The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Back when video art was still young, a puppy really, in the late 1960s, Joan Jonas emerged and transformed the genre with the incorporation of her own performances in her filmed work. She also paved the way for women — for so long so underrepresented in the art world — to express themselves in art, through performance and video. We’ve come a long way since then (well, we’ll leave the discussion about Jay Z's performance-film excursion, shot at Pace Gallery and highlighting Marina Abramovic, for another time); women have made this particular form their own.
Saturday night, Dimensions Variable (DV, a Knight Arts Challenge winner) will feature performance video from female artists — short pieces from almost 20 people local and not, curated by Ania Moussawel. It’s clear from the diverse roster of names for this one-night showing, titled “Finishing School,” that the artists not only explore issues of gender, but of ethnic and regional identity as well (all those elements that go into making us who we are), along with addressing the video form itself. Some of the local artists include Felecia Carlisle, Christina Petterson and Antonia Wright.
As expressed in the notes from the artist-run DV (recently replanted Downtown in a nice, large space): “Early video artists from the 1970s, such as Martha Rosler and Elinor Antin, used performance to help bring notions about female image, and inevitably the relationship between women and the art-making process, into focus. Those ideas continue to resonate in the works presented, while bringing forth contemporary concerns and approaches. The selected videos vary in content, but have in common the staged performance for the camera.”
This should be a good way to spend an August Saturday evening, with an afterparty at neighboring Will Call (700 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami).