Kelsey Bennett “Didion’s Daytona Yellow” Inspired by Joan Didion – SHE INSPIRES Exhibit Artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York – May 2017

A Group Exhibition Curated by Indira Cesarine
A Portion of Proceeds to Benefit She Should Run

May 2nd, 6-9pm

MAY 3 – 20, 2017


45 Lispenard Street Unit 1W
NYC 10013

From May 2 – 20, The Untitled Space Gallery will present SHE INSPIRES, an art exhibition featuring 60 contemporary artists with works honoring inspirational women. Curated by Indira Cesarine, each art piece 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.

Get ready for the one-of-a-kind group show with The Untitled Magazine’s exclusive preview of the exhibition and artwork. Read below to view a special selection of art and get to know some of the phenomenal women of SHE INSPIRES. The opening 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.

Joan Didion

Joan Didion photographed by Julian Wasser in 1968 for Time Magazine.

In her piece, Didion’s Daytona Yellow (artwork top), conceptual artist Kelsey Bennett pays tribute to American author, Joan Didion. The California born and bred author became well-known for books and essays that explored the many facets of the American culture, often by capturing a specific kind of embedded ennui. Her famous works include Play It As It Lays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking, and her instrumental 1967 essay Goodbye To All That, a farewell to the city of New York. Bennett chose a specific photo of Didion standing in front of her “Daytona Yellow” Corvette Stingray as the inspiration for her piece, stating: “The car, which is so often associated with men and not enough with women is a symbol of freedom. Didion with her Stingray (in photographs by Julian Wasser) nonchalantly leans on the car sensually smoking her cigarette and casually walking around the beautifully shaped fenders of her Corvette with a sense of ownership and knowingness that women are so rarely given credit for embodying. In these images with her car by her side she is the image of empowerment. Because the photographs were shot in black and white I always assumed her Corvette was white. Later I discovered it was not. When asked by Vogue in 2014 what color her Stingray was she responded “The Stingray was Daytona yellow. Which was a yellow so bright, you could never mistake it for anything other than Daytona Yellow”. Didion’s Daytona Yellow explored the elusiveness of reality. The main character of Didion’s Play it as it Lays cruises the freeway in her Stingray and cracks an egg on the steering wheel. She dreams about driving into the “hard white empty core of the world.”

Charlotte Cooper

Left: ‘Charlotte Cooper’ by Agent X, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Charlotte Cooper, courtesy of Getty.

For his piece in SHE INSPIRES, artist Agent X wanted to “honor women that should be valued in our history.” He chose to focus on Charlotte Cooper, the first female athlete to integrate women’s tennis at the Paris 1900 Olympics and won five singles titles at Wimbledon (out of twenty-one tournaments). Cooper won her last singles title at the age of thirty-seven after a seven-year hiatus.

Linda Sarsour

Left: ‘Linda’ by Ann Lewis, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Linda Sarsour, courtesy of Getty.

Artist Ann Lewis puts the focus on contemporary political activist, Linda Sarsour. She is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. Recently she has become well known for her work as one of the lead organizers of January’s Women’s March on Washington.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Left: ‘Colette’ by Danielle Siegelbaum, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, courtesy of Getty.

French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is the inspiration for artist Danielle Siegelbaum who calls her “an important voice in women’s writing” and “an inspiration, a free spirit and a liberated woman.” Colette was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1948. Her most famous work is Gigi, the short story about a courtesan who defies expectations was adapted for French and American films and a musical which starred the then little-known, Audrey Hepburn.

Bell Hooks

Left: ‘Bell Hooks’ by Michael Hubbarb, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Bell Hooks, courtesy of Getty.

Dr. Bell Hooks is an African American writer and activist whose work on race, intersectionality, economics, and gender have helped paved the way for much of the current wave of feminism’s inclusionary focus. Born in Kentucky, Hooks was educated in racially segregated schools and some of her writing narrates her experience of transitioning to integrated education. She has published more than thirty books and continues to write and give speeches to this day. Artist Michael Hubbard’s 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. The work follows two intersecting paths: first, they are heroic portraits of revolutionary women; second, they are meditations on digital and painted media…His work presents an imaginary architecture of feminist resistance connecting disparate times and places.”

Victoria Woodhull

Left: ‘My Name is Victoria Woodhull’ by Indira Cesarine, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Victoria Woodhull, courtesy of Getty.

