[NetBehaviour] Fem at le Form at ts

Annie Abrahams bram.org at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 10:56:08 CEST 2012

Copied from the Guardian :
Why are all the blockbuster art shows by men? We're great at celebrating
famous male artists, but what about Bridget Riley, Rachel Whiteread, Sarah
Lucas …

Damien Hirst<http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/apr/02/damien-hirst-retrospective-tate-modern>,
Lucian Freud <http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/freud>, David
Hockney<http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/hockney>... they may be
very different artists but they have something in common,
apart from the fact that all have blockbuster exhibitions this spring. A
certain universality and ambition, an ability to voice the experience of
Everyman ... Wait a moment. Yes, it is Everyman. After all the revolutions
in art over the last couple of centuries, the gender bias is apparently as
deep as ever.

This year – quite apart from the Cultural Olympiad that will foreground
artists like, er, Mr Anish Kapoor and Mr Martin Creed – a crop of big
exhibitions are focusing not so much on the diversity and energy of British
art as on the greats, the big boys ... and boys they are. Women play a big
part in modern British art. But when it comes to awarding the gold, silver
and bronze medals the idea of excellence in art remains as macho as it was
in the days of Michelangelo, Rodin, Rothko. Why is that?

Oddly enough, the only blockbuster British art star of this season who is
not a man is Gillian
showing at the Whitechapel Gallery, whose director Iwona Blazwick is also a
woman. Is there a male conspiracy elsewhere? I think it is more that ideas
of greatness in art are so steeped in centuries of sexism that their effect
is as hard to pin down as it is vicious. Women are judged differently.

Rachel Whiteread has earned the right to be seen as an important artist as
much as anyone of her generation but when she competed for the commission
to design the "Angel of the South" at Ebbsfleet no one said she should get
it on that score. Somehow she did not deserve star status, did not deserve
to be taken seriously. A man got the job, and his project turned out to be
impractically expensive.

Whiteread is one of the women who easily deserved one of this year's grand
retrospectives. As it happens she has got a Cultural Olympiad commission
... at Blazwick's Whitechapel Gallery, funnily enough. Bridget Riley wowed
visitors to the National Gallery recently – why not a Tate blockbuster for
this great British modern artist? Then there is Sarah Lucas, a genius among
modern sculptors. Somehow, when it comes to the glittering prizes, women
artists are still being relegated to also-rans.

On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM, ruth catlow
<ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org>wrote:

