Saturday, September 4, 2010

I feel it coming...

Back to school...after the long semester off organizing, volunteering, fundraising, grant writing, bike riding, and traveling, I am back at ol' CofC, finishing College. It's interesting how being back in a space of academically savvy women who are challenging gender norms just lights a fire under my ass. I am in my capstone WGST class (awesome) with Micah, for one, which is really exciting. I am also taking a class that I don't actually need to graduate, called Studio Art Approaches to Third Wave Feminism. When I first saw that class listed, I freaked out, I figured that CofC had sent some sleuth-like character to stalk me and figure out what would lure me back in to the higher education system. "Ha-Ha!" the genderless reporter reports, "ve shall offer a course on feminist art, and ze helpless child shall be helpless and helplessly fall into our vell-laid trrrap!" And this is exactly what happened, and now I am in this class, which is, according to my professor, the ONLY EXPLICITLY FEMINIST ART CLASS BEING TAUGHT IN THE UNITED STATES.

Huh? Really? Oh, I guess I'm not that surprised, just disappointed as usual.

But seriously, how awesome is that? I am in a class with a group of women, all honors students, who for some reason or another decided to take the class. I'm a little anxious. I mean, feminist art is pretty much all me and most of my friends do! But most of the girls I'm in class with have barely considered how the two might be related, and many aren't familiar with feminism at all. I think I talk too much in class, and I'm afraid that I intimidate them, because I seem to have a pre-existing opinion and experience with all of this stuff. I want so bad for them to all realize that I don't really know anything more than they do about making feminist art. All they have to do is get the least bit excited, shed that initial layer of self-consciousness, and grab a marker or a guitar, or a camera, or a paintbrush, or some crazy object unbeknownst to life as we know it, and start emoting, expressing, telling.

We'll see. I shall report. I hope that some of my friends who do feminist art can come into the class as visitors coughGracieLizSeanRachaelcough.



Kim said...

I think the greatest thing about a feminist art class is that you not only have the freedom to, but are encouraged to think about art outside of the social constructs that define art in other studio classes. In most classes it seems that the focus is on the formal aspects of art. Or that you are supposed to create art under accepted ideas of what artists are trying to do, what they are trying to express, and how they are trying to express it. And this is definitely different for each individual, but there is still a set of rules or standards or guidelines that people follow knowingly or not which has been formed over many many years by the people of the ART WORLD. And then you have a class which is made up of probably mostly non-art students who are given the opportunity to create and express with out the formal guidelines and with the broad word "feminism" as a guideline. Really... that's pretty awesome.

juliamarisa said...

Oh. My. God. Feminist art class? Are you kidding? The one semester I'm not there. Oh, but is it honors? I probably should have stuck it out for the special topics since they always seem to be so good. You'll have to give me a play by play when I get back because that sounds amazing.

Kristen said...

yeah i hear you, lm and i been talking about the class a lot. it's cool and all (especially in title) but it's a little hard to read the group. you know, honors students... (argh!) are we ruining the world with our little brainies? maybe yes. or maybe it's not just the students. maybe the questions we are posed are too loaded, too narrow. today she was comparing slave quilts to picasso asking why we know one and not the other. um... maybe it's not just because one was made by a black woman and the other by a european white man. maybe there are a lot of reasons. let's talk about those too. this whole feminist art bone needs a little more meat if you ask me.

good to know you are in the blogosphere, i'll keep watch. Hit me up @ .

ciao for now,

Jenna Lyles said...

Kim- Yeah, that's exactly what's going on, well said! The setting for this class is much more open and playful and encouraging. There are fewer "wrongs" and more "rights". I think that maybe the class is starting to get it--everyone seems to have loosened up slightly. Also, Gracie and Sean might come in to do a process/performance workshop with us, which would be aaawwwweeeesooommee!

Julia- I know right? You would be the peeerfect person for this class, I really wish you were in it! It is an honors class, and it's kind of making up for western civ haha. but don't worry...your life is like feminist art class every day.

Kristen- So it's been a while since we both posted on here--I feel like class has gotten a little better, do you? I think Julie does a good job explaining things, but I can tell she's had to deal with a lot of shitty intro classes and maybe is still in defense mode sometimes. I wish we had more discussion in class, cause it seems like no one wants to talk. But I think it's all sort of warming up. what say you?