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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Nina Yankowitz

New York, NY
U.S.A.

I exhibited Draped Paintings at Kornblee Gallery NY 1968. Other “ONE MAN SHOWS”, as described in James Mellow’s 12/5/71 NY Times review “Cheops Would Approve”, at Kornblee were during 1969, 1970,1971 including pleated and draped sound installations. Critic Cindy Nemser’s NY Times rebuttal headline read: CAN WOMEN HAVE ONE MAN SHOWS?01/9/72 My work was included in the 1973 Whitney Museum Biennial NY, the same venue I joined women to protest the museum’s deficient representation of female artists. Participated/organized CR groups in NYC, one in Japan. Always disturbed by the disenfranchised, I joined others founding Heresies magazine, A Political Journal On art And Politics. I wanted to facilitate/generate interest in artworks that blurred edges between assumed boundaries demarcating male/female platforms presumed to explore. However, I understood the importance others maintained in projecting a unified voice that demanded recognition of an inherent female imagery as the way to infuse women’ art into the mainstream while simultaneously creating a new critical discourse. As critics and historians began writing about Feminist art during the early/mid 1970’s, I was traveling to exhibit, to teach, or living in absentia while healing from a head injury.

During 1979 I completed an opera, PERSONAE MIMICKINGS OR VOICES FROM THE PIANO; a limited edition of color scores, text, with audio. The piece portrayed a woman’s multiple voices/personae. Texts reflect a variety of faux operatic languages designed to express multiple personalities within womankind. E.g. A French sounding dialect presented THE BAROQUE THE BELL OF APPETITE or THE TORTURED SPIRIT WAGNER RIPPED was portrayed by a sharp staccato Germanic voice. Part II: ETHNOGRAPHIC WEAVINGS comprised global dialects electronically woven to sound like musical instruments.

In 1997 I co-chaired a panel at the College Art ConferenceNYC:The Lone Rangers: Beyond Feminist Orthodoxy. Aretha Franklin’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T.blared as the audience entered before viewing some seminal artworks during the 60’s-70’s not contextually based upon Feminist Imagery. Works exhibited include The Whitney Museum, MoMA, NY, Katonah Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum, PS1,Queens, Germans Van Eck Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Guild Hall Art Museum, Steffanotti Gallery, Rosa Esman Gallery, Frederieke Taylor TZArt, Saatchi & Saatchi,NY. Public sited works include Doris Freedman Center, Pa., 51&Lex. Subway NY, Jersey City/Bergen, Freehold, Newark, N.J. Santa Monica Ca. Numerous Publications including New York Times, Village Voice, Vogue Magazine, Art Forum, Art News. Wall Street journal. Grants include Ford Found. NEA, CAPS, Pollock-Krasner, Visiting Artist Amer. Academy in Rome.

Feminist Artist Statement

The concept of simultaneity is the key to understanding what women artists were doing to effect political change during late1960’s-1970’s in the predominantly male art world. This era drove a pluralist discourse and portrayed multifarious voyages that many women artists traveled in order to claim a personal female identity. Some individual pursuits were formulated outside of group activism and these artists often saw their contribution to feminism as giving other women artists the permission to investigate whatever artistic territory they found interesting; Territories devoid of pre-conceived perceptions specifying what are male or female creative domains. Many of these artists helped fuel and lay platforms from which sprung the frames of references, rebuttals, and source materials for the birthing of the feminist imagery movement that was soon to be developed. I’m disenchanted by the fabricating of a monogenic feminist history built upon bones gathered from the seemingly same initial writings about feminist artists authored in the ‘70’s. The Sackler Feminist Archive can be a valuable resource and hopefully will stimulate the birthing of new paths to travel when reaching backwards in order to create a more realistic portrait. Perhaps the current proliferation of exhibitions re: Feminist artists from the ‘70’s will benefit if curatorial decisions are based upon rigorous research also inclusive of feedback from a group composed of artist peers, friends, and other professionals who may have worked with some of the artists at that time. The challenge of RIGHTING HISTORY seems possible only if the subject and time frame reflects numerous perspectives. This can best assure leaving behind the most accurate/fullest historical references for future generations to mine. Perhaps this endeavor will halt the deletion of important contributions disappearing, as if aliases dragged into the trash-Poof! I continue creating installations that are excavations for levity buried inside the serious, designed to stretch commonly accepted definitions. These include a house of quotes Kiosk.Edu ‘hovering at night’, reflecting thoughts of artists, HOME SWEET HOME, revealing poignant quotes from women architects, artists, and performers from then and now, and environmentally charged works like CloudHouse; A piece hosting a cloud, perpetually changing shape via ultra sound vibrations and barometric weather conditions surrounding it. Envisioned as a soothsayer, CloudHouse can be developed forecasting dangerous imminent weather conditions.

