Martha Wilson, Goddess from a Portfolio of Models, 1974
On Saturday, September 17, artist Martha Wilson presents “Martha Wilson: Staging the Self (Transformations, Invasions and Pushing Boundaries),” at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
This lecture reviews Wilson’s photo/text works produced from 1971-74 in Halifax; discusses how she founded Franklin Furnace in New York to champion marginalized art practices; and shows her work as a member of DISBAND and as a political satirist in the roles of Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Tipper Gore. This lecture was developed as part of Martha Wilson: Staging the Self, a retrospective of the artist’s four decade long career, curated by Peter Dykhuis, Director/Curator of Dalhousie University Art Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. As this show travels it is constantly evolving through Wilson’s collaborations with each venue, adding a unique, local element to the core exhibition.
A signing of Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces (published by Independent Curators International) by the artist will follow. Martha Wilson Sourcebook is the first in a new ICI publication series that offers a fresh perspective on social, political, and cultural issues impacting and inspiring artists’ practices, comprised of materials that the artist selects from their own archive and annotates with personal commentaries. Wilson’s selection encapsulates the contestations around feminism, performance art and alternative spaces, accentuating the ways that identity and positioning are not just self-defined or projected, but also negotiated within one’s environment and through one’s critical reception.
About Martha Wilson
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades has created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformations, and “invasions” of other people’s personas. She began making these videos and photo/text works in the early 1970s when she was studying in Halifax in Nova Scotia, and further developed her performative and video-based practice after moving in 1974 to New York City, embarking on a long career that would see her gain attention across the U.S. for her provocative appearances and works. In 1976 she also founded and continues to direct Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration and promotion of artists’ books, installation art, and video and performance art, further challenging institutional norms, the roles artists plays within visual arts organizations, and expectations about what constitutes acceptable art mediums.
[Photo credit © Kathy Grove]