On June 27th, “THE SECRET GARDEN: The Female Gaze On Erotica” opened its doors to a crowd of artists and art lovers. On the walls was the work of more than 40 female artists who explore their own views on erotica and nudity. Curated by Indira Cesarine, the exhibit will be on view until July 30 and includes works of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, pottery, sculpture, collage, mixed media and video.
Exhibiting artists include Alexandra Rubinstein, Andrea Mary Marshall, Annika Connor, Betty Tompkins, Brittany Maldonado, Brittany Markert, Cabell Molina, Danielle Sigler, Dara Vandor, Dominique Vitali, Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, Ellen Jong, Fahren Feingold, Hiba Schahbaz, India Menuez, Indira Cesarine, Jacqueline Secor, Janine Gordon, Jeanette Hayes, Jessica Litchtenstein, Joan Semmel, Julia Fox, Kat Toronto, Katie Commodore, Katya Zvereva, Kelsey Bennett, Kristin O’Connor, Kristin Prim, Lauren Rinaldi, Leah Schrager, Maia Radanovic, Mairi-Luise Tabbakh, Maisie Willoughby, Marne Lucas, Mary Theinert, Meredith Ostrom, Miza Coplin, Myla Dalbesio, Natasha Wright, Rebecca Leveille, Renee Dykeman, Rowan Renee, Signe Pierce, Suzanne Wright, Taira Rice and Tafv Sampson.
The exhibit title is inspired by the book, “My Secret Garden”, published in 1973 by sex positive feminist author Nancy Friday who was instrumental in addressing taboos revolving around female sexuality in the early 70s and an important figure of the feminist sexual liberation movement.
Along with the legalization of birth control in the 1960’s came a profound shift in attitudes towards women’s sexuality and the freedom of sexual expression. The sexual revolution celebrated the erotic as a normal part of life, and denounced conservative attitudes that it should be repressed by a patriarchal society, religion or state. From a feminist perspective the movement focused on a woman’s right to choose her sexual partners and preferences free from outside interference or judgment. As women’s sexuality was redefined, many artists of the era, including Betty Tompkins and Joan Semmel, addressed these themes in their works, and fought against censorship and oppression.
The taboo shattering artists in SECRET GARDEN present works that fearlessly address sexual themes in their art and celebrate freedom of expression.