February 2013 Archives

Panel Discussion-- W.A.R.M.

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The talk intrigued me and I think the entire audience, because I felt everyone was so eager to say what they thought or how they felt. It was great to see so many people from the community at the discussion, people young and old attended. I enjoyed listening to the history of W.A.R.M. and how it had been through so many transitions and how women fought so hard for their thoughts, ideas, and creative processes to be heard. One thing that surprised me was how the organization was still fighting in the present, Bethany spoke about them having to find on their own places to have exhibitions and gallery space, which I was sad to hear about. I feel that the organization needs an established gallery space if they want to continue fighting for women artists, they need a concrete space is vital to show work often. One point in the night, I believe she was a part of W.A.R.M., told her story about when she was an undergrad showing her works, images of nude women, and she and the school had received letters telling them to take down her art work and the art director of the school wrote back explaining that they were going to continue to keep the work on display. I can hardly believe that such a short time ago these women were making history. Many of the women who talked told the audience that they feel a necessity to count the number of female artists works being displayed every time they attend an exhibit, and that the MIA shows less than 5% of women's art. Elizabeth explained that young woman must create and put their work in the public for people to see!

-Kortney Formanek

Panel Discussion( Visiting Artist Program #2)

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1/31/2013

The panel discussion responding the artist Harmony Hammad and the overall female artist was very interesting. Through this discussion, I was very intrigued how the female's artist in Minnesota are very active through forming an organization such as the Arts Core Program for Women and the Women's Art Registry of Minnesota to fully represent the female artist in the community. I felt that each person who stood on the panel were very passionate about advocating and reaching out the female artist to the public and I was highly respected about their passion and their hard work.
I guess one of my favorite parts of this discussion panel was the question and answer section. Through this question and answer section, I was able to understand the struggles and the obstacles that the female artist had to go through. Each paricipants had their different stories and opinions which made me very interested knowing the person individually.
Throughout this panel I noticed that the Women's Art Registry of Minnesota does not have the gallery of their own. I hope in the future the W.A.R.M will have the chance to have their own gallery which will be a great opportuinuty for the female artist to present their own work.
The panel discussion was a great opportunity for me to fully understand the environment and the atmosphere of the female artist through this coummunity. To be honest, I did not know there was a artist that was called "feminist art" but along with the Harmony Hammad's talk and the discussion taught me alot about the feminist artist.

W.A.R.M Panel Discussion

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I was really excited to be able to go and listed to listen to the senior ladies of W.A.R.M speak and share the obstacles that they have overcome as female artists. I didn't know a whole lot about actions the women of W.A.R.M took in order to gain respect within a male dominant community and I was amazed with the strength these people had to stand up for their rights as female artists. One of my favorite parts of the whole panel discussion was the question and answer. Hearing not only the panels opinions of how to improve women's standings but being able to hear the audience give their point of views was really exciting. It would be nice to have more panel discussions like this one, learning the history and struggles behind artwork makes me appreciate not only the work but the artist even more than what I normally would. I really hope that they are able to get another gallery up and going to display more of their work so that more of the community would be able to understand and appreciate their struggles.

Women have had to work hard for their status and I respect the women of W.A.R.M a lot for dedicating their lives to getting the respect they deserve. Now however, I don't see nearly as much discrimination between sexes as what there used to be and I think now W.A.R.M should focus on not separating men's art and women's art, but they should focus on art in general.

Visiting Artist #2 Panel ( Response By: Nina A. )

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The panel discussion was very interesting and they all brought wonderful incite from different areas of the art community. I enjoyed hearing about the WARM (Women's Art Registry of Minnesota) approach to the beginning in the 1970's and how it seemed that they were now face with the same struggles. I think it is important that they look at the past to continue forward. I hope that the find their own gallery once again. The one audience member that spoke of sport in relation to women in art right now did not make any since to me. I am glad that the current head of WARM spoke up and explained that many women today may be in sports and art, and that they could help support each-other.

