If you’ve been saving up all your anger from the last two weeks and would perhaps like to slap it on a canvas in a blind rage to create art that will then be shown to the public, keep reading. Tribeca gallery The Untitled Space has put out an open call inviting women artists to submit work for a show called Angry Women, to open in mid-January. Artists are asked to “respond to the political and social climate as well as explore themes revolving around feminism today and female empowerment.”
“I think the election was a huge wake-up call to a lot of women regarding the underbelly of sexism and misogyny in America,” The Untitled Space’s director and Angry Women curator Indira Cesarine tells me. “The fact that now we have to live in fear of our reproductive rights being stripped away from us, that much of the progress we have made over the past 50 years may very well just crumble away with the new political regime is frightening to countless women.”
Cesarine founded The Untitled Space in 2014, in part to “emphasize contemporary female artists and bring more awareness to feminist art,” putting up exhibitions like an “all-female, all-nude” art show and a group show of 21 woman artists creating self-portraits. Until now, all of the gallery’s shows have been curated. Angry Women is the space’s very first open-call show. “I felt it was important to open up this particular exhibit to female artists from all over the country, not only so that artists we have not worked with before can have the opportunity to exhibit their work on the subject, but also to promote solidarity, diversity and gain insight of a wider selection of artists on the subject,” the curator explained.
The exhibition will be occurring in partnership with ERA Coalition, a political organization centered around the passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed Constitutional amendment that “would expressly prohibit discrimination against girls and women on the basis of sex.” The amendment would ensure sex-based discrimination be assessed in legal courts using the “strict scrutiny standard,” the same standard that the Fourteenth Amendment has put in place for race, national origin, and religion-based discrimination cases.
The ERA was first introduced to Congress in 1923 but has been floating around since 1982 when 35 states ratified it, three less than needed to be added to the Constitution. It has has been reintroduced every year since then. Despite this apparent disregard for the ERA in higher government, ERA Coalition described in a June 2016 press release that 94% of polled Americans indicated support for it. Though only founded in 2014, ERA Coalition has gained the support of celebrities like Meryl Streep, Patricia Arquette, and Jane Fonda, and its board includes activists Gloria Steinem and Ms. Foundation President and CEO Teresa Younger.
25% of the proceeds from Angry Women will go to ERA Coalition’s Fund for Women’s Equality, a 501(c)3 nonprofit branch of the organization working to educate on legislative flaws and gaps that allow for sex and gender-based discrimination as well as the means to develop a more permanent Constitutional method of preventing this discrimination.
In addition to the art show itself, there will be several events happening throughout the show’s duration, such as an opening reception and a panel discussion. The show closes on January 22, which also marks the 44th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade case.. Plus, let’s not forget that the (dreaded) inauguration is happening on January 20, so if hiding amongst artistic expressions of rage and dissatisfaction seems like the perfect way to spend that day, it’ll be an option.
“There are many ways one can cope with what is going on right now,” says Cesarine. “You can join protests, you can write articles or post your views on social media, and if you are an artist you may be compelled to make art that could have an impact and is a response to the current situation. Right now, more than ever, women need to unify and work together to ensure that our rights, which were fought for with blood and tears for many decades, are not only assured, but continue to progress.”
Woman-identifying artists interested in submitting work to Angry Women can submit up to five digital images of work for consideration, along with descriptions, an artist statement, and why they want to be included in the exhibition by December 10. This is done through a emailed submission form found on the gallery’s website. The 20+ artists accepted into the show will be notified shortly afterward.
The Untitled Space is located at 45 Lispenard Street. Angry Women opens on January 17, and submissions to the show are due on December 10.