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Women As/In Art
0:00:02.4 S1: Okay, welcome to my first podcast ever! I am your host, Leah Schrager, and I have with me today, Kathy Batista. Welcome.
Kathy 0:00:14.8 S2: Thank you. Hello. Thanks for having me.
L, 0:00:19.8 S1: Of course. So I’ll start by reading your bio, and then we’ll get into our discussion. Battista is a writer, educator, and a curator of exhibitions in museums, galleries, and non-profits. Her research is primarily focused on cross generational feminist art, in particular performance and body-oriented practice. Most recently she has curated Everything Has Its Place at Sevil Dolmaci Gallery, Istanbul; you pinned me down like a butterfly on a wall for Ballon Rouge at Pablo’s Birthday; The Art of Fashion at Fountain House Gallery New York; Escape Attempts at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Los Angeles; and EAT: Experiments in Art and Technology at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria. She has authored numerous books, including: New York New Wave: The Legacy of Feminist Art in Emerging Practice  and Renegotiating the Body: Feminist Art in 1970s London . Battista also co-edited [with Bryan Faller] a book on artist estates and foundations, Creative Legacies: Critical Issues in Artist Estates, for Lund Humphries . Wow, that’s an amazing bio. I think I met you first in probably 2014. Was that right? With Robert Adanto’s, “The F-Word,” a documentary on fourth wave feminist artists. Yes.
K, 0:02:11.9 S2: Wow, it was eight years. It feels like yesterday.
L, 0:02:17.2 S1: We were talking about the trailer, and I watched the trailer yesterday, and it was pretty wild to see myself from so long ago.
K, 0:02:31.7 S2: One time I was in a lobby in Miami, it was a few years ago before the pandemic, and this young woman came up to me and said, Oh, I’ve seen you in a movie, and I was like, Oh no, I’m not an actor. And then she said, No, no, you were in a movie, and I said, I swear to you, I’m not in an IPO. And then she said it was a documentary about feminist artists, and I was like, Oh my God, yes, I forgot about that. But it was so funny, I was like, Oh my God, Right.
L, 0:03:01.7 S1: Right. Yeah, we spoke on panels went to a number of different places, including Dallas Contemporary, and spoke there on the panel… What’s your favorite thing about the documentary?
K, 0:03:17.5 S2: Well, I think it’s interesting that it’s made by a white male… I know some people had problems with that, and there were questions about that when I attended events, but I think it’s really interesting, but this white straight male was interested in making a film about these young radical feminist artists. So that’s exciting for me. And then also the artists, he picked such a great selection, some of whom hadn’t known before, and I think most of them I keep in touch with, I can’t remember if Claudia Bitran was in it… I recently showed her work and your work, of course, so it was… For me, it was also a learning experience seeing the film…
L, 0:04:13.6 S1: Yeah, yeah, I feel like he brought up some issues that had not been brought up before in a way which maybe we’ll circle back around to as we get into our questions. So let’s start with, what do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for women now?
K, 0:04:36.9 S2: That’s a good question, because I think right now, there’s been such a paradigm shift in the art world, so that women artist… It’s not anomalous anymore when you see a solo show by a woman artist in a museum, and that up until about a decade ago, it was rare, so we have so many more opportunities for women to show and to sell work, which is important, we all have to eat. We can’t eat prestige, I always say. So I think the opportunities are just vastly different from when I started grad school in the mid-90s, and I wanted to write about feminist art, and the white men who ran my program said, But nobody’s interested in that. He really said that. He actually said that, and they said, nobody is interested. And it’s terrible art. So I said, Well, that will be my little niche, but now I almost feel like… I have days when I’m like, Oh, I’m a dinosaur. I don’t really… There’s so many new young out there, not only artists, but also thinkers and writers, and I’m really excited by some of the younger people like Legacy Russell and the people who are really bringing new intersectionality into our historical discourse, so I think the opportunities are just so different now, and even something like an art fair, when Frieze started in 2003, I think it was, or 2001, forgetting my years now, maybe that was Miami, that started around that, but you know the end of the 90s, everything started more biennials, more art fairs.
And in the beginning, you did not see Carolee Schneemann at an art fair, you didn’t see Linda from Manchester, who I’ve written about, and now there are major galleries and art fairs, so I see that as a major opportunity for all of us to see the work to share the work. Sadly, many of the artists aren’t alive to see their success, that’s why I got interested in artist legacies because I saw people like Alexis Hunter, who was sort of known in her milieu in London, but not known certainly around the world, and then right before she died, she started showing with a gallery in London, but it was really around the time of her illness and death that she gets traction. So I think there’s a lot more opportunities. I have had artists say to me, Well, I’m 80, so the galleries are interested in me because I’m close to death, it is sad that it seems every gallery wants older women, which is so new… Older women were irrelevant. In the early 90s when I was starting my master’s degree, I was surrounded by people like Phyllida Barlow and Lubaina Himid who’s in a major show at the Hayward now. I was so excited to see her there, but these women were like teaching ceramics classes and things at a non-profit where I worked, and they’re all incredible artists, but they weren’t being shown at Hauser & Wirth or Zwirner, now they are, so it’s really… I think the opportunities are vast now but there are challenges… Oh yes, go ahead.
