The works ranked below take many forms—painting, sculpture, photography, film, performance, even artist-run organizations whose activities barely resemble art. Binding all of these works is one larger question: What really makes a city? These 100 works come up with many different answers to that query, not the least because a significant number of them are made by people who were born outside New York City. When Martha Rosler made her work, the Bowery was associated with alcoholism and homelessness—societal issues that many would prefer not to see. In an attempt to reverse the invisibility, Rosler took pictures around the Manhattan street, pairing her black-and-white shots with short texts she collected that refer to drunkenness and drinking. No New York artwork may have been quite as grueling to produce as The Great White Way, a performance begun by Pope.L in 2001 that involved traversing the 22 miles from the southernmost tip of Broadway in Manhattan to his mother’s home in the Bronx. The catch: Pope.L went that distance not by foot but on his elbows and knees. The Great White Way is one of Pope.L’s famed “crawls,” a painstaking series of works that are often performed in public. This one involved the artist wearing a Superman suit—a reference to his aunt’s love for the comic-book hero, and to Pope.L’s fascination with her passion for a white man who was not even human—with a skateboard strapped to his back.
Rosler, 80, has earned the strange distinction of being the institutionally celebrated godmother of American protest art. Using media ranging from performance and video to photography and sculpture, she has been mounting an unrelenting opposition to America’s various social injustices — and to many of its citizens’ willful ignorance of them. She’s made provocative work addressing the subjugation of women (take, for example, her influential series of feminist photomontages “Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain,” circa 1966-72); the horrors of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (as embodied in her late ’60s photomontage series “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home,” reprised in 2004 and 2008); the country’s ongoing housing crisis (most famously touched upon in “If You Lived Here …,” the exhibition series she organized in 1989); and the media’s role in perpetuating these ills, the critique of which lurks in the background of almost all her projects. Over the decades, as the political environment has moved left and then right, her early and midcareer works have resurfaced again and again, reminders that history is often cyclical. But if many of her peers from the late ’60s and ’70s have since softened their radical stances, Rosler remains a die-hard. In her persistence, though, there is also optimism. “I do feel that I’m looking for a way to convey something essential or true,” she said to me, almost with embarrassment, at one point. “Of course, in eras of deconstruction you can hardly refer to truth. But I still can’t get past this.”
Celebrating collage as a fine art form is essential to understanding art history. Many contemporary collage artists continue to create visual narratives by cutting or tearing and pasting together found, printed imagery and ephemera. Martha Rosler, who has been active since the 1960s, uses collage to confront socio-political issues through energetic compositions that compel us to rethink normative narratives. Her House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, New Series, (2004–2008) re-examines an earlier body of work centered on war through the lens of problematic U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. She painstakingly blends immaculately cut glossy and grisly imagery to create flawless compositions that undermine the mainstream media and amplify the impact of war on all of us, even from afar.
My mom and I rarely talk about anything serious. There always seems to be this invisible fence between us, even though I’m an only child, her only daughter. You know how sometimes you remember the wise thing your parents said to you when you were a kid? In my case, it was my mother telling me, “Don’t grow up like me.” She said that repeatedly when I was young. To me, this meant I’d better have a well-paying career so I wouldn’t end up a housewife like her. Without even noticing it, I let this internalized misogyny shape my life. I’m never “girly”; I hate cooking. (As for the moneymaking career, unfortunately, I ended up in animation.) In her short film “Semiotics of the Kitchen,” Martha Rosler shifted the traditional language around the kitchen to something violent, frustrating and radical. And because of how I grew up, the kitchen has always been a frustrating space that I refused to enter. But after all these years of absence, now I’m at the stove. Cooking for leisure is my way of reclaiming feminism — as well as hopefully bringing my mom and me closer.
There's something about video art that calls for grand theories and epic summations, wild pronouncements and heroic declarations. It’s exciting to see a new technology appear in one’s lifetime and to feel some kind of ownership over it, to see it for what it is or, even more importantly, what it did—how it cut through the world. While the earliest video artists, people like Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider, opened their work to network TV, Dara Birnbaum “talked back to the media” by launching a systematic inquiry into its parts and clichés, creating compendiums of reverse shots, two-shots, and special effects. Martha Rosler did something similar in her ersatz home-cooking demonstration Semiotics of the Kitchen in 1975, while the Canadian collective General Idea built on these investigations of media codes in their half-hour talk shows, such as Pilot, 1977, and Test Tube, 1979, which might have aired during prime time if they hadn’t been telling the media to “shut the fuck up.”
