This week: We talk to Maud Lavin about her most recent book and more!
Lifted from elsewhere:
In the past, more often than not, aggressive women have been rebuked, told to keep a lid on, turn the other cheek, get over it. Repression more than aggression was seen as woman’s domain. But recently there’s been a noticeable cultural shift. With growing frequency, women’s aggression is now celebrated in contemporary culture—in movies and TV, online ventures, and art. In Push Comes to Shove, Maud Lavin examines these new images of aggressive women and how they affect women’s lives.
Aggression, says Lavin, is necessary, large, messy, psychological, and physical. Aggression need not entail causing harm to another; we can think of it as the use of force to create change—fruitful, destructive, or both. And over the past twenty years, contemporary culture has shown women seizing this power. Lavin chooses provocative examples to explore the complexity of aggression: the surfer girls in Blue Crush; Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect; the homicidal women in Kill Bill and artist Marlene McCarty’s mural-sized Murder Girls; the erotica of Zane and the art of Kara Walker; the group dynamics of artists (including the artists group Toxic Titties) and activists; and YouTube videos of a woman boxer training and fighting.
Women need aggression and need to use it consciously, Lavin writes. With Push Comes to Shove, she explores the crucial questions of how to manifest aggression, how to represent it, and how to keep open a cultural space for it.
In this week’s pick we check out Kara Walker discussing her piece Fibbergibbet and Mumbo Jumbo: Kara E. Walker in Two Acts created at Fabric Workshop in 2004. The installation consists of one of Walker’s first videos. In this video she discusses the move from flat works to installations and incorporating a moving image.
“The installation consists of a theatrical stage set made of a cloth backdrop on which a landscape has been painted in washes of coffee and pigment. Before the backdrop stands the painted wooden silhouettes of willow trees and a signpost, which bears a series of aphorisms which are either misleading, or dead ends in their own right. From behind the backdrop, a fiery light casts the shadows of Walker’s characters against the painted landscape as her narrative unfolds beneath a spirited moon.”
For more on this video please check out Fabric Workshop’s site.
As part of the University of Chicago’s Artspeaks program, Kara Walker will talk with associate professor of history Amy Dru Stanley. Click the link above for full details; tickets are $20 to general public, $5 to students with i.d.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | 7:30 pm
Kent Hall, Room 107
University of Chicago
1020 E. 58th Street
From the University’s website:
“Walker will reflect on her work in a presentation and dialogue with Amy Dru Stanley, Associate Professor, Department of History, who’s research and teaching focus on capitalism, slavery and emancipation, and the historical experience of moral problems.
Known for exploring the raw intersection of race, gender and sexuality, Kara Walker unleashes the traditionally proper Victorian medium of the silhouetted figure. Her installations create a theatrical space in which her unruly cut-paper characters fornicate and inflict violent acts upon one another. With one foot in the historical realism of slavery and the other in the fantastical space of the romance novel, Walker’s nightmarish fictions simultaneously seduce and implicate its audience. A 1997 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award and a 2008 United States Artists Fellow, Kara Walker’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Walker lives in New York where she is on the faculty of the MFA program at Columbia University.”