Published: January 11, 2011
For years, the prevailing belief has been that following the identity-based artwork of the late 1960s and early 1970s, progressive women artists put aside their differences with men to help them reveal how the mass media and global capitalism control visual culture. But a new exhibition, “The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure the Signs of Power, 1973‱991,” organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, shows that the role of women artists has long been undervalued in accounts of that work. On view from January 15 to April 3, the exhibition is a survey of leading women artists that examines the crucial feminist contribution to the development of deconstructivism in the 1970s and 1980s.
As the term suggests, deconstructivism involved taking apart and examining source material, generally borrowed from the mass media, to expose the ways commercial images revealed the mechanisms of power. Women had a particularly high stake in this kind of examination and were disproportionately represented among artists who practiced it. Identifying gender bias at work in movie, television, advertising and mainstream journalism, as well as in curatorial practice, is a theme that flows throughout the work in this compelling show.
Included in the exhibition are 68 photographs, prints, paintings, videos and installations by 21 artists and one artist’s collaborative. The artists are Judith Barry, Dara Birnbaum, Barbara Bloom, Sarah Charlesworth, the Guerrilla Girls, Susan Hiller, Lynn Hershman, Jenny Holzer, Deborah Kass, Mary Kelly, Silvia Kolbowski, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Lorna Simpson, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Sturtevant, Carrie Mae Weems and Hannah Wilke.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 176-page, hardcover book that surveys the work of the artists included, and places them in cultural and historical context.
The exhibition will travel to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from August 25 through December 5, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston from February 11 to April 29, 2012.
The museum has planned several special events in conjunction with the exhibition, including a special presentation on February 10 by “Guerrilla Girls,” a panel discussion on March 17 and an artist’s conversation with Deborah Kass on March 24.
The museum is at 735 Anderson Hill Road. For information, 914-251-6100 or www.Neuberger.org .
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