>  Dear Annie,
> Your email had me reach for a copy of Woolf's  A Room of Ones Own (I still
> have to read Three Guineas).
> I hadn't read either and they have revived in me that whole set of uneases
> about attention to women's voice and process (and so yes that would include
> code) and the place (or lack of it) in our culture. It is nested in
> questions of class too. The idea that has particularly struck me is that
> inequities (with less opportunities, freedoms, access, encouragement (this
> is a big one), expectations) place both external contstraints on what
> someone might achieve but also causes a bitterness that can limits the
> scopes and freedoms of imagination to develop and express.
> I hope to be attending the FLOSSIE conference in May (see below)and had
> planned to talk about some of the artworks that we curated into our online
> collection, Collaboration and Freedom, The World of Free and Open Source Art
> http://p2pfoundation.net/World_of_Free_and_Open_Source_Art
> and wonder if you would be willing to have a short off-list conversation
> to help me think further about why women seem to have so little presence in
> this area of work. If we make progress we could re-share here and I will
> include it in my presentation: )
> Best things
> Ruth
> ps. other fem at le formats: olia lialina, shulea cheang, olga goranova
> (runme), tamiko thiel,
> CfP: FLOSSIE 2012, 25/26 May at QMUL, East London, UK
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> Flossie 2012 is a free, two-day event for women who work with, or are
> interested in, Software Libre/FOSS as developers or in Open Data, Open
> Knowledge, Digital Arts, Social Innovation, Research and Education.
> Flossie is an independent network of women practitioners that has its
> roots in social innovation movements as well as arts, technology and
> academia. Whether you code, tinker or want to explore alternatives to
> ‘big-tech’ corporations, all women are welcome.
> The first day will mix micro-talks with birds of a feather sessions about
> the work we do. On the second day there will be more structured workshops
> and discussions for both experienced practitioners and women new to FLOSS
> to make contact and skillshare.
> On 18/03/2012 17:10, Annie Abrahams wrote:
> Thanks a lot Ruth for this list.
> Some names might not be accurate, because the curators statement states
> clearly that the show is about formats in the context of the Internet, but
> others would have been.
> What then is the difference between the works included and the works made
> by some of the ladies of your list?
> If I dare give it a try, The works in the show all are formal, they deal
> with very concrete and well defined formats that relate to clear weldefined
> structures and that give clear and controllable results. Quit a lot of
> works from your list deal with performance or human relations, and
> networks. This results in more fuzzy, fragile and sometimes even messy
> results.
> I passed the list on to Christophe Bruno the curator of Form at ts.
> Yours
> Annie
> Ps Quick translation of the curators statement for the show Form at ts:
> The exhibition "Form at ts" focuses on the emergence, the obsolescence and the
> import-export of artistic concepts and art forms, in the context of the
> Internet. It features art projects that are each representative of the
> issue of format, not as a fixed form, but rather as a representation of a
> hybridization of a friction between several forms, often imported from
> other fields of representation and knowledge.
> Formats are subject to phenomena such as hybridization, in many cases, their
> names result from the composition of different media forms and contexts from
> which they come like "webring", "live coding". Sometimes that
> hybridization is more complex and rich and the name of the resulting
> format is no longer as clear. Other times, the work will not be associated
> with a format as such, but a phenomenon of erosion, or a "bug" that
> appears structurally in a given context, in short, a side effect ("Side
> Effect ").
> On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 6:18 PM, ruth catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org
> > wrote:
>>  Super happy to see Rob's Balloon Dog getting seen as part of this
>> exhibition : )
>> Annie...
>> Well perhaps Format (technical) stands for Form (artistic)
>> I'm not sure I could (or would want to) find and define a "female" format
>> but v. disheartened by what is either an unfortunate oversight or just a
>> pure evil exclusion of work by women.
>> There are many many many examples - these are just a tiny sliver of women
>> who could have contributed a format to the project. I hesitate to make a
>> list because of all the brilliant things that will then be excluded but
>> just to show that this isn't just hot air.
>> De Geuzen (Renee Turner, Riek Sijbring and Femke Snelting)- Female Icons
>> and Anxiety Monitor
>> Mary Flanagan - many many many, including Domestic - personal history
>> told around the flaming walls of a gamespace
>> Helen Varley Jamieson and Paula Crutchlow - Make-Shift  - participatory
>> (audiences of two physical spaces) linked by artists' dramaturgy
>> Upstage - Avatar Body Collision - cyberformance software platform and
>> performance programme
>> Annie Abrahams - The Big Kiss, Huit Clos, Angry Women +many many-
>> networked performance
>> Liz Sterry - Kay's Blog, real-world reconstruction of social life online
>> Ele Carpenter - Embroidered Digital Commons - stitching together of Craft
>> and Code cultures of knowledge sharing and politics.
>> Alison Craighead
>> Amy Alexander
>> Kate Armstrong
>> Kate Rich
>> Francesca fa Rimini
>> Coco Fusco
>> Natalie Jeremijenko
>> Laurie Anderson
>> Mez Breeze
>> Kelli Dipple
>> Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie
>> :)
>> R
>> On 17/03/2012 10:14, Annie Abrahams wrote:
>> of course I am glad, happy for Rob to be in this show
>> I posted because I was thinking, am thinking about gender and power,
>> influence, attention, - feel quit confused about it, but noticed form at tdidn't include "female" formats and made me think about if these exist
>> yes they must, they do
>> *Can we find good examples*?
>> And why they are omitted?
>> does form at t mean control?
>> is the show a formalistic exposure?
>> I know that the initiator of the online art presentations in Jeu de Paume
>> is a women - she  invited Christophe Bruno - an artist I know and
>> appreciate - she is having a lot of difficulties defending online art.
>> Does the institution need a strong male presence to "try to be
>> convincing"?
>> Is it a sign of times not changing? Are we still at the Three Guineas
>> time of Virginia Woolf
>> yours
>> Annie
>> *Can we find good examples of fem at le Form at ts?*
>>  On Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 9:35 PM, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
>>> On 16/03/12 18:32, Annie Abrahams wrote:
>>> > no ladies in the show at all can't they format?
>>>  Some are in the "Magic Ring" project, although none are mentioned on the
>>> front page, no. :-/
>>> - Rob.
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