L, 0:08:29.6 S1: I’m sorry, let me just ask really quick, so… That’s super interesting. And that’s great, amazing that the opportunities have increased so much… Why is it that the galleries want the older women?
K, 0:08:45.5 S2: Well, different reasons, one reason is that, say you want minimal painters, right. So you have Frank Stella, you have maybe Robert Mangold. There’s not a lot of that 60-70s work left. But if you get a female minimalist… Like her name is escaping me. She was actually married to Carl Andre before Ana Mendieta, and she died a few years ago. Her name will come to me. She used to show with Broadway 1602, and famously, Jay-Z and Beyonce were photographed in front of her painting, at Art Basel like five years ago, but you get Carmen, the 100-year-old artist that shows with Carmen Herrera who shows at Lisson, you kind of have that abstract geometric, minimal painting, and you have someone who has probably most of it because people weren’t buying female artists, and it’s a lot cheaper than Mangold, but then they build up the prices and they build up institutional support, so it’s really like… You run out of stock in the way that old masters, there’s very little stock left in the art market, there’s shortages of a lot of things. So when you find women artists who are part of land art or part of minimal art or part of light and space, I’ve been interested in some of those artists lately, like Helen Pashgian, Lita Albuquerque.
They were doing the same thing as Turrell, as Irwin. These were their colleagues and tutors, but nobody heard of them, but now the artists know there’s an opportunity with the growth of the market and just also the prices are much easier, but then they do build them up to be… Not to be too cynical, but also when they’re older, they often have a whole body of work, and there’ll be an estate, and sometimes estates can be interesting in themselves because whoever takes care of them has a lot of power, and so I’ve seen people from… As I say, civilians take over artist estates, like Hannah Wilke her sister and her… I think nephew, her sister’s son took it over, they were just normal non-art world people, they’ve done a brilliant job with her estate the estate and the archive, but there’s also other instances where families make mistakes that are easy to make when you don’t understand the art market, like putting too much art out there or charging too much or too little, and that was why I first got interested in estates, because what happens after an artist passes is almost as important as when they’re alive, ’cause you think it’s gonna be a lot longer that they’re not alive in the history of art than they were, so things have to be handled properly.
L, 0:11:56.1 S1: Wow, that’s fascinating. I hadn’t thought much about that actually. But that’s huge.
K, 0:12:03.4 S2: Yeah, it’s huge and estates have become a bigger part of the market, obviously because 30 years ago, the people who were dying where they still were mostly white men and there weren’t a lot of artists, but now with the rise of college and university in the 1960s and 70s, a lot of those people, there’s a lot more artists in the world, and they’re all getting older, like my dear friend Dan Graham died last February, so his widow is now looking after all of this work and Vito Acconci’s widow, but soon there’ll be more and more women artists because they’re just more women artists in the world, so I think I think estates are gonna be a bigger part of the art world, but some of the challenges you were asking before about challenges… I was thinking of this ’cause I was just writing a review of the show at The Aldrich, which shows artist from a 1971 Lucy Lippard exhibition, and then 52 emerging artists. And I think some of the challenges now are… Well, one of them for me is that there are days where I think, Okay, we’re equal, and I don’t have to… I don’t know if I need to keep writing about feminism or feminist art, because I think women are fully integrated now into the art world, but it’s not the case, so when you really look at the auction results and the numbers and the prices of women’s work, it’s still lower, and that’s really…
That’s a lot. So I guess one of the challenges is like, Yeah, we see a lot of work by women artists now, it’s not unusual to see a solo show in a commercial gallery by women artists in the way, and in the early 90s, you just didn’t see it at Anthony Delfay or The Lisson you saw male artist, mostly white, we have this new opportunity, but I think we still have to remember that women are still not paid as much as men in the larger world as well as the microcosm of the art world, and we still need to keep alert for equal representation and equal pay, and also still, when you look at the art world, there’s still a lot of power and money are with the men of the art world, if you look at the major galleries, Zwirner, Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, they’re male led. But I think it’s gonna change. I think it’s really exciting to see… To see what’s gonna happen in 50 years, I think it’s gonna be a lot different.
L, 0:14:54.2 S1: Yeah, is there anything in terms of the content or the kind of work that women do, or let’s say are allowed to do versus what men do or allowed to do that you see?
K, 0:15:09.0 S2: That’s really interesting because a lot of the second wave artist that I wrote about… Avoided painting because they felt painting was the kind of inherited male patriarchal medium, and I feel like right now, female painters are on fire, like someone like Ilana Savdie who just went to White Cube and Chelsea Culprit in LA and Coady Brown. A lot of these women painting women, or even Anna Benaroya, who’s work I love, she just opened a show at Carl Kostyal in I think Stockholm or London, but these women painting women are like big business and it’s okay now to do… And I think that’s super interesting, just the fact that we may be reclaimed painting from this sort of super male space, but of course, I think all the new media… You’ve used digital media and social media, and I think that’s super exciting – people who use Instagram or tiktok as a medium in itself, and I also think nudity used to be a kind of… And I don’t know, you may have strong views on this too, but it used to be that if you showed your body as in the way, say Carolee Schneemann and did or Hannah Wilke in second wave feminism, there was another whole camp of people who didn’t like you or maybe didn’t like your work because they thought you were feeding into the male gaze.
