As the nation prepares in advance of the looming Trump administration, many arts organizations in and outside of New York have mobilized as vehicles for the expression of the hopes, fears and anxieties of the public. One such example is the Knockdown Center, a cross-disciplinary art space located in Maspeth, Queens, which hosted an exemplary exhibition entitled Nasty Women on the weekend prior to Inauguration Day. Featuring the works of hundreds of female artists priced at $100 or below, with all sales proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood, Nasty Women embraces and celebrates a sense of democracy on the ground, as well as an inspiring example of art serving as a form of both protest and unification.
Hanging salon style throughout a large open space, the art on view (much of it having been sold and removed early on in the exhibition) as a whole captured what it means to be a woman in today’s America, invoking feminist and political protest to varying degrees. What stands out most from this coming together of creators as both artists and women is a sense of accessibility and harmony – that even in a period that at times seems ruled by sexism, racism, and homophobia, art, as a reflection of society remains a beacon of diversity, acceptance and proof that “we” will continue to fight on.
Aside from the visual art on display, the rest of the weekend featured wide-ranging cultural programming embodying the needs and desires of the community. On Saturday afternoon alone, visitors were able to experience impassioned sets by female and gender non-conforming drummers, an information fair hosting organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Immigrant Defense Fund, and Girls for Gender Equality, and a thought-provoking panel discussion covering intersectionality and a plethora of related topics, as well as a number of additional events.
The solidarity that inspired and informs Nasty Women is an important and powerful message as we move forward. The momentum of exhibitions, protests, and simple community-building such as this remind us that America – the historically clichéd melting pot and land of opportunity – IS great, nasty women and all.
NASTY WOMEN AT THE KNOCKDOWN CENTER
JAN 12 – JAN 15, 2017