They have autonomy, they are not marionettes

from Emma’s presentation on art and feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, March 30th 2008.

There is good news: young women artists are revolutionary. They are making works that deal fervently with gender and sexuality, that deconstruct beauty standards, that unveil the veiled. They revel in the grotesque, the cosmetic, celebrity culture. They poke fun at themselves. They show us their obsession with the “feminine”, but it is pop essentialism, deadpan gender. They do not care if you think they are vapid sluts, clad in designer trends. They look with a female gaze, they have autonomy, they are not marionettes. They are, indeed, artists who are feminists. Young women thinkers will say they are gender revolutionary before they are feminist-identified, and just as they seek to explode the binaries of sex, they mix-media and ideology, creating a patchwork of consciousness that is as thoroughly contemporary as it is politically feminist.

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3 thoughts on “They have autonomy, they are not marionettes

  1. Oh, I don’t know. There’s plenty of vapidity here. I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which has been turned into the next “art-colonialized” neighborhood. The demand for upscale shops and services guarantees that the neighborhood’s character is altered permanently, and they have no relationship with women’s issues of the poor, working poor, immigrant women who deal with survival issues every single day. It would be nice is some Pop Essentialists could manage to say Hello to the mother on the street, instead of looking askance at the “locals” who happen to have lived here during high-crime the years when said Pop Essentialists’ parents would have never allowed them to reside here.Sorry to get all worked up about this, but some of look at this as simply more vapid hipster irony, and at its core, a cover for what is clearly a Republican/Conservative economic stance.

  2. Follow-up: Emma’s words are not wrong in the context of her whole presentation, but in my previous comments I wanted to highlight the clear and extreme class divisions that exist in an area where some of these artists practice. There are many who help out in the neighborhood, but it would be great to see some cultural walls breached.My heart goes out to Charles and Susan. As the parent of a teenager, I know this is the scariest thought that can run through a parent’s mind. Strength to them.

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