Performing Women, Then and Now

Posted by: Judith Tannenbaum

By Judith Tannenbaum, 2007

Included here by permission from the author, duplication is not permitted.

It is not coincidental that the hybrid genre known as “performance art” came of age in the 1970s, just as the feminist movement reached full swing. Precursors, produced by both men and women, go back at the very least to John Cage’s experimental compositions, the Gutai artists’ Actions and exhibitions, and the Happenings of Allan Kaprow in the ’50s, as well as the events of the Fluxus artists and Judson Memorial Church Dance Theater in the early ’60s. But the visibility and influence of artists in the U.S. and other parts of the world who concentrated on performance or incorporated it into their work in video, photography, painting, and sculpture increased considerably in the ’70s, at the same time that women mobilized to pursue equal rights both at home and in the workplace. Following on the heels of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests of the ’60s, women in the U.S., in particular, felt empowered to step out of the shadows and seek greater authority over their lives—personally, professionally, economically, politically, and performatively. In an apt transference from everyday life and politics to art, the urgency of the feminist movement infused the live-action art of the moment to express their mutual goals. In the decades since, the synchronicity between performance art and women’s empowerment, like the waves of feminism itself, has waxed and waned, and today women artists embrace performance from remarkably diverse perspectives.

A surge of performance art by women began in the ’60s, with now canonical performances such as Carolee Schneemann’s Meat Joy (1964), a humorous “erotic rite” or “celebration of flesh as material” replete with dead chickens, sausages, writhing bodies, and pop soundtrack; Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece (1964), during which the artist sat impassively as her clothes were sheared off of her body by audience members; and VALIE EXPORT’s Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969), for which the artist moved through a porn movie house wearing crotchless pants and carrying a gun. Each of these artists and others shed their reticence, their “good” (i.e., ladylike) behavior, not to mention their clothes, in favor of a more activist and public stance. Diverging from abstract painting and sculpture, the dominant modes of the ’50s and early ’60s, they chose new art forms and subject matter that addressed the circumstances and substance of their own lives. Some women performed live in front of an audience while others used the new medium of video, which they could set up easily and inexpensively in their own studios, or text and photography to preserve their actions. The assertiveness, originality, and wit of these early performance pieces is still remarkably fresh and striking today, four decades later. Among the works of the 1970s that have become classics are Schneemann’s ritualistic Interior Scroll (1975), in which the artist painted stripes on her nude body, then slowly pulled a scroll from her vagina and read from it aloud the feminist text about the irreconcilable differences between a male and female artist; Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), a deadpan spoof of both academic posturing and TV cooking shows that exposes the constraints of domesticity; and Joan Jonas’s performance videos Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy and Organic Honey’s Vertical Roll (1972) in which the artist explored multiple points of view and simultaneity as well as the process of image-making, live and on screen.

Although many of the first generation of women performance artists continued to perform, second-generation performance artists gained prominence, most memorably during the “culture wars” of the early ’90s, when Holly Hughes and Karen Finley, who was vilified in the national press as “the chocolate-smeared woman,” were among the notorious “NEA Four” denied grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. During the next decade or so, performance art by women (and in general) seemed to fade into the background —perhaps as a result of greater emphasis on photo/text work and didacticism connected with the rise of identity politics and multiculturalism in the ‘90s. In the past several years, however, with the emergence of younger women performance artists and collectives, such as Tamy Ben-Tor, Sharon Hayes, and LTTR, it is clear that a resurgence is afoot. The ascendance of contemporary performance artists, young women in particular—along with a concurrent rise of exhibitions surveying historic and contemporary feminist art—prompts a number of timely questions: How is performance art by women artists different (and differently viewed) today compared with that practiced by seminal 1970s artists? How does the new generation of women artists working with performance relate to earlier performance art? How does feminism color the history and achievements of both periods? What defines the work as feminist (or not) for the artists and for those who view and interpret it?

