Dismantling the House

Female artists have long struggled against patriarchal structures that have excluded them from a meaningful place in the history of art. Art made by women has historically been, and continues to be, marginally represented on the walls of museums and galleries in relation to that of their male counterparts. Dismantling the House presents a selection of work by female artists who confront this exclusion by reworking standard practices and adopting unconventional approaches to medium, genre, and other art historical categories in order to destabilize traditional notions of painting, craft, and pop culture. Dismantling the House stands as a feminist manifesto, reinforced by two fundamental tenents of feminism: 1. All representation is political. 2. The personal is political.

While some women in the show do not refer to their work as explicitly feminist, all these artists have in influenced feminist art through works that speak to the subjective nature of feminist identities. Dismantling The House aims to counter a univocal presentation of feminism by revealing diverse narratives that represent a multitude of feminist voices and ambitions. The exhibition highlights simultaneous and competing versions of the feminist narrative, one that takes into account intersecting identities based in sexuality, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. As a group these works engage in a feminist discourse marked by narrative, difference, and inclusivity.

The exhibition’s title comes from a 1979 speech by Audre Lorde, a Caribbean-American writer, radical feminist, lesbian, and civil rights activist, at a Second Sex Conference in New York. Lorde addresses feminism’s failure to acknowledge practical and experiential differences among groups of women, a failure that perpetuates patriarchal tools of exclusion and domination. “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” she argues. “They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” Lorde asserts that in order to challenge patriarchy successfully, women of diverse identities and experiences must come together through shared support, mutuality, interdependence, and community.
Exhibition Name
Dismantling the House
Exhibition Type
Student Curated
Group Exhibitions
Winter Gallery
Aug 21, 2015 - Oct 18, 2015
Dismantling the House is curated by Imaan Riaz ’15, the 2014-2015 Eleanor Winter ’43 Intern.
Rita Ackermann, Jane Masters, Carrie Moyer, Pipilotti Rist, Martha Rosler, Analia Saban, Toshiko Takaezu, Lenore Tawney, Kara Walker
Student Staff
Imaan Riaz
2014-15 Eleanor Linder Winter ‘43 Endowed Intern
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