I feel like today, I hope we have more ownership and agency over our bodies, but I know there’s still a lot of haters out there, like even someone like Kim Kardashian, a lot of people say horrible things about her, and I’m like, You know what, she’s a fantastic business women, she’s made herself with no talent in a way into this billion dollar brand, and let her do what she wants with her body and her image… I think it’s really exciting, but I do know that there’s still conservative parts of feminist ideology that are… Find women like that to be exploitative of themselves maybe, but I feel we’re in a new era, and that’s kind of an old school kind of thing. Also just dance… I’ve seen a lot more dance in art lately, which has been nice, people like Madeline Hollander or fiber and being shown in galleries, I love that. And a lot more, I would say spoken word and literary pieces, which again, I think was around… It was happening, people did this, people like Adrian Piper used a lot of text, but I think it’s… Yeah, the playing field is wide open now isn’t anything goes and it seems like also anything can be bought or sold, even things like performances are now bought and sold, which is kind of astounding to me.
L, 0:18:41.3 S1: Yeah, yeah, that’s so true. I think one thing that that gets me to think about is this difference between, I guess what I would call nudity in art versus arousal in art… I guess I’ll say that my experiences with, as you know, a pretty big Instagram that has done a pretty good job at capturing the hetero male gaze, it’s been very successful with over 5 million followers, and all of that is really organically generated as in Instagram suggested growth… So it’s really looking into, I guess, the current zeitgeist of desire and imagery. What I have been thinking about in terms of those kinds of images are rarely, if ever, seen in the art world, unless they’re being appropriated, so unless there’s someone, another artist, often a male artist, but sometimes a female artist taking the image and putting it up there as a critical stance and then… Yeah, so I’m curious what your thoughts are on the topic.
K, 0:20:20.8 S2: I think it’s a good point you make, and in general, I would say too photography is sort of… I have a lot of it myself, but it’s sort of been overshadowed by painting the last 10 years, the market for photography has gone way down, except maybe Cindy Sherman and Gursky, those kind of big A lister, but photography in general is a bit under the radar, which makes me sad because I think people are getting surfeited of the paintings, but I do… Some of the things that I see, which is interesting is different forms of female bodies, like someone like Nona Faustine, who’s like a larger woman and appearing nude in her work, and I think those things almost are more acceptable in the art fair than a beautiful woman in are erotic pose, because there’s something about the art world that’s incredibly conservative, I mean, Carolee Schneeman used to always say this, that she got into a lot of trouble because she was interested in female pleasure and desire and sexuality, and the art world likes to make things very antiseptic. And so now I think there’s a new openness to diversity of bodies and diversity of skin tone, so if you show those kind of bodies, it’s okay, it’s actually better than showing like a Playboy body, a really beautiful body.
So sometimes I think nothing’s changed in 50 years, Carolee did Interior Scroll, but I like to think we have more agency over our bodies, I don’t know, sometimes with the political turn in this country, I feel very scared about what could happen to young women’s bodies, just even in the main world, but as far as… I think you’re absolutely right, the appropriation of Instagram or tiktok, you would see more than your work or Amelia Ulman… I’m trying to think of other women artists I like on Instagram. I don’t know, it’s such a strange world we live in because we live in this device world, it’s just so seductive, you can’t stay away from your phone, but then when you walk through the art world, there’s all of these big material things and they’re being shipped around the world, I have a problem with just the environmental sustainability of this, so there’s two different worlds, there’s the sort of Influencer World, like the Jerry Gagosian who I don’t know how she makes money, but I love her account, and then there’s this White Cube galleries and what they’re selling, and there’s a lot of painting at the moment.
0:23:41.5 S1: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s super interesting. I think this kind of leads into the next question, which is where and how do women find agency and empowerment in art…
0:23:55.9 S2: Well, that’s a great question. Like I think back to women who found agency an art, it has been a lot about excavating identity or excavating desire or ideas around motherhood. I think it’s interesting ’cause many of the artists who’ve kind of found their agency used personal stories, narratives, ideas in their work, when I think about some of the artists, I really got interested in art because of Mary Kelly or… Betty Tompkins with her Fuck paintings. But even Betty, she was painting those things for 40 years, and I said to her, What did you do because… You know, she didn’t have P·P·O·W and she said, I just kept painting. And I do think that there is agency in just doing that, and I always tell younger artist, just keep working, it doesn’t matter if you go to an art fair and your colleague is showing at three booths and they’re sold out because things go up and down. We’ve seen careers go up and down, it happens to all of us, not just artists, but I think there is an agency in expressing yourself and being able to express yourself, of course, there’s a certain kind of agency in being successful, like someone like Cindy Sherman again, who for a long time, was not a big deal in the institutional or the market world, and she kept doing what she did, and then now she has a terrific agency in that she is also financially successful, and I do feel that women like that…
Marina Abramovich and Sherman, the A-listers, they have incredible agency in that they can support new ideas and younger artists, whether they do… Is another case. I think that that’s an interesting point. I’m really interested at the moment in artist philanthropy and which artists sort of mentor and help other artists and who don’t… I’m writing a piece about that for an architectural journal, but anyway.