Before launching into these issues, the very term “performance art,” long disputed and ill-defined, calls for some clarification. The first use of the term appears to be unattributed, though it was used in relation to live-action, cross-disciplinary works starting in the early ’70s, and is now applied to proto-performance works of the ’60s as well. Several criteria are key to the genre: Performance art is interdisciplinary or multimedia, incorporating sound, movement, text, or action in addition to visual elements; it is usually ephemeral and not often repeated as a scripted play or traditional theater piece would be; and most often the artist who conceives and directs the work is also the sole or most prominent performer. Further, performance art tends to exist outside the bounds of established artistic traditions, as art historian Josephine Withers argues: “The very vitality and strength of performance art is its unruliness—whether completely improvisational or tightly choreographed—and its resistance to tidy definitions. Blurring and otherwise problematizing the boundaries between art and life is one of the generating motifs in all performance art.” Indeed, as she points out, performance art can occur just about any place—“in a loft, on a beach, a bridge, a stage, the street, a cave, or it can even involve an entire city.”

While these definitions are relatively sound, “performance art” remains problematic, as some artists question or contest the very term. Martha Wilson, an artist known for political satire (including impersonations of Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, and Tipper Gore) and founder in 1976 of New York’s Franklin Furnace, chooses “body art” over “performance art,” perhaps to better distinguish the rebellious newcomer, which takes place without artifice and in real time, from theater, which, as Wilson notes, aspires to “the willful suspension of disbelief.” Schneemann, too, distinguishes performance art from theater, pointing out that “the origins of what is now called ‘performance art’ were based on invention, spontaneity, viscerality, physicality, uncertainty, [and] chance operations and in contradistinction to perfectible repetition, predictability, and the theatrical conventions associated with the word ‘performance.’(Lions perform in circuses, violinists perform in orchestras, men perform sexually, athletes perform in sports, stock market performs . . .).” Linda Montano, known for her extra-durational art/life projects, contrastingly embraces the term, citing its open-endedness: “I guess that title [performance artist] will hold forever. It is so generous and big and encompassing. I can continue to do these various ‘things’ and still be in the performance art family. For example, I took care of my dad ‘as art’ for seven years.” Ironically, Montano’s observation points to one of the aspects of performance art that has perhaps given it a bad name: the attitude that anything can be art.

A number of artists do not identify themselves as performance artists simply because it is only a part of what they do. Schneemann, despite being so strongly associated with performance, calls herself “a Visual Artist, a painter who has developed both physicalized actions and motion-activated installations to transform actual space.” Janine Antoni, who came of age three decades after Schneemann, calls herself “primarily a sculptor who puts an emphasis on the meaning of making. . . . If I had to adopt a term to define what I do, the ‘performative object’ is the most comfortable category for my work. . . . Many of my objects refer to my body in its absence.” Mika Tajima, a young Japanese-American artist who creates sculptural installations that incorporate sound, video, clothing/costume, and performance, as well as performing with the noise band New Humans, evokes a similar sensibility: “I am more of a sculptor utilizing these performative interventions as a way to de-stabilize the autonomy of objects.” Some artists’ performances aren’t separate and equal or wrapped up in objects, but rather so deeply integrated into a larger work that “performance art” seems too limited a definition. Take, for example, Ann Hamilton’s vast sensory installations, in which the artist herself or surrogates repeatedly perform ritualistic actions.

Defining and claiming performance art is made more complex when you consider its ephemerality and the debated role of documentation as art itself. Peggy Phelan, a leading theorist in the field of performance studies, takes the view that “performance’s only life is in the present. Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documented, or otherwise participate in the circulation of representations of representations: once it does so, it becomes something other than performance.” Others, including myself, would disagree, arguing that with the advent of video, performance art found a way to exist outside of real time and away from a live audience. Many artists, including Rosler, Jonas, Eleanor Antin, Hannah Wilke, and Lynda Benglis, have performed in front of the video camera, using it as a surrogate for the audience as well as a tool. These videos are not documentation of a performance, but the work itself. For a number of significant figures, including Gina Pane, Marina Abramovic, Lygia Clark, Piper, Schneemann, and Antin, the performative action can be preserved not only in video and film, but in still photographs or relic-like objects that are often conceived at the outset of the piece. Cindy Sherman, whose costumed self-portraits are among the best-known photographs of our time, prefers to call herself a performance artist rather than a photographer, even though she does not perform live for an audience.