Phaidon’s latest contemporary art survey in the Vitamin series focuses on the underrated medium of collage. A publisher’s statement as: “an artistic language comprising found images, fragmentary forms, and unexpected juxtapositions. While it first gained status as high art in the early 20th century, the past decade has seen a fresh explosion of artists using this dynamic and experimental approach to image making.” A selection of curators, directors and writers (including myself) nominated more than 100 artists prominent in the field such as Clotilde Jiménez of Mexico, Mohamed Bourouissa of Algeria, the American Martha Rosler and the UK-born Georgie Hopton. “The end result features both analogue and digital approaches, overturning any narrow definitions and revealing collage as one of the most exciting and varied art creative processes used by artists today,” writes the publication editor, Rebecca Morrill.
Martha Rosler recorded Semiotics of the Kitchen, a six-minute performance art piece, in 1975. Several years ago, someone posted it on YouTube, without the artist’s permission but much to her amusement and satisfaction. The film begins with a tight closeup on Rosler, who is in her early thirties but looks younger. She is wearing a black turtleneck and pants, her long, wavy hair parted in the middle. As the camera pulls back, we see that she is standing behind a small wooden table covered in cooking implements, with a refrigerator and stove behind her. She gazes directly into the camera with a neutral expression, then proceeds to name contents of her kitchen while demonstrating their uses, in alphabetical order and with increasingly aggressive body movements. “Apron,” she says, while tying it on. Moments later she stabs at the air with a fork, drives an ice pick into the table, and flings the invisible contents of a ladle over her shoulder.
Twenty-two best art exhibitions in the Kanto area and beyond to look forward to in 2023. Care is an essential element of our society. Featuring a diverse range of works, from expressions born out of second-wave feminism to the reading of private childcare diaries, this exhibition will seek the possibilities of empowerment through works of contemporary artists and the placemaking that strengthens the connection between the public and care. Participating artists are Ryoko Aoki, AHA![Archive for Human Activities], Miyako Ishiuchi, Mako Idemitsu, Yui Usui, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kento Nito, Maria Farrar, Young-In Hong, Mei Homma, Martha Rosler, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Yun Suknam.
Even in 2023, works by female artists are still underrepresented in the Kunstmuseum Basel collection in Switzerland. Its new exhibition "Fun Feminism" presents some forty pieces, dating from the 1960s to the 1990s, as well as a selection of more recent works by contemporary Swiss and international artists. This includes Guerrilla Girls, Pipilotti Rist, Martha Rosler, and Rosemarie Trockel. For more than half a century, artists, art historians, gallerists, collectors, and curators have been working to represent female perspectives in the visual arts within exhibition spaces, museums, publications, and archives. This exhibition has chosen a feminist prism, deliberately irreverent and sometimes provocative, to break the stereotypes usually associated with women.
The photomontages on view at Martha Rosler: Changing the Subject… in the Company of Others, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York through January 21, are at once striking and deeply familiar, whether you’ve seen them before or not. Made between 1966 and 1972, the works from Rosler’s series Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain, convey a radical and playful feminist analysis of advertising that has by now become conventional wisdom. In Cold Meat I and II, refrigerators hold red buttocks and breasts in addition to the usual suburban provisions; in Transparent Box, or Vanity Fair and Isn’t it Nice…, or Baby Dolls models advertising lingerie are overlaid with breasts, lips, and pubis—the real products. Pop Art, or Wallpaper takes this critique to its natural conclusion with a medley of disembodied women’s body parts organized almost like butterflies, sorted by genus and pinned to wood, limbs lined up to the point of abstraction.
