Broadsheet, The Blog

Two Lady Artists with Bees in Their Bonnets

16 February 2009

Unpaid Leave

Dearest forlorn but not forgotten reader(s):

We formally and belatedly acknowledge our wicked lameness. At this time we have no plans to return to blogging, but we reserve the right to change our minds (we are Broads after all - but don't you dudes f-ing try to make that joke). Even the writing of this note has caused additional strife in our relationship. Before we punch each other out, or worse yet end up on Gawker, we must bid you adieu until we see more progress in our couple's counseling.

Farewell for now, and please enjoy the archives.

With love,
The Broads


10 June 2008

Overheard at BCAM

"This is about as exciting as looking at someone's stock portfolio."

Overheard in the magnificent elevator between floors at of the new Broad* Contemporary Art Museum at the L.A. County Museum of Art, which according to Christopher Knight's thoughtful review at the LA Times, featured 80% works by Gagosian-represented artists and only 3 women (out out of 28 artists, and frankly, we were only able to spot Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, so maybe the third was installed in the restroom).

*no relation (it's pronounced "Brode" as in the collectors Edythe and Eli, who infamously announced their decision not to donate their collection to LACMA a few months back.)

22 May 2008

Camels are the new Deer

Based on extensive research, Broadsheet confidently predicts that camels will be the hot new subject for artists next season. You heard it here first!

10 May 2008

Clinton, the Lady Fighter

We have been consistently annoyed at the mainstream media's enthusiastic spinning of white voters' support for Hillary Clinton as attributable to the racism of working class white men, with mostly only the blogosphere and Hillary's supporters arguing that Barack Obama's popularity is attributable to voters' sexism (not least the sexism of young "post-feminist" women). Both arguments are cynical and unproven (though perhaps not entirely false), but the mainstream media's preference for one narrative over the other must mean something.

So Susan Faludi's Op-Ed in today's New York Times is a welcome change to the narrative, although we're not sure we completely agree with her argument. Faludi attributes Hillary Clinton's success among white males to her tough fighting style, a style that is new for women politicians.

For virtually all of American political history, the strong female contestant has been cast not as the player but the rules keeper, the purse-lipped killjoy who passes strait-laced judgment on feral boy fun. The animosity toward the rules keeper is fueled by the suspicion that she (and in American life, the regulator is inevitably coded feminine, whatever his or her sex) is the agent of people so privileged that they don’t need to fight, people who can dominate more decisively when the rules are decorous. American political misogyny is inflamed by anger at this clucking overclass: who are they to do battle by imposing rectitude instead of by actually doing battle?


It’s the unforeseen precedent of an unprecedented candidacy: our first major female presidential candidate isn’t doing what men always accuse women of doing. She’s not summoning the rules committee over every infraction. (Her attempt to rewrite the rules for Michigan and Florida are less a timeout than rough play.) Not once has she demanded that the umpire stop the fight. Indeed, she’s asking for more unregulated action, proposing a debate with no press-corps intermediaries.

If anyone has been guarding the rules this election, it’s been the press, which has been primly thumbing the pages of Queensberry and scolding her for being “ruthless” and “nasty,” a “brawler” who fights “dirty.”

But while the commentators have been tut-tutting, Senator Clinton has been converting white males, assuring them that she’s come into their tavern not to smash the bottles, but to join the brawl.

Faludi conveniently overlooks Hillary's more wimpy campaign moments, such as when she accused her male debate opponents of "piling on," and choked up on camera while complaining that it's really hard to keep going every day under such pressure. (Personally I thought those tears were real, but by Faludi's argument, could perhaps even these tears be cynically attributed to her willingness to use every possible tactic in a rough fight?)

Meanwhile, if her success with white male voters wasn't attributable to racism before, she seems to now be actively be courting the racist vote. Bob Herbert paraphrases her most desperate recent campaign message as "He can’t win! Don’t you understand? He’s black! He’s black!"

