P.S. 1 Hosts 'Wack!—Real Women Have Oeuvres

A vast, retrospective look at the roots of feminist art

One of feminism's most profound legacies is the erosion of the boundaries between art and life, which remains with us today in the confessional art of Tracey Emin or Sophie Calle, or even the performances of Matthew Barney. In 1968, the artist Léa Lublin, for example, invited the public to witness her cooing to and caring for her seven-month-old son as part of an art exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. (The baby, in pictures, looks very happy.) Suzanne Lacy made a fascinating series of drawings detailing, with maps and texts, the nights she spent learning about "the life" with prostitutes in Los Angeles and San Francisco. And as a young wife and mother, Sylvia Plimack Mangold painted the dirty clothes piled on her studio floor. (Behind the revolution, some '70s female once remarked, there is always the laundry.)

Just how far we've traveled since those times might be measured by the fact that the female contender for the Democratic presidential nomination is perceived as the establishment candidate. (Certainly the prestige of the office of president must be seriously compromised if a woman has a serious shot at it.) But some things almost never change: It's nearly impossible, for example, to imagine this show being staged across the river, at P.S. 1's Manhattan affiliate, the Museum of Modern Art.

Boxed in? Kirsten Justesen, Sculpture II, 1968
Courtesy of the artist/Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen/Artists Rights Society
Boxed in? Kirsten Justesen, Sculpture II, 1968


'Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution'
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City
Through May 12

Instead, the artists of "Wack!" remain in the schoolhouse. But their contemporaries might well take a lesson from them.

« Previous Page