Monthly Archives: July 2011

DUDE: A Zine on Transmasculinity and Sex

Do you have questions about trans men? Are you confused as to the definitions of transgendered and cisgendered? 

Then check out this free zine!

Please note that there’s some nudity in the magazine, so it’s probably not safe for work.

DUDE is a short read (twenty-four pages) on a variety of things you may want to know about trans men. Learn more about gender identity versus sexual identity, preferred pronouns and terms for trans men, questions you can ask trans men (and questions you should keep to yourself!), and enjoy a series of essays by transguys on a number of intriguing subjects.

Great photo for the cover. Indicative of the great content inside!

Even though this blog is supposed to be partially about gender, I’ve really been focusing on cis women. In the future as I learn more I’m hoping to feature more posts by genderqueer artists and artists who focus on gender identity. (And if you have any suggestions they would be welcome!)

For now, I hope you guys click through and enjoy this great zine!

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Women in Art: Marie Watt

Marie Watt is an artist I admire not only for the visually appealing work she produces but for the thought and meaning she puts behind each piece. Her quilts are all gorgeous and full of humans’ stories. In the artist’s words, “We are received in blankets, and we leave in blankets”.

Braid (2004)

Catastrophe (Covered) (2007)

Her blankets and quilts tell the stories of the humans who wear them, who use them as markers for important moments in their lives, and each piece says something about the ritual importance we place in objects. Her work is transformed as it is hung flat against a wall or curved to the contours of someone’s body. Watt wants to bring up our own memories of quilts and blankets that were worn and stretched out due to use, that hold memories of their own.

I was lucky enough to see one of her pieces at the National Museum of the American Indian and it was one of my favorite pieces in the museum. The whole collection of contemporary works (titled Vantage Point) was very interesting to view, and I learned a lot more about Native American artists (and about Native American cultures) working today. I would recommend this museum to anyone visiting DC. The artwork, the stories, and the gorgeous building (not to mention the fantastic food!) make the trip worthwhile.

The piece of Watt’s I saw was titled In the Garden (Corn, Beans, Squash).

This quilt’s title is from the story of the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters being corn, beans, and squash. These three food crops grow together in a way that supports and strengthens one another. We see their strength in how the structure on this quilt grows and moves powerfully into the sky. This quilt also has influence from the story of the Sky Woman falling to the earth with the diamond patterns suggesting Native American star quilts. While Watt draws from traditional Native American quilting patterns and techniques such as the star quilts she does not copy them directly. Take these star quilts (Not created by Watt) for instance:

We can see how Watt drew from the diamond structure of the star quilts, but she didn’t use the iconic star shape. Additionally, her piece has a sense of depth the traditional quilts lack as the diamond structure seems to twist and turn further and farther away from the viewer. By manipulating the diamond shapes Watt was able to give her quilt a sense of three-dimensionality. We also see a different, almost softer, color palette, as she sticks with colors in a red hue (with contained yellow accents), while the traditional star quilts use loud and often contrasting colors. Continue reading

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The Hyde Park Art Center and the Sketchbook Project

I just had a really fun day and I feel as though I have to share it!

My morning began with helping out with a field trip at Union Street Gallery. This is the first field trip I’ve participated in, although they apparently occur quite frequently throughout the entire year due to day camps, field trips, and other groups looking for artistic education.

Union Street Gallery

This particular group was from a day camp with campers ranging in age from 8-17. The group was very outspoken about their opinions of the artwork from the start which was encouraging. I speak from personal experience when I say that most young people (including myself at many points!) are uncomfortable discussing themes and meaning behind works of art. Not this group though! They quickly grasped that Sergio Gomez’s work was about his family, identity, and specifically his identity as a Mexican American. The kids discussed with each other his use of texture, symbolism, and text so well I could see them participating in our college critiques (I don’t mean this as a jab at RIT’s critiques. I just mean that most people are more reserved in their opinions and more afraid of failure than these campers were!)

After they finished looking through the gallery (which you should take a look at. Sergio’s work is up until August 6th and we have a number of great exhibits following that) we had them work on a project similar to the charcoal piece Sergio created specifically for Union Street. They all turned out pretty well! The campers seemed to enjoy themselves and their work is now proudly hanging in our classroom.

