Half a century after the opening of the famous feminist art exhibition Womanhouse, launched in California by artists Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro, Detroit artist and Womxnhouse curator Detroit Laura Earl says the movement is still as important as ever. “Fifty.” years later, we still live in America, where women are second-class citizens in many dimensional ways, ”said Earl, a resident of Farmington Hills. “It is important to continue to insist on equality, dignity and legitimacy not only in the name of basic human decency, but also for the realization of women’s full rights to freedom as indispensable for the structure of our nation. Women make up 50% of the population. Our voices should tell our half of the story in museums, galleries and other cultural spaces. ”
On March 4, Earl will take part in a panel at the American College of Art’s annual conference – along with other successful artists and two artists from the original Womanhouse exhibition – to discuss the importance of an art installation that created space for female artists. Earl says she feels “humiliated, excited and scared” when performing at an event. In 2018, she took ideas from an original art installation made in 1972 in an abandoned Hollywood mansion, and turned them into an exhibition project of descendants called “Dear Women’s House: What Now? The art of being a woman in America today. ” Together with Detroit curator and artist Asia Hamilton and other creators, the idea expanded to attract more artists, and Womxnhouse Detroit was born. What debuted as an exhibition open to the public has now become a modern residence. Housed in Hamilton’s old mother’s home, the Detroit Womxnhouse is a private haven for women and non-binary creative individuals who can live and create art. “The rumor quickly spread among the creative community, and we had a fantastic set,” Earl says. “In a few short weeks Womxnhouse Detroit has become a vivid link between femininity and feminism. We exchanged stories, views and aspirations, establishing new friendships in the spirit of mutual respect and dignity. “
“You need different voices”
“Both Dear Womanhouse and Womxnhouse Detroit were spaces of collaboration that held women for women to give freedom, advocacy, and dignity to personal expression without hindering male intervention,” Earl says. “The result is deeply exciting, complex and nuanced works. But unlike the art space of the 70s, the artists of Womxnhouse Detroit are not just white women. The cross-focused group of creators is more inclusive, featuring BIPOC women and non-binary artists. “I know this project is the daughter of Womanhouse, made in 1972,” says artist Donna Jackson. “I praise the work done at the time, but so much was missing. There were no black women like me and other people of color. My reason for participating in this is to fix it, because to make this house a real women’s / women’s home, you need different voices. ” With artists at all stages of their careers the original exhibition was launched mostly virtually in a pandemic. Earl says much of the organization has been done online, but the exhibition has gone smoothly, and as it develops it continues to provide a marginalized group with space and community to create. “Womanhouse remains so inspiring five decades later because it set a precedent for women to express themselves through art without men interfering,” Earl says. “Artists have been protected from the pressure and distraction of forces expending their efforts to defend their participation in cultural work. Women artists were encouraged, raised and strengthened with dignity and respect. Women were free to explore and express their rich inner lives, to validate their shared experiences, and to express their views in ways and materials that reflect and celebrate women’s perspectives. ”
For more information on Womxnhouse Detroit visit womxnhousedet.com. The CAA conference will mostly be held virtually via Zoom and will run from February 16 to March 5, 2022, and Earl will speak on March 4. Tickets cost from $ 99 to $ 299 for conference programs. More information at collegeart.org/programs/conference.