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TFAP@CAA: The Feminist Art Project Day of Panels at the College Art Association Annual Conference 2014

February 15, 2014 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

This event is free and open to the public.

The theme of the 2014 TFAP day of panels is the representation of the maternal in art and visual culture. Topics of discussion include art historical readings of maternity, the maternal body, exhibitions that address maternity/motherhood, collaboration with children, and what it means to be a mother and an artist today in relationship to the issue of M/E/A/N/I/N/G on artists/mothers.


Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Co-organizers: Jennie Klein (Associate Professor of Art History, Ohio University); Myrel Chernick (Independent Artist, Pratt Institute)

Historical Perspectives on Representing the Maternal

Chair: Denise Amy Baxter (University of North Texas)
Panelists: Heather Belnap Jensen (Brigham Young University), Laura Larson (Ohio University), Paula J. Birnbaum (University of San Francisco), Andrea Liss (California State University San Marcos)
Building upon burgeoning scholarship such as Rachel Epp Buller’s anthology Reconciling Art and Motherhood, Myrel Chernick’s and Jennie Klein’s The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art, and the work of the MaMSIE (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics) network, this panel presents historical perspectives on maternal subject positions and the depiction of maternal imagery.

10:40 am-12 pm
Motherhood and the Exhibitionary Platform: Considering the Implications of Maternity Through the Curatorial Lens
Chair: Jessica Cochran (Columbia College Chicago)
Panelists: Iris Anna Regan and Rebecca Niederlander (BROODWORK), Bruria Finkel (artist/independent curator), Lucian Gomoll (Wesleyan University), Rebecca Trawick and Denise M. Johnson (Chaffey College), Laura Schaeffer (Independent Artist/Organizer, Chicago)

This session will address exhibitions that have been premised upon the idea of motherhood and the maternal, within the broader context of feminism and the history and theory of exhibition making. In addition to considering the curatorial role itself through a “curator as maternalist” paradigm, presentations will reflect various curatorial methodologies from traditional museum scale exhibitions to hybrid or itinerant curatorial projects that engage various forms of social space, including the home. By bringing together various critical feminist positions alongside divergent curatorial strategies the goal of this session is to chart an evolution of practice via exemplary models for thinking and doing.  As such, an important outcome of the dialogue will be an assessment of the kinds of critical attention paid to these projects, and an analysis of the quality of discourse that orbits them.

12-12:30: Lunch

12:40-2 pm
From Sentiment to Sexuality: Revisiting the Maternal Body as Threat
Chair: Natalie Loveless (University of Alberta, Edmonton)
Panelists: Jess Dobkin (Independent Artist, Toronto), Laura Allred Hurtado (Independent Curator), Christen Clifford (SUNY Purchase), Miriam Schaer (Columbia College Chicago), Margaret Morgan (Independent Artist, Los Angeles)

This panel revisits the “threat” of the maternal body, both in practice and theory. Amongst other topics, papers will address the historical rejection of sentimentality by feminist artist mothers, the sexuality of the mother-child relationship, non-reproductive and non-heteronormative maternal bodies, and the changing perspectives on essentialism and the female/maternal body today.

2:10-3:30 pm
Mothers / Artists / Children

Chair: Rachel Epp Buller (Bethel College) Panelists: Lynn Somers-Davis (Drew University), Jill Miller (San Francisco Art Institute), Marni Kotak (Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn), Lise Haller Baggesen (Independent Artist, Chicago), Courtney Kessel (The Dairy Barn Arts Center)

What are the implications when an artist brings her children into her work? Where is the line between collaboration and exploitation? When can children give consent, or even be considered artists in their own right? This panel addresses twentieth-century and contemporary incarnations of the often-controversial mother / artist / child triangle.

3:40-5:00 pm
Revisiting M/E/A/N/I/N/G #12
Round Table Discussion Panelists: Sharon Butler (Brown University), Laura Letinsky (University of Chicago), Irene Lusztig (University of California, Santa Cruz), Beverly Naidus (University of Washington, Tacoma), Jennifer Wroblewski (Purchase College School of Art and Design)

In 1992, Susan Bee and Mira Schor, editors of the art journal M/E/A/N/I/N/G, published FORUM: ON MOTHERHOOD, ART, AND APPLE PIE. They invited a group of artist/mothers to respond to a series of questions about their artistic careers and lives as mothers. Although none of the women regretted becoming mothers, most of them talked about their difficult choices, and how they maintained a strict separation between family and studio practice. Twenty years later, we believe we are seeing many more women who are interested in integrating their familial and artistic lives. After a short statement from Susan Bee, five artists respond to the M/E/A/N/I/N/G issue in relationship to their lives and work now.

MAP to Columbia College Chicago – Stage TWO


For more information contact:
Connie Tell
The Feminist Art Project, Manager
Institute for Women & Art, Rutgers University
640 Bartholomew Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: 848-932-3726

Documentation for this event is held at the Feminist Art Projects Archives located at Rutgers University.


February 15, 2014
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Columbia College Chicago, 618 S. Michigan Ave., 2nd floor,
618 S. Michigan Ave. 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60605 United States


Connie Tell