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

Transnational Belonging and Subjectivity-in-Process: Contemporary Women Artists’ Encounters with Space

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Fees: $235.00


‘You grant me space, you grant me my space. But in so doing you have always already taken me away from my expanding space.’

Luce Irigaray, Elemental Passions (1992) [1982] (our emphases)


Current nation-state narratives and rising nationalisms demand that we rethink notions of space and politics of access to space. We live in a crisis in which we need to renegotiate and reframe the potential of solidarity and cooperation. In rejecting the idea of male granted space, Luce Irigaray names its patriarchal spatial exclusion, which renders women passive and removes them from participation with/in the community. Marsha Meskimmon’s concept of ‘be(long)ing’ as a form of cosmopolitanism suggests novel ways of thinking about dislocated subjects, domesticity and citizenship. Through such renaming and reframing, this session destabilises the politics of space to consider ways in which female agency disrupts borders and activates concerns around different forms of belonging, citizenship and transnationalisms. What is the potential of common and ethical figurations of being, human and non-human?


The session acknowledges women’s generous encounters with space and their commitment to decolonize spaces through solidarity, hospitality and friendship. Contributions will signal transversal thinking and artmaking that articulates ‘in-between’ and co-affective models of belonging and questions current forms of citizenship and national subjectivity. The session addresses issues of unequal spatial relations and asymmetries of power - strategies of female spatial agency through artmaking. It also explores new figurations of belonging and new articulations of place and space - common and ethical affective encounters with the environment human and non-human. 


Catherine Dormor
Basia Sliwinska

Aliza Edelman 
Jane Chin Davidson   
Kathy Battista

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

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

Catherine Dormor
Head of Research Programmes at the Royal College of Art, London

Catherine Dormor, PhD by Practice, is Head of Research Programmes at the Royal College of Art, London.  A practicing artist and researcher, her interests bring together materiality, imagery and language of cloth as a strategy for thinking about, and making sites of practice.  She has forthcoming publications: A Philosophy of Textile: between practice and theory (Bloomsbury), a chapter in The Erotic Cloth: seduction and fetishism in Textiles (Millar & Kettle: Bloomsbury) and an article ‘The Event of the Stitch: the seamstress, the traveller and the storyteller’ (Textile: Taylor & Francis).  She has artworks in international and UK collections and is an active member of the prestigious 62 Group of Textile Artists, UK.


Basia Sliwinska, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer, Cultural and Historical Studies, University of the Arts London

Basia Sliwinska, Ph.D., is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at the University of the Arts London. Her research is situated within feminist art history and critical theory and focuses on concepts of the body, activism, gender and citizenship within contemporary women's art practice. Recent publications include: a book The Female Body in the Looking-Glass. Contemporary Art, Aesthetics and Genderland (with I.B. Tauris, 2016); and co-edited special issue of Third Text: 'Trans-figurations: Transnational Perspectives on Domestic Spaces’ (2016). Forthcoming publications include a co-edited book The Evolution of the Image: Political Action and the Digital Self (2018 by Routledge. Basia is currently working on a co-curated exhibition Home Strike in l'étrangère gallery in London, which brings together work by four feminist artists who explore and resist the persistent feminisation of domestic ideologies, maintenance labour and the biopolitical as well as symbolic exploitation of women’s bodies and embodiments. 


Aliza Edelman, Ph.D.
Independent Curator

Paper Title: Bahar Behbahani: Displacement and Longing at Sea and in the Garden

Aliza Edelman, Ph.D., is an independent curator with an art historical focus on the transnational narratives of postwar and contemporary women artists in the Americas.  She organized two surveys and exhibition catalogues on the Brazilian Concrete artist Judith Lauand at Driscoll Babcock Galleries in New York (2014 and 2017).  Current scholarly writings are included in Women of Abstract Expressionism (Yale Univ. Press and Denver Art Museum, 2016), American Women Artists, 1935-1970 — Gender, Culture, and Politics (Routledge, 2016), and Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-1950s (Pomegranate Press and Newark Museum, 2010).   In 2011, she edited Marylyn Dintenfass: Parallel Park (Hudson Hills Press) on the artist’s major public art installation.  She is a frequent contributor to the Woman’s Art Journal and was recently appointed to the Committee on Women in the Arts, College Art Association.  She received her doctorate from Rutgers University and B.A. from Smith College. 



Jane Chin Davidson
California State University

Paper Title: Patty Chang – Transnational Border Crossings and the Cinematic Subject

Jane Chin Davidson is Associate Professor of Art History at California State University, San Bernardino.  Her research focuses on performance, feminism, and Chinese identity, and global exhibitions (art fairs, museums). In addition to her co-edited volume Global and World Art in the Practice of the University Museum (2017), she has published in numerous scholarly journals and edited collections including Journal of Chinese Contemporary Art; Wagadu: Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies; n.paradoxa: International Feminist Journal;  Journal of Visual Culture; and Third Text.  She is also a curator of museum exhibitions and her feminist projects include the 2013 Inner Space, Global Matter – Geraldine Ondrizek and the 2011 Setting the Table: The 30th Anniversary of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party at the University of Houston – Clear Lake.  She currently serves on the editorial board of CAA Art Journal and in the Women of Color Leadership project of the National Women’s Studies Association. 


Kathy Battista
Director of the MA program in Contemporary Art, Sotheby's Institute of Art

Paper Title: Challenging the Status Quo: Women Rethinking the Gallery Space, 1970 – present

Kathy Battista is Director of the MA program in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York and Editor in Chief of the Benezit Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press and a Founder of Art Legacy Planning. She is author of New York New Wave: The Legacy of feminist art in emerging practice 2018 (IB Tauris) and Re-negotiating the Body: Feminist Artists in 1970s London (IB Tauris), which won the Choice Book Award for 2013. She is currently co-editing Creative Legacies: Critical Issues in Artist Estates for Lund Humphries (2019). Her essays have appeared in a wide range of edited collections and exhibition catalogues. She is also an active curator of exhibitions in museums and galleries, most recently The Art of Fashion, Fountain House Gallery, New York, May 2017. She is on the advisory boards of PanOpticon and Canvas and serves on several non-profit committees, including ArtSpace, Watermill and Friends of Kayany.

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