A Group Exhibition Curated by Indira Cesarine
A Portion of Proceeds to Benefit She Should Run
May 2nd, 6-9pm
EXHIBITION ON VIEW
MAY 3 – 20, 2017
THE UNTITLED SPACE
45 Lispenard Street Unit 1W NYC 10013
As fourth wave feminism continues to gain momentum it is important to acknowledge the women who paved the way for progress. A new art exhibition at The Untitled Space gallery will do just that. Presented by Indira Cesarine from May 2 – 20, SHE INSPIRES is a group show of 60 artists who use various mediums to honor inspirational women by creating work revolving around female figures that have made a positive impact on the world. Each work is an ode to a woman or group of women that has shaped our past, present and/or will help form our future. The exhibit aims to not only explore themes of inspiration of present day female role models, but also the legacy of women who have paved the way, and to inspire and empower others with visual art on the subject. The exhibit opening reception will be on May 2nd, followed by various events later in the month including a special performance by renowned dancer Katherine Crockett in collaboration with artist Laura Weyl on May 9th and an artist talk on May 16th.
Coming off of the success of the critically lauded resistance art exhibition, UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN, Cesarine was moved to organize another group show that again focused on women’s rights. Much of the work in UPRISE drew on the political unrest and highly charged, often negative emotions following the 2016 election. In contrast, SHE INSPIRES focuses on the positive advances made by contemporary and historical women in an effort to motivate today’s generations to continue the fight for equality and justice. On deciding on the theme of SHE INSPIRES, Cesarine stated:
“Following the UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN exhibit I felt that it was important to curate an exhibit that highlights inspirational women. I think a lot of women may have been discouraged by the overriding misogyny that has permeated American culture since Donald Trump has been elected. I felt it was good timing to create an exhibit that is empowering and focuses on the women that have paved the way for us, and those that will continue to positively impact us from a cultural and political standpoint.” -Indira Cesarine
Cesarine proclaimed that “Right now more than ever, it is time for women to take a step forward and focus on leadership in their communities and beyond.” Ten percent of SHE INSPIRES exhibition proceeds will benefit non-profit She Should Run. In providing inspiration and thus encouragement for women to continue the work of their predecessors, SHE INSPIRES mirrors the mission of non-partisan organization She Should Run which is devoted to expanding the talent pool of future elected female leaders by creating a culture that inspires women and girls to aspire towards public leadership. She Should Run believes that women of all backgrounds should have an equal shot at elected leadership and that The United States will benefit from having a government with varied perspectives and experiences.
Although each artwork featured in the exhibition highlights an inspirational woman or group of women, SHE INSPIRES will not be a standard show of figurative portraits. Artists utilize various methods to portray the essence of their inspirations. From painting to collage to ceramics, participating artists find numerous ways to highlight these female role models who run the gamut from suffragette to starlet and everything in between. As Cesarine notes, “It was not until 1963 that the first college course on women’s history was introduced in the United States. As feminism continues to gain traction, we are finally shifting our focus to include the accomplishments of many remarkable women who have influenced our culture.” SHE INSPIRES picks up the slack left by Western history’s omission of the accomplishments of these women.
Some of the artists in SHE INSPIRES mine the vault of history for their inspirations while others chose to highlight women whose actions are as recent as this year. Artist Ann Lewis highlights a contemporary figure of todays women’s rights movement, activist Linda Sarsour. The former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York is best known for work as one of the lead organizers of January’s Women’s March on Washington. Lewis’s piece marks the first in her series The Matriots. She describes a matriot as a “a person who loves, supports, and defends her planet and all of its people and other lifeforms regardless of borders, or nation states with unwavering devotion. Not to be confused with a patriot, one with strict devotion to his country.” Her upcoming series will “honor those who are leading this intersectional movement in national and global conversations and actions.” In contrast, Leslie Sheryll shines a focus on “The women who lived during the 19th century” who inspire her “because of their fight for the rights of women” in a time when “Women had no rights.” She explains, “As women became disenchanted with their situation they fought back. They formed a sisterhood. Their fight took years of perseverance and determination before they freed themselves from the many unfair dictates of society. We owe it to these women to not overlook what they have done for us. This is especially true now that women’s rights are politically in question. We have to look at our past so that we can preserve the present and fight for our future.”
