An interview with feminist curator Joanne Hinkel
by Cynthia Pelayo
SAIC alumna Joanne Hinkel recently asked herself the question, "What does feminist art look like today?" Her subsequent exploration, a curatorial debut titled LADYLIKE that features the art work of 10 female artists, helped not only answer her own question, but has provided audiences with an understanding of where this movement is, and where it is going.
Hinkelís interest in putting together a collection of feminist art began months ago as she began attending events commemorating the history and accomplishments of feminism. "Through all of this, I felt like so many artists are afraid to use the word Ďfeminist,í" she said. "For whatever reason, it seems that more male artists get attention, and I wanted to bring together a group of female artists. The artists who were brought in to be a part of the show are not necessarily Ďfeministí artists, but it is one aspect of their artistic abilities," she said. "So, this process became a feminist experiment to determine where feminism is today and to see what it looks like."
Ten artists were selected for LADYLIKE and when asked why these particular ten artists were selected, Hinkel explained, "I always love to see a range of work, media, and applications of one aspect."
"One person came to me with a painting of naked women and it was very angry feminist art, and I just didnít want to go that route. I donít feel that the young generation of feminists feels that way," said Hinkel. At one point she was going to add a male artist to the show. "I think thatís where feminist art should go," she said explaining how she believes in including men in feminist dialogue.
Portraits, embroidery, photography, animated video, and performance arts are just some of tools used in LADYLIKE. While topics covered include personal history and relationships. "Each artist is telling a story about her own life. Everything has to do with their family, moments, or personal relationships," said Hinkel.
Hinkel credits the success of the exhibit to the balance of established and emerging artists "like Jessica Hannah and Krista Babbitt, who both completed their MFAs in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, to more established Chicago-based artists like Susan Sensemann and Lorraine Peltz, to some very established non-Chicago artists who have never before shown in this city, like Ke-Sook Lee and Andrea Dezso. Both of these ladies were in the New York Museum of Art and Design ĎPrickedí show this winter."
The process of curating the exhibit has also given Hinkel a greater insight into the artistic community. "Organizing this show made me feel the excitement and the importance of true communication through the interactions I had with all of the artists," she said. "Once I put the idea out there for this show, so many artists were interested. I think we all crave connection and community, and we all want to be a part of something together. To me, thatís what art and art events are about, community,"
Overall, Hinkel feels that her original vision came to fruition. "My goal was to show how diverse, varied, and rich the landscape of feminist art is today, and I think LADYLIKE accomplishes that," she said. Hinkel is already generating ideas for possible future exhibits. Possible topics include the exploration of how the male role has changed in the modern world. Another possible idea would be to curate an exhibit that would look at the sexualization of children. Keep an eye out for upcoming projects.
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