Here's their work!


From there I ran home and quickly got on the train with my friend Rachel. And it was off to the Hyde Park Art Center!

HPAC is something I’ve known about and wanted to visit for a while, but I never seemed to find the time. When I saw that they would be exhibiting the Sketchbook Project this weekend I knew that it was high time to visit.

This is when we realized we were no longer lost!

After some stress in locating the gallery (Thank you kind sir who directed us towards S. Cornell Ave! We appreciate your assistance!) we were pleasantly surprised! We hadn’t expected HPAC to have nearly as many interesting things as they did. Not only were they exhibiting the Sketchbook Project, they had a few other very enjoyable exhibits running, a really interesting trade type garden thing going on (you could trade for plants or pay for them. There were a number of free plants, seeds, books, and plates as well), a school/classroom area that we didn’t get to look at, an artist library, and studios for artists in residence.

They also had a great cafe. One of the workers had a dramatic storm off and left the cafe shouting, "F*** you guys, I'll see you around!" which seems like a mixed message. Then he had to awkwardly return and leave his keys and pick up belongings. Cue second dramatic storm off. I think this time he said something akin to "Screw y'all!" as he dramatically struck the decorative sticks near the exit. Somehow the drama made the cafe even better. Also, gelato!

This last part was really fun. Rachel and I walked in to the studio hallway very nervously, wondering if we were allowed in this section. We were immediately greeted by a man talking to four adults. At this point we squeaked out, “Can we be in this area…?” 

They were very friendly! Not only did he allow us to look inside his studio, but he invited us to listen to the talk he was giving to the rest of the group. He told us about his work with youth in the field of hydroponics in response to food deserts. His group, the Mycelia Project (if I’m correct? I can’t find any information online other than what may be their fb group) which I believe is a part of the Sweet Water Foundation

Continue reading

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National Museum of Women in the Arts

For three days this week I was able to wander around any museum or gallery in D.C. I felt the urge to visit. It was a complete dream come true. Ever since I went there for the rally for women’s health in the Spring I’ve wanted to go back. That day held so many beautiful things, the museums, the memorials, even just the weather. We didn’t have any grass or flowers in Rochester at the time so going to D.C. was like a little slice of heaven.

Thanks to my amazing mother who brought me along for her work trip I had three straight days of art, art, art. The American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Freer Gallery, Sackler Gallery, African Art Museum, and even more. I got to spend hours learning about and just enjoying inspiring work.

And among these museums I was able to go to one that I was incredibly excited about: The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The building used to be a Masonic temple. The exterior is lovely, but the interior is breathtaking.

The NMWA is the only museum in the world that focuses exclusively on women artists. The museum heavily emphasizes the role of women in the arts and recognizes so many women artists who have largely been left in the dark.

This museum has been on my radar for a while, and when my mom agreed to bring me along with her to D.C. I knew it would be the first place I would visit.

So on a ridiculously hot Sunday morning I took the train from Silver Spring to Metro Center (Which was a stressful mess. I always hate using new train systems!), exited the station, and promptly became lost. Even though the museum is located only two blocks away I wandered around in the wrong direction for at least a half hour before realizing my mistake.

But when I finally found the museum and walked into a refreshing blast of cool air all of the stress melted away. And for a reasonable admission fee ($8 for students and seniors and $10 for everyone else. I didn’t have my ID with me but the woman in the gift shop very kindly charged me the student fee.) I walked into the gorgeous main hall and glimpsed some of the artwork I would enjoy that day.

This isn't a great photograph of their main hall. I didn't take as many photos that day as I would have liked. Hopefully this gets across some of the sense of how elegant the interior is!

There was work by Lavinia Fontana, Clara Peeters, Vigee-Lebrun, and more. It was incredible! I’ve only seen their work in books, slides, and on the all knowing internet. I rarely see work by these artists in museums, so to see their work all together was a very fun and unique experience! So often these women are not recognized by museums and art history textbooks for their contributions to the world of art, so it’s wonderful to see their work being recognized and applauded.

One of the areas open to the main hall.