I think that agency is found by doing what you wanna do and say, Fuck it, I don’t care if somebody doesn’t like this because they don’t like to see a nude body or… They have a problem with my political position, I think there’s agency in just doing it, but then I think there is also this terrific thing that’s happened in the art world where women, not just women artists, but also women, curators and directors are becoming more and more the Head of institutions, the Head of Museums, the head of galleries. And I think that’s really exciting because then you really see, suddenly you see all these women showing in the gallery or the museum, so like Amy Smith Steward, who I used to teach with, at Sothebys, she became senior curator at the Aldrige and under her tenure she’s shown so many solo shows of women artists, Jackie Winsor, Harmony Hammond, and Karla Knight, Genesis Belanger. And so I think as women get better positions and more positions of power, they also provide agency to other women, I hope, obviously not everybody is generous, or wants to be a mentor, but I do think there’s this sort of organic agency that comes in that silently, women have gotten into more positions of power.
And I have had men, white men my age, say there’s no way I can get another job now because I’m like a 50-year-old white man, so I can’t get a job, so I kinda think that’s okay, because for so many hundreds of years. We couldn’t get jobs and people of color couldn’t and indigenous Americans. So I feel like, You know what, that’s all right now for women and some other oppressed peoples to get more agency and power, but I do think that there’s two kinds of agencies, there’s the personal agency of getting out of this sort of late capitalist treadmill that we all live in in this country. It’s very hard to be an artist in the US, there’s no safety net, so just being an artist is tough, and then I think there’s also the agency of real money and power.
I also just really tell people to try to buy real estate, ’cause I think it offers a lot of agency in another way, just… It gives you a lot of freedom. Even someone like Marianne Boesky, when she moved from SoHo to Chelsea and she bought that building, it’s like a certain kind of strength in knowing I own this building, there’s no greedy landlord who’s going to kick me out, and I think women of my age and older I don’t think we were brought up by our parents say, make sure you buy your own property and make sure you’re financially solvent. I think your generation, hopefully your mothers were saying things like that, but I think the more economically independent we can be, there’s an agency in that, because we don’t have to worry about anyone saying We can or can’t do something.
L, 0:29:57.7 S1: Yeah, and then the question of, I think some artists… Do you make their money off of their artwork and then some make it off of other things that support their artwork and… Yeah, the house or the home being ideally paid off and available for someone to create work in is incredibly freeing.
K, 0:30:22.2 S2: It’s huge, and I’ve even had older artists say to me, ’cause they bought… Everybody in the 70s was buying lofts and they were cheap then, but now, of course, we have all film producers and bankers people moving into these buildings, so now the artist who own their loft, which might be worth 5 million or 10 million, just the maintenance fees are like a lot. So it’s really interesting, the whole real estate question, because I’ve seen how many artists of the 60s and 70s, they gained a lot of freedom by buying these spaces, and that really influenced me seeing a lot of people who bought buildings and bought lofts because I could see how they just could then not worry too much if they’ve made a body of work that didn’t sell, they could do whatever they wanted, because they owned their loft they’re living in… I think now, especially for younger people, it’s impossible to buy something in the city [NYC] it’s insane, so that leaves you in a very precarious place as an artist, because rents go up – the artists always make the neighborhoods fashionable and then you can’t afford it.
L, 0:31:38.3 S1: Are you seeing a trend in terms of how artists are dealing with that, obviously that’s huge in New York City.
K, 0:31:46.9 S2: I feel like a lot of artists are leaving, so many of my artist friends left cities, or if they stayed in the city, they’ve kept a bull till and then they’ve gone upstate for bigger studios. So I just think New York and LA – LA is so tough to, and a lot of people are moving out to the desert. I think it’s interesting, it’s this kind of migration out, which also makes it a little harder, like I’m going to upstate New York Saturday to do a studio visit, it’s like a two-hour drive. It’s not like you just hop on the subway… There’s a certain convenience to that because they can get bigger spaces and they can own houses, ’cause it’s just impossible in big cities now, I couldn’t buy an apartment in a big city, you know…
L,0:32:48.8 S1: Yeah, me neither, We’ve kind of touched on this next question about already, but I’m gonna ask it again: How has the place of women in and or as art changed over time and across different media?
K, 0:33:13.7 S2: Yeah, that’s a great question. When I studied the history of most of the women in art were the models who bordered on sex workers, of course, in 19th century Europe, it was very close to being a sex worker, and now, as I said before, there’s all of these… There’s just so many kick-ass women artists, and when I go to art schools now, I mean, I feel like it’s like 60% women, and even I teach at an architecture school in London, at the Architectural Association, and I have mostly female students, so I’m really excited for even the next generations to come up.
The big change that I’ve seen, which is a huge paradigm shift is just women coming out of that role of being objectified to being the maker, the creator, and I think it’s incredibly interesting when they’re both… Like you… And there are many artists, even someone like Cindy Sherman, she’s both, and that’s fascinating, but I do think that change has been so nice to see because… I don’t know, it’s really nice to see a beautiful painting, I love looking at Oodalisque neoclassical beautiful painting, but I also just love seeing what women paint or make work about, and I also think there’s been this incredible return to the idea of almost like the personal is political.
