If Kanye West's new album is too self-centered and misogynistic for you, you can get fun melodies, great rhymes, and great samples from another Chicago-born artist, Nikki Lynette. She raps, she writes, she produces, and isn't afraid to throw genre to the wind. Putting tight beats and R&B melodies over electric guitar riffs, a mixtape called Roses 'N Guns, and a rousing update of Portishead's "Glory Box" are just some of the ways she crosses rap, pop, and rock boundaries.
It's festival season here in Portland, and MFNW was just the beginning. Running now thru September 19th, the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art is putting on its 8th annual Time-Based Art (TBA) festival. Here's your Bitch guide to women-centric performances and exhibitions over the next few days.
The polarization that surrounds discussions about works of pop culture created by women can sometimes make it really hard to fairly and honestly critique female creators. We all internalize misogyny to some extent and I am never surprised, though I am disappointed, when it expresses in pop culture critiques.
We have to be able to strike a balance.
It is necessary to evaluate and critique all pop culture, no matter the gender of the creator. Being a woman does not make you immune from criticism when your work is problematic. At the same time, we need to recognize that there is a history when it comes to talking about art created by women. A history of bringing discussions about personal lives into discussions of art, of picking female creative professionals apart personally, not just professionally, of expressing some internalized tropes in the way we interact with art created by women.
I saw Ginger Brooks Takahashi's work in the art auction for the Lesbian Herstory Archive. Although her work spans illustration, multimedia, wall hangings, and music, the themes of sexuality, gender, and community run throughout. (Rabbits also seem to be a motif).
Whether it's her involvement with the Mobilivre Bookmobile, where a super cute a 1959 Airstream Overlander trailer, interior-redecorated as a mini-zine and book arts store toured the country, or Butch in the Bog, a collaboration with Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, it's clear that aesthetic is as important as community building to her. As she told the New York City News Service, "As an artist, I like to create situations for people to come together and to have an encounter."