<p>Draped Painting/Blue</p>

Draped Painting/Blue

My draped paintings were created to challenge the assumption that painting is classified as such when made and presented within a geometric, rectangular, and/or stretched canvas format.
I first exhibited Draped Paintings at the Kornblee gallery in New York in 1968. Following “ONE MAN SHOWS”, as James Mellow stated in a NY Times review (12/5/71), included pleated and draped sound installations in 1969, 1970 1971, Kornblee Gallery. Writer Cindy Nemser’s NY Times rebuttal headline read: CAN WOMEN HAVE ONE MAN SHOWS? (1/9/72).

Draped Painting/Blue

My draped paintings were created to challenge the assumption that painting is classified as such when made and presented within a geometric, rectangular, and/or stretched canvas format.
I first exhibited Draped Paintings at the Kornblee gallery in New York in 1968. Following “ONE MAN SHOWS”, as James Mellow stated in a NY Times review (12/5/71), included pleated and draped sound installations in 1969, 1970 1971, Kornblee Gallery. Writer Cindy Nemser’s NY Times rebuttal headline read: CAN WOMEN HAVE ONE MAN SHOWS? (1/9/72).

Exhibit at Kornblee Gallery

My Draped Paintings were created to alter the assumption that PAINTING is classified as such when portrayed on a rectangular, geometric, and/or stretched canvas format. I first exhibited these in New York City during 1968. Following exhibits or “ONE MAN SHOWS”, as James Mellow wrote in his NY Times review (12/5/71), included pleated and draped sound installations at Kornblee Gallery in 1969, 1970 1971. Critic Cindy Nemser’s NY Times rebuttal headline read: “CAN WOMEN HAVE ONE MAN SHOWS?” (1/9/72)

Public Art Proposals

My earliest site projects were created for Central Park and Lincoln Center in 1969.
I received grants from School Of Visual Arts, The NYC Parks Department, and was also commissioned by the Pearl Lange Dance Company (Ford Foundation Grant) to create nine pieces for the stage at Lincoln Center that same year. The Draped facade pieces were designed in 1968 (above) and presented to Doris Freedman in 1970. She tried to arrange funding for them as director of City Walls. Recent works use environmental issues as reasons to create cantilevered grass and soil sculptures. Through the years I used technology to create artworks that resist the laws of science, toying with people’s assumptions about gravity, solidity, and the mutability of static elements challenging our inherent conviction that the ground beneath our feet is stable. Current projects include creating a glass house structure containing a cloud continually moving because of humidity and barometric pressure conditions in the atmosphere surrounding the CloudHouse. The cloud is made with ultrasound and envisioned in the public realm, as if a monumental soothsayer forecasting imminent, sometimes ominous weather conditions.
Filtering Vortex is a proposal designed as a fantasy LCD projection made to encourage the fabrication of a giant underwater filtration system that purifies our water and environment. Projected on a large floor site, a colossal sized fan with attached membrane is imagined continually spinning and cleaning particles as if recycling through a below sea level drain. Trapped debris renewed through natural processes restores nutrient value to this fictional underwater bed.

Dilated Paint Readings/Reds

Syntactically, I used adjacent color connectives in a range of chroma to create scanning paths. Visual pitch, or visual sound frequencies were determined by color phrasing and gave a notated tempo to the reading. The addition or subtraction of light in the markings and the proximity of paint placements were factors which were considered in order to determine the rate of speed at which the surface of the canvas was scanned. On an emotive level, the paintings were scores that attempted to embrace the movement and spirit of davenning, (the Jewish tradition of rocking back and forth in prayer). They were rituals of breathing, heartbeats, brainwaves, temperatures, and pulsations.

Boat/Lips Think Negative

During the 1980’s my installations began investigating the wall and floor as domains to enter. I created partial shapes that forced viewers to rely on memory in order to experience the unseen. These installations activated wall sites with negative fragments suggested as vessels composed with both animate and inanimate forms, such as body parts and boats. Inlaid into sheetrock or plaster, the negative carvings appeared as if secrets hidden in the wall.

