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Issue and Taboo: Feminism and Art between New York and London c.1980

Research Seminar – Amy Tobin

  • 12 May 2021
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm

In November 1980 the art critic Lucy R Lippard organised an exhibition of feminist-influenced art at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London. The exhibition, Issue: Social Strategies by Women Artists included artists from both sides of the Atlantic connected by their commitment to 'social strategies' in artmaking. Bringing together many of the defining voices of feminist art in the 1970s including Mary Beth Edelson, Margaret Harrison, Mary Kelly, Suzanne Lacy, Martha Rosler, Nancy Spero and Kate Walker, the exhibition was a celebration of women's art at the end of the decade of Women's Liberation, one part of the Women's Cycle of exhibitions at the ICA, and beyond, in 1980. In the event, the exhibition was a cause of as much dispute, as celebratory harmony with misunderstandings, mishearings and misperceptions between artists from the US and the UK. This talk returns to Lippard's exhibition as a lens to see the dynamics of Anglo-American feminism unfold.

About the speaker

  • Headshot of Amy Tobin looking over her shoulder.

    Amy Tobin is a Lecturer in the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge and Curator, Contemporary Programmes at Kettle's Yard. She has published her research in Tate Papers, MIRAJ, Women: A Cultural Review and Feminist Review, along with books chapters in numerous edited books. She is the co-editor of London Art Worlds: Mobile, Contingent and Ephemeral Networks 1960–1980 (Penn State University Press, 2018) with Jo Applin and Catherine Spencer and The Art of Feminism (Chronicle and Tate, 2018) with Lucy Gosling, Helena Reckitt and Hilary Robinson. For more information on publications see: https://www.hoart.cam.ac.uk/people/dr-amy-tobin. In 2019, Tobin organised exhibitions of Louise Bourgeois, Julie Mehretu and Rose Garrard, followed by a retrospective of Linder Sterling in 2020, she is currently working on exhibitions of the work of Sutapa Biswas (autumn 2021), Howardena Pindell (summer 2022) and Li Yuan-chia and the LYC Art Centre with Hammad Nasar and Sarah Victoria Turner (winter 2022–3) all at Kettle's Yard. In 2019–20 Tobin was the Terra-PMC Fellow, in 2021–2 she has a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to work on a new project on art and feminist sisterhood.