Abramovic’s “Seven Easy Pieces,” performed at the Guggenheim Museum in November 2005, addressed the issue of ephemerality proactively, simultaneously historicizing and reinvigorating a genre that is based on tenets of non-repeatability. Re-creating seminal performances by several of her pioneering peers, both male and female (Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, EXPORT, and Pane), in addition to two works of her own (one now-classic, and one new), Abramovic was motivated by the demands of preservation: “There’s nobody to keep the history straight . . . I felt almost like, obliged. I felt like I have this function to do it,” she explained. In addition to the pure history-making value of the series, it was significant to see Abramovic, who has stated in various interviews and public forums that she does not identify with feminism, reenact pieces that were conceived and performed specifically by a man. Her reenactment of Acconci’s infamous Seedbed (1972), for which the artist masturbated under the floorboards of the Sonnabend Gallery, changed substantially when performed by a woman under a stage in the Guggenheim rotunda over thirty years later.  The element of surprise was probably missing for most of the attendees, who participated by more overtly spurring the artist on (even though she could not see them) and interacting with one another. As a woman, Abramovic could not produce and spread seed, “a metaphor for creation,” so she thought about generating “moisture and heat.” Her performance lasted seven hours, whereas Acconci’s took place twice a week for six hours a day during the run of his show. Like Acconci, she activated the gallery space by her sexual performance, simultaneously demonstrating both equality and difference between men and women.

Among a younger generation of women artists who are indebted to Abramovic’s work is Patty Chang, whose poignant and discomforting videos are similarly disposed to test the limits of physical and psychological endurance. In Love (2001), a two-channel video in which Chang tearfully eats an onion with both her mother and her father, their mouths pressed up against the onion, suspended between profiles, is a direct response to Abramovic’s The Onion (1996). Where Abramovic is filmed eating a large onion with her head tilted upward—mimicking a universal religious gesture—Chang’s performance addresses her primal, personal relationship with her parents. She uses video technology to play the footage in reverse, so that what appears at first to be an ardent kiss is finally revealed to be the sharing of a provocative fruit. Chang has also referred to Abramovic’s Dragon Heads (1993), an hour-long performance in which the artist sat motionless in a chair with five snakes, including pythons and boa constrictors, slithering on and around her, with Untitled (Eels) (2001), in which eels wriggle under the artist’s shirt. For both artists the simplicity of their actions seems to open up intense feelings of pain and devotion. In Chang’s case, the acts are infused with Chinese cultural references.

Whereas Chang, like Abramovic, seems to limit the role of feminist concerns, other younger women artists uphold the vital strategies of early women performance artists—a focus on the body as subject matter, site, and material for art, the desire to bring art into the streets, and a call for socio-political consciousness. In Loving Care (1993), Janine Antoni mops the floor with her luxurious mane dipped in hair dye, recalling Jackson Pollock’s seminal action paintings of pigment splattered on canvas on the floor and Yves Klein’s use of naked female models as living paint brushes. Loving Care also brings to mind Lynda Benglis’s poured latex floor pieces of the late ’60s and early ’70s, in which she, too, confronted the powerful ghost of Pollock—as if to say, “I’m a young woman artist who can take what’s come before me and make it my own.” For Lick and Lather (1993), Antoni made pairs of self-portrait sculptures by licking the cast chocolate busts and lathering those made of soap, thus subverting centuries of portraiture by questioning who is represented (men, generally) and what is appropriate material and subject matter for representation (marble, or food and cleaning supplies?).

Another young artist who keeps the women’s movement slogan “the personal is political” alive is Sharon Hayes, a lesbian feminist who works in performance, video, and installation, often in public spaces. For in the near future (2005), Hayes stood at nine different locations in New York with nine different protest signs on nine consecutive days. Some of the messages she carried referenced particular historic events or causes such as civil rights marches, the Vietnam War, and the E.R.A., whereas she wrote others herself that related to current events or connected past events to those of today. In photographs of her shot by collaborators, she engages with passersby and police officers, but her expression is deadpan, as she implicitly poses critical big-picture questions about the present political moment such as, What does it mean to protest? What is the role of the individual in our society? and Does revisiting the past help us to understand the present and provide hope for the future? Relying on unsuspecting people encountered in everyday settings to respond to her actions, Hayes continues in the tradition of Adrian Piper and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Piper’s Catalysis series (1970) involved her riding the bus with a towel stuffed in her mouth and shopping at Macy’s with paint-smeared clothing, among other antisocial acts. In her Mythic Being series (1972–75), she adopted the persona of a young black male with a large afro, testing bystanders’ reactions to both gender and race. Ukeles, who for thirty years has been the official artist-in-residence for New York City’s Department of Sanitation, engaged women on the streets of New York’s SoHo and downtown Hartford for her Maintenance Questionnaire, which explored their working lives as housekeepers, wives, mothers, and professionals, and was prompted by her own situation of becoming a mother, maintaining a home, and being an artist at once.

