Real Lives of Women Artists

The Symposium “Real Lives of Women Artists” took place at Smith College, February 26-27, 2010. Speakers included Lucy Lippard, Susan Hiller, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and other Smith alumnae artists such as Rebecca Morris and Casey Ruble. (A list of participants and other information:

Lucy Lippard (Smith, ’58) spoke about her recent curatorial projects which include “Weather Report” a Denver-area show about climate change. Lippard has kept her activist edge–she stated that collectives are the future of art in America and reminded us that there is no such thing as a “Post-Feminist” world since the work of feminism has not been accomplished.

Susan Hiller, who lives and works in England, emphasized the need to find the most appropriate media for one’s ideas. She has worked mainly in sound installation and film:

Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ opening remark was: “I became an artist because I wanted to be free.”  She described in vivid and humorous detail her struggles as a mother, wife, and artist, especially her grueling, early-morning schedule during the relational work “Touch Sanitation” (pictured).  Ukeles has since 1977 been artist in residence (unsalaried) at the New York City Department of Sanitation and is currently undertaking reclamation of the former Fresh Kills Landfill site in New York City.

Pictured: Mierle Laderman Ukeles, “Touch Sanitation” 1977, image courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts


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