Art and Gender

Both within and beyond the realms of art, debates on gender are proliferating and becoming increasingly politicized. Gender’s imprint on art is often characterized by the prevalence of time-based media like performance, the use of the artist’s body, interactivity, and interventions in public spaces, and can be contextualized by concurrent developments in the social sphere. Over time, singular, incipient conceptions of gender have given way to allow for multiple approaches and agents. Feminism, an important origin of discussions around gender, has, since the early 20th century, been pluralized and expanded to encompass many different feminisms. Critical race scholars and activists issued urgent revisions to suffragette movements, and continue to nuance movements toward gender equality. Equally imperative, transnational feminists challenge linguistic and geopolitical hegemony and the efficacy of liberal models of gender. Since the 1990s, queer, transgender, and non-binary communities have further illuminated these debates and destabilized the rigid binary of “Man” and “Woman.” More recently, in relation to gender, technological mediation and animal studies challenge the very meaning and form of the category of “human.” This Theme explores the vicissitudes of gender and its concomitant cultural effects.

Portraits of Flowers

This year’s C-MAP seminar series, Transversal Orientations, comprised four panels that took place on Zoom in June 2021. This essay reflects on Looking Sideways, the first panel in the seminar series featuring Sorawit Songsataya, Corina L. Apostol, and Ruth Simbao.

Rosine Mbakam, in Her Own Words

In 2007, at age twenty-seven, having already spent several years directing and editing audiovisual programs for broadcast, Rosine Mbakam left her native Cameroon to attend film school in Belgium. Here, Mbakam reflects on her experience in a conversation with Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator in the Department of Film at The Museum of Modern Art.

Gladys Mgudlandlu Painted Land(e)scapes that Bent the Genre to Her Will

If landlessness is another condition that transforms Africans into wanderers, with nothing but their labor to sell for a pittance, then the genre of landscape painting in South Africa represents a space-time of possession and dispossession. Implicit in Gladys Mgudlandlu’s landscapes is a reminder of how the ownership of land has historically epitomized South African nationhood.

Regina Vater’s Ecofeminist Rituals of Waste and Renewal, 1983–88

In recent years, the Brazilian artist Regina Vater (born 1943) has gained renewed attention for her contributions to Latin American and Latinx feminist art histories of performance. However, her artistic explorations of ecology and the environment are virtually unexamined. This essay considers these subjects in Vater’s work through an analysis of several site-specific, participatory events that together address ecological themes of waste and renewal.