Loud country music/talk radio and potty-mouthed men clear as a bell up through the floorboards, Mychael Danna’s soundtrack for Life of Pi here in this room – amazing how Danna wins.
In collaboration, of course, with my golden chair and my 1956 singer, my cello and all the love in the world all over the walls: drawings of old doorknobs, rusted chains, chain link and barbed-wire fences, train tracks in one point perspective over what appears to be spirit goats, female weight lifters and scrooge-like, chicken-like nature spirits.
It is in this context that I dip back into my beloved “Theories of Modern Art” (1968, UC Press), purchased while in art school in the eighties, and find rich thoughts about art written by futurists, cubists, fauvists, expressionists, impressionists. Thrilling as always to read articles written by Klee, Kandinsky and Marc, as published in Der Blaue Reiter. This time I want more. I want to read what women artists felt, thought and wrote.
It is apparent that, for the 1968 editors of my long-beloved book, women artists didn’t write anything even footnote-worthy. Really? Sigh.
I set my jaw and dig through journal articles, 1st 2nd and 3rd wave feminist literature, new studies of historic groups of women painters (…the Beaver Hall Group developed no manifesto? You’ve got to be kidding…). Eventually I’m led to Kate Deepwell’s 2014 Feminist Art Manifestos: An Anthology (available only on Kindle).
In the first intro paragraph, Deepwell defines the term “manifesto”:
A political programme, a declaration, a definitive statement of belief. Neither institutional mission statement, nor religious dogma; neither a poem, or a book. As a form of literature, manifestos occupy a specific place in the history of public discourse as a means to communicate radical ideas.
I realize that I’m new at this, at least in this lifetime. So I’ll sit with the idea for a while, and trust the process of crafting a credible, rooted manifesto, distilled from my experience and, like an arrow, aimed at where I intend to go.
In this moment I suspect it has something to do with my ability to listen. To pay attention to what’s in the negative space.
more to follow…