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Women’s Art at the Nash Gallery, MCAD, and St. Kate’s, 2013-14

During January and February 2013, The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now, curated by Joyce Lyon and Howard Oransky, filled the 5,000 square foot Katherine E. Nash Gallery and the fourth floor T.R. Anderson Gallery in the Wilson Library with a sampling and survey of some of the artists, themes and organizations that originated, shaped and continue to influence feminist – and mainstream — art movements in the United States. The exhibition was historical and contemporary. All the artists included in The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now were involved in the founding of one or more feminist art programs or organizations during the 1970s. While it is not possible for the exhibition to be a complete survey of all artists, organizations or themes associated with the history of the feminist art movements, it celebrates the fortieth anniversary of this important epoch, explores the geographical diversity of the women’s art movements, and locates the Minnesota story within a national context. The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now also celebrates the collecting of feminist art in Minnesota by including artworks from the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, and the Weisman Art Museum.

Elizabeth Erickson and Patricia Olson direct the Women’s Art Institute, a four-week intensive studio program at St. Catherine University. Erickson and Olson founded the Institute at MCAD in 1999, and have co-taught every year since except 2012, when the two artists took a year off to write a book about WAI. Upon Erickson’s retirement from MCAD, the program moved to St. Kate’s in 2013.

11/28/12 Joyce Lyon
Joyce Lyon is a professor of Art at the University of Minnesota and was a founding member of the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota (WARM). She is the recipient of three Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships as well as a Jerome/MCBA grant. Her work is in public and private collections nationally, including the Florida Holocaust Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center and the Weisman Art Museum. Her particular interests include the significance of place and art and the Holocaust. Professor Lyon was also a convener of the IAS’s Mapping Spectral Traces Collaborative.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

2/1/13 Elizabeth Erickson and Patricia Olson
Erickson and Olson talk about their work teaching the Women’s Art Institute and their book project dealing with the experiences of the Institute’s participants.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

2/7/13 Joyce Lyon, Howard Oransky, and Christina Michelon
Lyon and Oransky talk about the origins of the women’s art movement in Minnesota, then Joyce Lyon and graduate student Christina Michelon talk about a collection of ephemera recalling the same.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

2/9/13 Sandra Menefee Taylor and Linda Gammell
Gammel and Taylor talk about their collaborative project Roots of Renewal, based on oral histories dealing with citywide food systems, and its manifestation in the WARM Gallery.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

Feb. 2014 WARM Gallery Tour, with Joyce Lyon & Howard Oransky
Lyon and Oransky talk about The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now. They present many of the installation’s pieces, and talk about some of the artists, themes and organizations that originated, shaped and continue to influence feminist – and mainstream — art movements in the United States.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

7/10/14 Jodie Ahern
Jodie Ahern talks about her artwork, her involvement in the 2013 Women’s Art Institute, her rediscovery of feminist art, and her renewed artistic drive. She exhibits three pieces she produced while at the Institute. She thinks about the future of her art practice.

Available for download as audio, podcast video, or original.

7/10/14 Kristin Hoelsher-Schacker
Kristin Hoelsher-Schacker talks about her family, her early interest in art and theater, and her choice of fiber as a medium. She discusses her involvement in the 2013 Women’s Art Institute and exhibits three pieces she produced while at the Institute. She thinks about the future of her art practice.

Available for download as audio, podcast video, or original.

7/10/14 Linda Levin
Linda Levin talks about the origins of her artmaking and her involvement in the 2011 and 2013 Women’s Art Institutes. She identifies a need in the art world for more recognition of women’s work. She exhibits four pieces she produced at the 2013 Institute which draw from landscapes and natural objects. She thinks about the future of her art practice.

Available for download as audio, podcast video, or original.

7/10/14 Justine DiFiore
Justine DiFiore talks about how she came to consider herself an artist. She exhibits a portrait of photographer Wing Young Huie she produced at the 2013 Women’s Art Institute. She discusses her affinity for portraiture and what she considers valuable and authentic in her work. She thinks about the future of her art practice.

Available for download as audio, podcast video, or original.

7/10/14 Dakota Hoska
Dakota Hoska talks about how she came to consider herself an artist and her involement in the 2013 Women’s Art Institute. She talks about some ideas from feminist art theory which inform her work, the future of her art practice, and she exhibits three pieces she produced at the Institute.

Available for download as audio, podcast video, or original.

1/15/14 Elizabeth Erickson and Patricia Olson
Erickson and Olson discuss their reasons for founding the Women’s Art Insitute in 1999 at MCAD, recalling an atmosphere increasingly hostile towards women students after the women’s movements of the 60s-70s and their belief in the same-sex classroom as an environment where women students’ “perceptual field can really gain power”. They describe the Institute’s format and the participant experience, beginning with sessions of open questioning, sharing of work, responsive writing, intensive listening, exploratory drawings, and one-on-one tutorials. They recall some surprising new directions in participants’ work. They describe intergenerational dynamics and varying attitudes towards feminism. They discuss how they supplement studio work with poetry, field trips, guest speakers, female art history, banqueting, and critique. They mention a retrospective exhibition and think about the Institute’s overall value to participants.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

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