That was big in sort of 1970s… Feminist second wave. And then even in the 80s, you had people like Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Mary Kelly making work about identity, but I have to say in the 90s and the early naughts, it was a lot of the John Currins and Glen Browns, and the people who make work about women like Jenny Saville, they kinda stood out like Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas. I loved all the work, but now it’s kind of like again, you see so much identity-based work, the personal is political, I feel. It’s like you walk around an art fair now and you see a lot of… You see just a lot of politicized work and identity-based work again, and I love it, I think it’s my kind of work, I’ve always loved that stuff, but I think we’re gonna go… ’cause everything goes in waves, so I think we’re gonna go into another wave of abstraction, and again, because I think people are getting sick of seeing so many figures and Narrative works.
L, 0:36:21.0 S1: So the next wave you see being abstraction after the identity focused?
K 0:36:26.7 S2: I think so, ’cause we’ve been doing this identity thing now, I wanna say people like Mickalene Thomas and Njideka Crosby, it was so exciting when those practices came out, ’cause they were like, You know what, this is my history, this is like my mom who has an afro and is just bloody beautiful and amazing, and there’s been… It then worked its way into a trickle down, you see it in so many more works around, but I hear a lot of people say like, when they go through art fairs, like I’m just so sick of seeing so many paintings of figures, so I feel like… I don’t know, I just feel that abstraction is gonna be coming in again, but I don’t know if it’s gonna be the… I don’t think it’ll be gestural abstraction, I feel like it’s gonna be something else. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be more like ethnic abstraction, I don’t know, but I do think that’s gonna come in, but I have enjoyed the identity-based work.
L, 0:37:35.3 S1: Yeah. And so on that topic, on the… I’m curious to hear what you think of the current state of feminism and how it relates to art, and I know in your book, you refer to it as new wave of a feminism as opposed to giving it a number. Is that still how you’re thinking about it?
K, 0:38:00.5 S2: Yeah, ’cause I was thinking about the new wave of people sort of in their 30s who are doing really exciting work that there’s so many people I’m excited about, not just writers and artist film makers, people like Chloe Zhao. So I think it’s really exciting, but I think feminism in general, it’s interesting because it’s a political ideology, but it’s an ideology unlike say, Marxism or another ideology where there’s not one text that it moves from, so it’s this very, very wide multifarious thing. And so Feminism got to this point where Beyonce is like, it flashes on the screen behind her and Lady Gaga, it’s super interesting to me because I feel like it has really infiltrated into everything… Even music videos, I think that’s super exciting. But I’m really interested in terms of more art-based feminism and academic, I’m really interested in the people who are writing about feminism in terms of… Not necessarily cisgendered women, but just people in general. And I mean, Bell Hooks is one of the first to start that, but McKenzie Wark, who’s an amazing writer, and I’m not sure of Mackenzie’s pronoun… Legacy Russell we mentioned before, glitch feminism, I think it’s super interesting.
And all of the new manifestos that have come up since I have a whole book of feminist manifestos, and I think it’s so cool. It’s exciting, and it’s great, I’m just really excited because when I studied feminism, you were studying mostly white, and I wanna say middle class text, Laura Mulvey, these are people who are like Oxbridge, educated Sheila Robocom, even Germaine Greer, which became a really populist book, and now I think there’s so many more writers, and it’s a whole new way of looking at feminism, so I read recently this book, Hood Feminism, and I’m terrible ’cause I’m forgetting the author’s name, but you know, it’s like a trade paperback, it’s not necessarily academic, but I was so blown away because some of the things she says about single mothers trying to raise kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and I was like, Oh my God, she’s so right, like Feminism is about this… This is like where the rubber hits the road, and I feel so guilty because they’re just… I don’t know, there weren’t texts like that for me. So I’m just really excited about the younger people and people like Roxanne Gay really sort of almost militant in their beliefs, and I feel like it’s the next iteration of feminism and it’s really exciting for me, it’s not my story or what I know, so I love that.
I do think it just scary me the sort of backlash against feminism in this country where you have even women who are anti-abortion and anti-feminism, I don’t know if you’ve seen any of those people online, it’s scary and horrific to me. I don’t understand how a woman would… Not want women to have control over their bodies. I understand the religious piece, but just control over decisions that changed your whole life, like having a baby at a certain age, and then also, you know when Hillary Clinton was running, who said like, Oh, I don’t trust a woman to be President, and that really scares me, and it’s then that I think, you know what, we still… Feminism is some really important. ’cause I go through days where I’m like, Oh, now my life’s work is done… Women artists are out there, they’re equal. It’s cool now, but then things like that remind me that it’s really like things can just go off an edge so easily into this kind of conservative scary place, and it’s interesting how many art collectors did vote for Trump and are somewhat conservative, I tend to think art collectors, they’re…
0:43:02.6 S2: Republicans are more conservative fiscally, rather than conceptually, I don’t think they’re like anti-choice people, but it’s been fascinating to me to see… Yeah, just to see how the art world deals with some of these things, which is kind of… They don’t… You don’t talk about it. I feel like people who are Democratic, they like to say they donated money and stuff, but the people who are conservative or quieter about it… Interesting. Yeah, probably, but it’s happened several times that I’ve talked to collectors and they said something about… They voted for it. My mouth goes… ’cause you’re just like, always just so shocked because the policies seem so repressed. But yeah, I do understand the Republican Party has changed a lot, so I think there’s different factions within it, but the faction of women being suspicious of women are not wanting women to have rights over their bodies is just unfathomable to me or not being able to get birth control, because you work at Hobby Lobby, those things are just like, I just can’t process it almost… Yeah.
