Kiki Smith at the Sackler Center for Feminist Art

I just went to a really cool event at the Brooklyn Museum of Art where Kiki Smith, artist, and, Catherine J. Morris, Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, had a conversation about Smith’s work, it’s intersections with feminism, themes of the body, the personal as political etc.
If you aren’t familiar with Kiki Smith’s work, you should definitely check it out. She’s dealt with a wide range of fascinating themes over the course of her career in all sorts of mediums (many of them previously positioned as the “manly” variety).
I was so struck by her stage presence. She was truly in her body, so authentic that I was a bit disarmed. It was clear that she didn’t feel any compulsion to play the part of the highly articulate, beyond-it-all artist; she just was. And in her “just being,” she said some really profound, simple things. Given my recent experience of being criticized for my voice, my idealism etc., it felt awesome to be reminded how refreshing and critical it is to be comfortable with your own authentic identity in public.
Here are a few of my favorite quotations from the afternoon.
On the personal is political vibe in the 70s:
“You realized what was happening outside your house was also going on inside your house.”
On art making:
“Embrace the fragility. Embrace what is tentative.”
On resisting hegemonic art norms of what’s hip or trendy:
“I don’t want to be owned by ideology.”

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3 Comments

  1. Comrade Kevin
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Ultimately, this is what I have also sought. However, I find that what is often the first to go is a sense of fun and excitement. When I was a child, I always wished to be taken seriously and I preferred the company of adults. Now I deal almost exclusively in serious matters and these often-grim times in which we live in push me even further in that direction. Now, I recognize I need to take time to not fight against my weaknesses but embrace them in a mature fashion, which seems an oxymoron at first, but it truly is not.

  2. feMOMhist
    Posted November 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    AHH LOVE the old school feminists. In my time as a historian, I have interviewed many of them, and I LOVE the complete lack of bullshit some women exude. When I was much younger, I thought the movement must have been like a crucible, burning away the crap. Now I realize these women worked hard to develop consciousness.

  3. fsu
    Posted November 20, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry about the contest. That really sucks. I voted for you every time.
    Zeba seems cool. I hope she wins now.

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