Guerrilla Girls Symposium = SUCCESS

November 3, 2012

Montserrat is pleased to report that we had an extremely successful second annual academic symposium, Agents of Change: Art as Activism, with a keynote address by the anonymous, feminist-activist collective Guerrilla Girls, Friday, Oct. 26.We more than doubled attendance at the keynote and also increased the presentations at the Friday symposium sessions to 30 presenters grouped on 8 panels. The topics were varied, crossing disciplines and media, with presentations and performances by artists, journalists and historians.

The scale of this event required a real team effort. Deserving special recognition is Gallery Director Leonie Bradbury who was behind the creation of the new Guerrilla Girl billboard that rode through Boston, worked closely with the Curator Neysa Page-Lieberman in Chicago to bring the show to Montserrat, and who organized the symposium. Also, a big thank you goes out to her able team, Asst. Curator of Education Maggie Cavallo, who helped interpret the show for all of us and drummed up lots of excitement among the students, and Exhibitions Manager Lucas Spivey, for his expert installation of all three exhibits. They couldn’t have done it all without these students: Larissa Tapler, Kyle Gibson, Bianca Picozzi, Kermit Class, Taylor Clough, Justin Durso, Tom Maio, Gianah Burney, Sasha Pacek, Devin Vena, Grant Archer, alumna Claudia Freidel, Duncan Browne and Amber Hakim.

The Guerrilla Girls, artists and academics approached the topic of art and activism as it relates to art history and contemporary issues. Full day Friday sessions and Saturday workshops included topics dealing with social activism, politics, war, cultural conscience, environmental embodiment, the Occupy Movement’s aesthetics and more.

For years the Guerrilla Girls have been stirring up audiences with presentations while wearing their infamous gorilla masks across the United States and all over the world. The keynote presentation by Guerrilla Girls, Frida Kahlo and Kathe Kollwitz, revealed how they come up with their posters, books, billboards and actions. They also shared trade secrets about how to use facts and humor to expose discrimination and corruption in art, politics and pop culture.

Speakers Included:

Deborah Barkun, Art History Assistant Professor of Art History at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA; Mallory Biggins, architecture student at Bennington College; Randi Hopkins, independent curator and writer; Dr. Tara Leigh Tappert, independent scholar and American art consultant; Dalia H. Linssen, photographic history and theory instructor at Rhode Island School of Design; Monica Raymond, playwright and poet; Dr. Deborah Saleeby-Mulligan, Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History at Manhattanville College; Leah Triplett, Boston-based writer and arts professional; artists Kate Farrington, Liz Glynn, Daniel Heyman, Jon Henry, Rob Gerhardt, Ariana Jacob, Hana van der Kolk, Julia Sherman, Kara Stokowski and Ian Deleon; Montserrat faculty members Caroline Bagenal, Greg Cook, Shawn Hill and Sandrine Schaefer; Montserrat alumni Susanjoy Catandella and Damian Cote.

The symposium took place in conjunction with the current multimedia, expansive exhibition, Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond, that currently spans across all four of Montserrat’s galleries, and will remain on view through December 15. Curated by Neysa Page Lieberman from Columbia College Chicago, the exhibition illuminates and contextualizes the important historical and ongoing work of these highly original, provocative and influential artists who champion feminism and social change. The exhibition is part of a college-wide semester-long focus on Art and Activism.

This program was supported in part by a grant from the Beverly Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The exhibition is organized by Columbia College, Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces, Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the study of women and Gender in Arts and Media and the A+D Gallery, Chicago, Il.

Click under the cut to see more images from the event!