Videos, photo collages, and installation works from the sixties and seventies convey the restless invention of this feminist Conceptualist’s early career, as well as the tumult of the era. A partial reprise of Rosler’s 2018 retrospective, at the Jewish Museum, this dense exhibition shows the artist honing her incisive, acerbic strain of media critique, informed by the antiwar, anti-imperialist stance of the women’s movement. “House Beautiful: The Colonies,” a collage series from 1969-72, juxtaposes imagery of the space race with spreads from home-décor magazines, dramatizing the twin forces of American expansionism and consumer culture. “Diaper Pattern,” from 1973-75, is a hanging grid of cloth diapers, each bearing a handwritten quote reflecting the dehumanizing, racist rhetoric fuelling the Vietnam War. In this deceptively airy work—as in Rosler’s iconic performance-based films “The Semiotics of the Kitchen,” from 1975, and “Martha Rosler Reads Vogue,” from 1985—the artist zeroes in on connections between gendered labor and geopolitics. Sadly, though the images from the vintage women’s magazine appear dated, Rosler’s message is as relevant now as ever.
In the mid-1960s, Martha Rosler began creating photomontages exploring women’s material and psychic subjugation, manipulating popular advertisements from news, fashion, and home magazines to unearth their nefarious ideological operations. Rosler made this body of work, “Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain,” (1966–72) alongside painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance, stitching together a variable array of Conceptual art practices attuned to feminist politics. This set of critical tools informs “martha rosler: changing the subject…in the company of others,” a survey of the artist’s work currently on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York through January 21, 2023.
American multidisciplinary artist Martha Rosler describes her art as “a communicative act, a form of an utterance, a way to open a conversation” – and she has undeniably done just that throughout her politically and socially charged career. Now, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery in New York, you can witness the enduring power of Rosler’s work for yourself, including her acclaimed early series of collages Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain, which offers “often-derisive critiques of the pressures and fantasies brought to bear on women and girls”. In a dedicated screening space, meanwhile, you can discover a still-urgent selection of Rosler’s rousing films and videos from the 1970s onwards.
From Dec. 8 to Jan. 21, 2023, an exhibition of conceptual artist Martha Rosler’s work from the 60s and 70s titled martha rosler: changing the subject… in the company of others will be on display at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Mediums include videos, photomontages, and sculptures that explore the perception of feminism through Rosler. Most of the photomontages on display come from the Body Beautiful collection that Rosler composed, beginning in New York and ending in California in about 1972. The inspiration came from seeing ads after attending feminist lectures during her schooling in the mid-60s, with Rosler calling the demonstration of women “bedroom appliances.” She created to expose the rampant control and objectification, particularly in the fields of domestic labor, food politics, colonial appropriations and the service industry. Her approach to art entangled feminism and politics, countering the belief at the time that they must remain separate.
Julia Child and Craig Claiborne are sitting in a small wine bar at the Pittsburgh airport, luggage at their feet.
Martha Rosler utilizes various media in her work, primarily video and photography, and also installation and sculpture; she also writes about art and culture. Her work has for decades considered matters of the public sphere and mass culture; war and geopolitical conflict; housing, urbanism, and the built environment, and systems of transportation—especially as these affect women. Many of her projects have been extrainstitutional or developed and enacted with groups of people. Rosler sees her work, her teaching, and her writing as continuations of a broader engagement with the currents of cultural critique and social and political change. Her work may best be summed up as both a conceptual art and an activist practice—focused on questions of representational form but joined, however uneasily, to a commitment to political agitation. Video, which she adopted in its infancy, presented itself as at the crossroads of both.
The conversation on documentary photography often comes with leitmotifs as “giving voice”, “raising awareness”, and “making a change”, which are unquestionably honourable aims, but with minimal effects, if the act is limited to freezing the “decisive moment”, suggesting that producing images is the summit of the photographic event. Instead, it is our engagement with pictures through discussion, consumption, and reaction, which defines the power of photography to fuelling change. This research focuses on the participatory photography potential to set the environment for taking collective action; starting from dismantling the idea of single authorship and leading to the definition of photography as the democratic tool for excellence.
“Tong,” says Paris Hilton, stretching her glossy lips around the unfamiliar sound. In Hilton’s Netflix series, Cooking with Paris, released this past August, the heiress invites celebrity pals over to her mansion to haphazardly prepare atrocious looking meals while vaguely discussing their friendship and unforgettable nights out on the town. As I watched the show, I was reminded of Martha Rosler’s six-minute video, Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), a staple of most college art history classes and a prominent feminist art piece. Rosler performs a cooking demonstration in which she identifies kitchen utensils before aggressively misusing them, a transgression of the signs and symbols associated with domesticity.
