July was a hot month for programming in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art! First off, Ladan Akbarnia, Hagop Kevorkian Associate Curator of Islamic Art here at the Brooklyn Museum, with the assistance of sign language interpreter Jina Porter, gave a gallery talk on our current exhibition, Ghada Amer: Love Has No End as part of the Target First Saturday events.
Akbarnia was very insightful in her take on Amer’s work, at one point questioning the attitude of Muslim women towards their veils and other traditional head and body coverings.
Concurrent with the gallery talk was a screening of the film Moolaadé, directed by Ousmane Sembène, which addresses female circumcision. Afterwards, Dr. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere graciously led a heated discussion of the film and female circumcision in general. Moving from semantics to female circumcision in Brooklyn and the West’s misconceptions of the practice, and emotions understandably ran high as audience members volleyed back and forth on this controversial issue.
On Saturday, July 12th, Curator Maura Reilly gave a public tour of the exhibition Ghada Amer: Love Has No End, which is on view in the Center’s main galleries through October 19th.
Reilly discussed the artist’s appropriation of the aesthetics of male Abstract Expressionists such as Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock, and also suggested that Amer’s use of stitching – a traditionally-female endeavor – in some of her work is part of a reclamation of female sexuality and artistic autonomy. Like Akbarnia’s talk earlier in the month, Reilly touched on Amer’s investment in portraying both the social and political disenfranchisement and personal empowerment of Muslim women.
Also on July 12th, the Center hosted filmmaker Katrina Browne for a showing of her documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. Presented in partnership with PBS’s P.O.V., a showcase for independent nonfiction film, the documentary chronicles Browne’s discovery that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in American history.
Don’t forget to stop by this Saturday at noon for the reading of excerpts from Live Through This—The Art of Self-Destruction, edited and read by Brooklyn-based feminist performer Sabrina Chapadjiev. Chapadjiev will lead a discussion following the reading with artist Fly and poet Nicole Blackman completing the panel. Thanks to everyone who came last month for your continuous support of the Center’s public programs!!
Sarah Giovanniello is the Research Assistant at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she assists the Curator of the Center with exhibitions, a growing permanent collection that includes The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, public programs, and projects related to feminism, feminist art, and the collection. Since 2008, she has worked on numerous exhibitions, including Kiki Smith: Sojourn, Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864, Ghada Amer: Love Has No End, Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video, and Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968. In 2009, she organized the mounting of Jen DeNike's TWIRL at the Museum for PERFORMA09. She has worked on numerous public programs, her favorites of which include making ourselves visible: a project in feminist space making with artists Liz Linden and Jen Kennedy, and the 2008 Emerging Scholars Feminist Art Symposium, Feminism NOW. As Research Assistant, she manages the Feminist Art Base and posts to the Brooklyn Museum blog on topics related to the Center's programs, projects, and exhibitions. Sarah holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.