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

Future Feminism

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Fees: $235.00


This session will look forward by looking back. For many groundbreaking women artists, the creation of new societal, individual and environmental models was just as important as the fight for equal representation. By demolishing the linear narrative of modernism, the privileging of a white male ethnocentric vision, the division of high and low art and the separation of art from larger social issues, they lay the groundwork for the globalized, multi-media, postmodern art world of today. Today their vision is shared by male and female artists alike.  In fact, such ideas have become so commonplace that it is easy to forget their feminist origins. 

Panelists will examine how women helped define and shape four key areas of contemporary art. In Beyond Dominionism: How women rewrote the role of humans in nature, Eleanor Heartney will examine how the earth based outlook first broached by feminists in the 1970s underlies efforts by contemporary environmental artists to envision a sustainable future. 

Nancy Princenthal will take up craft in her talk, Speaking with our Hands: Manual Labor, Women's Work and the Rise of Process Art. She will discuss how feminist artists’ focus on materials, processes and utility in the 1970s predated Post-Minimalism and pointed ahead to the fraught status of work as a means of personal fulfillment in an automated, decentralized, robotic age. 

Helaine Posner will speak on More Fluid than Fixed: Evolving Notions of the Gendered Self. She will look at identity and trace how questions raised by women artists about the meaning, construction and mutability of identity created a language that anticipated contemporary explorations of gender. 

In Beyond Tragic and Timeless:  Women and Abstraction Sue Scott will explore women’s contributions to conceptions of abstraction, as female artists helped push beyond the midcentury focus on formal autonomy and objective universality to encompass the current emphasis on expression, spirituality, and subjectivity. 

Today many members of the millennial generation, both male and female, are skeptical of the notion of feminism and of what they perceive as its outmoded binaries. This session will embrace a more inclusive approach to art and feminism that embraces the realities of 21st century life.


Eleanor Heartney

Helaine Posner
Nancy Princenthal
Sue Scott

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

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


Eleanor Heartney
Art Writer and Cultural Critic

Paper Title: Beyond Dominionism: How women rewrote the role of humans in nature

Eleanor Heartney is a New York based art writer and cultural critic who has been writing about art since 1981. She is Contributing Editor to Art in America and Artpress and has written extensively on contemporary art issues for such other magazines as Artnews, Art and Auction, The New Art Examiner, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Heartney was the 1992 recipient of the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism and has also received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Asian Cultural Council. A collection of Heartney’s essays was published in 1997 by Cambridge University Press under the title Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads.  Other books include Postmodernism, published by the Tate Gallery Publishers, Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art published by Midmarch Arts Press and soon to be rereleased by Silver Hollow Press, Defending Complexity, published by Hard Press editions,  and Art and Today, a survey of contemporary art from the 1980s to the present published by Phaidon in 2008. Heartney is past President of AICA-USA, the American section of the International Art Critics Association. In 2008 she was honored by the French government as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. 


Helaine Posner
Chief Curator, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY

Paper Title: More Fluid than Fixed: Evolving Notions of the Gendered Self

Helaine Posner is Chief Curator at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, Purchase, New York.  Her exhibitions at the Neuberger Museum include Louise Fishman: A Retrospective (2016), Robin Rhode: Animating the Everyday (2014), Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels (2011), and Tania Bruguera: On the Political Imaginary (2010), each accompanied by a monographic catalogue. From 1991-1998, she was curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts where she curated such exhibitions as Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation (1998); Glenn Ligon: Skin Tight (1995); and Leon Golub and Nancy Spero: War and Memory (1994); among other projects.  Previously, she was Director of the University Gallery, University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Posner is the author of a monograph on the artist Kiki Smith (Monacelli, 2005) and was United States Co-commissioner for the 48th Venice Biennale where she organized Ann Hamilton: Myein. She was curator of a mid-career survey of the work of Lorna Simpson which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Miami Art Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006-7). Posner is the recipient of three AICA (International Association of Art Critics) Awards.   She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History at Georgetown University and a Master of Arts degree from George Washington University, both in Washington, D.C.


Nancy Princenthal
Art Writer

Paper Title: Speaking with our Hands: Manual Labor, Women's Work and the Rise of Process Art

Nancy Princenthal is a Brooklyn-based writer whose book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames and Hudson, 2015) received the 2016 PEN America award for biography. A former Senior Editor of Art in America, where she remains a Contributing Editor, she has also written for Artforum, the Village Voice, and the New York Times. Princenthal is the author of Hannah Wilke (Prestel, 2010), and a co-author of two recent books on women artists. Her essays have appeared in monographs on Shirin Neshat, Doris Salcedo, Robert Mangold and Alfredo Jaar, among many others. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.), Hunter College (M.A.), and the Whitney Independent Study program, she has taught at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Princeton University; and Yale University, and is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts. 


Sue Scott
Independent Curator and Writer

Paper Title: Beyond Tragic and Timeless:  Women and Abstraction 

Sue Scott is an independent curator and writer. She was Adjunct Curator of  Contemporary Art at the Orlando Museum of Art for nineteen years where she curated solo exhibitions including Bryan Hunt Early Work; Alex Katz: Theatre of the Mind; and organized the traveling exhibition Jennifer Bartlett: A Print Retrospective. Scott initiated the Currents series which focused on the work of emerging and mid-career artists including Jane Hammond, Lesley Dill, Suzanne McClelland, Katherine Bowling, Frank Moore, and Kerry James Marshall. Other curated exhibitions include Forty Years of Printmaking at ULAE at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Witness Theories of Seduction for Dorsky Curatorial Programs. Long island City, NY; and most recently, with Helaine Posner, The Washington Color Painters Reconsidered, at the Loretta Howard Gallery, NY.   She has written for Art News, The Brooklyn Rail and Art and Antiques, among others.  In 2005, she established One Eye Pug, a publishing company specializing in contemporary monotypes and had Sue Scott Gallery from 2008 – 2012. With One Eye Pug, she co-published with Hard Press Editions the book Suzanne McClelland: rock and shift (2008).  

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