From Los Angeles to New York, thousands of Americans took to the streets to celebrate Joseph Biden’s victory in the US election on Saturday, as his slowly growing lead in Pennsylvania finally secured him the necessary Electoral College votes to win the presidency, and remove Donald Trump from office after a single term. There was a similar outpouring of positive reactions from the art world for the new President-Elect and his running mate, former California senator Kamala Harris—along with caveats that there are still pressing issues that need to be resolved across the country. “The frogs have managed to jump out of the boiling pot just in time,” the artist Martha Rosler told The Art Newspaper, sharing the photo collage she made, above.
I am self-sequestered at home, as ordered by the people with a clue. That’s a rowhouse in Greenpoint. My studio is most of the house, so I don’t have to leave to go to work. I try to maintain a fairly healthy diet, mindful of the fact that I am getting far less exercise. I also want to support one or two of my local restaurants, so I occasionally get take-out.
Rosler’s unmatched ability to wield consumer culture’s opulence against itself made for a visually festive retrospective. But sober critique unites the Semiotics of the Kitchen star’s half century of uninhibited Conceptualism; her early photomontage series “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home,” ca. 1967–72, with its plush interiors and window views of carnage, still stuns.
Last Thursday, art enthusiasts gathered at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for “An Evening with Great Women Artists,” a panel discussion moderated by Iria Candela, curator of Latin American Art, between Ghada Amer, Sharon Hayes, Deana Lawson, and Martha Rosler.
A new show at the Neubauer Collegium asks viewers to consider the work that goes into flowers from industrial to domestic contexts through the work of Martha Rosler, a conceptual artist and avid gardener who rose to world renown for her feminist art in the 1970s.
On a recent afternoon in June, T Magazine assembled two curators and three artists — David Breslin, the director of the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the American conceptual artist Martha Rosler; Kelly Taxter, a curator of contemporary art at the Jewish Museum; the Thai conceptual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija; and the American artist Torey Thornton — at the New York Times building to discuss what they considered to be the 25 works of art made after 1970 that define the contemporary age, by anyone, anywhere. The assignment was intentionally wide in its range: What qualifies as “contemporary”? Was this an artwork that had a personal significance, or was its meaning widely understood? Was its influence broadly recognized by critics? Or museums? Or other artists? Originally, each of the participants was asked to nominate 10 artworks — the idea being that everyone would then rank each list to generate a master list that would be debated upon meeting.
Hypnotically repellent, the picture prompts speculation as to the effect it might have had if enlarged to poster size and displayed at antiwar protests. Some of the show’s most memorable work was designed for exactly that purpose. Martha Rosler intended the color photomontages in her now-classic “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home” series to be photocopied in black-and-white and passed out at demonstrations.
Although "Irrespective" is a remarkably fresh, thoughtfully curated overview of Martha Rosler’s art from the past fifty years, it does not aspire to be exhaustive. The exhibition features around seventy works, with not a single extraneous piece. Still, there is a wide selection, spanning from collages Rosler created in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when she was in graduate school at the University of California, San Diego, to a recent film about the Trump administration. Her long, productive career makes it difficult to categorize her practice. Conceptualism, feminism, appropriation, and relational aesthetics convey aspects of what she does, but none of these terms seems fully apposite. They leave something out, pigeonholing her into rubrics that simplify her concerns. As a kind of recourse, some commentators use the generalized label of “political” to describe Rosler’s approach. Politics is a thread that runs through everything the artist does; it is the baseline from which any activity commences. The diverse range of work in “Irrespective,” which viewers encounter in galleries filled with the background audio-wash of her videos, makes it clear that what really underlies her art is actually a kind of moral erudition.
Martha Rosler knows that a well-formulated suggestion is far more likely to change the world — or at least someone’s mind — than any command or decree. “Every single thing I have offered to the public has been offered as a suggestion of work,” says the 75-year-old Brooklyn-born artist. Whether it’s her photomontages or videos, her sculptures or her installations, each offering retains a lively air of possibility and buzzes with the connective creative energy of a sketch — a feat made all the more impressive by her choice of subject matter: consumerism, feminism, gentrification, poverty, and war. Floating free of cynicism and buoyed by compassion, Rosler’s work can be devastatingly funny or amusingly devastating, and often both.