In the ’70s, performance went beyond expression and commentary to become a vehicle for real social and political change in the form of grassroots and consciousness-raising actions. For example, in 1977, Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy staged In Mourning and In Rage at Los Angeles City Hall, a public event that focused on violence and abuse against women to protest the unsatisfactory media coverage of the Hillside strangler murders in Los Angeles. Among younger artists who are similarly politically motivated and forthrightly feminist is LTTR, “a feminist genderqueer artist collective” founded in 2001 by K8 Hardy and Ginger Brooks Takahashi joined by Emily Roysdon and Ulrike Mueller. LTTR produces a journal, performance series, screenings, and collaborative events, and describes itself as “dedicated to highlighting the work of radical communities whose goals are sustainable change, queer pleasure, and critical feminist productivity.” In addition to stimulating and supporting critical thinking and dialogue, LTTR “consistently challenges its own form by shifting shape and design to best respond to contemporary concerns.” This sense of openness connects it to the “anything goes” spirit of performance art in the ’60s and ’70s. Mueller, whose writing and editorial projects, performance, video, and audio work address the spoken language and “the language of the body,” has actively reinvigorated that period. Her curiosity about the now-historic Feminist Art Program (FAP), established at CalArts by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro in 1971, inspired re:tracing, an online archive of letters solicited from students in the FAP about the impact of their participation in the program. Mueller is also the author of Work the Room: A Handbook of Performance Strategies.

Where Hayes and LTTR perpetuate the feminist impulse of women’s performance art, other contemporary women artists have diverged from it quite radically. Vanessa Beecroft and Tamy Ben-Tor, for example, have publicly declared that feminism is irrelevant to them. Beecroft caused quite a stir with her anti-feminist statements at a New Museum program in December 1998 when she said among other things, “My mother was communist, feminist, vegetarian, and everything,” that she herself was against work that “screamed” and did not mind being in a powerless condition. Such sentiments are not surprising from an artist whose work has drawn criticism for being misogynistic and anti-feminist. Blurring the line between fashion and art, Beecroft stages performances that feature a group of “models” who sport high heels, skimpy clothing, affectless facial expressions, and robotic body language—exhibiting a sense of ennui, resignation, purposelessness, and reactionary post-feminist style. After second wave feminists worked so hard to end discrimination and change the stereotypical expectations of what women should look like, how they behave, and what personal and professional goals they can aspire to, Beecroft’s passive mannequins are disturbing to say the least.

Ben-Tor, another lightening rod for controversy, was equally provocative on a multi-generational panel organized and moderated by Roberta Smith in 2006. Ben-Tor polarized the event by disassociating herself from feminism and any other ideology when she said, “It’s fine if it serves the weak, but I don’t feel affiliated with it.” In fact, her participation became talked about as a performance in its own right. Ben-Tor dresses up in wigs, costumes, and make-up (à la Cindy Sherman) to create a range of outrageous characters in live performances and videos such as Women Talk about Adolf Hitler (2004). Here she confronts the camera as a New York Jewish intellectual, a southern Christian fundamentalist, and a neo-Nazi among others, all of whom offer personal opinions and experiences related to Hitler. Much more overtly provocative than Beecroft, Ben-Tor’s caustic impersonations cut deeply into the façade of “normal” behavior to reveal a distasteful and sardonic underside of history, art, and everyday life. Fiercely speaking the unspeakable, she amuses some and offends many (or both) along the way. Ben-Tor has gained both admiration and notoriety in part because of her fearlessness and her irreverent ability to explore the hypocrisy and dishonesty that underlie seemingly mundane experiences as well as major issues of our day—from banal business transactions and phone conversations to the complexities of the Holocaust. While most of the characters she plays are female and her work can even deal directly with women’s issues (for instance the video Girls Beware (2005), which alerts young girls to watch out for older Arab men who might seduce or abduct them), she has said she prefers to take on issues about “humanity” rather than particular groups such as Jews or women.

