Exquisite Acts and Everyday Rebellions: 2007 CalArts Feminist Art Project

Exquisite Acts & Everyday Rebellions (ER&ER) was a student-initiated collaborative project addressing contemporary feminist art practice and pedagogy at California Institute of the Arts. The interdisciplinary project encompassed an exhibition, a symposium, a performance series, a film series, a visiting artist lecture series, and a website.

“Strategies for Contemporary Feminism”
Panel discussion with Mary Kelly, Catherine Lord, Andrea Fraser, and Elana Mann (moderator)
Exquisite Acts & Everyday Rebellions: CalArts Feminist Art Symposium,
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California
March 10, 2007

The panel “Strategies for Contemporary Feminism” began the day of feminist dialogue at Exquisite Acts and Everyday Rebellions: CalArts Feminist Art Symposium on March 10, 2007, in the Main Gallery of California Institute of the Arts. The panel included the artists Mary Kelly, Catherine Lord, Andrea Fraser, and moderator Elana Mann. The panelists focused on the history of feminist demands, the struggle over language and the terms of culture in contemporary feminist art practice, and lived experience in relation to the Feminist Art Movement and its successive generations. Mann framed the conversation by posing questions about the pragmatics of making a feminist art history, why feminism is still vital, and how to activate feminist critiques in art and social spheres.

Mary Kelly presented a talk entitled “3 Non-Strategic Observations for a Few Artists Whose Work is in Some Way Informed by Feminism.” Kelly spoke about the relevance of theory, the role of institutions, and the connectedness of generations. She discussed the debates among feminist artists in the 1980s about the relative roles of theory and lived experience. She also described the impossible desire to historicize the diversity of feminist art production, suggesting that the movement’s discontinuity is also its continuing source of relevance and power. Catherine Lord addressed the semantics of contemporary Feminist discourse and responded to criticisms of the major feminist art exhibitions that debuted in 2007, including WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution curated by Connie Butler at LA MOCA. Lord also spoke about her experience as a feminist working in academia, and how this role shapes her relationships with both her students and university administration. Andrea Fraser explored how her relationship with her mother, a Second Wave Feminist and struggling artist in the 1970s, influenced her artistic practice of site specificity, institutional critique. Through her projects like the collaborative performance group the V girls and the working group exhibition Services, Fraser confronts the aspirations of artists and art institutions by interrogating the very conditions of art production and presentation.


Cameras - Adam Feldmeth, Nicholas Grider
Video Editor - Audrey Chan
Sound - Emery Martin

Graduate and undergraduate students from across California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) worked collectively for seven months to create EA&ER.  The EA&ER exhibition, co-curated by Elana Mann with Theresa Masangkay and Vincent Ramos had seventy artist participants, including CalArts students, faculty, and alumni.  During the run of the exhibit there was two weeks of programming including readings, film screenings, and performances.  EA&ER sponsored a visiting artist lecture series that took place at CalArts for the entire school year.  The project received press coverage in the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio Weekend Edition, Women in the Arts, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Artweek, CalArts Magazine, and was acknowledged in the catalogue of WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (MOCA, curated by Connie Butler).

exhibition view of the L gallery
Nate Page
exhibition view of the L gallery
Niko Solorio
Exhibition view of Gallery 301
floor graphics dispersed throughout the Institute
Danielle Adair
Ayana Hampton
Anna Oxygen
Symposium Panel with Theresa Masangkay (moderator), María Cruz, Chitra Ganesh, Emily Roysdon, and Faith Wilding
Symposium Panel wih Audrey Chan (moderator), Andrea Bowers, Dorit Cypis, Suzanne Lacy, and Martha Rosler
Symposium Panel with Elana Mann (moderator), Andrea Fraser, Catherine Lord, and Mary Kelly