ExhibitionsPrevious Exhibitions

ALIEN SHE
March 7th - April 27th 2014
Curated by Astria Suparak + Ceci Moss

Installation shot: Foreground: Selected videos from Joanie 4 Jackie. Single-channel video with sound, 114 minutes. Courtesy of the artists and Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

Download the Alien She Poster and Full Curatorial Statement HERE

Artists: Ginger Brooks Takahashi (Pittsburgh), Tammy Rae Carland (Oakland), Miranda July (Los Angeles), Faythe Levine (Milwaukee), Allyson Mitchell (Toronto), L.J. Roberts (Brooklyn), Stephanie Syjuco (San Francisco)

Archival Materials from: dumba collective; EMP Museum, Seattle; Interference Archive; Jabberjaw; the Riot Grrrl Collection at the Fales Library & Special Collections, NYU; and many personal collections

Collaborative Projects and Platforms include: Counterfeit Crochet Project, Feminist Art Gallery (FAG), General Sisters, Handmade Nation, Joanie 4 Jackie, Learning to Love You More, LTTR, projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project, Sign Painters and more

Regional Music Curators: Tammy Rae Carland of Mr. Lady Records and I (heart) Amy Carter zine (American South); Pete Dale of Slampt Records and Pussycat Trash (England); Donna Dresch of Chainsaw Records and Team Dresch (Pacific Northwest); Maaike Muntinga of Riot Grrrl Benelux and Ladyfest Amsterdam + Jessica Gysel of Girls Like Us magazine (Belgium + the Netherlands); Lynne T + Bernie Bankrupt of Lesbians on Ecstasy (Canada); Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile, Girl Germs zine and Ladyfest Olympia (D.C. + Olympia); Elisa Gargiulo of Dominatrix (Brazil); Ceci Moss + Astria Suparak, exhibition curators and former Riot Grrrls (California)

Local Collaborators: Pussy Division (Philadelphia); Mannequin Pussy (New York City); Trophy Wife (Philadelphia); The Pretty Greens (Philadelphia); Pushin it to the Limit (Philadelphia); Avalon Clare of New Radio (Philadelphia); Dead Flowers Burlesque Troupe (Philadelphia); Elena Waldman (New York City); and Sara Sherr (Philadelphia)

About the Exhibition:

Alien She is the first exhibition to examine the lasting impact of Riot Grrrl on artists and cultural producers working today. A pioneering punk feminist movement that emerged in the early 1990s, Riot Grrrl has had a pivotal influence, inspiring many around the world to pursue socially and politically progressive careers as artists, activists, authors and educators. Emphasizing female and youth empowerment, collaborative organization, creative resistance and DIY ethics, Riot Grrrl helped a new generation to become active feminists and create their own culture and communities that reflect their values and experiences, in contrast to mainstream conventions and expectations.

Riot Grrrl formed in reaction to pervasive and violent sexism, racism and homophobia in the punk music scene and in the culture at large. Its participants adapted strategies from earlier queer and punk feminisms and ‘70s radical politics, while also popularizing discussions of identity politics occurring within academia, but in a language that spoke to a younger generation. This self-organized network made up of teenagers and twenty-somethings reached one another through various platforms, such as letters, zines, local meetings, regional conferences, homemade videos, and later, chat rooms, listservs and message boards. The movement eventually spread worldwide, with chapters opening in at least 29 states and 21 countries.* Its ethos and aesthetics have survived well past its initial period in the ‘90s, with many new chapters forming in recent years. Riot Grrrl’s influence on contemporary global culture is increasingly evident – from the Russian collective Pussy Riot’s protest against corrupt government-church relations to the popular teen website Rookie and the launch of Girls Rock Camps and Ladyfest music and art festivals around the world.

Alien She focuses on seven people whose visual art practices were informed by their contact with Riot Grrrl. Many of them work in multiple disciplines, such as sculpture, installation, video, documentary film, photography, drawing, printmaking, new media, social practice, curation, music, writing and performance – a reflection of the movement’s artistic diversity and mutability. Each artist is represented by several projects from the last 20 years, including new and rarely seen works, providing an insight into the development of their creative practices and individual trajectories.

From the series Time Outside of Time, by Faythe Levine, photograph, 2010-ongoing. This project documents various off-the-grid, alternative and intentional communities in the U.S.

In various ways, these artists have incorporated, expanded upon, or reacted to Riot Grrrl’s ideology, tactics and aesthetics. For instance, many continue to cultivate and nurture alternative communities. Ginger Brooks Takahashi creates spaces for conversation and exchange with jubilant publications, dance parties, mobile reading rooms and soup delivery service. Through photography and video, Faythe Levine documents groups committed to DIY independence and handmade aesthetics, such as crafters, off-the-gridders, and, in her new book and documentary, traditional hand-lettered sign painters. L.J. Roberts fabricates declarations of protest and solidarity with evocative banners and textile works.

