Celebrating Female Agency in the Arts - Christie's Education Symposium

Distant Bodies: Gender, Performance and Power

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Based on a series of case studies that investigate the trajectory and the work of a diverse range of women artists, patrons and public figures, Distant Bodies offers a journey across the 20th century and continents. From the stages of modern dance and music in early 20th century Paris through Chinese theater at the end of Cultural Revolution and mid-century Korea’s popular music scene to the world of performance art in 1970s Belgrade, the panel will explore how women negotiated marginalization, political oppression and censorship in different socio-economic and cultural contexts. By providing an inventory of the varied modalities of how female artists used their bodies as tools of expression to challenge networks of power and social hierarchies, Distant Bodies examines the relationship between art and body politics, and reconsiders the origin of performance and body art practices. By discussing the work of female figures who were active in the performing arts—dance, theater and music—as well as in the new medium of performance art, the panel also proposes to rethink the role women artists played in the trans-national expansion of fine art media as well as in merging popular entertainment and high art.


Ágnes Berecz

Julia Ostwald
Nicola Foster

Susan Lee
Anja Foerschner

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

Christie's New York
20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020


Agnes Berecz, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Christie’s Education, NY

Agnes Berecz received her B.A. and M.A. from ELTE University in Budapest and completed her Ph.D. at Université Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne). Berecz specializes in post-war and contemporary art with a particular focus on transnational modernism and the cultural politics of painting.

Her writings have appeared in Art Journal, Art in America, Artmargins and the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin as well as in European and US exhibitions catalogues. Berecz is the author of the book, Contemporary Hungarian Painting (2001), and the New York correspondent of Műértő, a Budapest based art monthly.

Her most recent work includes the two volume monographic study, Simon Hantaï, and the essay, ‘Time to Knot’, published in the catalogue of Hantaï’s retrospective exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris. She teaches at the Pratt Institute and lectures at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

Julia Ostwald
University of Salzburg

Paper Title: Ida Rubinstein: Muse and patroness of collective experimental dance and music theatre

Julia Ostwald studied dance teaching (B.A. Fontys Dansacademie Tilburg, Netherlands / Escola Superior de Dança Lisbon, Portugal) and holds a master in dance studies (Free University Berlin, Germany / University of Antwerp, Belgium). For many years, she worked as an independent community dance practitioner. In 2016, she embarked on doctoral studies concerning the voice in dance, supervised by Nicole Haitzinger. Currently she is working as academic project assistant at the doctoral school gender_transcultural, University of Salzburg (AT).


Anja Foerschner, Ph.D.,
Research Specialist, Getty Research Institute

Paper Title: Keep Moving—Female Performance Art in Belgrade since the 1970s

Anja Foerschner is a Research Specialist at the Getty Research Institute (GRI), Los Angeles. Originally trained as a visual artist, she holds a Master’s degree in Art Pedagogy, Art History, and Philosophy (2008) and a PhD in art history from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich (2011). Her research encompasses modern and contemporary art with special emphasis on performance art from Los Angeles and the Balkans, Feminist Art, the human body in contemporary art and culture, and the emotion of disgust in art. Her research has been published, among others, by Getty Research Journal, Afterimage—The Journal for Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, GENRE—International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Literature and the Arts, kunsttexte, and Performance Art Journal. She is a contributor to the recently published volume Food Art Discourses. Taste and Counterculture (eds. Silvia Bottinelli and Margherita D’Ayala Valva, University of Arkansas Press) and serves as a reviewer for the online journal sehepunkte.de Her curatorial projects encompass exhibitions such as WWI: War of Images, Images of War at the Getty Research Institute (2014), We are the Artists, Titon Gallery, Johnson City (2017) as well as Marta Jovanovic’s performances Motherhood and Ljubav (both Belgrade, 2016).  She is currently heading a GRI research project on the documentation and archiving strategies of feminist performance artists from the 1960s to the present. In addition, she is working on a book manuscript on the development of female and feminist performance art in Belgrade, 1970-2017.




Dr. Nicola Foster, Ph.D.,
Research Associate in the History of Art, Open University

Paper Title: Re-thinking Jiang Qing Contribution to Art and Culture in China 

Dr. Nicola Foster is a retired Senior Lecturer who continues to supervises PhD research students at the UAL and several other Universities. She is currently also Research Associate in the history of art at the Open University. She is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. Her academic background is in art history and continental philosophy. Her current research focuses on contemporary art and art institutions, especially in Asia. She has edited a book on Feminist Aesthetics, she was on the editorial board of Women's Philosophy Review and JAR. She published several book chapters and journal articles on contemporary art, aesthetics, and art institutions. She is currently working on a publications on Asian women artists, Chinese contemporary art and contemporary art institutions, including global Biennials. 


Susan Lee, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Concordia College 

Paper Title: Female Artistic Agency in Mid-Twentieth-Century Korea—Modern “Star,” Wang Subok

Susan Lee received a Ph.D. in Japanese art history from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and currently teaches at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Her research centers on early modern painting and prints of the Japanese Edo period and the paintings of the Korean Joseon Dynasty with a particular focus on images of women and the complex question of the cultivated courtesan’s artistic agency and power.

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