Emily Sundblad, a visual artist, singer, actress, performance artist and gallerist recognized for her diverse multidisciplinary interests, does not express interest in feminism per se, though she is not explicitly opposed to it like Ben-Tor. In 2004, Sundblad and John Kelsey created Reena Spaulings Fine Art, a Lower East Side storefront art project that has become a successful gallery representing a number of Sundblad and Kelsey’s artist colleagues. (What started out as an alternative to the upscale Chelsea scene has now been embraced by the art world it was seeking to subvert.) Reena Spaulings, who was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, is a fictitious gallerist and artist whose work is often conceived collectively. Sundblad exhibits and performs under this assumed identity as well as under her own name for which the work has been described as raucous, magnetic, and unpredictable.  According to Holland Cotter, “As with the winds of change, you never know the direction she will take. She has no signature. For her, art is a float, not an anchor. In this respect, Sundblad, like her peers, seems influenced by the polymath painter, musician, performance artist, and writer/critic Jutta Koether, who is also affiliated with Reena Spaulings. Even within one discipline, such as painting, Koether’s works are remarkably wide-ranging and unconcerned with consistency of style or craft —embodying instead an all inclusive anything-goes performative approach.
Along with multidisciplinary practice, technology is playing a key role in performative work today, as Martha Wilson notes: “Artists are using technology like fish use water, not like something outside themselves but something in which to swim. Or not! . . . There is a spectrum of practice today between the body of the artist and the body of the [Inter]net and everywhere in between.” Adrian Piper also describes performance art as more diverse than ever before, to the extent that she is better able to describe what it is not than what it is: “Performance art used to refer specifically to self-performance; it no longer does. It used to refer to work that took place specifically within an art world conceptual context; it no longer does. It used to be viewed as an alternative to traditional theater and popular entertainment; it no longer is. It used to be associated specifically with the subversive and transgressive; it no longer is.” Connecting these two thoughts, Michelle Handelman, a media artist whose hybrid projects combine performance, video, photography, and sculpture and who appeared in several films by artist Lynn Hershman-Leeson in San Francisco in the early ’90s, credits advances in technology with reaching a broader audience. Handelman is grateful for the participatory openness of the current scene: “In this millennium the audience is material, just like marble for the sculptor, except it is not inert. The audience is a brain trust that feeds the artist and provides a part of the work. Now anything’s performance.”

Whether feminist, anti-feminist, or simply agnostic; whether multidisciplinary, high-tech, or no-tech, performance art, especially that made by women, is clearly alive and well in contemporary art. If space allowed, many more artists from around the world and spanning generations could be discussed here—Laurie Anderson, Tania Bruguera, Trisha Donnelly, Coco Fusco, Rachel Rosenthal, Pat Oleszko, Carmelita Tropicana, Annie Sprinkle, Ulrike Rosenbach, Andrea Fraser, Patrycja German, Wynne Greenwood (aka Tracy + the Plastics), Chen Quilin, among others. In addition to the range of performance by women, the health of New York venues such as The Kitchen, Exit Art, Participant Inc, and PS122, which support and nourish performance art and artists, testifies to the vitality of performance. PERFORMA, a new non-profit founded in 2004 by historian RoseLee Goldberg, is also a notable development. “Dedicated to the research, development, and presentation of performance by visual artists from around the world,” PERFORMA mounted an ambitious biennial in 2005 and plans for the second one, to be held in November 2007, are well underway.

The prominence of performance-related work in two major museum shows—“WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” which focuses on work made between 1965 and 1980 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and “Global Feminisms,” an international survey of post-1990 work at the Brooklyn Museum—also speaks to the health of the genre, and reinforces the case for a particular link between women and performance art. These chronologically distinct shows provide a readymade opportunity to compare then and now. In short, the recent work seems less confrontational and self-involved than its precursors, and the use of technology more widespread and sophisticated. For example, think of Pilar Albarracin’s performance video Long Live Spain (2004), in which the elegantly dressed artist is pursued by a brass band of men through the streets of Madrid, thus wordlessly commenting on a woman’s situation in the machismo culture in which she lives; versus a work like Hannah Wilke’s Intercourse with… (1975/1978) where the artist listened to and preserved messages left on her answering machine by lovers, friends, and relatives over a several year period, and inscribed their names on her body for us to see. But generalizations can be misleading, as the different generations also share a number of characteristics: They elevate the importance of everyday experience, often connecting it with larger political issues; they implicate or involve an audience, whether physically present or not; many are still interested in the body as material and/or the site for art; and they value the elasticity of art-making modes, so that an artist may move freely among installation, video, live performance, writing, music, drawing, painting, or object-making.

