Monday, May 25, 2009

I've been Thinking

I've been thinking I probably want to think a bit seriously about a few things at some point.

One is whether exhibitions by, books on, or cooperatives/awards for "women artists" (or writers or musicians) is relevant any more. This was triggered by a radio interview a couple of weeks ago. The interviewee practiced art and coordinated exhibitions for women artists between the two wars, I think, so it was definitely relevant in her times and I don't want to take anything away from the work she put in. But I'm not sure if it is important today.

I remembered how in the 70's I was aware of who among my grown-up female friends subscribed to Ms magazine, and who not, and how many struggled to get descent/equal treatment at work, in social situations, and particularly pertaining to personal finances. I even knew a group of women who stayed single and adopted children from this one agency, and they fought hard and I admired them so much, but by the time I grew up, I think we were the Me generation, and I was in a comfortable DINKs setup. And New Zealand this century is most definitely the most emancipated place/time I've ever lived in, so I'm not seeing the point of emphasizing the fact that I'm a woman. What do you think?

The second issue is originality in art making. It seems I managed to create a wee group of art practitioners/educators/historian/curators/museum staff who will be meeting fairly regularly to discuss such things as art vs craft, what is concept, etc. I personally want to find out how far I'm willing to compromise my weaving to get into fiber/textile art exhibitions, (because I want to remain a weaver and I want to weave, and not create mixed media stuff using fiber/textile, but exhibitions where the non-weavers come is important for me, and I think, for the craft,) but others have purely academic, curatorial, or the perspective of other crafts' interests, and these differences energize the discussion. All the rest, and there are five of them, went to art school in New Zealand, Australia or England, so it's an amazing free tuition for me.

One member said she never worries what curators look for but only makes what she wants to make, and I wanted to instantly emulate her, but part of me worry too mcuh about how much "art" to put into my "craft". Then I started to wonder how research ties in with originality. Another member said I could get a PhD in something or rather and never get all the answers I'm looking for, and I know this, but without asking I won't even find an operable, albeit impermanent, mode.

The last item is a happy one; how to spruce up my packaging when I send off commission pieces. Of course it depends on the nature, color and size of the piece, and the client, but after seeing Pam's post here, I've been thinking I could liven things up a little bit...

9 comments:

  1. you might find this interesting

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8064449.stm

    women's right are still important, cos there's plenty of people still about trying to take them away.

    same goes for LGBT rights as well. i don't know if you heard about this whole gay minister thing going on over here the now.

    basically, there's a minister in a church of scotland kirk, and he's openly gay, and there was a petition to get rid of him, and the looney USA chrisitian group that does the homophobic protests at funerals and so on wanted to protest at it (their leader and his daughter are barred from the country, along with a lot of wild-eyed extremist nutjobs)

    well, they were debating it on saturday (they approved it in the end) so the nutjobs protested with a bunch of horrible banners, and the liberals and the anarchists counter protested with a bunch of ironic slogans.

    guess who got arrested for using homophobic slogans? that's right, 2 gay activists. 1 lad at the event, and a girl later on in a cafe in the town. both based on complaints from the fascists.

    it almost beggars belief. but i cease to be amazed anymore at political policing and misuse of anti-terrorism laws (142 people arrested pre-emptively last month for a crime they hadn't yet committed, this crime being green protest).

    i don't know how things are in new zealand, but in britain liberal democracy is falling. and the more democracy fails and authoritarianism and violence become the rule of law, the more women's rights are eroded, along with the rights of all of us.

    so i reckon feminism's important, yeah

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  2. Well, yeah. I guess I got so used to New Zealand's relaxed ways I don't even think it mattered any more. In Japan, they make a big deal out of some women, particularly writers, being successful, as if women are not expected to be successful or have enough brain powers, but I think younger generation don't bother with gender much. But it appears being married and having different last names is still not legal over there.

    Again, in New Zealand, although gay marriage didn't get approved a few years ago, I don't think it matters much in real life. But then I may surround myself with people like that.

    I keep forgetting how relaxed New Zealand really is, and how lucky we are. Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. HEY!! I know that package!! :-D Little roses are ADORABLE. But honestly, it's gilding the lily. Not that that's a bad thing- maybe more like a monkey in a cowboy suit (something awesome wrapped in something good).

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  4. HumbleBumble, I think you got me off track, though. Are you saying that where you are, exhibitions by/books on/cooperatives for/by women only is still relevant?

    Taueret, so, no, then?

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  5. hmm. yes and no.

    i think women-only spaces and social occasions are important, if only for removing the threat of male violence for women who don't feel comfortable in male space and that

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  6. I'm struggling to get my comment down to a reasonable length! I have re-written and got to this:

    I think the equality I always wanted was to be treated just the same as my brother. If you live in a society where this is achieved, this is how it should be. It is a situation that must be maintained, not eroded, but counter productive to exceed this point.

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  7. Dorothy, if you grew up in Japan in the 60's and 70's and went to a convent school, New Zealand in the 90's and this century has been just HEAVENLY. Though many women artists really carry their weight here, literally, in doing heavy background work like building rigs or equipment or installing. I admit I get a lot of help from Ben in this area.

    To me, in what little I've seen of both places, women seem to have more platforms. I can't decide if this is good/bad/fair/unfair, or even if I need to pass judgment, (probably not), and good on women for creating their own platforms, but empirically, in little old Nelson this side of, say, 2007, the gender of artists appear immaterial to access/platforms. And I'm mindful it's based on a lot of women fighting for our rights for a long time. I've also seen, in Japan in the 90's, women's rights go backwards due to that recession, and it was women trading rights for comfort and protection.

    Gosh, I feel a spontaneous comment in that area isn't going to do justice. Japan is a strange place in terms of women's emancipation, because it works totally differently.

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  8. I'm late coming to the table here, Meg...but in this country women are still not equal, Hillary Clinton and other female politicos notwithstanding. And of course, the age old conversation about art vs. craft has always been gender based IMO.

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  9. Does it make a difference, however, in the arts, Connie?

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