I also enjoyed the topic that was addressed about women today still being afraid to label themselves as Feminist. I thought about this and wonder if I was a woman that worked from Feminist ideologies but had never said, "I'm a Feminist!" I thought about it and decided that I did have ideologies aimed to promote equal political, economic, and social right of women. To be a Feminist it does not mean that you are working against men but, are looking to be able to walk in the same steps in life.

Visiting Artists Lecture #2

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Visiting Artist Lecture Response #2 - Panel Discussion
Bailey Haack
31 January 2013

I really enjoyed this lecture, mostly because each of the speakers gave a rich history of their involvement with WARM, but they also brought it up to the present and related it to the current art world. It is interesting to see how far women artists have come in gaining acceptance and recognition in an art world that is still dominated by men. However, I noticed with this discussion and the Harmony Hammond talk that often female artists become lumped together in a group simply for the reason that they are women, regardless of their art style or medium. It seems like at this point, having come so far, that women artists would simply be able to create their art and not have to claim it and defend it - we don't often see male artists making art about their male-ness.
As exciting as it is that female artists are getting their chance to shine, I was surprised that none of the women on the panel discussed the idea that women artists could just be recognized as artists, judged simply for their work and its impact, rather than the fact that it was them who created it. I think by this point in society, we need to move past the shock value of creating tampon art and simply accept art and artists as people, rather than genders.
Of course, I don't want to devalue or put down the art that women artists have and are creating that is relevant to gender and sex, but I don't believe that all art needs to necessarily be defined by those parameters. I felt like the panel discussion was very focused on the community of women and empowering women to create art, but I would have liked to see the discussion move past the ideas of simply creating "women's art" and towards creating art in general, because that's what is really important.

W.A.R.M. Panel discussion

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I found this panel discussion to be one of the most exciting visiting artists events that I've attended. All the ladies talked very passionately about their experiences as members of W.A.R.M. and went into great detail about the organization's history. It was inspiring to see that the senior members of W.A.R.M. wanted to make history by providing artistic opportunities for women artists that were under appreciated by the male dominant art scene. If we look back at art history, female artists were often not represented as often as their male counter-parts. Which is quite sad because there are many great artists who inspire me, who are women. Maybe its because I've been brought in a largely female dominant family, but I don't see the difference between a male or female's artistic abilities. I believe that we all have similar skills and I'm still scratching my head wondering why women artist are still being unrepresented at art world galleries in this day and age. But I believe that times are slowly changing and that there will be a shift in our ways of thinking about equality between men and women.

On another note, it was nice to hear that in 1976, W.A.R.M. had their own gallery that allowed them to showcase works that would often be considered taboo in other galleries. This allowed them to create a great art community of people who all shared a similar interest and goals. As we look towards the future, I hope that W.A.R.M. will be able to once again call a gallery space their own instead of borrowing spaces. There is just something about owning your own space and calling it your own that you might not be able to get with other alternatives.

Harmony Hammond talk

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Overall I enjoyed listening to Harmony Hammond's talk about her work and her experiences as a female artist throughout the years. What really caught my attention was when she stated that as an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, there were only two female instructors at the time. Which is mind boggling because my experience as an art student has been quite different. Most if not all of my instructors were women, and a majority of students in art classes are women as well. As an undergraduate, her art instructors never really focused on the content of her paintings, but focused on her techniques instead. It was interesting to hear that she was painting "hermaphrodites" but no one ever asked her why at the time, when artists are now expected to talk about their content and personal direction.

As she shifted towards abstract expressionism, she had a solo exhibition at the Coffman Memorial student union gallery. Harmony gave a piece of advice that I thought was helpful for all aspiring artists, which was "It's important to exhibit your work any place you can, to take, or make space". Because I believe it is an important first step to make a path for yourself. Life is a journey and it won't move unless you take action. Hammond later on states her shift into becoming a feminist artist. She brings in gendered content in her work by utilizing materials associated with females, and the way these materials are manipulated also can change how a viewer reacts to her work.