Damals Nixon und heute Trump, früher die Frauenbewegung und heute #metoo: Die Retrospektive von Martha Rosler im New Yorker Jewish Museum beweist, dass Kunst die Welt nicht retten kann.
Martha Rosler hated the protest literature of the 1960s and 1970s. As she explained to Jewish Museum curator Darsie Alexander in a November talk, the messiness of the design was rivaled only by that of the messaging: no images, but jargon-heavy text more likely to be thrown out than to inspire action. Rosler thought, “Can I do better?” Could she show the horrors of war, of sexism, of the hidden and obvious ways women are looked down on?
In a working life spanning more than fifty years, Martha Rosler has made art that eschews medium-specificity, asks questions, offers propositions, and invites responses. While idea often appears to drive material expression for Rosler, she also considers, beyond a politics of representation, questions of visuality and aesthetics—a likely influence of her early training as a painter.
Martha Rosler: Irrespective, an exhibition of works spanning the astonishing breadth of the artist’s fifty-plus-year career, is a tightly curated, highly focused exhibition—a survey organized around a discrete set of themes Rosler engages (war, consumerism, domesticity, politics, and mass media, to name a few) rather than a full retrospective.
Though Martha Rosler has been working since the 1960s, her retrospective, Irrespective (until 3 March 2019) at the Jewish Museum shows how timely and timeless her new and old protest art is: she addresses gender roles, gentrification, US foreign war, police violence against people of colour, authoritarianism…subjects that might be familiar to any follower of the news today.
Rosler is fearless in her social, cultural and political observations about the contemporary United States, beginning in the era of the Vietnam War. Her work—always brainy—courses through a variety of subject matter: war, gender, gentrification, domesticity, inequality, and labor, but—like Goya—it is not without humor. Rosler’s wit is sharp, penetrating and unsettling.
A multidisciplinary artist, writer and social activist, Martha Rosler has spent 50 years delivering biting feminist critiques on subjects ranging from gender to gentrification. But she is perhaps best known for her collages that juxtapose housekeeping ads with scenes from the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the Jewish Museum is focusing on these works and others as part of its survey “Martha Rosler: Irrespective.” Recently, Rosler sat down with us at her home and studio in Greenpoint to discuss her work, her neighborhood and the real meaning of cooking shows.
Trump is a familiar figure: a man who aspires to autocracy (after previously only aspiring to be a very rich and adored celebrity) and to the perks and privileges of kingship. He overcame his almost palpable shock and dismay at falling into the presidency, deciding to rely on others for advice while nevertheless opining and governing by whim. He makes no effort to represent all the people in the country and has refused to adopt the norms of modern governance by behaving in a civil and unifying way. His lies are overt and easily disprovable, his promises, insults, and threats are shocking, his self–interest and vindictiveness equally clear.
The title of her new exhibition, “Irrespective,” now on view at the Jewish Museum in New York through March 3, 2019, combines the words “irreverent” and “retrospective” and draws on her skepticism about having her work in institutions in the first place. A survey of her work since 1965, it is her first exhibition in her native New York in more than 15 years.
As Alexander said in her presentation, Rosler is, “an artist who’s always worked against the grain” – and we quickly realized we agree, as “Irrespective” is indeed filled with thought-provoking work that challenges the norm.
The first major New York survey of Ms. Rosler’s art in 18 years has opened at the Jewish Museum, and runs through March 3. For some, the show, “Martha Rosler: Irrespective,” may be an introduction to the prolific artist whose caustic work — in addition to photomontage and video, she creates installation, sculpture, performance and digital media — has been alternately admired and reviled by the public and the art world since the 1960s. Her exhibitions have focused on tenant struggles and homelessness; the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; public space; and — very often — the experiences of women.
Self-absorption at the expense of social awareness may seem like an Instagram-born epidemic, but consider the Emperor Nero’s theatrics as fires were ravaging Rome. Since the mid-nineteen-sixties, the trenchant Conceptualist Martha Rosler has been fighting art-as-escapism with photomontages, videotapes, and installations, targeting the hypocrisy of war, sexism, gentrification, and other concerns that remain disconcertingly relevant. Rosler is also funny—her montages, an ongoing project that began in the Vietnam era, anticipated the Internet’s viral memes by decades—and she understands the power of humor to drive a point home.
