August 24–September 25, 2015:
Curated by Mara Baldwin and Eleanore Kohorn ('16)
The plot of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian novel, Herland (1915), follows the travails of three male explorers as they stumble upon and are hosted by an enlightened and geographically isolated nation of women. Utopian literature gained popularity by writers and readers alike over the course of the post-Enlightenment era, a trend reflecting cultural exposure of increased travel and trade to other social systems, causing many to compare, evaluate, and criticize previously-accepted standards of living. Female authors in the genre almost exclusively write about more perfect worlds that are female-exclusive or devoid of gender altogether. These novels, Gilman’s Herland included, are bereft with unapologetic severity, self-aware absurdity, unexpected humor, and bountiful ingenuity in the clairvoyant revisioning of a more perfect society. The artists in this exhibition share this radical impulse, of throwing everything out and starting over in pursuit of a new social order built on equanimity and a preemptive resourcefulness, rewriting history to include the lost stories, artifacts, and initiatives of invented feminist societies.
Featuring work by Elisheva Biernoff; Angela Ellsworth; Robyn Love; Tara Mateik; Sophie Mörner; Rebecca Purcell, J. Morgan Puett, & Jeffrey Jenkins of Mildred’s Lane; and Amanda Wojick.