Despite the fact that she was the first woman to run for United States president, many have no idea about the legacy of Victoria Woodhull. Indira Cesarine stated of the inspiration of her painting, “My Name is Victoria Woodhull” is inspired by Victoria Woodhull, who was the first woman to run for president of The United States in 1872, nearly 50 years before women succeeded in their fight for the vote. She was a leader of the suffragist movement, an activist for women’s rights and an advocate of “free love” – which was that you should be able to marry, divorce or bear children without government interference. She ran on the ticket of the Equal Rights Party and additionally was the first female stockbroker on Wall Street. She was a phenomenal woman who should be acknowledged in our history books as a pioneer on many fronts.”


Left: ‘W.I.T.C.H’ – Ode to the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell by Jennifer Dwyer, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Film still from ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.’

For Jennifer Dwyer’s contribution to SHE INSPIRES she created “W.I.T.C.H”, an ode to the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, a radical activist group that was around long before Bushwick babes started using mystical monikers. The original W.I.T.C.H. was established in New York City in the late 1960s by socialist feminists. They opposed the idea advocated by radical feminists that feminist women should campaign against patriarchy alone. Instead, W.I.T.C.H argued that feminists should ally with a range of left-wing causes to bring about wider social change in the United States. They protested bridal fairs and placed a hex on NYC’s Financial District; spin-off covens were later launched in Chicago and Washington, DC. They occasionally missed the mark: their manifesto was filled with gendered language, claiming “you are a Witch by being female, untamed, angry, joyous, and immortal.” Nonetheless, Dwyer acknowledges that “their efforts in the 1960s were incredibly important, and today the younger generation is co opting their concept and starting their own W.I.T.C.H groups.”

Betty Friedan

Left: ‘Betty Friedan’ by Rosemary Meza-Desplas, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Betty Friedan, courtesy of Getty.

Betty Friedan was an American writer and activist who is credited with igniting the second wave of feminism with her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, which chronicled the underlying unhappiness and unfulfilled feelings present in the lives of many housewives. In 1966 she co-founded and became the first president of NOW, the National Organization for Women. Though her views were sometimes disputed by her more liberal-leaning contemporaries, she will always be known as one of the leading figures of the feminist movement and was an original backer of the Equal Rights Amendment. Artist Rosemary Meza-Desplas’ Betty Friedan is from her series Wave, a “a synopsis of significant and inspirational figures in feminism from first wave, second wave and third wave.” The artist believes that “it is important to have knowledge of the past in order to engage in the coextensive socio-cultural challenges of the 21st century.”

Virginia Woolf

Left: ‘The Room’ by Marcelo Daldoce, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Virginia Woolf, courtesy of Getty.

Viriginia Woolf is one of the foremost figures of modernist writing of the twentieth century and was best known for Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929). Brazilian artist, Marcelo Daldoce draws parallels between “A Room of One’s Own” and his own upbringing. In the essay, Woolf states, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” It questions whether a woman is capable of writing with financial freedom. Daldoce relates to Woolf’s exploration of this theme because of his journey in creative pursuits despite his lack of higher education. He sees A Room of One’s Own as “a metaphor for poetic license and the personal liberty to create art. Daldoce uses art as a tool to overcome the limitations of his underdeveloped education.”

Yayoi Kusama

Left: ‘Bloom’ by Shihori Yamamoto, featured in SHE INSPIRES at The Untitled Space. Right: Yayoi Kusama, courtesy of Getty.

Yayoi Kusama is a living Japanese artist and writer known for her encompassing art installations as well as her polka dot works which are linked to the hallucinations she experiences as a result of schizophrenia. She was a counterculture fixture in the 1960s after organizing a series of “happenings” featuring subjects who were naked save for her characteristic polka dots. In the past decade her work has experienced a major resurgence in popularity and her exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is currently touring five major museums in the United States and Canada. As a Japanese female immigrant living struggle with mental health issues, artist Shihori Yamamoto relates and admires Kusama, saying “Through my work, I ask the audience to see what I see and feel how I feel. By sharing who I am, my wish is to contribute to the society to diminish prejudices and discriminations against the minorities. I am a Japanese female immigrant with so-called disability. I let my talent to boldly bloom in my drawings like Yayoi Kusama.”

Exhibiting artists 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, Zen Sevastyanova

-Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine

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