0:44:23.8 S1: And there it’s like a whole subset of women… Well, I guess I’ll say from my own experience, again, that a lot of the hate that I get is actually from women, and then often from men in terms of collectors, it’ll just be something like, Oh, I can’t collect your work because it’s basically… It’s too much in terms of content, not in terms of price, so there is that interesting, and I guess I haven’t really fully worked through what it is, but it’s sort of… I’m not sure if it’s… Yeah, I think you use the ad mistrust. I don’t know, I feel like maybe some people would say, I don’t know, I’m not sure if it’s jealousy, it doesn’t feel like jealousy, but there’s something… Or self-hatred or… No, those are really right, but I feel like there’s definitely something in there that… I don’t know quite so much if it is directly related to the political version of it, but there is something in… There were the women… When you look online, often the people who are giving the online hate are often women, if you look at other women’s accounts, basically other influencers accounts, it’s quite rare actually for a man to give the kind of hate, and this is really random, but one Instagram model went on a boat with, I think Justin Bieber, and then all these girls put these snakes all over her profile, she had to turn off comments because it was just everyone putting snakes, ’cause I guess she was a snake for having done it, I’m not quite sure, but it was really an interesting thing to see happen.
0:46:10.7 S2: Yeah, yeah, I think it’s… I don’t know if it’s self-hate, I think it’s… Because I think in the second wave, there were a lot of these or just to avoided showing their body in their art, and they kind of were very critical of people who showed their body and or… But also, I feel the same happens in literature or film that if you’re too provocative or you’re interested in female desire or someone like Sophie Calle, you’re almost seen as not serious enough, and it’s so de-sexualized, so asexual in the art world, however, they love a beautiful painter that they can really glam up like the Kennedy Yanko got the whole package is all did and she looks great. Or Cecily Brown, she was always photographed looking like a hottie when she was younger, and so it’s this real double standard in the art world that they want women to look great and they wanna picture them in the Times magazine in shorts or something short. But then you’re not allowed to really talk about feminine desire or sexuality, and I think it’s just so deeply ingrained in our culture, even the this marriage thing in our society, I remember my PhD supervisor saying to me…
0:47:53.4 S2: Because I needed a visa. And I said, But couldn’t you meme? In his life were varied first along, and He said, I deferred have my ass, and I was like, But you guys are Marx’s structures. And he said, But that’s the thing, no matter what you think in your head, or even if you’re intellectual, there’s some ingrained societal things that are so ingrained in our culture that we’re just brought up from baby, seeing so many images of a man and a white married and that’s what we’re supposed to do. So if you’re a single woman who just didn’t wanna have babies and not one life partner, it’s like you’re considered… You’re almost like in the queer category, you’re in a… I always identify with queer people and people of color, ’cause I feel like I have a sort of alternative lifestyle there, and it’s amazing how entrenched in our culture it is that you’re supposed to have… A woman, supposed, get married and have kids. And so I have even had kids, like my nephew will say to me… Who are you married to? Aunt Kathy. And then I say, I’m not married. Darling, I work a lot.
0:49:10.7 S2: And then he says, but, do you have children at home? And I say, No, I just, I work, I decided not to have children. And it’s like even from such a young age in school, everything is like this nuclear family, so that’s why I think that some of this hate comes from that, it’s so deeply ingrained that people can… CAPTCHA, GE happen. But it’s interesting ’cause I look a lot at Britney Spears of Instagram and she got so much hate, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since she was freed from her protection order, ’cause I’m always like, maybe she should post other things, ’cause she goes the same thing over and over her and get her in an outfit or her naked with things over her boots and… But then I’m kinda like, You know what, she is in her head, she’s kind of like a 12-year-old because she’s been so Forte and so it’s this new freedom, maybe she just wants to do that and maybe she’s saying Fuck it to all the haters, but that hate that you see is, I don’t know if you ever look at her co…
0:50:19.9 S2: Thousands of comments that are like, Britney, you need help. A lot of it is women, as you said, Wow, it’s like 100 mean comments and then two nice ones, it’s so mean. And it’s really interesting because in a way when she was so controlled, I don’t think she was getting as much hate, and now that she’s free, she’s… There’s a lot of hate in that Instagram account, and I always wonder if it were me, I don’t think I would be able to keep posting, but she does, so.
0:50:55.5 S1: That takes so much gut attention.
0:51:00.4 S2: Talk about it.
0:51:00.7 S1: Yeah, that would be super interesting ’cause there were probably a lot of her fans, right, that was who originally it was probably following her account and then they started seeing that maybe… Oh yeah.
0:51:11.2 S2: People say all the time, I’m unfolding this account and I’m not listening to your music, and I just think she’s probably like, Who the fuck cares I am rich? I’ve got Britney money, I don’t know. But yeah, it’s interesting that a lot of hate comes from other women and it’s sad, you know…
0:51:33.2 S1: Yeah, yeah, definitely, yeah. Fortunately also, there’s definitely a lot of support as well. But yeah, there’s both. That’s really interesting about rating experience, I hadn’t thought of her in that way.