A retrospective at the Jewish Museum spans Rosler’s five-decade career. Featuring installations, photographic series, sculpture, and video, the exhibit probes far beyond “Semiotics of the Kitchen” to show us one of the most witty and dogged feminist artists of our time. In one photo collage, blond women snap selfies in a mod mansion as flames blaze outside the windows. In an installation, various women’s lingerie and sleepwear congregate around a white mattress. The cluster of thongs and spanx and granny panties alludes to the stories clothes tell about the women who wear them. Or perhaps just the stories we buy into.
Nuanced but uncompromising, the video pretty much says it all. But it’s only one of the scores of photographs, videos and large-scale installations, from the 1960s to present, in “Martha Rosler: Irrespective,” a new retrospective at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.
Martha Rosler’s first major New York museum show surveys her career by way of installations, photographs, videos, and sculptures. Among the themes addressed are war and consumerism, with a special eye toward gender norms and oppression. Curator Darsie Alexander said of the exhibition, “Martha Rosler’s direct, unvarnished take on current social and political circumstances is rooted in her belief in the capacity of art to teach, provoke, and ultimately motivate action in the people it reaches.”
Riding the crest of first-wave feminist art, Rosler initially crashed onto the shores of the art world in the ’60s with pieces noted for their firebrand politics. During that time, and continuing until today, she’s deployed videos, photomontages and installations against targets ranging from sexism and the Vietnam War to inequality and gentrification—conjoined fronts, in her view, in an ongoing battle for social justice. This survey brings her career into focus, with a selection of works spanning 1965 to the present.
Feminist photomontage, “Martha Rosler Reads Vogue” and other pointed works — photography, sculpture, installation and video — from 1965 to the present, from an artist whose creations are both scathing and playful.
Given the ongoing political upheavals in the US, and the EU, what kind of artists’ work is relevant in an age of populist uprisings, when the far right is gaining power throughout the world? Martha Rosler and Hito Steyerl: War Games, one of the most important exhibitions of the year, offers compelling evidence in answer to such a question. This affectively and intellectually intriguing exhibition is noteworthy in demonstrating the surprising affinities and shared concerns across countries (US and Germany) and generations (’60s and ’90s) of two renowned women artists. Both are theoreticians and creative practitioners whose work reveals the capacity of art to understand and transform the violence which shapes our world.
The War Games proposed by Martha Rosler and Hito Steyerl in their new exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel reflect the pitfalls of a war fought in the folds of media and technology in the present. The show, curated by Søren Grammel, compares the artistic research of the two artists, who are of different generations but nevertheless have many common threads.
Martha Rosler thinks that Vietnam anti-war literature of the 1960s and ’70s was hideous. “It would be these long texts that looked like they’d been translated from a foreign language, and they didn’t have images,” the artist remembered during a recent conversation with Artsy. The pamphlets and other materials, she said, looked like they were made by people who were somewhat demented. Rosler decided the cause needed a makeover.
The latest show, "Stories That We Tell: Art and Identity," runs through March 3, 2018 and features the work of seven groundbreaking female artists, all of whom have been affiliated with the department over the years, but have never shown together. Eleanor Antin, Barbara Kruger, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Miriam Shapiro, Lorna Simpson and Carrie Mae Weems have created an assortment of works in varied media that explore the issues of identity, gender and race.
The American artist is known for not being afraid to voice her political opinions. DW spoke to her about the state of the American Dream, the role of artists in turbulent political times and US President Donald Trump.
Artists featured in “Women House” span continents and generations, including Martha Rosler, Claude Cahun, Zanele Muholi, Nazgol Ansarinia, Joana Vasconcelos, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons. Their work transforms domestic space into a public forum, entwines the female body within architectural design, and explores notions of exile and confinement in socio-spatial terms.
Martha Rosler calls it the “third-space effect”—a work environment so controlled that the “world shrinks to a bubble around myself, without the distractions of my daily life or environment or people.” One place she has this feeling is in airports. “I wrote one of my most-cited essays largely at the Atlanta airport way back in 1980 or ’81. I have often found myself able to concentrate in airports, but only if the waiting area isn’t packed, or if I can sit in a place that has tables,” she says.
