With sessions beginning in early April and continuing into May, an art exhibit in Denver is opening the eyes of all attendees to feminist issues through art, creative performances, lectures and discussions.
Feminism & Co.: Sex, Art, and Politics is a public program started in 2007, delving into the issues of women and gender. Their mission states “Feminism & Co: Art, Sex, Politics aims to advance and elevate public dialogue around feminist issues.” They fulfill this mission by holding programs in the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) with lectures by scholars, artists and writers.This is their fifth season held in the basement of the MCA Denver, and the second session of their season was “Feminist Restagings.” “Restagings” places a feminine twist on masculine forms of art, such as taking Moby Dick, which lacks a feminine presence, and writing a novel based on the small section of Captain Ahab’s wife, just as Sena Naslund did in Ahab’s Wife.
While the hustle and bustle of 4/20 was occurring in Boulder, things were calm at the museum. The floors and exhibits were open for some exploring before the 6:30 p.m. start time of the session. It was empty and private, allowing curious minds to take in the surrounding art.
As 6:30 rolled near, the basement seating area started to fill. It was an older crowd, with a mix of men and women, with a surprising amount of men in attendance.
First to speak was the co-director, Gillian Silverman, who is a professor at the University of Colorado Denver, introducing the night’s guest. Elisabeth Sheffield began the evening by discussing her book Fort Da: A Report. Her book is a restaging of Lolita, this time with a women and her illicit love of a young boy. As she read a passage from Fort Da, it was intriguing to view the main character, a “cougar” if you may, describing the young boy, Aslan, who captured her eye.
Next up was Marya Errin Jones. Jones is a performance artist who took the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson, and morphed it into song and acts. She was dressed as a pirate and performed just like Stevenson, in a nonlinear way. While playing the accordion, she sang her twists on his words, singing about love, heartbreak and voyage. There was even audience involvement in building a ship from paper.
As the evening drew to a close, the two restagers took questions and said that more restagings may be in the near future. They also discussed the creative process that spins these masculine works. Jones read the poems out loud until a song came along. She also followed Stevenson’s footprints and traveled to get a better understanding of him.
“Feminist Restagings” was a night of laughter and interest. It introduces a new form of art, and shows how it is possible to take something and make it new through art and expression.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Claudia Rebora at Claudia.email@example.com.