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision is a mosaic tile mural installation spanning the walls of the underpass at the 51st. Street Lexington Ave. subway site. Art writer Nancy Princenthal
describes ‘Tunnel Vison ceramic tile mural, creates trompe l’oeil rips through subway walls, providing views of hidden seascapes, was one of the first new mosaics to be installed as part of a recently expanded art program in the New York City subway system. Many of her solo works have involved illusionistic cuts into or through walls, revealing fictive secrets, creating fictive ruins.’ Other completed projects include a mosaic and limestone “Garden Of Games.” It incorporates educational games, such as Chess and Backgammon inlaid into sculpted seating and table units. These games were constructed of granite mosaics set into limestone tables and benches. I designed the ground paving to resemble game boards with several cubes and spheres for added seating elements. Seated people can be perceived as pawns in a game. The Garden Of Scientific Ideas was designed as an undulating landscape composed of cast bronze interactive sculptures based on scientific principles, such as a Sundial, a Sound Wave Magnifier, a Newton’s Cradle, and a Parabolic Image Generator. Floral steel gates, and a neon-lighted clock with floral hands that emits light patterns through rotating steel perforations and fabricated with a landscape theme to adorn this concrete urban garden. Other projects include granite mosaic seating elements and brass inlaid plaza floor maps in Jersey City and Bayonne, N.J.; a granite inlaid mosaic for the transit department in Freehold, N.J.; a stone architectural frieze for the Seattle Arts Commission; public benches designed as humorous houses tipped on their side for a park in Santa Monica, Ca.; cantilevered brick paving/seating units that are neon lit to “float” at night. More whimsical works comprise a series of “sand castle-like” structures, permanently fabricated as a boat, and, at another site, a cow; and peeling ceramic wall facades and plaster peeling walls are sited in New Jersey and New York City.

Kiosk.edu

Kiosk.Edu is a glass house that reflects quotes from artists, architects, and performers mined from contemporary and art historical excavations. This interior lit 6ft/ 4in. by 8ft. 4in. by 7ft. 2in. tall glass was designed to inform the public about the personal, conceptual and/or emotional journey’s these artists traveled in process to achieve their respective creative destinations. Art Writer Pat Rogers says in her article “New Sculpture Speaks Volumes” says “At nighttime, the words seem to float on air. During the day, the black and red type becomes part of a house of quotes supported by glass and steel. The network of one-liners captures thoughts uttered by artists, actors, architects, writers and other creative types. Welcome to “Kiosk.Edu”— a glass and steel house of quotes will be unveiled at Guild Hall in the museum’s newly redesigned outdoor sculpture garden. “Kiosk.Edu” was recently exhibited at the Chicago Art Fair and in the lobby of the AIA (American Institute of Architecture). The work will remain on view at Guild Hall Art Museum’s garden. Guild Hall Curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield selected “Kiosk.Edu” because it is artwork that talks about the process of art. Quotes include thoughts expressed by Jackson Pollock, Frank Lloyd Wright, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, Claude Monet, Martin Mull and many others.
“The glass house was designed to inform the public about the personal, conceptual and/or emotional journeys these artists traveled in the process to achieve their respective creative destinations,” according to a description provided by the museum.
In an interview, Ms. Strassfield added, “I’ve been a fan of Ms. Yankowitz’s work for a long time. When I saw this, it seemed perfect. It’s a universal piece and most artists can appreciate it.” The process of creating “Kiosk.Edu” and exploring the idea of connectedness and relationships throughout the ages led to another connected concept. Her next project will cull quotes from authoritative religious texts on ways women are perceived and treated in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. How differences and similarities translate into practice is an important area of exploration. The sculpture will use a similar house structure as “Kiosk.Edu.”
My earliest site projects were created for Central Park and Lincoln Center in 1969. I received grants from School Of Visual Arts, The NYC Parks Department, and was also commissioned by the Pearl Lange Dance Company (Ford Foundation Grant) to create nine pieces for the stage at Lincoln Center that same year. The Draped facade pieces were designed in 1968. Recent works use environmental issues as reasons to create cantilevered grass and soil sculptures. Through the years I used technology to create artworks that resist the laws of science, toying with people’s assumptions about gravity, solidity, and the mutability of static elements challenging our inherent conviction that the ground beneath our feet is stable. More recent projects include a glass house structure containing a cloud continually in motion and changing because of humidity and barometric pressure conditions in the atmosphere surrounding the CloudHouse. The cloud is made with ultrasound and envisioned in the public realm, as if a monumental soothsayer forecasting imminent, sometimes ominous weather conditions. Filtering Vortex is a proposal designed as a fantasy LCD projection made to encourage the fabrication of a giant underwater filtration system that purifies our water and environment. Projected on a large floor site, a colossal sized fan with attached membrane is imagined continually spinning and cleaning particles as if recycling through a below sea level drain. Trapped debris renewed through natural processes restores nutrient value to this fictional underwater bed.

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