Video interview published 18/10/2012 by xtraonline.
Xtra speaks to Dot Tuer, curator of Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting at The Art Gallery of Ontario about Frida Kahlo’s gender bending ways and her status in the queer community. The exhibit runs until Jan 20, 2013.
Frida Kahlo Retrospective
by Helga Prignitz-Poda, et al.
Prestel, USA, 2010
Cassandra Langer about the catalog in The Gay and Lesbian Rewiew, March – April 2011, Volume 18, Issue 2: “PUBLISHED last year on the occasion of a major retrospective of Frida Kahlo’s work in the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2010), and Bank Austria Kunstforum, in Vienna, the Frida Kahlo Retrospective is accompanied by a coffee table-sized catalog. It is a stunningly beautiful book with glorious color and black-and-white illustrations. (…)
Art historian Hayden Herrera notes the dualities in Kahlo’s work: life and death, night and day, sun and moon, male and female. Prignitz-Poda follows up on Herrera’s work using the catalogue as a vehicle to develop her own theory about Kahlo’s fluid sexuality, and finally to reclaim her as heterosexual. The reasons for this claim escape me. The truth is that Kahlo was passionately bisexual and had affairs with both men and women throughout her turbulent marriage to Diego.” (…)
Read art historian Cassandra Langer’s review ‘Moods Flowing on Canvas’ about the catalog ‘Frida Kahlo Retrospective’ at glreview.com, The Gay and Lesbian Review, a bimonthly Journal of History, Culture, and Politics.
The opera lovers shout ‘Bravo!’ when they have heard a great opera aria. Eso!! the tango dancers’ acclamation, was the first thought that came to me, when I learned that MoMA has started looking the role, which women has played in the history of Museum of Modern Art in New York and realized that the MoMA has neglected telling the story about the female (feminist) artists. After 5 years of research they have published a richly illustrated art book/lexicon titled: Modern Women – women artists at the Museum of Modern Art. 48 scollars have contributed to the book with essays about women artists.
Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art
The landmark publication ‘Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art’, in which the museum now openly discusses gender issues, and how instrumental women have been in advancing the arts to where they are today, is the greatest piece of art news, which I have heard in 2010. – Now the museum is finally taking all the feminist artists, who have voiced their concern about the museums (subconscious or deliberate) strategy of giving more space and attention to male artists than women artists, seriously.
Works of art made by women (straight, lesbian, queer, white, black, or…) tell very interesting stories. Stories, which shouldn’t be forgotten by the museums and the main stream art world. The fact that MoMA, which is a role model for many museums, is about to set a new standard makes me smile and dance at my computer.
In the video below you can hear Michelle Elligott, museum activist and researcher talk about her work with the book Modern Women – women artists at the Museum of Modern Art.
I haven’t got my copy of the book yet, but I have had a quick look at book’s index of artists, (the “MoMA the hall of fame of female artists”), and I have picked the following artists, which may be of interest to lesbian and queer art lovers:
BERENICE ABBOTT (USA, 1898 – 1991), SADIE BENNING (USA, born 1973), CLAUDE CAHUN (France 1894 – 1954), LEONOR FINI (Italy, 1907 – 1996), SU FRIEDRICH (USA, born 1954), EILEEN GRAY (Ireland, 1878, 1976), GUERRILLA GIRLS (American group of radical feminist artists founded in 1985),
BARBARA HAMMER (USA, born 1939), HANNAH HÖCH (Germany, 1889 – 1978), FRIDA KAHLO (Mexico, 1907 – 1954), KÄTHE KOLLWITZ (Germany 1867 – 1945), GERMAINE KRULL (1897 – 1985), AGNES MARTIN (Canada, 1912 – 2004), TINA MODOTTI (Italy, 1896 – 1942), GEORGIA O’KEEFFE (USA, 1887 – 1986), EMILY ROYSDON (USA, 1977), CINDY SHERMAN (USA, born 1954), JOAN SNYDER (USA, born 1940), GINGER BROOKS TAKAHASHI (USA, born 1977), and RIDYKEULOUS (an American collaborative art project founded by A.L. Steiner and Nicole Eisenman).
Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art
Cornelia Butler (Editor, Introduction), Alexandra Schwartz (Editor), Griselda Pollock (Introduction)
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art, New York (June 30, 2010)
‘First Feathers’, photo by American photographer Kalliope Amorphous
I work exclusively with the self-portrait photograph as a catalyst for exploring issues of identity and perception. Using props, wigs, makeup and physical nuance, I create a multiplicity of different identities and freeze them in the still image. As an artist and a queer-identified woman, the issue of perception and stereotype is one that is close to me. I want to push boundaries of first impressions and the assumptions that are based on them. In becoming all of these different archetypes, male and female, beautiful and revolting, I push back against a culture and a society that subtly seeks to define who I am. Visually transforming into whatever I am moved to become allows not only an artistic freedom, but also a sort of spiritual and mental freedom. This is why the focus of my work has ended up landing on the self-portrait alone. Not to mention, the convenience of having access to a model at all hours of the day and night, whenever the mood for creating a new character or idea strikes.
I think people sometimes immediately associate self-portraits with narcissism, but I view my self-portraits as exactly the opposite. They are a release from the cage of the self, and the illusory nature of ego and identity. My pseudonym reflects this philosophy, and in a good photo shoot, that loss of identification with who I believe myself to be will show through in the finished image. What I do is more frozen theater than it is photography. I really try to identify with and get into the mental space of the moods and characters that I want to bring forward.
As a student of Eastern mysticism, this exploration of duality and non-duality is at the forefront of my life and art. I am fascinated by paradox, and enjoy subtly juxtaposing seemingly contradictory elements to create images that may come off as disturbing or unsettling. The concepts that I choose range from archetypes that I identify with to those I am repulsed and terrified by. I want to pull the viewer into a world that is familiar and strange, human and ethereal. In my images, I also pay tribute to various personalities that I either identify with or am fascinated by, such as in my self-portraits as Oscar Wilde and Frida Kahlo.
It is my goal to continue to create art that is both visually evocative and a release from the box of identity and perception.