“I am woman, hear me roar. In numbers too big to ignore…” Helen Reddy released this anthem of the feminist movement in August of 1971. Now it’s 2012 – July 19that SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery on 27th Street that it numbered to more than 200 artists that were featured at the BACKLASH show. Arte Fuse knew it was an exhibition too magnanimous to ignore.
This exhibition addressed the current political climate towards women in the United States. Forty years after the founding of feminist institutions like Ms. Magazine, Title IX, A.I.R. Gallery, and SOHO20 that the strides made in its heyday and the numerous rights won by second-wave generation of feminist seem to have slipped away. Statistical facts in 2012 have shown that women have been denied the legal right to equal pay for equal work, American nuns earned the moniker of “femi-Nazis”, stringent blockage of access to birth control or abortions have increased, and even the word “vagina” has become taboo to even utter on the Senate Floor. Women have paid the price and where are the things that have been gained? It’s a question explored by the artists with a variety of works displayed at the interior of SOHO20. Ranging from the figurative, abstract, mixed media, sculpture, and installations that the artists (not exclusively women) dare to present the feminine condition in all its rapturous, tortured, defiant and embattled glory. Live performances peppered the opening reception as well with readings and mock protests. Feminism is not dead as women and men in this country even beyond are countering back in ingenious and creative ways. BACKLASH brings all of these socially feminist conscious artists from all over the world in this show to express the discontent, traumas, fears, and despair but also a new breath of hope, resilience, and a stronger solidarity in the cause. As part of this renegade ideal to push feminism and spin the political axis, SOHO20 collaborates with Government Free VJJ in hosting the Snatch Project on Saturday, July 28th from 2 – 6 pm. It will be an afternoon of crafting vaginas and uteruses to send to the male representatives in congress – so in giving them a uterus, will they stay out of ours?
Here is art with a political fervor and the drive of creativity that aims to change the social strata and condition of our time. It is an uplifting thought to know that art still functions this way. I can just hear the lyrics coming back now: “If I have to I can face anything. I am STRONG. I am INVINCIBLE. I AM WOMAN.”
BACKLASH / On View: July 17 – August 11, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (12 noon – 6 pm)
SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery. 547 West 27th Street. Suite 301. NYC, NY 10001
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Event photos by: Max Noy