Since the early 1970s, through her photomontages, photographs, videos, installations, and critical writings, Martha Rosler has explored what mass-media images and public spaces reveal about power and persuasion in late capitalist society. “In the Place of the Public: The Airport Series,” her photographic exploration of the airport as postmodern space, dates from 1983 to the present. While Rosler has not changed the focus of the series, which remains on the airports’ interior architecture, she has changed the photographs’ accompanying text to reflect alterations in how airports are designed and utilized post-9/11. Earlier this year, she talked with ARTnews about the evolution of the series
At the height of the Vietnam War, an artist named Martha Rosler started clipping pictures of the conflict from the pages of Life. She also collected images from adjacent pages showcasing luxurious American interiors. With a touch of glue, she merged the two, making up scenes that collided realities that mainstream media tended to keep comfortably separated.
An anti-war protester at the time, Martha Rosler grew frustrated with the way such images were diminished when juxtaposed with trivial advertisements and inconsequential news items.
Alongside the current exhibition Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s: Works From the Verbund Collection at The Photographers' Gallery, the new issue of the quarterly publication Loose Associations takes feminism as its subject. In this interview, artist Martha Rosler considers the past, and the future, of feminist art practice.
Into this fray comes Martha Rosler’s exhibition If you can’t afford to live here, mo-o-ove!!, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. The title is a quotation from former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who allegedly said this when confronted about the city’s housing problems. The show is full of umbrage, disillusionment, and rage, but also humor and clear-eyed assessment of the entire suite of difficulties involved in housing. The show is said to be the presentation of the Temporary Office of Urban Disturbances, which sounds like an ad hoc name for the group of curators and artists who have helped Rosler revisit her pioneering project If You Lived Here…. Taking place in 1989, If You Lived Here… examined similar themes and was originally shown at the Dia Art Foundation in three parts; the current project is also divided into three parts, the first two of which were shown at the New Foundation Seattle earlier this year.
Martha Rosler is known for disrupting the standard exhibition format. She staged a giant garage sale in the atrium of New York’s Museum of Modern Art for her first solo there in 2012. Her current show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash reprises an ambitious project, titled “If You Lived Here,” at New York’s Dia Art Foundation in 1989. Each show in the series of three explored one issue—tenant struggles, homelessness, urban planning—presenting works by artists, filmmakers, squatters, children, and community groups, among others.
For this exhibition, which contains a section on each of the original themes, Rosler has subsumed herself under the name Temporary Office for Urban Disturbances to collaborate with scores of groups—such as 596 Acres, Inc., Center for Urban Pedagogy, New York City Community Land Initiative—and individuals, including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Gregory Sholette, and Robbie Conal. In addition to the dense hanging of artworks, posters, and other archival materials, along with an area to read books and watch videos, the exhibition features four town-hall discussions to examine pressing concerns about city life now.
There’s news every week now of the mayor’s administration scrambling to find another parking lot or piece of land for more tent cities and car camps in Seattle. Meanwhile, Seattle is chockablock with massive real estate developments and fresh tech recruits. This is a state of emergency, as declared by the mayor in November.
A local philanthropist is bringing in backup. The backup is 72-year-old Martha Rosler, an artist and a fighter. In 1989, she commandeered the Spectacolor sign in Times Square in her home city in order to smear the commercial center with the ugly facts of the nation’s poverty and housing crisis. That public artwork was called Housing Is A Human Right, which is also the title of Rosler’s new year of exhibitions, talks, and workshops in Seattle, starting this weekend.
In a yearlong group of exhibits that will stretch across Seattle, internationally known multimedia artist Martha Rosler takes on big issues.
When Shari D. Behnke and Yoko Ott decided to create a prize for the New Foundation Seattle, they decided to go big. Really big. One hundred thousand dollars big.
“Well, we wanted an amount that would say something,” said Behnke, in a room at the foundation’s small, chic Pioneer Square gallery.
Martha Rosler has been named as the inaugural recipient of the 100K Prize, a biennial award given by The New Foundation Seattle (TNFS) to an influential, US-based female artist (including transgender women) to celebrate and reward her artistic achievements.
The non-profit organization TNFS was founded in 2012 by art collector Shari D. Behnke, and includes support programs for artists as well as public programs.