Shifting towards her involvement in A.I.R gallery and W.A.R.M., it was inspiring to hear that it was quite a fright for the members because they didn't know how influential their organization would become, they were all into this together. Members of A.I.R. were given visibility in the visual arts, and they were provided with an important gallery space that allowed them to show any work they wanted.

The way that Harmony talked about about her fabric on canvas works was very poetic and sensual as she described the group of work. She talks about how these canvases are suggestions of the human body, as if the pieces of fabric were a censorship of the female body. Her description as a painter isn't very shocking even though she uses other materials such as fabric or other materials. I believe there are two types of painters, one who thinks of their painting as an image, or one who thinks of their painting as an object, and Hammond sees her paintings as an object.

Thoughts from WARM Panel Discussion

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Hi Everybody.

I hope that you are all okay working with my disparate thoughts in this response to the WARM panel discussion. There was a lot to chew on, I thought, and so I am going to present here what came to me and where my thoughts have been going with it since.

One thing that really stuck with me was when Elizabeth Erickson was recounting her experience in trying to found the Women's Art Institute, and how the President of MCAD at the time told them "It would tear this school apart." It is hard to imagine such a parochial attitude. It made me think of those old lines by Bob Dylan:

"Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'."

I think a lot about new energy, old energy, who has power and whether it takes things forward or holds it back, the role of wisdom and vision. It takes courage to go in a new direction, to stretch and push against comfort zones, to try new ways of working. That president obviously did not have that. What a contrast to the comments made by an audience member named Hazel, who recounted when the president at St. Kate's supported the program there in the face of a huge amount of flack the college was getting at the time, citing the importance of academic freedom. The gratitude Hazel felt and the importance of that moment were still very palpable all these years later, and demonstrated how a seemingly small action by one individual can have a big impact and how history unfolds.

This led me to the think about how the history of art (as is true for history in general) is in the making at this moment. At the time did these women know they were making history? How are we, now, making history? Some moments feel momentous at the time, others just feel like the natural and obvious thing to do, or decision to make, or thing to say.

The second part of the conversation that I thought a lot about was Carol Fisher's comments about how her works changed to address the time. In the 70s she was making sculptures out of sanitary napkins, but she would not do this type of work today. Why not now? A more "in-your-face" approach to feminist art seems passé, to me anyway. The ideas are no longer shocking, the impact limited. I got the impression Fisher felt this as well, for she moved on to other things. This relates to the question at the end of the discussion when someone asked for concrete examples of success in regard to achieving feminist ideals. To me progress can be seen in the fact that something is no longer shocking, when someone feels they do not have to go on the offense to defend a principle, but is free to maintain that ideal while exploring and standing up for other ideals as well. It doesn't mean there is not more to accomplish, but there is not the same level of imperative, something has shifted. In my book, that's an achievement and a sign of success.

A third thing that I reflected upon was how the women involved in the feminist art movement of the 60s and 70s so strongly felt the need for a separate space. Do young women today feel that need as much as they did in the past? I would say no. Most women certainly appreciate a feeling of sisterhood, and feel the desire to congregate and support each other as women, but to me there was a unique quality to that earlier time - some there called it "urgency" - that this generation does not feel in the same way. My inclination is to think that today's young women (in our culture and society) feel empowered enough to see themselves as just one piece of the bigger picture, and that this degree of inner and outer security makes them view themselves not as women artists first, but simply as artists.

I hope some of you can relate to these ruminations, and would appreciate hearing your thoughts on some of this.