Riot Grrrl thrived through the establishment of DIY networks and information sharing, an aspect manifest in Stephanie Syjuco’s project for freely distributing copyrighted critical texts and in Miranda July’s video chainletter for “lady moviemakers.” Recalling forgotten her/histories was also central to Riot Grrrl, and in that vein, Allyson Mitchell pays homage to key writings, feminist presses, bookstores and libraries with lesbian feminist library wallpaper, while Tammy Rae Carland reveals intimate relationships in her autobiographical photo series. All of the artists included here have worked collaboratively and many have built platforms for other artists and under-recognized groups to connect, encourage, share resources and self-publish.

The exhibition’s historical section is designed to be plural and open-ended; this is a living history, not a sealed past. By representing numerous voices and experiences, rather than outlining one single definitive story, we hope it will reflect the multiplicity that was such an integral part of the original movement. Toward this end, a sampling of the Riot Grrrl movement’s vast creative output is included here. Hundreds of self-published zines and hand-designed posters were solicited from institutional and personal archives through open calls, word-of-mouth and invitations – similar to the way Riot Grrrl expanded. Music playlists represent different Riot Grrrl scenes across the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe, guest curated by musicians, DJs and label owners, and accompanied by records, cassettes, set lists, band T-shirts and other ephemera. Video interviews and an ongoing, online Riot Grrrl Census provide an expanded oral history.

Installation shot: Posters (c. 1991-present) from Riot Grrrl related shows, conventions and meetings internationally, solicited from institutional and personal archives through open calls, word-of-mouth and invitations.

The exhibition’s title, Alien She, is a reference to a Bikini Kill song of the same name. The lyrics are about the negotiation of normalized gender roles, the uneasy line between feminist critique and collectivity, and the process of coming to a feminist consciousness, with the repeated refrain, “She is me, I am her.” More broadly, Alien She conjures the possibilities of identity, self-determination and subversion. In the face of alienation and bigotry, Riot Grrrl fostered community, action and creation. This exhibition provides a view into the passion and diversity of the original Riot Grrrl movement, and highlights how these ideas have broadened, evolved and mutated in the work of contemporary artists.

Alien She was curated by Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss, former Riot Grrrls from Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and organized by the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University. Support for Alien She is provided in part by Vox Populi.

Alien She has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Public Events

Friday, March 7th
Alien She Opening Night
Exhibition Opening at Vox Populi 6pm-10pm

Music show at Johnny Brenda’s 9pm-2am
1201 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-9684

with
Mannequin Pussy (nyc): http://bit.ly/MannequinP
Trophy Wife: http://bit.ly/TrophyWifePA
The Pretty Greens: http://theprettygreens.com/
Pushin it to the Limit

Avalon Clare of New Radio – DJ between sets

Johnny Brenda’s Show Listing

Saturday 3/29
Panel Discussion: Full Circle
Featuring: Grace Miceli of Art Baby, Diana Cirullo and Emily Thompson of THE LE SIGH, Lauren Cook of Peachy Keen, Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman of Dirty Diamonds, and Beth Heinly
A panel in conjunction with the art exhibit “Alien She” which will discuss creating artwork, curation, self-publishing and how active internet collectives support artists within the feminist scope.
12pm – 2pm
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
1400 N American St #103, Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 232-5678

Saturday, 3/29/14
Dead Flowers Presents:
The Smokin’ Gun Revue – Grrrl Power Edition
On Saturday, March 29th come bare witness to Philadelphia’s ultimate sideshow experience, The Smokin’ Gun Revue. This month they team up with Vox Populi and Pussy Division to bring you one of their wildest, fem powered productions ever! Open your eyes and peep some of the most dangerously, smoldering burlesque performers in town. If you thought that was enough you are dead wrong! Live music by Demonstrative Girls, deejayed tunes, special guests, sideshow entertainment and comedy to boot. Step inside to Mister E.’s wild ride!
9pm
Connie’s Ric Rac
1132 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 279-7587

Sunday 3/30
Zine Workshop
w/ Beth Heinly
12pm – 2pm
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
1400 N American St #103, Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 232-5678

Saturday, 4/12/14
Fight Like a Girl: A Self Defense Workshop
w/ Instructor Sempai Elena Waldman
10am – 3pm
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-3980

Wednesday, 4/16/14
Shade: A Panel Discussion on Feminism and Race
William Way, Ballroom
1315 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215)732-2220

Friday, 4/18/14
Women who ROCK! Karaoke
w/Sara Sherr
Hostess with the mostess, Sara Sherr will be spinning everything from Lil’ Kim to Hole, Loretta Lynn to Diana Ross as we celebrate women who rock with a fun night of karaoke.
10pm-2am
Teri’s Bar
1126 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 761-9154