curated by Monika Fabijanska
June 18 – July 24, 2020
press day – June 18, 2020, 12-6 PM
opening reception – no public gatherings is planned
artists talk & walk through (online) – tba
gallery hours: Tue-Sat, 11-6 (through June 27); Mon-Fri, 11-6 (from June 29 onward)
Thomas Erben Gallery
526 West 26th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
ecofeminism(s) explores the legacy of some of the pioneers of ecofeminist art: Helène Aylon, Betsy Damon, Agnes Denes, Bilge Friedlaender, Ana Mendieta, Aviva Rahmani, and Cecilia Vicuña, and how their ideas and strategies are continued, developed or opposed by younger generations – Andrea Bowers, Eliza Evans, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Carla Maldonado, Mary Mattingly, Jessica Segall, and Hanae Utamura. It also features the ecofeminist works of Lynn Hershman Leeson and Barbara Kruger, who escape these categories.
The historical perspective gained over the last fifty years reveals how revolutionary the work of pioneer feminist artists was, and how relevant it remains, whether for women’s rights or the development of social practice. The most remarkable, however, is their voice regarding humanity’s relationship to nature. The foundation of ecofeminism is spiritual feminism, which insists that everything is connected – that nature does not discriminate between soul and matter. Their recognition that Western patriarchal philosophy and religions have served to exploit both women and nature is particularly resonant in the era of the #MeToo Movement and Climate Change. But if the ecofeminist art of the 1970s and 1980s was largely defined by Goddess art, ritual performance, anti-nuclear work, and ecological land art – the curator poses the question – what makes female environmental artists working today ecofeminists?
Since the 1970s, ecofeminism evolved from gender essentialism to understanding gender as a social construct to gender performativity. But today’s feminists still address the degradation of the environment by creating diverse responses to patriarchal power structure, capitalism, and the notion of progress. They invoke indigenous traditions in maintaining connection to nature and intensify the critique of colonialist politics of overextraction, water privatization, and the destruction of native peoples. They continue to employ social practice and activism, but focus on denouncing global corporate strategies and designing futuristic proposals for life on earth.
Image: Jessica Segall, A Thirsty Person, Having Found a Spring, Stops to Drink, Does Not contemplate Its Beauty, 2011, performance/video still, archival print. © 2011 Jessica Segall. Courtesy of the artist