Join us for Feminist Mysticism, a conversation between artist Martha Wilson, curator and critic Wendy Vogel, and artist Mollie McKinley, which is held in conjunction with McKinley’s exhibition Salt Priestess, on view through June 25.
Salt in particular is a powerful agent in Hermetic alchemy, representing both the physical body and actualized ritual. McKinley, Wilson, and Vogel will discuss mystical traditions behind salt and glass as well as the broader explorations of the American landscape and the feminist/female-identified body. In a cultural climate of backlash against both nature and women’s bodies, this dialog proposes the potential for mythological, archetypal characterizations of females as “priestess,” “witch,” and even “nun” to push back against the cultural structures of sexism.
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and art space director, who over the past four decades created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity. She has been described by New York Times critic Holland Cotter as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.” In 1976 she founded Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion and preservation of artist books, temporary installation, performance art, as well as online works. She is represented by P.P.O.W Gallery in New York.
Martha Wilson received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in 2013. She has received fellowships for performance art from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; Bessie and Obie awards for commitment to artists’ freedom of expression; a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts; a Richard Massey Foundation-White Box Arts and Humanities Award; a Lifetime Achievement Award from Women’s Caucus for Art; and the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Wendy Vogel is a writer and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. Her research interests include legacies of feminist and identity-based practice, as well as the performative and ethical questions around contemporary art production and criticism. A former editor at Flash Art International, Modern Painters and Art in America, she has contributed to Artforum.com, art-agenda, Art Review, BOMB, Brooklyn Rail, frieze, Kaleidoscope, Mousse and The New York Times, among other publications. In collaboration with the artist Peter Halley, she edited a history of the New York–based index magazine (index A to Z: art, design, fashion, film and music in the indie era), published by Rizzoli in 2014.
Photo: Mollie McKinley, Eyes of the Sun, 2015, archival inkjet print, 16 x 20 in.