Heide Hatry Expectations 2007 [still from video]
Sonia Khurana Bird 2000 [still from silent, b&w video]
He Chengyao Broadcast Exercise 2004 [still from video]
I'd always felt very much an outsider when it came to art by women which might involve an assertive sexuality,. I confess this failing or inadequacy in spite of my natural inclination to welcome and embrace the unconventional or the anomalous - in art or almost anything else. Yes, I'm a guy, but while my neuroses may be those of a male, they are those of a queer male. Should that make it easier or more difficult to reach across the barrier? Could the circumstances of my pre-1960's dating experiences (dissembling in order to survive, but fearing any intimacy with women since it might call for performance) have allowed a healthy relationship to women's bodies even with the best will? Intimacy with a body matters, and heterosexuals and bisexuals may always get a head start in understanding gender - if not sex.
Whatever the answers, I humbly admit that the show currently installed at Elga Wimmer, of performance art influenced by Carolee Schneemann and other trailblazers, was a major breakthrough for me. "Out of the Box" was curated by Wimmer and Heide Hatry. I had wanted to visit the show because of my long experience with Wimmer's excellent program, because of my interest in anything related to Schnnemann, and because I was interested in Sonia Khurana, one of the artists. The exhibition, of both video and still images, is a small miracle, "small" only because of the physical limitations of the gallery's size. The artists are Regina José Galindo, Heide Hatry, Sonia Khurana, Carolee Schneemann, He Chengyao and Minette Vari. This small group includes women who began working in Latin America, Europe, Asia, North America, China and Africa, and it represents living artists of all ages.
They work with in very different materials and they communicate very different things, but all of the is courageous and tight; the art is breathtaking and ravishing; the statements are both incredibly intimate and extraordinarily public.
See a subsequent post for more on the works themselves.
[images from Heide Hatry]