At 25, Christi Furnas was diagnosed with schizophrenia. This queer-identified woman has used her disability as inspiration for making beautiful art and connecting with other mentally ill artists. Based in Minneapolis, MN, Furnas has been involved with Spectrum Artworks, an organization that serves as a community and studio space for artists with mental illness.
I emailed Christi recently to ask her about the truth behind the "madness = creativity" myth, her muse, and her views on being a mental illness/LGBTQ/feminist activist.
Some will say that there are technical considerations—the quality of rendering, the beauty of the language, or the composition of the scene make a difference between obscene and not, porn and art.
Personally, whether it's prize-winning literature, a cheesy film, or a fashion spread, my impulse to name the obscene, to pick up a black marker or start scribbling protests in the margins, depends a lot on who wrote, or painted, or filmed it. After all, you don't want your vision of the world hijacked by just anyone, even for a moment or an hour or a few hundred pages. Do you?
Tired of that worn-out trope that women are impossible to work with or aren't creative when they are "on the rag"? Well these five artists/projects are defying this belief, using menstruation as fuel for empowerment and art.
If I could time travel without, like, disrupting the space-time continuum, one of the many things I would tell a younger me would be that: It's not the interest in appearance that's wrong, it's how you do it. Fascination with the visual is something as broad as the history of human signing (as well as something that underlies ubiquitous ableism in the social and built environment, since not everyone has the ability to see said visual). Sometimes I like to put it in perspective for myself like this—if I were thinking about non-Western cultural and aesthetic forms, I would be less likely to criticize and more likely to think about these practices as a way of being culturally competent, enjoying shared symbols, and evoking continuity with a cultural history.
Isadora Duncan might be the most famous dancer you've never seen dance. Often referred to as the "Mother of Modern Dance," she was a self-made and intensely driven, confident woman who saw personal freedoms, expression, justice, and dance as essentially intertwined. Isadora once said, "For me the dance is not only the art that gives expression through the human soul through movement, but also the foundation of a complete conception of life, more free, more harmonious, more natural."
CALYX Journal begins its 36th year of publishing fine art and literature by women with its winter 2012 issue (vol. 27, no. 3). This self-described feminist literary journal allows women's voices to be front and center, which is why its four female founders created it in 1976. Referencing a recent survey conducted by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts the introduction in the summer 2011 issue of CALYX points out that women's voices are still highly marginalized in the literary journals and magazines, making their mission as relevant as ever.
I can't believe it's the end of my guest blog series already. Looking at he theme of art and feminism has raised loads of questions and also given lots of answers. We've explored artists who use hair and those who've experienced domestic violence, the woman who got a vaginal Damien Hirst tattoo, and the countless murdered and attacked females in Juarez, Mexico, who have been immortalized through the exhibition 400 Women. It's powerful stuff...
There are loads of photographers who take the body as their subject matter—hey, it's nothing new. But the women in this post made a point of portraying the body as something to be celebrated and combined with fashion, sociological thinking, or mythology. It's so much more than just snapping a photo.
Together, Andrea Blood and Zoe Sinclair are known as The Girls—an artistic partnership that has revolved around intense tableaux self-portraits, live performances, videos and installations. Along with exhibiting regularly in the UK, they've shown at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and Milan's UNO+UNO. Whether they're taking on recognizable people and reimagining them, or creating entirely new and vibrant characters, you're sure to be drawn in. I wanted to quiz The Girls about their most controversial pieces, their future projects, and how feminism fits into the picture.