Half a century after the opening of the famous feminist art exhibition “Womanhouse”, launched in California by artists Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, Laura Earle, Detroit-based artist and curator of Womxnhouse Detroit, says the movement is still just as important. “Fifty years later, we still live in an America where women are second-class citizens in many ways,” said Earle, a Farmington Hills resident. equality, dignity and agency not only in the name of basic human decency, but also to realize women’s full rights to liberty, essential to the fabric of our nation. Women represent 50% of the population. Our voices should tell our half of the story in museums, galleries and other cultural spaces.
On March 4, Earle will take part in a panel at the College Art Association of America’s annual conference — alongside other successful female artists and two artists from the original Womanhouse exhibition — to discuss the importance of art installation that created a space for female artists in a time when the field was predominantly male. Earle says she feels “humbled, excited and intimidated” to speak at the event. : And now? The art of being a woman in America today. Along with Detroit curator and artist Asia Hamilton and other creators, the idea expanded to involve more artists and Womxnhouse Detroit was born. What began as an exhibition open to the public is now a modern residence. Housed in Hamilton’s mother’s former home, Womxnhouse Detroit provides a private haven for female and non-binary creatives to live and make art. “In just a few short weeks, Womxnhouse Detroit has become a dynamic nexus between feminism and feminism. We exchanged stories, perspectives and aspirations, forging new friendships in a supportive philosophy of mutual respect and dignity.
“You need diverse voices”
“Dear Womanhouse and Womxnhouse Detroit were collaborative spaces held by women for women to provide freedom, agency and dignity for personal expression unfettered by male interference,” Earle said. “Deeply moving, complex and nuanced works of art have resulted. But unlike the art space of the ’70s, Womxnhouse Detroit’s artists aren’t just white women. The intersectional group of creators is more inclusive, featuring female and non-binary artists from BIPOC. “I know this project is a Womanhouse girl made in 1972,” says artist Donna Jackson. “I salute the work done at that time, but there was so much missing. It lacked black women like me and other women of color. My reason for being a part of this is to correct that, because to make this house a true Woman/Womxn house, you need diverse voices. Featuring artists at all career stages, the original exhibit was launched mostly virtually amid the pandemic. Earle says most of the organizing was done online, but the exhibit went well, and as it evolves, it continues to provide a marginalized group with the space and community to to create. “Womanhouse remains so inspiring five decades later because it set a precedent for allowing space for women to express themselves through art without the interference of men,” says Earle. protected from the pressure and distraction of expending energy to advocate for their participation in cultural work Female artists were encouraged, nurtured and amplified with dignity and respect Women were free to explore and express their rich inner life, to validate their shared experiences, and to manifest their views in ways and materials that reflected and celebrated the female perspective.
For more information about Womxnhouse Detroit, visit womxnhousedet.com. The CAA conference will be held primarily virtually via Zoom and will run from February 16 to March 5, 2022, with Earle scheduled to speak on March 4. Tickets range from $99 to $299 for conference programs. More information at collegeart.org/programs/conference.