State University, Fresno will host an exhibition titled “A Studio of
Their Own: The Legacy of the Fresno Feminist Experiment,” documenting
the foundation of the nation’s first feminist art education program at
Fresno State in 1970 and its legacy in contemporary art.
The retrospective show will be Aug. 26-Oct. 9 at the Phebe Conley Art
Gallery in the Conley Art Building on campus. Gallery hours are 10
a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. There also will be an
artists’ reception and a symposium on Sept. 17 and 18. All events are
free and open to the public.
The show was assembled by Dr. Laura Meyer, associate professor of art
and design at Fresno State.
Meeting off campus in a Studio of Their Own in 1970, 15 female students
and instructor Judy Chicago worked together to pioneer key strategies of
the early feminist art movement. Included were collaboration, use of
“female technologies” such as sewing, costume and performance, and early
forms of media critique.
The upcoming exhibit and accompanying catalog offer an important
corrective to art history texts that trace the roots of feminist art
education in the United States to the program established by Chicago and
Miriam Shapiro at the California Institute of the Arts in 1971. Those
accounts overlook the movement’s beginnings at Fresno State the previous
“A Studio of Their Own” draws attention to the experimentation in Fresno
that prepared the way for the collaborative feminist art installation, “Womanhouse,”
and the feminist art programs at CalArts and the Woman’s Building in Los
Besides highlighting rarely shown art created during the first year of
the Fresno feminist program, “A Studio of Their Own” features recent
work by alumni Dori Atlantis, Jackie Doumanian, Vanalyne Green, Shawnee
Wollenman Johnson, Suzanne Lacy, Karen LeCocq, Jan Lester Martin, Chris
Rush, Faith Wilding and Nancy Youdelman.
Several alumni of the Fresno feminist experiment have established
international reputations for their pioneering work in feminist video,
performance and new-genre public practice. Together, all helped lay the
groundwork for what one critic has called “a whole new relationship
between art and society.”
Original performance art by SubRosa (“International Markets in Flesh”)
and LeCocq (“Léa’s Room”) will be part of the artists’ reception (5-8
p.m. Sept. 17 in the Conley Gallery). Program alumni will present their
work during the symposium (Sept. 17-18 in Alice Peters Auditorium and
Conley Art 101) and art historian Moira Roth will moderate a panel
discussion at the Fresno Art Museum (Sept. 18).
Roth is enthusiastic about the exhibition, calling it “so exciting, so
original, so what is needed right now.”
An exhibition catalog published by Fresno State Press will include
historical and critical essays by Meyer and program alumna Wilding.
For further information, contact Meyer at
559.228.1239, or Youdelman at
email@example.com or 449.298.1688.