Small Things End, Great Things Endure
The subject of feminist art has recently obtained a “faddish" status in the art world. Small Things End, Great Things Endure proposes that – far from mere trend – feminist art practice is gathering momentum. As a form of politics and as a body of thought, feminism has been characterized by an uneven development: its messages have spread in slow and unruly ways, frequently hindered by lines of class and geography, by periods of backlash and denial, and by moments of revivalism quickly co-opted by the marketplace (rrriot girl to bad girl to spice girl). Today, artists are again insisting that feminism is unfinished business.
Small Things End, Great Things Endure suggests that new feminist art finds itself in an expanded field of artistic practice, with feminist thought opening onto a host of related concerns. This expanded field includes the queer and transgender perspectives of discourses historically indebted to feminism – perspectives found in the works of Eve Fowler, Emily Roysdon, and Jonathan Solo. It includes Andrea Bowers's use of Emma Goldman’s essay "Vows" to deflate the institution of marriage, and other works that look to the past – not only to the 1970s but also to the 1980s and 90s when identity began to be problematized in profound ways. It includes Matilde ter Heijne’s meditation on ideology and power relations, Jen Smith's ode to Catherine Opie's iconic self-portraits, Anna Maltz’s tongue-in-cheek homage to the Guerrilla Girls, and Emily Roysdon's revisiting of the work of gay artist/activist David Wojnarowicz. Asking the question "does feminism still matter?" this exhibition assembles Bay Area, national, and international artists who assess key topics of feminism and feminist art with fresh criticality, investigating issues around social roles, the body, gendered institutions, and historical consciousness..