- Allison Ruby

Panel Discussion

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I found the panel discussion to be very interesting and inspiring, because each of the ladies that spoke seemed to be very passionate and engaged in the programs that they talked about. I personally never knew that programs such as the Arts Core Program, WARM, and the Women's Art Institute existed. I found it kind of sad that WARM does not have their own building to meet in and they have to travel around to meet and show art work. Hopefully they will be able to raise funds to have a more permanent location for their future events. As each of the panel members talked, I felt their overwhelming passion for these programs. It was nice to hear their different perspectives, Carol Fischer and Elizabeth Erickson being more experienced in these assemblages because of their many years of participation and Bethany Whitehead having a newer but still passionate look on these programs. Like Carol and Elizabeth said, they did start these collaborations like WARM before Bethany was even born, but it is great that younger generations are here to continue these gatherings. They obviously have a lot of support within based on the audience at the discussion I did notice I was sitting by a lot of WARM members.
Something I found to be pretty interesting was when the panel opened their discussion up to the audience, an older woman posed a point that she didn't like that young women these days are going out for sports such as hockey and basketball and they are getting more funds than art programs and she seemed to suggest that these funds be shared with the arts community. This bugged me a bit, because not only do I participate in the art community but I am a female athlete. I don't find there to be any connection between funds for arts and sports, but as a female in either area there aren't much funds to go around. I liked the fact that Bethany quickly pointed out that WARM has done events at Lynx basketball games, yet the Lynx, too, don't have their own place and that they have to share a stadium that is predominantly used for the Timberwolves. It was nice that Bethany was able to voice that like the female art community there are struggles in the female sporting community.
-Moriah Kelly

Pane Discussion

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Carol Fischer
Carol Fischer gave a great biography of the galleries and artists she participated with in the past. She used a lot of humor in order to maintain the audience's interest. When she began to speak about the Arts Core Program, it became more interesting though. Fischer explained how this program changed the entire dynamic of these female artists' work by the way she discussed the structure, curriculum, and methodology of the program. The ACP talk was a great example on how a community of artists can work together today (the open discussion method, grass-roots organizing, etc.)

Elizabeth Erickson
Erickson's opening quote was wonderful to listen to: "This moment is the perfect teacher." I feel as if that set the stage for her talk quite beautifully. She spoke very poetically about learning as women and I found it very inspirational. The way she discussed the purpose of the Women's Art Institue was also very inspirational. She spoke of it as a way to enter into the present with your ideas, heart, soul, and skills. What I also found helpful in Erickson's talk was how she reflected upon the contemporary artists that were her students. This gave me a way to connect to the discussion of feminism in the 1970s.

Third Speaker
This speaker spoke a lot about the history of WARM and how it has changed in recent years. I found that with her lecture, she lacked a lot of the inspiration (for lack of a better word) that the the other two speakers had.

When the panel began discussing the questions that arose during the lectures, I felt like some great topics were touched on. Lately, I have been dealing a lot with the word feminist. In my own personal experience, I have felt that when a woman stands up for herself or for another woman--many times she is derogatorily called a feminist. I appreciated that they brought up that word and talked about how it has been twisted and degraded. I enjoyed that several of the audience members spoke up, but I wish that there was more younger women that spoke with the panel as well so that issues of our generation were brought up.

Harmony Hammond

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Having never before attended a talk by a visiting artist, I did not expect so many people to be there. But I guess that could be mostly due to the notoriety of the speaker and the personal importance of the topic. It seems that most of the people there had been following WARM since it was first started in the 70's. It was very interesting to hear about how women had to fight for this little piece of the world. I had never before considered how difficult it must have been for women to make a living with art simply because they were not thought to be good at it. I can only imagine the amount of work and dedication these women had to put into their passion for art simply in order to have the right and recognition for creating it.
It makes sense then, once they got a way to show off their art, that they put such a large focus on art that was so obviously done by women. But I did appreciate Hammond's work even though most of it was not at first glance obviously created by a woman. I appreciated how she communicated feminist feelings and ideals in an abstract way. What I liked most was her focus on the body in an abstract way. Hearing her description of her layered pieces added a lot of significance to them. The abstract imagery of a body with skin was very delicately communicated with the rough layers of paint and straps and grommets. I am glad to have the new, deeper level of understanding of her pieces gained form hearing her speak.

Erin Persons

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