An exhibit featuring work at St. John’s by feminist artists has been recognized by a prestigious art magaizine, Art in America.”Having any exhibit reviewed by an outside curator is big news, but a review in a nationally prominent periodical like Art in America – well, that’s colossal,” said Louis DiGena, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Fine Arts in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Critic Carey Lovelace of Art in America stated that the exhibition was “a thoughtful gathering of quietly effective works” that answered questions like “What is feminist art?” and “How does feminism differ today than the 1970’s?”
Curator Claudia Sbrissa, Associate Professor of Department of Fine Arts, was honored by the national recognition. “I was a little apprehensive and so was very pleased by the outcome and the positive response the exhibition received,” Sbrissa said.
Sbrissa explained that she had two goals for her exhibit, to “acknowledge the tremendous accomplishments of the feminist movement” and to “pay tribute to the extraordinary contribution of the first-generation feminist artists.”
Sbrissa was inspired to curate “From the Inside Out: Feminist Art Then & Now” by a national committee called the Feminist Art Project (FAP), facilitated by Rutger’s University.
In fact, being a practicing artist, she wanted to curate this exhibition to “begin a dialogue that prompts discourse regarding how we locate ourselves in the tradition of feminist art and in the process of history as a whole.”
In 2005, she participated in an exhibition, “Re: Generation” at Rutger’s University. It commemorated the 35th anniversary of the school’s “Women Artist Series,” a series by Joan Snyder.
Sbrissa explained that the exhibition was “pivotal in realizing the legacy” that she was a part of.
She gathered 36 feminist artists that were showcased in the exhibition through 42 pieces of artwork.
Sbrissa also created a “reading room” for the exhibition where visitors were able to read and research diverse topics within the feminist movement, such as motherhood, sexuality, gender and power within the gallery setting itself.
Many professors generously contributed books, bibliographies, reading lists and articles to the reading room. “It broadened the scope of the show and brought an interdisciplinary approach as well as broaden our interdepartmental relationships,” stated Sbrissa.
She also oversaw the production of a 42-page catalogue, collaborated by graphic designer professors Liz Deluna and Aaris Sharon. Professor Susan Rosenberg also contributed an essay.
“Dr. Sbrissa worked very hard to get the caliber artists displayed in the exhibit, said Parvez Mohsin, Galley Director of the Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery.”Artists of their stature are very hard to get, so getting them to St. John’s was a huge accomplishment.”