Here’s a show that’s sure to get people talking: The Housatonic Museum of Art presents “Of Woman Born” (through June 1), which considers the patriarchal structures that over the centuries have been used continually to dominate, oppress and exploit women.
The exhibit traces the history of women from the Paleolithic Age to present day and explores the various methods, philosophies, policies and practices, as well as legal strategies, employed by patriarchal power to exert maximum control over women’s bodies.
“There is nothing revolutionary whatsoever about the control of women’s bodies by men,” said author, poet and feminist Adrienne Rich. “The woman’s body is the terrain on which patriarchy is erected.”
Artists in the exhibit, representing a survey of art history, plumb an array of topics, including infanticide, abortion, the institution of motherhood, domestic violence, prostitution, pornography, gendercide, plastic surgery and ageism. These issues are featured in works by Nicholas Africano, Lynne Augeri, Suzanne Benton, Aidan Boyle, Antonio Canova, Albrecht Dürer, Donna Ferrato, Paul Georges, Sante Graziane, Lori Petchers/Faith Baum, Michael Stone and Francisco Zuniga.
“ ‘Of Woman Born’ champions the great strides made by women, such as the right to vote and equal access to education, but there is still more work to be done,” museum Director Robbin Zella said. “Women’s rights are human rights and that includes freedom from discrimination, freedom from violence and freedom from gender inequality.”
The Housatonic Museum of Art — on the Housatonic Community College campus, 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport – is home to an art collection that spans the history of art. It’s on continuous display throughout the museum’s 300,000-square-foot facility. To make an appointment to see the show in person, contact director Zella at 203-332-5052. For more or to view the exhibit online, visit housatonicmuseum.org.
— Georgette Gouveia