THE MAN I WISH I WAS
A.I.R. Gallery is pleased to announce The Man I Wish I Was, a partially invitational, partially juried group exhibition featuring work by 18 artists. The exhibition will be on view in Gallery II
from January 6 - January 31, 2010. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, January 7 from 6pm to 8pm and is open to the public.
Exhibiting artists: Renee Cox, Enid Crow, Kerry Downey, Kelly Flynn, Coco Fusco, Francie Bishop Good, Catherine Kunkemueller, Liz Lessner, Sarah Maple, Sands Murray-Wassink, Dominique Paul, Phranc, Shannon Plumb, Julia Kim Smith, Annie Sprinkle, Diane Torr, Linn Underhill and Martha Wilson.
In keeping with the feminist tradition of irreverent internal-critique and self-vigilance the intent of The Man I Wish I Was is to question how gender perception relates to personal identity. The exhibition seeks to reevaluate the traditional feminist strategy of defining identity as something encountered in the first person and to question the roles that an individual might embody beyond those prescribed by social and genetic dictates. The exhibition asks the question: Have we happily reached a post-gender moment, a moment where gender is no longer a relevant signifier and we can comfortably slip into daddy’s shoes?
The artists in The Man I Wish I Was add compelling work and ideas to this discourse, bringing a range of unanticipated perspectives and interpretations to the exhibition’s central concept. The included pieces date from the 1970’s to the present and include sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, video and text based work Founded in 1972, A.I.R. Gallery is the first artist-run, not-for-profit art gallery for women artists in the United States.
Underscoring, A.I.R. Gallery’s on-going commitment to keeping the feminist movement in motion the juried portion of this exhibit was made open to any artist worldwide who self-identify as female.
Lauren Ross, Curator and Director of Arts Programs, Friends of the High Line
Kat Griefen, Director, A.I.R. Gallery
Kharis Kennedy, Independent Curator and Artist
Note from the curator:
In a lecture series held in conjunction with the opening of “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution” the curator Connie Butler noted that the feminist art movement is not a useful term in describing art as it is not an art movement with fixed start and stop dates. She seconded bell hooks’ proposal to “deliver [feminist art] from it’s fixity and reconnect it to the verb ‘to move’ with all the restless possibility that word connotes.” The hint being that there might be a threat implicit in the canonization of feminist art. The threat that the side-effect of revising history in order to construct a Feminist Art Movement, for the purposes of injecting it into the male genealogy of Art History, may be that it robs the artwork of it’s vitality by freezing the very movement that made it revolutionary.
So marching on: If I am the heir apparent of a feminism whose work is done, as a girl-child of the 80’s why did my most elaborate dreams, my fantasy life of who I could aspire to become, petulantly insist on hovering around figures such as Wonder Woman, Marie Antoinette, Athena, and Cher? Forget president, what does it imply about one’s self-perception if one can’t hope to rise above cartoon character? Why didn’t I imagine myself transformed into Power CEO instead of Athena? After all, despite vigorous plumping of the goddess lore pillow, even a child knows that goddess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; the pay is abysmal.
In organizing The Man I Wish I Was it was important to me that the exhibition be non-exclusionary and made open to anyone who self-identifies as female. I was committed to the partially invitational, partial juried format because I believe that allowing for a range of works, curating to court the unexpected, is crucial to fostering a dynamic dialogue.
About the Curator: Kharis Kennedy is an artist and 2007-2008 A.I.R. Gallery Fellow. She lives and works between Miami and New York City.