Performance art may have become accepted as a discipline in its own right (now taught in art schools), but it remains unencumbered by restrictive expectations. Clearly, it is no longer necessary to be defined as a specific type of artist, performance or otherwise. But when it comes to the feminist struggle for equality, the waters are muddier. For younger artists who identify with the cause or its origins, feminist concerns are often now more subliminal than overt. The pioneering ‘60s and ‘70s generation struggled to be noticed and taken seriously both as artists and as women because they had been largely invisible for too long. If recognition and change required calling attention to themselves in ways that might be considered narcissistic or exhibitionistic, so be it. Basic visibility may no longer be the primary issue but sexual freedom, economic power, and political representation are still central concerns worldwide.  The current resurgence of performance art by women heightens these goals in ways that are refreshingly distinct and unpredictable.



These forerunners were, in turn, indebted to Marcel Duchamp, the Dada movement, and Futurism. Martha Wilson, performance artist and founder of Franklin Furnace, pinpoints the birth of performance art to July 8, 1910, “when the Italian Futurist painters and poets threw eight hundred thousand copies of their broadside, ‘Against Passeist Venice,’ from the clock tower above Piazza San Marco onto the heads of law-abiding citizens.” In Futurism & Futurisms, exh. cat. (New York: Abbeville Press, 1986), p. 520. Cited by Wilson in Art Journal (Winter 1997), pp. 2–3.

Carolee Schneemann, More than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings (Kingston, NY: Documentext/McPherson & Company, 1979/1997), p. 63.

Josephine Withers, “Feminist Performance Art: Performing, Discovering, Transforming Ourselves,” in The Power of Feminist Art, Norma Broude and Mary D.Garrard, eds. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1994), p. 158.

Martha Wilson, “Editor’s Statement,” Art Journal (Winter 1997), p. 2.

All quotations by artists are from e-mail correspondence or phone conversations with the author from March to May 2007, unless otherwise indicated.

Peggy Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. (New York and London: Routledge, 1993) p. 146.

Male artists such as Vito Acconci, William Wegman, Chris Burden, and Bruce Nauman of course have also used video, street performances/actions, and photo documentation, but here the focus is on women.

find Sherman reference …

Randy Kennedy, “Self-Mutilation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery,” The New York Times, November 6, 2005, Section 2, pp. 1, 18.

In a symposium held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Feminist Future, January 2007, Abramovic zbegan her presentation by stating that she is not a feminist—that growing up where she did (Yugoslavia in the 1950s) feminism was not part of her cultural background and not relevant to her experience. It is worth noting in this context that her mother was a major in the army and later director of the Museum of Art and the Revolution in Belgrade.

Karen Rosenberg, “Provocateur: Marina Abramovic, ” New York Magazine, (add page and date).

Lanka Tattersall was part of the team for issue 4 of the LTTR journal.

Where during second wave feminism, lesbians (and artists of color) felt marginalized if not left out entirely from a primarily white, middle-class, straight movement, today they are at the forefront of performance art and more visible overall. The riot grrrl movement, a punk feminist phenomenon that took off in the early ‘90s, is an important influence for younger lesbian performance artists such as K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood, who performs as Tracy + the Plastics. Their work promotes a fiercely independent do-it-yourself (DIY) culture that takes many forms—from female bands and collectives to underground ’zines and protest marches.

“The Body Politic: Whatever Happened to the Women Artists’ Movement” panel discussion was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, December __, 1998. Other panelists were Nancy Spero, Mary Kelly, and Renee Cox.

See Mira Schor’s reporting of and response to that event in “The ism that dare not speak its name,” Documents, No.15, Spring/Summer 1999, pp.28-39, republished in M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online #3 (January 13, 2006). Beecroft’s comments also motivated the curators Ingrid Schaffner and Catherine Morris to organize the exhibition “Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art of the 1970s,”mounted at White Columns in New York in 2002. Gloria subsequently traveled to Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, and The RISD Museum, Providence.

“’Feminisms’ in Four Generations,” panel discussion at CUNY Graduate Center, New York. January 7, 2006. Joan Snyder, Barbara Kruger, and Collier Schorr participated as well as Ben-Tor. See Schor, “She Demon Spawn from Hell,”M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online#3, and Jori Finkel, “Saying the F-Word,” ArtNews, February 2007, p.118.

Holland Cotter, “Art in Review”(exhibition at Bellwether), The New York Times, March 2, 2007.

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