Angelica Kauffman's Cumaean Sibyl (1763)

 Not only was their collection of 16th-19th century work fantastic, they had more recent works from the 20th century onward. I saw work that day by O’Keeffe, Maria Izquierdo, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, so many incredible artists. Their collection of paintings, drawings, prints, and more far exceeded my expectations. Everything is beautifully curated, they arrange works in a way that complimented each other wonderfully. They also manage to cover a range of styles and different artist backgrounds. It’s always great to see ethnic diversity in museums and it’s something that we should expect from more of them.

Elisabet Ney's Carrie Pease Graham (1895)

Elisabet Ney's Carrie Pease Graham (1895)

Continue reading

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Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

My first official blog post at YouthNoise is up!

For those of you who don’t know, YouthNoise is a site catered towards youth activists, young people who want to change the world for the better. The energy is really incredible. The amount of positive people working for YouthNoise and posting on the site is inspiring (and a great response to those who say that kids nowadays just don’t care!) I’m the web content and design intern for the summer, so I’m the one updating the front page, creating banners, so on and so on. I’ll also be writing about women’s rights in my weekly blog posts.

For my first post I was really unsure of what I wanted to write. I didn’t want to start out covering the basics of women’s rights, as many site users are already well versed in the fight for gender equality and there are already a huge number of resources for feminism 101. For my first post I wanted to write about something that I was passionate about. So for a while I just worked on some design things and mulled over ideas.

And then as I was just sitting on the redline and staring at all of the buildings flashing past the windows I suddenly knew. It seemed like a great place to start.

“Why have there been no great women artists?”

First things first, I am in no way the first person to talk about this. This question is Linda Nochlin all the way. Her essay is far more fleshed out and intriguing than my YouthNoise rehashing is. But it seemed like a good topic, something I was comfortable discussing, and something that I thought would interest YouthNoise users. Not to mention something that interests me!

So there it is. Go ahead and click through if you want. Even if you’re not interested in my post there are a number of other posts by youth looking to make change that I think you’ll find interesting! There are people focusing on environmental issues, how sports can be used as a tool for social change, Asian Americans in the media, racism, and politics. So take a peek, share the site with your children, cousins, friends. Anyone you know who’s a youth making a difference in your community!

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Women in Art: Clarity Haynes

"Her There From Here" (2008)

I am concerned with psychological and emotional states and the tensions within them: rage and tenderness, confrontation and concealment, empathy and autonomy. I am fascinated by the history of portraiture in painting and by the ways in which changing conventions reflect ideas about gender.  -Haynes

Clarity Haynes is a contemporary American artist working in a realistic style, utilizing soft chalk pastel to create life-like depictions of women, and in her most well-known project, women’s torsos.

Breast Portrait Installation (2011)

Entitled the Breast Portrait Project, Haynes focuses exclusively upon women’s bodies and particularly upon their torsos and breasts. Usually artistic depictions of bodies without faces seem objectifying, appear to drain the personality and the perceived value of a person from the image. Haynes’ work is different in that it doesn’t objectify, it celebrates! These bodies have personality, they differ in unique and intriguing ways. In fact, Haynes is referencing and questioning our society’s conflation of faces with identities. In Haynes’ own words,

The face is our commonly recognized self – our “mask” of identity. Focusing exclusively on the torso shines a light on a part of the individual that is usually hidden. Each torso bears traces of unique personal experience: tattoos, childbirth, aging, stretchmarks and surgical interventions.

I’ve seen some discussion on whether Haynes’ work still objectifies women’s bodies, as her portraits don’t include faces. This is a brilliant response to the discussion. I personally feel that this is a healthy attitude to take, where we don’t behave as though we’re blind to others’ bodies, but that we’re conscious of them. We respect them. And that we don’t negatively judge them for differing from societal norms. Faces will distract from bodies in works of art as people viewing a painting, drawing, or photograph often disproportionately focus on faces rather than the overall figure. I think that choosing to exclude faces from these portraits is a reflection of the artist’s carefully considered choices, and I applaud the thought she’s put into her explanation. I also think that her photographs of women with their portraits fully addresses any remaining concerns of objectification. Continue reading

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