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Otis College of Art and Design to Mount Exhibition Doin’ It In Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building
Retrospective on the Pioneering Work of Feminist Artists, Art Cooperatives at Los Angeles Woman’s Building to Open October 2011
LOS ANGELES – June 16, 2010 – Otis College of Art and Design, with financial support from The Getty Foundation, is in the final stages of organizing the much-anticipated exhibition, Doin’ It In Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building, to be held Oct. 1, 2011–Jan. 28, 2012 at Ben Maltz Gallery. The gallery show, catalog and supporting public events will document, contextualize and pay 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. Doin’ It In Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building is part of The Getty Foundation’s larger initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 which, through an unprecedented series of concurrent exhibitions throughout Southern California, highlights the significance of art in Los Angeles in the post-World War II decades. The Getty Foundation awarded Otis College of Art and Design two grants totaling $225,000 for this exhibition and a scholarly catalog on the art and artists of the Woman’s Building circa 1975.
Project directors for the Doin’ It in Public exhibition are Meg Linton, director of Galleries and Exhibitions at Otis College, and artist Sue Maberry, director of Library and Instructional Technology at Otis College. Maberry was also program director at the Woman’s Building from 1979-1988. “The feminist art movement of the 1970s set off an explosion of art making and analysis that still reverberates in the art world today, and the Woman's Building in Los Angeles was one of the major centers of activity,” says Maberry. Founded in 1973 by artist Judy Chicago, graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven, the Woman’s Building pioneered new models of feminist education, advanced new processes for building community, and posited a feminist art that “raises consciousness, invites dialogue, and transforms culture.” From 1973 to 1991 the Woman’s Building housed and supported the creation of highly original works in performance, graphics, literature, video and visual arts, and presented some of the leading women artists of the time, including muralist Judy Baca, artist Betye Saar, performance artist Suzanne Lacy, comedian and actor Lily Tomlin, and authors Kate Millett and Alice Walker, among others.
A prestigious team of scholars has been assembled to contribute essays to the Doin’ It in Public exhibition catalog and provide curatorial advice. The project scholars are Vivien Fryd, professor of art history, Vanderbilt University; Alexandra Juhasz, professor in media studies, Claremont Graduate University; Jennie Klein, assistant professor of art history, Ohio University; Michelle Moravec, assistant professor of history, Rosemont College; Jennifer Sorkin, curatorial associate, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University. One major component of Doin’ It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building will be the focus on the importance of collaborative work that was developed, taught and executed at the Woman’s Building. Collaborative groups and art collaborations are difficult to present and are often neglected in exhibition because they can be too complex - an issue the Woman’s Building exhibition will address.
“The artists, artifacts, and art selected for this project reinforce the profound impact the Woman’s Building had on the feminist art movement,” says Linton, “and will create a strong visual and educational experience for the show’s visitors.” According to the organizers, the goal of Doin’ It In Public is to enhance the audience’s experience by enabling each viewer to fully comprehend the significant impact the Woman’s Building had on the Los Angeles art community, and also how it relates to other Pacific Standard Time exhibitions of the same timeframe. “Otis College is particularly pleased to present this retrospective on the Woman’s Building,” says Otis President Samuel Hoi, “because Otis has a strong connection to so many of the women artists who established this seminal art center in the 1970s.” Suzanne Lacy is the current chair of Graduate Public Practice at Otis College of Art and Design; Sheila Levrant de Bretteville founded the graphic design program at Otis in 1981; Cynthia Marsh was chair of Otis Communication Arts in the late 1980s and early 1990s; artist Betye Saar taught at Otis in the early 1980s, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1992.
An opening reception will be held at the gallery from 4–7p.m. Oct. 1, 2011. Additional information on Doin’ It In Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building is available by calling (310) 665-6905 or online at http://www.otis.edu/public_programs/ben_maltz_gallery. The Woman’s Building website is at http://www.womansbuilding.org/. Detailed information on Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945- 1980 can be found at http://www.getty.edu/foundation/.
Media inquiries, please contact Sheri Mobley