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State: New Mexico
Introduction: Through the Flower, a non-profit organization co-founded by Judy Chicago and based in Belen, New Mexico, offers an opportunity for New Mexico artists to participate in and create new work for a participatory art project titled, Wo/Manhouse 2022, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking historic Womanhouse, from 1972.
Womanhouse opened in Los Angeles as part of the first Feminist Art Program, originally established by Judy Chicago at California State University, Fresno, and later expanded at CalArts. Chicago and co-educator, artist Miriam Schapiro, worked with a group of students and local artists to transform a dilapidated house in Los Angeles into a setting for a series of imaginative installations and established a performance space in the living room. During its month-long exhibition, over ten thousand visitors came to see Womanhouse, which later captured a global audience through filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas’s documentary on the project. The installation has gone on to inspire numerous works of art around the world and has contributed to significant changes in the very nature of art and expanded the conversations around which materials are considered suitable for artistic expression.
Wo/Manhouse 2022 continues the historic themes originally addressed in 1972 and then again in 2001, when Judy Chicago and her husband, photographer Donald Woodman, returned to the themes of Womanhouse. Working with both male and female students at Western Kentucky University they created At Home: A Kentucky Project, an emotionally powerful series of installations that occupied multiple rooms within a local house.
On June 18, 2022, Through the Flower will celebrate the golden anniversary of Womanhouse with the opening of an historic exhibition at the Through the Flower Art Space in Belen, New Mexico and a contemporary re-envisioning of the original project in a nearby mid-century home. In line with the changing definitions of gender and inclusivity, Wo/Manhouse 2022 will be open to proposals by New Mexico artists across the gender spectrum. Artists will transform sixteen rooms into works of art that explore the subject of the home, which can be a place of love and nurture, but also one of power dynamics, abuse, struggles over gender roles, parenting issues, as well as cultural and socioeconomic constraints.
In 2006, British art historian Frances Borzello wrote in her book At Home: The Domestic Interior in Art: “By the second half of the 19th century, the home became an important subject for art …. for decades, images of domesticity were suffused with a romanticism that was brought into question by Feminist art, particularly Womanhouse, which challenged traditional views of the home as a place of comfort and pleasure ... presenting the home as the site of oppression rather than a place of nurture.” Wo/Manhouse 2022 will be facilitated by Nancy Youdelman (guided by Chicago), herself a successful artist and one of Chicago’s Fresno students and participant in the original Womanhouse. The goal of this project will be to continue this historic dialogue at a time rife with misogyny, racial bias, attacks on women’s and trans rights, and political turmoil.
Project: Through the Flower is providing an opportunity for artists to participate in a contemporary version of Womanhouse by creating site-specific, temporary work in a house located in Belen, New Mexico a few blocks from the Through the Flower Art Space. Wo/Manhouse 2022 will be open to the public from June 18th through September 25th. The house is midcentury modern, consisting of 16 rooms over 1,900 square feet, and is a time capsule of domesticity with its shag carpet, yellow daisy wallpaper, and one blue and one pink bathroom. Artists will select a singular room and design a reimagined space for Wo/Manhouse 2022. Floor plan, specs and layout here.
Artist Proposals: As a result of the changing definitions of gender, recognizing that men also live in domestic spaces, as well as having LGBTQ+ households, Wo/Manhouse 2022 will be open to proposals by New Mexico artists across the gender spectrum focusing on reimagined spaces of home, in all its aspects, as a domestic environment. Artists are required to have knowledge of the original Womanhouse and to have watched the documentary film about Womanhouse by Johanna Demetrakas.
Proposals will include:
- Short narrative description of proposed project
- Preliminary budget
- CV/resume with current contact information
- Up to five sample images of previous artwork
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
Questions and Open House for Artists: The Belen house, located at 402 North 5th Street, Belen, NM 87002, will be open to view for artists considering submitting proposals on Saturday, February 19th and February 26th from 12pm – 5pm, and by special appointment during the month of February. Any questions should be submitted via email to email@example.com and visit the virtual house tour here
Artist Scope of Work: Work on the project will begin on May 2nd. Artists will be required to be on-site May 2nd through 4th to work with Nancy Youdelman and Judy Chicago. Additionally, there will be required weekly meetings for the selected artists.
Artists will be responsible for designing, fabricating, and installing their artwork, including:
- Based on the approved concept proposal, developing final designs that adheres to the approved proposal and detailing the construction of the artwork and its integration with the site.
- Executing the final artwork on schedule and in a manner that conforms to the approved concept proposal.
- Managing all aspects of the installation and deinstallation of the artwork. (Volunteers will be available on site – but all arrangements are the artists responsibility.)
- Working cooperatively and maintaining effective communication with all parties involved in the project.
- Artistic excellence: What is the quality of the proposal?
- Goal: does the project demonstrate an ability to create a work that responds to the themes of Wo/Manhouse 2022 and explores the subject of the home?
- Approach: How well does the artist’s work communicate their ideas?
- Capabilities: Does the artist have sufficient experience to carry out their proposal?
Selection Process: Proposals will be juried and selected by the following:
Judy Chicago – Artist and co-founder of Through the Flower
Donald Woodman – Photographer and board member of Through the Flower
Nancy Youdelman - Artist and project facilitator
Tonya Tuner Carroll – Owner of Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe and board member of Through the Flower
Megan Malcom-Morgan – Executive Director of Through the Flower
visit www.throughtheflower.org and www.womanhouse2022.com for more details on the upcoming project.
Eligibility: Proposals are open to emerging and established New Mexico artists.