0:51:51.2 S2: I think she’s the only sort of famous person I follow besides famous artist ’cause I don’t really follow celebrities. I don’t know why I just kind of don’t. But with Britney, I started to… And it’s been a roller coaster ride, I think. I was like, How does she continue to do it and not… And not stop. It’s fascinating, and also she’s… For a person with all the means in the world, it seems like she’s often at home alone, so it is kind of sad in a lot of comments say things like Britney, go out, have brunch with friends, but then I think all who are our friends… It’s probably a vipers nest in that world she’s in and certain my world. Yeah, yeah. And is that a lot of people like the… I don’t know, just in timber lakes of the world, who probably were her friends, they’d probably think it’s not safe for their brand to be seen with her… Right.
0:52:53.2 S1: I bet. She’s had a lot of people…
0:52:56.5 S2: Shut her out. I love them, like Madonna and Donatello were at her wedding. Dancing with her. I think that it’s interesting, people like Madonna and share these age pop stars dating much younger men, they get a lot of hate for that, and I’m just like… Nobody says anything about Michael Douglas or any of these guys dating someone 40 years younger, and it’s just still a double standard out there in the world.
0:53:27.1 S1: Yes, it is. It is. Okay, a simple question. But maybe not simple. Can a woman just be art…
0:53:41.5 S2: That’s a great question. I don’t know. I think they can be just art, but it’s hard because if a woman is just art, ’cause I always think, well, woman is art and women are creators, it’s like you’re the creation and the creator, and I think it’s very hard to… It’s like a DNA helix. So it’s hard to separate those. So it’s something I think about sometimes with people, with someone like a Cindy Sherman who’s constantly photographing herself, and I think when she’s not art… What is she… Super interesting because everybody always calls are a blank slate and I don’t know, I think a woman could just be art, but then I think there’s so much more to it if they’re creating the art, for a long time, women were silent venues, they were like ballet dancer or the whore, right? They were like, You know, the balance or the… Or the AMCA downer and art. And now, I mean, like Marina Abramovich, she’s kind of art, just walking around or Patty Smith, I feel like they are just art works in themselves. And in a way, I felt correlation Carolee Schneeman was like that. She just lived in eight and breathed her art.
0:55:20.3 S2: I think it can be. But it’s a tough question. That’s a great question.
0:55:25.4 S1: Yeah, yeah. Well, great answer, I don’t know the answer to it. Please name some female artists you’re excited about and why you’ve mentioned many great artists throughout the whole podcast, but I’m curious.
0:55:45.3 S2: Yeah, I mentioned Nona Faustine. I think she’s interesting. I love Hangama Amiri, she’s a young Afghani artist who was a refugee and went to Yale and worked for textiles, and again, a lot of her work is about female pleasure coming from sup poetry in that culture, you’re not really allowed to kind of make textile paintings of vagina and stuff, which she does, and it’s not just vagina, there’ll be other things. Breast pomegranate, but I love her work. Leilah Babirye, the Ugandan I believe she’s from sculptor. She’s amazing, I just saw her in London and she uses all this detritus, it reminds me of a female Rauschenberg ’cause she’s using bicycle tires and just cracked from the street, and then there’s so beautiful, so monumental. And then a lot of the trans artist I’m really interested in Zachary Drucker early on, I think she’s gone more into film and television, but Juliana Huxtable, very interested in ’cause she flows through so many mediums from writing, video, performance, Tourmaline, really interesting artist. I also, I love… Some of the painters I’ve been really interested in, I was never a painting person, but now that women are getting so kind of renowned like Kate Barbee, Heidi Hahn, Ilana Savdie, who’s a friend.
0:57:33.1 S2: I just love these women who are making big paintings, a Jessica Westhafer, I recently did a studio visit with, I love her paintings, just these kick ass, almost like 80s scale painting, like a Schnabel or something, but they’re women doing it and like I said, Ana Benaroya, I think it’s really exciting, it’s kind of rekindled an interest in painting for me that I didn’t have for a long time, but I think there’s so many great women artists now, and there’s gonna be many more because as I said, you know you’re the majority in the art schools.
0:58:15.0 S1: Yeah, it’s true, it was true. In my class too. Yeah.
0:58:19.5 S2: It’s great. Be interesting. Yeah.
0:58:24.1 S1: Okay, so I was re-looking at your book earlier today, which I love and recommend to anybody who’s interested in any of this New York… New Wave. I was trying to find something I wanted to ask about. And there’s so much, it was hard. So I’m actually curious just to read some of the questions that you asked at the end of the section that you wrote about me and here if you have some answers to them… Okay, since some time has passed and just to hear you riff or say whatever about that. Yeah, so while four decades have span between the groundswell of second wave feminist artists and striker, many of the same debates remain, is the artist and tension critical to the meaning of the work? How does objectifying a young female body create a complex and precarious practice for a feminist artist, how can technology further a feminist stance and is it possible to create sex-positive work and still be considered a feminist? Big question.
0:59:33.5 S2: Yeah, I love those questions. God, it makes me sound smart, like I should look at the book more often. Yeah, I love your work, and I think it’s so gutsy because it’s hard, like a lot of people… I think if you were a cruise missile artist saying, I just wanna make a million dollars per painting and I wanna get to that level, I don’t think you would make work like you do. I think you’re really interested in the debate around bodies and women and desire. Another artist who brought up similar questions to me recently was Erin Riley, I don’t know if you know her work, she shows at PPOW, I love that she’s making tapestries, I think that’s what you call them. And because it’s… Again, just like anything that’s not oil on campus is always seen as kind of a secondary and almost like crafty, but I love how she shows the webcam picture where you see a woman masturbating, then you see the web cam, and then you see in the mirror the same thing, and I’m like, You know it’s… Velasco is in the 21st century with a webcam girl. And is it her? And it’s really interesting because I feel like it elevates these things like being a webcam or an onlyfans women to an art sphere, which is super interesting.
