Linda Stein is a sculptor living and working in Manhattan and East Hampton, New York. Her work has been permeated by the concept of protection for the past three decades. The body of work created in this period is at the center of her current traveling exhibition The Power to Protect: Sculpture of Linda Stein. Through her Excavation series of the 1980s, the Blades series of the 1990s, and her current Knights series, Stein's work has shifted from the abstract to take on the figurative form of an androgynous or female torso, representing strength and protection. Her work has recently traveled to the Nathan D. Rosen Museum in Boca Raton, Florida; the Flomenhaft Gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan; Sofa 2006 in Chicago; and Longstreth Goldberg Art in Naples, Florida. She has been awarded the commission to create three larger-than-life outdoor bronze torsos as the central sculptures for the four-million-dollar Walk of the Heroines at Portland State University, Oregon, as well as the outdoor sculpture at the entrance to the East Hampton Airport on Long Island. In addition to her current exhibit at Rutgers University, The Power to Protect will travel to Longstreth Goldberg Art next year in January and to Flomenhaft Gallery in November 2008. Stein's previous exhibitions include: 2006 - Sculpture of the heroic woman, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania; Wonder Woman reborn, The Art Mission Gallery, Binghamton, New York; Heroic vision, Longstreth Goldberg Art, Naples, Florida; 2005 - (K)night watch, New York University, Broadway Windows, New York; 2002 - Embedded glyphs, The Art Club, New York; 1998 - Sounding blades, Spiva Art Museum, Joplin, Missouri; 1996 - Musical blades, Cortland Jessup Gallery, Provincetown, Massachusetts; 1994 - Blades, Jamaica Arts Center, Queens, New York; 1991- Blades: transcending aggression, Monmouth County Arts Center, New Jersey; Blades: reversing violence, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Window on Broad, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia; Blades: a psychological environment, Fairleigh Dickenson University, Edward Williams Gallery, New Jersey. With her warrior women, Stein was duped into being in the 2006 movie Borat. Subsequently, she appears internationally, continuously highlighted as “the only one who stood up” to the fake reporter, in more than twenty TV programs such as Nightline, Paula Zahn and numerous radio and print media, including The London Times, The New York Post and Rolling Stone.
Feminist Artist Statement
THE POWER TO PROTECT: SCULPTURE OF LINDA STEIN. My current sculpture series, Knights, represents my feminist, anti-war position. These heroic torsos respond to war and our contemporary culture's testosterone overload by scrambling expectations of Power/Vulnerability, Masculinity/Femininity, Warrior/ Peacemaker. Embedding images and words in my archetypal sculpture, I draw comparisons to the comics of Wonder Woman, the Japanese animation of Princess Mononoke, and the Buddhist goddess of compassion, Guan-yin/Kannon. These figures from popular culture and religion have a special meaning for me; as symbols of protection, they represent the major theme of my art since the 1980s and the title of my current traveling exhibition, The Power to Protect. With its archaic and symbolic boldness, my art communicates an image of courage and power, contrasted at times with icons that represent antithetical qualities, such as Marilyn Monroe, whom I feel embodies vulnerability. Many thoughts are coalescing in my mind about growing up with Monroe as a role model, a view that changed as I came to adulthood and realized the sexism that still prevails in our contemporary culture. I remember when I was at Music and Art High School, asking the boy’s tennis coach why there was no girl’s tennis team. He answered “Tennis is bad for a girl’s heart.” As a teenager, as I began dating, I learned the lesson to always make the boy appear smarter and better, and so, although a gifted athlete, I always purposely threw the bowling ball into the alley and the ping pong ball into the net, so the boy could win. As self-empowered symbols of strength and protection, my female Knights break with this notion of culturally imposed gender roles and expectations associated with masculinity and femininity. With my art I attempt to contest the misogyny, sexism, and homophobia launched into American minds and vocabulary by media voices like Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and Don Imus. The glorification of “maleness” and the popularly created and perpetuated characteristics associated with “being a man,” creates an atmosphere in which the female players of a university basketball team can be openly referred to as “nappy headed hos” and the rape of women in military service continues. I address these issues in my art, writing, and lectures.
View Linda Stein's CV (PDF)