Los AngelesNasty Women
GAVLAK Los Angeles presents Nasty Women, a sprawling group exhibition. Situated amongst two separate historical moments, Nasty Women commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification, guaranteeing women’s suffrage in the United States.
Auto tires, bicycle tires, bicycle tubes, wood, bicycle parts, zip ties, and screws
39 x 18 x 18 in
Courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles / Palm Beach. Photography by Sebastian Bach
Digitally printed woven blanket with hand-sewn "African" Chinese knock off wax fabric and glitter
80 x 60 in
Courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles / Palm Beach
Ceramic and glazes
72 x 80 x 72 in
Courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles / Palm Beach and the Artists’ Legacy Foundation. 2020 © Artists’ Legacy Foundation / Licensed by ARS, New York. Photograph by Chris Watson
Added to list
Including works by Candida Alvarez, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Delia Brown, Karen Carson, Gisela Colón, Jenny Holzer, Ebony Patterson and Trulee Hall, the exhibition also coincides with the 2020 presidential election and acts as a defiant gesture of solidarity amongst LGBTQ+ and women artists who feel their rights may be under threat due to the loss of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
As the exhibition title reclaims the infamous phrase once uttered by the current president in 2016, Nasty Women seeks to uplift communities underrepresented in contemporary art and American visual culture at large. By appropriating “nasty women” to be all-inclusive, the exhibition celebrates, recognizes and gives a platform to a diverse array of perspectives and female voices throughout art history. The exhibited works will span from the Italian Renaissance to our current moment, drawing parallels between past and present narratives while disrupting the art historical canon.
Key historical pieces featured in the exhibition are works created by both known and anonymous “old mistresses,” or female artists excluded from a male-dominated art history canon, despite their formal talent and prolific output. Amongst these works are a pastel portrait by 18th-century Scottish artist Catherine Read and an anonymous self-portrait of a woman from the Italian Renaissance. The anonymity of such artists–often attributed to negligent record-keeping based on gender–is essential to this exhibition’s theme of reclamation of nomenclature. Perhaps, unknown “old mistress” artists would be included in the history of art if the old masters and patriarchal structure had viewed them as equal artists.
Nasty Women opens on the eve of the presidential election and what we hope is the aftermath of a presidency that views the voices presented in this exhibition as disposable yet threatening. The series of works presented harnesses this power, moving against political oppression, state violence and towards celebrating self-expression. Intersecting with another key political moment, Nasty Women is dedicated to the memory of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In tandem with the artworks presented in the exhibition, an interactive reading room, following all health and safety guidelines and curated by Sarah Gavlak, will be situated at the center of the gallery. Available literature and essays will span critical feminist theory, art history, politics and philosophy. These texts–similar to the artworks included in Nasty Women–will encompass a range of voices and perspectives, with authors ranging from Linda Nochlin to Legacy Russell.
Installation views: Nasty Women, Gavlak Los Angeles. Courtesy of the artists and GAVLAK Los Angeles / Palm Beach