The Brooklyn Museum’s new “Global Feminisms” exhibition already has some local enemies.
“I think there’s a need for protest,” Cindy Nemser, a Park Slope resident and former publisher and editor of “Feminist Art Journal” told GO Brooklyn.
Snubbed by “Global Feminisms” and their exclusion of artists born after 1960, Nemser is staging her own show: “Women’s Work: Homage to Feminist Art,” at Tabla Rasa Gallery, which she is billing as the “Sackler of Sunset Park.”
In all, 20 artists are included in the show, many of them notable feminist art vets, and they’re all bothered at how the new Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art has supposedly slighted them. Though it’s just a one-off, Nemser hopes her show will bring attention to a group she feels is being ignored yet again.
“We’re not a big gallery,” said Nemser, “but I picked artists who are very genuine and talented, and it’s going to be a real revelation.”
Linda Stein, the well-known artist (and, it must be said, one of the feminist experts hoodwinked by Sacha Baron Cohen in “Borat”), thinks the Brooklyn Museum is doing a positive thing in opening the Center, but that the first show is excluding important artists.
“One hopes that after this show, [Sackler] will be much more inclusive,” said Stein.
Nemser was a bit more riled up. “There is so much rich history here,” she said, “and what is infuriating is that the Brooklyn Museum has chosen to ignore everything that has happened except Judy Chicago.”
Chicago, a feminist art icon, was based on the West Coast during the Second Wave of feminism, and Nemser claims her influence is being trumped up by Sackler, who is a collector of Chicago’s work.
Nemser’s hostility towards the Brooklyn Museum goes way back. In 1971, she said, the Museum’s then-director, Duncan Cameron, faced protests from feminists who wanted representation. This resulted in the token prize of a small, women-only show of work on paper, the museum’s first.
Audrey Anastasi, co-director of Tabla Rasa, agrees that Nemser has been overlooked.
“I call it ‘the lemming factor,’” she said. “Brilliant people are all on this bandwagon of grabbing artists right out of their graduate program. At some point, if this is really a feminist art center, they will do something that has historical accuracy.”
For Nemser, it’s just more of the same. “There have been so many great women artists and they were written out of history,” she said. “And that’s what they’re doing again. This is the opening of a feminist wing, how can you ignore the people who began it?”
“Women’s Work: Homage to Feminist Art” will open with a reception at 5:30 pm on March 28 at Tabla Rasa Gallery (224 48th St. at Second Avenue in Sunset Park. For information call (718) 833-9100 or visit www.tablarasagallery....