Many more posters representing the gender parity of major galleries and institutions in 2014 here.

 

 

MOVING FORWARD (NOW – FOREVER)

Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Its aim is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any particular race or class of women. It does not privilege men over women. It has the power to transform in a meaningful way all of our lives… Feminism as a movement to end sexist oppression directs our attention to systems of domination and the inter-relatedness of sex, race, and class oppression. – bell hooks

 

The feminism of the 1970’s had problems that subsequent generations are still trying to rectify. By focusing so intensely on gender and de facto devaluing the importance of race, class, culture, ethnicity, religion, culture, age, ability, and sexuality, the Woman’s Building’s approach to creating a “community” for all women was inherently flawed. The founders of the WCCW acknowledge these shortcomings, and closely examine what it is about the Woman’s Building that is helpful to take with them moving forward. The feminism of the WCCW is an intersectional one; working in opposition to the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy[4] and welcoming cis women, trans women, intersex persons, and those who identify as genderqueer, often alongside male allies.

The WCCW is committed to privileging the experiences and elevating the work of women. That being said, we are not interested in promoting gender as a binary experience and welcome anyone into the community who is interested in approaching the creative experience through a feminist lens. We are sometimes interested in experimenting with women-only spaces and welcome anyone who identifies within that range to take part. In general, however, most of our events, programming, and projects are welcoming to anyone of any gender who is interested in being a member of our community.
It’s hard to have gender continue to be such a marked form of oppression[5]. It hurts my bones to think about it. But it’s so important to think about it, and it’s more important to think about it together. The WCCW is working to do that; to build a supportive, creative, “enabling architecture” in this giant dystopian concrete mass. I’m in L.A. to take some new chances, to have some new conversations, and to do some new things with new people. I feel like the WCCW can support me in those endeavors, and maybe they can support you in yours, too, or connect you with someone who can! If you’re in LA[6], keep an eye out for the opening of WCCW’s long-awaited and very considered physical space in the near future; until then, you can still become a member online and/or sign up for these upcoming events:

 

Digital Archiving Workshop, April 25th ($20 members/$25 non-members) (See you there!)

Bookkeeping for Creatives, Tuesdays from April 21 – June 23rd ($450 members/$550 non-members)

 

Website: http://womenscenterforcreativework.com

IG: https://instagram.com/womenscenterforcreativework/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/womenscenterforcreativework
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WCCWLA

 


[1] Do you know anyone hiring?

[2] If you know anyone hiring HMU

[3] (S/O to Popcorn Time <3 <3 <3)

[4] http://garconniere.tumblr.com/post/5548519811/why-white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy

[5] Many voices point to the existence of gender altogether as limiting and/or oppressive

[6] Let’s hang out!