29 April 2008

And Here's A Little Something For The Ladies

The hair dye aisle at Duane Reade is like a second home to us. So we did a double-take when we saw this new product on the shelves yesterday. Had we been sipping a drink, it might have been a spit-take.

There are quite a few embarrassing things to purchase at the drugstore, but we think there's a new winner.

27 April 2008

Broad Sheet Follows Up!

You may recall our alert last summer about offensive automobile decor and you may have thought, don't they have more important things to think about?

Well, Broadsheet is in good company, because the Florida Senate agrees! Thank goodness some of our country's legislators have their priorities straight.

10 April 2008

I am (not?) a Feminist Artist

What does it mean to call yourself a Feminist Artist?

I've been mulling over Mira Schor's piece in the most excellent Brooklyn Rail for a while now. She discusses "Global Feminisms," "WACK!," and the concept of feminist art in general, lamenting that women artists are reluctant to call their work feminist (a reluctance, however, that does not extend to declining an invitation to exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum or LA MOCA under the banner of feminist art). One of the most interesting passages is this, where she quotes telling excerpts from the WACK! exhibition catalogue:

It is quite interesting to track how many of the women included in WACK! were not, are not feminists in any active sense [...] “Many of [Marina] Abramovic’s best-known performances from the 1970s stand, in part, as critiques of the traditional role of women in the arts...Despite this, the artist has distanced herself from the feminist movement: ‘I have never had anything to do with feminism.” (WACK! p. 210); “[Louise] Bourgeois’s relationship to feminism is complex...‘There is no feminist aesthetic. Absolutely not!’” (220); “[Theresa Hak Kyung] Cha’s work is not overtly feminist but...” (223); “Perhaps indicative of her lifelong antipathy to categories, [Jay DeFeo] did not identify herself as a feminist” (226); “Although [Rita] Donagh was not intimately engaged with the burgeoning feminist discourse in 1970s England...” (229); “While [Lili] Dujourie has recalled feeling marginalized by her primarily male colleagues and acknowledged a debt to feminist film theory…she has also rejected a specifically feminist reading her of her work.” (231); [Louise] Fishman too was struggling to resist a movement that had supported her and through which she was able to develop her identity as an artist.” (236); “Although [Catalina] Parra does not identify herself as a feminist artist...” (280); “Although [Katharina] Sieverding does not explicitly ally herself with feminism...” (299).

I am a proud feminist, and a proud artist. Some of my work deals quite directly with feminist ideas. But it doesn't feel quite right to call myself a feminist artist either, and now I am examining this.

There are many ways I identify myself, depending on the setting. I am a Brooklynite, a mom, a tall person, a homeowner, a subway rider, a Caucasian, a Democrat. I would squirm at having any of these adjectives modify the noun "artist" in a description of my artistic identity. Mira Schor briefly notes the objection artists (really, everyone) has to being put in a box, and then knocks it down a bit too easily, I think:

All artists reject limited readings of their work. But when the work clearly deals with gender and gendered power relations, when it deals with femininity, when it explores female sexuality and the female body, when the work uses the vocabulary of gendered tropes developed by the first generations of the feminist art movement – the ones in WACK! and the ones left out of the history proposed by WACK!--how is it not feminist art? Why is it still such a problem?

Clearly, it is. These denials are a troubling indication that feminism continues to be perceived as a controversial and dangerous identification. Women still don’t want to be seen as feminist artists because that would limit them to being seen as women artists and no one wants to be seen as a woman artist. “Woman” still denotes second-class status within a (still male after all these years) universal. That this should be, or should be perceived to be, the case only proves that feminism is still a necessary political analysis of society and a powerful tool for mobilizing the production of art that engages with the question of gender and injustice on all levels.

I agree with her that the word 'feminist' is more fraught than it should be, and part of the problem is the specific label. But clearly a large part of the resistance is to any label at all. I welcome a feminist reading of my work, but I also want to encourage as many readings as possible. Any label can be a ghetto, except perhaps "brilliant artist."

Image above is from the inimitable Guerrilla Girls.