Landmark Year for Women in Art

Pipilotti Rist's video, Pour Your Body Out, MOMA 2008

Pipilotti Rist's video, Pour Your Body Out, MOMA 2008

Visual arts 2008: the go-go vibe gets a remix

Sarah Milroy

From The Globe and Mail, Saturday, December 26, 2008

Available on-line at:

Akin to Margaret Atwood’s book Payback in the literary arts, Milroy claims that visual artists “were the canaries in the coal mine” in 2008 by virtue of their “sensing the pervasive vulnerability of the social fabric and the economy underpinning it.”

In particular, Milroy points out that 2008 was “a landmark year for women in art, a moment when women’s rightful place at the table seemed both acknowledged and assured. With the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s definitive touring show WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution making the rounds (from L.A. to Washington, to Brooklyn to Vancouver, where it landed this fall), the art world turned back to consider the legacy of feminist thought that has provided such fresh approaches to artists of both genders ever since. Also, the touring retrospective of art by the 97-year-old French-born New York-based artist Louise Bourgeois came home to roost at the Guggenheim Museum in New York this spring, a document of female genius and sexuality at full throttle. And as the year comes to a close, the Museum of Modern Art in New York is presenting a feminist double header with Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (until Feb. 2) and South African painter Marlene Dumas (until Feb. 16) – Rist with her immersive environment Pour Your Body Out in the museum’s vast lobby space (a circular sofa bed and cushions allows complete absorption in her projected images of fruit trees, earthworms, naked women, fields of tulips, snuffling pigs and assorted psychedelia) and Dumas, whose lush paintings grapple with social injustice, female power, fertility and sexuality. Downstairs, in Rist’s installation, children are to be found leaping from cushion to cushion, and one wonders (with pleasure) if the place will ever be the same again.”

~ by artpoped on January 1, 2009.

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