Womanhouse vs. Womenhouse: Iconic Feminist Art Updated

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Womenhouse, the largest collaborative artist group in the exhibition Workmore! #6, draws inspiration from feminist artists and collectives from the 1970’s and other historically rich moments.

Womanhouse

The group is inspired by the exclusively female art exhibition & collective known as Womanhouse, organized by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro in 1972. Four decades later, Womenhouse, envisioned/organized by Lydia Brunch (Kolmel WithLove), reveals a fresh outlook on the work of Womanhouse, infusing these groundbreaking feminist works with contemporary queer and drag perspectives.

Below you will find historical photos juxtaposing the original works reprised and reinvented by some of the members of Womenhouse. Join a free performance by Womenhouse following the Art, Performance & Legitimacy Panel Discussion on Wednesday, April 16, 6–8pm.

Sue Casa & Lydia Brunch

Sue Casa & Lydia Brunch pictured, photo by Cabure Bonugli

“Loving Hair Vagina Painting,” by Sue Casa & Lydia Brunch, alludes to two Womanhouse performance pieces at once: “Loving Care” by Janine Antoni and “Vagina Painting” by Shigeko Kubota.

Sue Casa pictured, photo by Cabure Bonugli, live performance at SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, 2014

Sue Casa pictured, photo by Cabure Bonugli, live performance at SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, 2014

Vagina Painting, Shigeko Kubota, Live Performance at Perpetual Fluxus Festival in NY, 1965Vagina Painting, Shigeko Kubota, Live Performance at Perpetual Fluxus Festival in NY, 1965

Photo by Cabure Bonugli

Lydia Brunch pictured, photo by Cabure Bonugli, live performance at SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, 2014

Loving Care, Janine Antoni, Live Performance at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1993

Loving Care, Janine Antoni, Live Performance at Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, 1993

Similarly, an audience interactive piece by Sugah Betes & Mutha Chucka recalls “Leah’s Room,” an installation decorated with an antique vanity, patterned wallpaper and lace to represent the boudoir of the aging courtesan Leah from Colette’s novel Chéri. On Friday and Saturday evenings for the duration of Womanhouse Karen LeCoq performed in “Leah’s Room,” applying make-up to her face repeatedly.

Disposable Beauty: Painted Ladies & Temporary Faces, Sugah Betes & Mutha Chucka, 2014 Photo by Cabure Bonugli

Disposable Beauty: Painted Ladies & Temporary Faces, Sugah Betes & Mutha Chucka, photo by Cabure Bonugli, 2014

Leah's Room, Karen LeCoq and Nancy Youdelman, Womanhouse, Los Angeles, 1972

Leah’s Room, Karen LeCoq and Nancy Youdelman, Womanhouse, Los Angeles, 1972

While visiting Work MORE! #6, audiences can peer into a row of mirrors that reflect a made-up version of their face echoing the signature styles of notable drag queens, and exercise their own creativity while styling a coloring book image of a drag queen’s face.

Disposable Beauty: Painted Ladies & Temporary Faces, Sugah Betes & Mutha Chucka, 2014, photo by Cabure Bonugli

Disposable Beauty: Painted Ladies & Temporary Faces, Sugah Betes & Mutha Chucka, photo by Cabure Bonugli, 2014

Another audience interactive piece, “Kitty Riot” by Coca Kahlo (Ed Hernandez) & Lil Miss Hot Mess (Harris David Harris), allows the audience to push a large button on a podium to activate a moving collage of cats. The piece humorously invokes an earlier work by Martha Rosler, a collage composed of photographs of nude women featured in Playboy.

Kitty Riot, Coca Kahlo (Ed Hernandez) & Lil Miss Hot Mess, photo by Cabure Bonugli

Kitty Riot, Coca Kahlo (Ed Hernandez) & Lil Miss Hot Mess, photo by Cabure Bonugli, 2014

Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem (1966­-72), Martha Rosler

Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem, Martha Rosler, (1966­-72)

About the writer:
Michelle Lagasca is currently an CCA Connects Extern at SOMArts Cultural Center. She is studying at the California College of the Arts and will graduate in the Spring with a BFA in Illustration.

For more information about internships at SOMArts, please click here.