This Mother’s Day program has grown out of a yearlong collaboration between the Brooklyn Museum and the True Body Project. Originally based in Cincinnati, the organization began conducting workshops with various New York-based community organizations in 2008 including Women of Storahtelling, We Got Issues, and the Arab American Association of New York to gather stories about women’s relationships with their bodies. The organization’s goal is to utilize art and performance as a means to facilitate promoting positive body image in young girls and women. During April’s Target First Saturday, representatives from the True Body Project shared their art-making process with Museum visitors by placing journals containing workshop participants’ reflections on each chair. The visitors were encouraged to leaf through the journals and read aloud entries that they personally connected with. The audience’s response was amazing with participants ranging in age from 10 to 65 reading to the group. Innovative and inspirational, the activity created a sense of connection across age, background, and experience. The Museum is thrilled to promote art projects which have grown directly out of collective voices and community collaboration. And, in a time of limited resources, this is a wonderful model for organizing quality and meaningful public programs on a shoestring.
This Sunday, May 10, the True Body Project will premiere their site-specific performance Body Language: Brooklyn Museum throughout the galleries. The performers will be responding to different installations in the Museum – including Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Museum’s well-known female figurine (known by most as the ‘Bird Lady’) in the Ancient Egyptian Art Galleries, and the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion – with their own interpretive dance, new video, original song, and homemade replica sistra . Each piece combines Brooklyn women’s reflections on their bodies and lived experience with responses to the Museum’s artwork.
Many thanks to Lyndsey Beutin in Education for the following, and for her efforts to promote and co-organize the program. The True Body Project performs Body Language: Brookyn Museum throughout the Museum this Sunday, May 10th. For further details about the program please click here.
Sarah Giovanniello is the former 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.