Some pieces in SHE INSPIRES honor those who were on the front lines of marches and protests, including Cesarine whose piece Arrested for Equality: An Ode to the Suffragettes is “inspired by the more than 1000 Suffragettes who were imprisoned between 1908 – 1914, as well as many American Suffragists who were arrested while fighting for suffrage.” Other artists depict women who used their own artistic gifts to speak out. J’Nell Jordan’s Levels is inspired by Nina Simone’s Song “Four Women”. She explains, “It [the song] was extremely controversial and was banned from most radio stations when it came out in 1966. It provoked what many black women in America thought about themselves and each other in terms of their place in the world, social status, the spectrum of their complexion and the even the texture of their hair. This painting shows these women in a current light while expressing the evolution, understanding and unity embraced once we put these items on the table and confront them to break down ideologies that we did not create, but participated in ourselves.”
Although her work wasn’t explicitly political as Simone’s songs often were, Frida Kahlo also created art that spoke to the struggles of womankind. For many of today’s female visual artists she remains a guiding light. Textile artist, Jess De Wahls, counts herself among these women, noting that Kahlo inspired her to become an artist and that “her color choices and subjects as well as her life story have inspired millions of people, in particular women around the globe.”
According to Cesarine the advances of women “should be rightfully included as not just “women’s history” but our history.” In this vein, SHE INSPIRES also includes contributions from male artists. Michael Hubbard’s depiction of Bell Hooks serves as a “heroic portrait” and a “meditation on digital and painted media.” His work “traces a lineage of punk rock feminists, starting with the Riot Grrrl bands of the nineties and following their wild angry energy into historical moments and contemporary movements.”
On May 9th renowned dancer and perforermance artist Katherine Crockett’s will present a special tribute to Martha Graham in collaboration with multimedia artist Laura Weyl. Crockett is a former principal dancer with The Martha Graham Dance Company. She has performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov as a guest soloist with his White Oak Dance Company and she has also been a featured performer in works by Robert Wilson, Martha Clarke, Yvonne Rainer, Susan Stroman, Lucinda Childs, Richard Move as well as on the runways of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. She is also well known for her performance as the Queen in off-broadway hit, The Queen of the Night, for which she created and choreographed her role.
Artists featured in SHE INSPIRES include Agent X, Alex Nuñez, Alexis Duque, Ann Lewis, Anna Cone, Annika Connor, Anya Rubin, Anyes Galleani, Boo Lynn Walsh, Cabell Molina, Cassandra Klos, Cecilia Collantes, Cristin Millett, Danielle Siegelbaum, Daryl Daniels, Dena Paige-Fischer, Desire Rebecca Moheb Zandi, Diana Casanova, Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, Farrin Chwalkowski, Fischer Cherry, Haile Binns, Indira Cesarine, J’Nell Jordan, Jacqueline Secor, Jamie Martinez, Jasmine Anokye, Jennifer Dwyer, Jeremy Penn, Jess De Wahls, Joanna Wlazyn, Joseph Cavalieri, Julia Vanifatieva, Kat Toronto, Katya Zvereva, Kelsey Bennett, Ki Sub Lee, Kim Rae Taylor, Laura Murray, Lauren Rinaldi, Leslie Sheryll, Lili Lopez, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Loretta Lomanto, Lynn Bianchi, Manju Shandler, Marcelo Daldoce, Maria Petrovskaya, Michael Hubbard, Molly Crabapple, Nichole Washington, Nils Karsten, Rebecca Leveille, Reza Rafiei Rad, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Sam Cannon, Shihori Yamammoto, Sylvia Maier, Tara Lewis, and Zen Sevastyanova.