Curators: Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss
Artists: Ginger Brooks Takahashi (Pittsburgh), Tammy Rae Carland (Oakland), Miranda July (Los Angeles), Faythe Levine (Milwaukee), Allyson Mitchell (Toronto), L.J. Roberts (Brooklyn), Stephanie Syjuco (San Francisco)
Archival materials from: dumba collective; EMP Museum, Seattle; Interference Archive; Jabberjaw; the Riot Grrrl Collection at the Fales Library & Special Collections, NYU; and many personal collections
Alien She is the first exhibition to examine the lasting impact of Riot Grrrl on artists and cultural producers working today. A pioneering punk feminist movement that emerged in the early 1990s in reaction to pervasive and violent sexism, racism and homophobia in the punk music scene and in the culture at large, Riot Grrrl had a pivotal influence. The movement inspired many around the world to pursue socially and politically progressive careers as artists, activists, authors and educators. Emphasizing female and youth empowerment, collaborative organization, creative resistance and DIY ethics, Riot Grrrl helped a new generation to become active feminists and create their own culture and communities that reflect their values and experiences. Riot Grrrl’s influence on contemporary global culture is increasingly evident—from the Russian collective Pussy Riot’s protest against corrupt government-church relations to the popular teen website Rookie, and the launch of Girls Rock Camps and Ladyfest music and art festivals around the world.
This exhibition focuses on seven people whose visual art practices were informed by their contact with Riot Grrrl. In various ways, they have incorporated, expanded upon, or reacted to Riot Grrrl’s ideology, tactics and aesthetics. Many of them work in multiple disciplines, such as visual art, music, documentary film, new media, curation, writing and performance—a reflection of the movement’s artistic diversity and mutability. Each artist is represented by several projects from the last 20 years, including new and rarely seen works, providing an insight into the development of their creative practices and individual trajectories.
Alien She‘s historical section is designed to be plural and open-ended; this is a living history, not a sealed past. By representing numerous voices and experiences, rather than outlining one single definitive story, we hope it will reflect the multiplicity that was such an integral part of the original movement. Toward this end, a sampling of the Riot Grrrl movement’s vast creative output is included here. Hundreds of self-published zines and hand-designed posters were solicited from institutional and personal archives through open calls, word-of-mouth and invitations—similar to the way Riot Grrrl expanded. Music playlists represent different Riot Grrrl scenes across the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, guest curated by musicians, DJs and label owners. Video interviews and an ongoing, online Riot Grrrl Census provide an expanded oral history. In addition, the Miller Gallery will host public programs including workshops, discussions, film screenings and dance parties in collaboration with several local groups and institutions.
Alien She conjures the possibilities of identity, self-determination and subversion. In the face of alienation and bigotry, Riot Grrrl fostered community, action and creation. This exhibition provides a view into the passion and diversity of the original Riot Grrrl movement, and highlights how these ideas have broadened, evolved and mutated in the work of contemporary artists.
March 7–April 27, 2014
Vox Populi, Philadelphia
October 2014–January 2015
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco,
Pacific Northwest College of Art: Feldman Gallery & Project Space, Portland, Ore,
More locations to be announced.
For more information and list of events, visit www.bit.ly/AlienShe