New Foundation Seattle, a non-profit arts organization founded by art collector Shari D. Behnke, has named Martha Rosler as the first recipient of its new 100K Prize.
The prize—as advertised—offers $100,000 in cold, hard cash and comes with zero restrictions (you can buy 100,000 dollar-pizza slices if you want).
“I am honored and delighted to be the first recipient of the 100K Prize from The New Foundation Seattle, an award instituted in recognition of women artists whose work has shown a commitment to social justice,” Ms. Rosler said in a press release.
Representation gets a bad rap. Its inadequacy is inbuilt; it’s doomed to fail us; the thing it strives to capture and communicate endlessly eludes it. But it’s what we have, so we use our crude visual and verbal tools to circumscribe, gibber, and gesture. Drooling a bit, we imagine a method of communication that would translate its subject perfectly and entirely. Prior to the age of #nofilter, photography was believed to contain this possibility. Sometimes the medium —particularly the documentary genre — still pretends.
In the ’70s, photographer (and videographer, and rigorous cultural critic, and possible genius) Martha Rosler brought a critical eye, politically and philosophically, to the medium’s seductive pretenses of objectivity. Her photo-text piece ―The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems‖ (Dec. 1974–Jan. 1975), currently on display at the Lethaby Gallery in Central Saint Martins, wrestles with issues of representation and serves as a deadpan expression of her disappointment and frustration with mainstream humanist documentary.
Martha Rosler is known for her incisive social critique—her writing, mixed-media work, and
photography have been widely esteemed since the 1970s. Rosler and James Eischen met at her alumni reception at the University of California at San Diego, where she gave an artists’ talk as part of curator Michelle Hyun’s discussion-based project We’d Love Your Company.
Hairdressers, Trinidad, one of several diptychs in Martha Rosler’s “Cuba, January, 1981,” shows two women looking at each other. In the first image, the blonde addresses the camera, seemingly in mid-speech, while the brunette watches her in profile.
One of the more striking aspects of "Cuba, January 1981," Martha Rosler's exhibition of photographs that were taken decades ago from behind the Caribbean iron curtain and are now on display for the first time, is how, to paraphrase Matthew McConaughey's famous line in Dazed and Confused, while the rest of the world has aged, Cuba more or less remained frozen in a continuous revolutionary moment.
The agitprop photocollages that Rosler makes from borrowed materials are far more interesting than the photographs she takes, but both are the work of a fiercely engaged observer.
From video and collage to photography and writing, from feminism to social activism: Martha Rosler has influenced as many areas of endeavor as any artist alive. This month a show of never-before-seen photographs she took in Cuba some 30 years ago will open at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, in New York, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art will honor Rosler as part of its anual gala and the fifth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
On a recent afternoon Martha Rosler welcomed a visitor to her three-story Victorian home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to discuss her new show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in Chelsea. Midway through the visit she said, "I'm a mad clipper, I don't know if you noticed." You can't help but notice.
e-flux and the Institut national d'histoire de l'art are pleased to announce the opening of Martha Rosler Library on Wednesday, November 14th at 18:30 hrs at Galerie Colbert. Comprised of approximately 7,700 titles from the artist's personal collection, the Library was opened to the public by eflux in November 2005 as a storefront reading room on Ludlow street in New York City.
Martha Rosler's exhibit "Bringing the War Home" at the Worcester Art Museum unites the New York artist's signature anti-Vietnam War montages with her recent anti-Iraq war work for a jolting, heartbreaking look at the echoes between the two conflicts. Rosler was a pioneering feminist and political artist of the '60s and '70s.
The names Martha Rosler and Joan Jonas mean nothing to some, but everything to others. The two artists, both born in New York, came of age in the Sixties and Seventies, when they made groundbreaking experimental work--Rosler in video, photography, photo-text, installation and performance; Jonas in performance, video and installation.
I KNEW I was going to be either an artist or a criminal,'' says Martha Rosler, the multimedia artist, critic, theorist, teacher and art-world provocateur. In a career spanning 35 years, Ms. Rosler, whose disdain for the normal rites of passage from galleries to collectors to museums struck many as indeed criminal, has clung tenaciously to a very personal art that refuses to separate aesthetics from politics.