Feminism as a movement is always changing and evolving. Feminists in your mother’s day were championing for different causes than feminists these days.
In 1980, the activist, writer and art critic Lucy R. Lippard recognized the ever-changing ideology and applied it to the art realm. She noted that feminist art is “neither a style nor a movement but instead a value system, a revolutionary strategy, a way of life.”
Inspired by that quote and wanting to curate a show based around local feminist art, Kaviar Forge & Gallery Manager Kayla Bischoff decided to partner with the Kentucky Foundation for Women and, more specifically, its Artist Enrichment grant recipients for an exhibition.
“Feminist Expressions” opens Friday, Nov. 30, and features 18 artists and more than 20 pieces of provocative, serious and irreverent artwork.
The Artist Enrichment grants provide opportunities for feminist artists and arts organizations to further their artistic development to create art for positive social change. Nearly $100,000 is given each year to selected artists.
When Bischoff reached out to the foundation and grant recipients, she tells Insider Louisville they were excited by the opportunity and more than willing to join the effort.
“They were incredibly helpful liaisons,” she says. “I’m happy to be raising awareness for the organization while showing such a diverse selection of work by feminist artists from all over Kentucky.”
The exhibit features a wide array of styles and mediums. Artist Dijana Muminovic added a stunning photograph to the show titled “Bosnian Muslims in Bowling Green, KY,” which tells the stories of Bosnian women and their search for separated loved ones.
Meanwhile, Whitney Withington offers a handcrafted series of journals showcasing found photographs reflecting the lives of African-American women in Appalachia.
Other artists and artwork include an altar that pays homage to the disappeared/murdered women of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico by Diane Kahlo; proactive quilt work by Jennifer Hart; and Lori Larusso’s whimsical painting “Eating Animals: Green Grapes Porcupine,” which addresses the disconnect between origins of food and animal abuse.
With such a wide swath of artwork to gather and present in one unified show, Bischoff kept her goals in mind when choosing the pieces.
“From several artworks submitted, I selected a body of work I felt would capture the sense that feminism isn’t one thing,” she says. “Each artist has her own artistic vision and her own sense of what feminism means to her.”
She says she’s thrilled with the outcome and the high-quality, meaningful pieces. Of course, Bischoff respects each and every item in the show, but pressed to pick one that stands out to her, she mentions one for its playful irreverence.
“‘F#%k This S#%t’ is a mixed-media painting incorporating this phrase, juxtaposed with an image of a smirking woman and the silhouette of a bird swooping in,” she explains. “I love the tongue-in-cheek humor Carrie Billett used to articulate the feeling of being fed up with the way things are.”
Bischoff hopes the exhibit proves to viewers that feminism has evolved.
“Today’s feminism fights not only sexism, but also racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, etc. Feminism is for everyone,” she says.
“Feminist Expressions” opens Friday, Nov. 30, with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. during the F.A.T. Friday Trolley Hop. Bischoff says many of the artists will be present. The exhibit continues through Jan. 19. Kaviar Forge & Gallery is located at 147 Stevenson Ave.