The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure The Signs Of Power, 1973-1991

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Oklahoma, Durham, 09/15/2011 - 12/31/2011


For years, the prevailing belief has been that following the identity-based artwork of the late 1960s and early 1970s, progressive women artists put aside their differences with men to help them reveal how the mass media and global capitalism control visual culture. The Nasher Museum presents a new exhibition, The Deconstructive Impulse, showing that the role of women artists has long been undervalued in accounts of that work. The exhibition is a survey of leading women artists that examines the crucial feminist contribution to the development of deconstructivism in the 1970s and 1980s.

As the term suggests, deconstructivism involved taking apart and examining source material, generally borrowed from the mass media, to expose the ways commercial images revealed the mechanisms of power. Women had a particularly high stake in this kind of examination and were disproportionately represented among artists who practiced it. Identifying gender bias at work in movie, television, advertising and mainstream journalism, as well as in curatorial practice, is a theme that flows throughout the work in this compelling show.

Included in the exhibition are 68 photographs, prints, paintings, videos and installations by 21 artists and one artists' collaborative. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 176-page, hardcover catalogue that surveys the work of the artists included, and places them in cultural and historical context.

The Deconstructive Impulse is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, and is co-curated by Helaine Posner, Chief Curator at the Neuberger Museum, and Nancy Princenthal, Senior Editor at Art in America. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency; by the Basic Program Support Grant of Arts Westchester with funds from the Westchester County Government; with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and by the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art.

At the Nasher Museum, major support for the exhibition is provided by Katherine Thorpe T'04. Additional support is provided by the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Duke University (as of February 9, 2011).

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