March 1, 2014

Alien She

Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon University

Faythe Levine, from the series “Time Outside of Time,” 2010–ongoing. Photograph, 22 x16 inches.

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.

The exhibition focuses on seven contemporary artists working in a wide range of disciplines, including visual art, music, documentary film, new media, writing and performance. 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, Vox Populi 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.

Alien She was organized by Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Alien She has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

About Vox Populi
Founded in 1988, Vox Populi is an artist collective that works to support the challenging and experimental work of under-represented artists with monthly exhibitions, gallery talks, performances, lectures, and related programming. For over 25 years, Vox Populi has played a unique role in the cultural life of Philadelphia by bringing our audience a diverse range of programming and providing a supportive environment in which artists can take risks and gain valuable professional experience.

March 7–April 27
Vox Populi (Philadelphia)

October 17, 2014–January 25, 2015
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco)

September 3–November 27, 2015
Pacific Northwest College of Art, Philip Feldman Gallery + Project Space (Portland, Oregon)

More locations to be announced.

For more information, including a full list of events, visit

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