UNL Womanhouse presents: The House that Feminism Built
December 12, 2011
January/February 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the ground-breaking Feminist Art Program installation Womanhouse. Since April 2011, a group of students (grad and undergrad) at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, as well as UNL alumns from Art and Art History and UNL faculty (myself and Wendy Weiss, Professor of Textiles, Clothing, and Design), have been engaged in a project to both honor and investigate the legacy and impact of the original Womanhouse project. Our exhibition, The House that Feminism Built, will be on view at Parallax Space from February 3 – March 31, 2012.
What is UNL Womanhouse?
We are a group of artists, art historians, and activists coming together to proclaim our status as feminists and address the state of feminist politics and artistic practice today.
The “Womanhouse” title refers to the project of the same name by the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of Arts in 1971-72. Led by artists Miriam Shapiro and Judy Chicago, the program took over an empty abandoned house and re-worked it room by room into an installation of feminist artistic expression. Womanhouse was created in a consciousness-raising era, when women’s “place” in the home was being questioned. The artists provocatively presented responses to that tight gender roles and discriminations. In addition to tackling gender roles, they also brought women’s and feminist issues into the foray of artistic production. As 2012 is the fortieth anniversary of Womanhouse, we are addressing how feminist politics drives artistic creation and vice versa, then and today.
What does it mean to be a feminist today?
We’re trying to find that out ourselves. We have found the word feminism to be problematic and full of unintended, negative meaning. We think feminism means working to dismantle gender, race, sex and class restrictions for everyone. To us, this seems like a good, challenging idea and especially necessary for the art world. By organizing we have begun a conversation that is often pushed aside. We have found that feminism asks questions that are sometimes uncomfortable and attractive to dismiss. But we feel by talking, creating, reading, looking and listening we can open a feminist dialogue meant for progress.
And this is where you come in!
UNL Womanhouse will be presenting ongoing projects in February and March at Parallax Space (1746 N Street in Lincoln) and the Rotunda Gallery (UNL city campus Union). Our calendar includes interactive installations, performances, dinners, publications, discussions, films and various outreach programs. We want everyone to be part of the conversation!