Examining the Performances of Feminist Art on the Global Art Stages: Comparing Three Female Curator’s Practices in 2005, 2013 and 2017 Venice Art Biennales

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Chia-ling LAI, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
Art biennales as artistic forms of global stages and events (Roche, 2000, 2017; Urry, 2003) provide experimental platforms (Latour, 2007), but also perform the dominant global cultural imagination (Delanty, 2009, Winter, 2016) and governance with experience economy (Bennett, 1995, 2007). Feminist art as a marginal genre recently has emerged onto the main global art scenes- from the inclusion of female artists, curators and new feminist and queer art genre, and relates to the alternative global cultural and new sex/gender imagination reencountering differences- which echoes the feminist debates of historical developments of feminist art and curating practices (Pollock, 1990, 2007, 2010; Deepwell, 2006, Bal, 2007).

Drawing upon theoretical debates on global events and feminist art, this paper explores the performance of feminist art on the global art stages taking Venice art biennales as examples. It will especially examine three female curators’ practices: the first Venice Biennale curated by female curators, Maria de Corral and Rosa Martinez, in 2005; in 2013, famous feminist artist Cindy Sherman as guest curator for the middle gallery in Venetian Arsenal; in 2017, a female curator Christine Macel was invited as director after a decade. This paper will especially analyze four dimensions in this historical comparative studies: inclusions of multiple different female and LGBTQ artists, multiple performances of new art canons evoked by feminist art in the main Arsenal exhibition hall and Italian pavilion, the performance of feminist and LGBTQ art in the national pavilions and parallel exhibitions area that create different global cultural imaginations, as well as their power-laden relationship.

This paper explores the issues based on spatial and cultural analysis of the representation of biennales, discourses analysis of art critics on major global art media, and interviews with some artists and curators engaging feminist art, as well as my ethnographical fieldworks at these biennales.