1:01:08.5 S2: And it’s done so well. So I do think sometimes this work is so important also because if you look in the news, you always hear like teacher fire in school because of her onlyfans page, and I’m always like, if you paid teachers properly, maybe they wouldn’t need to also do the greater job, because any form of camber sex work, its labor, people are doing it because you need the money, so we’re not properly supported in this country, I feel a lot of non-protector people like teachers, and when I saw Erin’s tapestry, I saw twice, I said a PPOW I just thought at The Aldrich and I thought about it and I thought, I love how she’s like, I don’t if it’s her or if it’s another webcam girl, but I love that she’s saying, This is valid labor. You know what I mean? But it’s also like, This is what a lot of women in our society have used to go from being maybe a stripper to a PhD, I’ve had students say to me like, I’m a dominatrix or I’m a stripper, because it is one of the ways you can make a lot of money quickly.
1:02:33.1 S2: And in a way, it’s somewhat sad that women are more supported through straightforward channels, but then I think they’re in control. So be it. But I do think that there is this thing about those questions that I asked about, if you objectify yourself and your intention is not to say like, Oh, I have a beautiful body, but to say, I’m a woman, I’m a sexual being, or whatever you wanna say, This slippage between intention and reception in an artwork is so fascinating in any artwork, not just women. And a great example, I think, is the Dana Schutz Emmett Till painting. When she talked about it, she said, I became a mother and I was thinking about Emmett Till. And then people took it in such a different way, and that other question about who is able to represent whom is very interesting to me, and it’s like… Like you said, If Richard Prince shows Instagram girls, it’s like, okay, and it’s $90,000. But if Kim Kardashian took out a booth at the fair fair and shows pictures of herself and her skims, everybody would think it was a joke, you know. So it’s really interesting about who can represent what, and women still can’t easily represent the desire.
1:04:10.2 S2: Tracy Emin really struggled with this too, I think a lot of people dismissed her art for so long, and she’s had the last laugh.
1:04:24.1 S2: I think she’s starting an art school in Kent. Oh, cool. And Margate, yeah, I know she’s been on… Well, but then I believe she’s starting a whole thing where she’s from… She’s revitalizing Margate almost single-handedly.
1:04:39.5 S1: Message, that’s another of your artist philanthropy invest.
1:04:45.7 S2: How I’m really interested in this ’cause I have this theory that women and people of color give back more, not in terms of maybe straight forward money, I don’t know what Jeff Koons or Peter Halley or Julian Schnabel donate, but I feel that in terms of mentorship and setting up programs that will outlive the artist, it’s interesting how many people of color have done that, Titus Kaphar, Theaster Gates in Chicago, and Mark Bradford and Kehinde Wiley… And I’m really interested in why… I think it’s because maybe if you’ve been in a culture or a demographic that was not easily… It wasn’t easy to have movement class, a sentence like women and people of color, and I would put queer every variety into that, maybe you form communities and you give back more… I don’t know, I wanna do a book about this, but yeah, I have another book I have to do first. But I want the book, I really wanna do is talk to it. And even I heard Alvaro Barrington is doing stuff like that in Brazil, so I need to hear more what she’s doing, but you know, it’s really interesting to me that a lot of these artists that have community projects or female or non-white of some sort, and I’m like, I don’t know, I’m kind of fascinated by the…
1:06:24.2 S2: Yeah. Well.
1:06:25.9 S1: Anything else you’d like to add, Cathy?
1:06:29.9 S2: Not that I can think of. I feel kind of like a dinosaur ’cause you guys are… All the young people are doing great things, and I just wanna say, keep doing it. I know sometimes I hear from older feminists who are very resistant to changes in feminism, I am not… I try not to be on…
1:06:53.3 S1: You’re not so… You’re not a dinosaur, you can’t say that because you’re not not still open.
1:07:03.4 S2: I think people have to keep pushing and I’m so excited about the younger artist, I worry about you guys ’cause I worry about the economics of living in this country, in Iceland, if you were an artist. You’d get a salary. You’d be so hard. And when I used to live in Amsterdam in the 90s for a little while, or just got salaries, ’cause people in other countries understand that material culture is very important in art matters. I mean, that’s the one thing I will say is that, honestly, I do believe that art can change society, it takes time and sometimes it’s years later, but it’s a really important thing that you do and that other people do, and it’s not just about parties that are at fairs, it’s about… It’s about change and openness and humanity, so that’s my thing is I would say, keep making the art, no matter what.
1:08:08.7 S1: Well, thank you, Kathy. That’s amazing, it’s a perfect last message, and I’m so glad and honored that you were my first guest on this podcast.
1:08:20.1 S2: Thank you, I was honored to be the first… So exciting, I can’t wait to listen to it.
1:08:27.0 S1: Okay. Well, until next time.
1:08:30.1 S2: Yeah, thank you, Leah. Thank you.