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Beyond Black Boxes and Gender Barriers: A Year of Time-Based Media at SAAM

A film still of three women from Julie Dash's acclaimed film, "Daughters of the Dust."

Still from Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust

When I arrived as the curator of time-based media art at SAAM just over a year ago, I had an unusual challenge. The two galleries that have traditionally showcased this collection were being absorbed by ambitious special exhibitions that needed these spaces to fully tell their stories (first, Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen, and now the lauded Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975). Luckily, the artists I focus on often create work not only for galleries, but for theaters and public spaces, with videos or interactives that can be projected or played on screens of various sizes. I decided to embrace this challenge as an opportunity to see how else time-based work could be featured throughout SAAM’s building and throughout the year.

Truth Is Beauty

A picture of a woman touching the legs of a large sculpture piece at the Renwick Gallery.

Miyah Powe interacting with „Truth is Beauty“ at the Renwick Gallery for No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. Photo by Libby Weiler.

“What would the world be like if women were truly safe?” This is the question Marco Cochrane challenges both male and female audiences to consider when viewing his sculptureTruth is Beauty. The sculpture – a woman on her toes, stretched backwards – is made from stainless steel and mesh. I was surprised to learn that the 18-foot figure in the Renwick Gallery is a replica of the 55-foot original that stood at Burning Man in 2013 (and it’s still nearly four times my height!). When I entered the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick, I was immediately drawn to the figure that nearly touched the ceiling. Truth is Beauty is the largest object in the room; the Amazonian figure towered over other museumgoers and other works around it. I was instantly overwhelmed, first, by the sheer size of the sculpture.

This Feminist Artist Paints Beauty Contestants

Feminist painter Daena Title is best known for her obsession with the seductive force of modern female icons. Her figurative work examines societal trends and influences, especially as they impact women. She finds Beauty Pageant contestants particularly problematic. They’re admirable, but objectified. And why are they all so gosh darn happy? Using oil paint, mixed media or acrylics on canvas,Title shows us her deep ambivalence towards society’s emphasis on youth and beauty, and her musings about the lines between empowerment and exploitation; external approval and self respect; lunacy and joy.

Now in Los Angeles, transplanted New Yorker Title has shown her work in gallery, museum spaces and art fairs since 1998 including her recent solo show at the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea, NYC. She is proud that her work has been featured in several PoetsArtists shows and publications, is part of the Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Online Feminist Art base and the Tullman Collection of Chicago. She is affiliated with Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, Carter Burden Gallery in NYC, and Sirona Fine Arts gallery in Hallandale, FL. Please see more of Title’s work at www.daenatitle.com

More info: Instagram

Miss Sweden

oil on canvas
26×20 inches

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