Just inside the gallery, posters by the Guerrilla Girls and the SisterSerpents are perfect introductions to the work within—an exhibition of Feminist art past and present—spelling out inequalities between the sexes, demanding equal rights and abortion rights. Iconic videos illustrate the extremes of the representation of women’s bodies being celebrated, and the opposite, being commodified and examined like a strange species, as in Martha Rosler’s “Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained.” The juried section of work by contemporary women artists is a strong collection of various media, powerful images in photography, artists’ books that challenge the language applied to men and women, like Nava Atlas’s “Sluts and Studs,” and that tell-tale mark of the woman’s world, subverted: hand-sewn cloth. A silk organza apron by Mary Babcock is appliquéd with images of war; Seema Dhond’s piece hangs in a plastic bag—a small pair of underpants with a zipper across the crotch, hairs growing out like adolescence incapable of being contained. Unfortunately the answer to “Are we there yet?” is made pretty clear by the work, but the wit and wisdom in this show at ARC Gallery, a women-artist-run cooperative, displays a common theme of strength and perseverance with an attitude similar to the SisterSerpents’ proclamation, “Our art is merely and marvelously our weapon.” (Kelly Roarke)
At ARC Gallery, 832 West Superior #204, (312)733-2787, through March 29.