The Female Gaze: Women Looking at Women

Marilyn Minter

In Cheim & Reid‘s current exhibition, women portray the bodies of other women in ways that are both historically grounded and forward thinking. Called The Female Gaze, the exhibition acts as a survey of sorts, presenting a wide range of approaches, some morally ambiguous and others socially incisive. The intergenerational, international span of artists includes Berenice Abbott, Marina Abramovic, Vanessa Beecroft, Louise Bourgeois, Julia Margaret Cameron, Victoria Civera, Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Anh Duong, Ellen Gallagher, Nan Goldin, Katy Grannan, Roni Horn, Deborah Kass, Maria Lassnig, Zoe Leonard, Sally Mann, Marilyn Minter, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, Collier Schorr, Joan Semmel, Cindy Sherman, Mickalene Thomas, Hannah van Bart, Hellen van Meene, and Kara Walker, among others.

Cheim & Reid’s press release quotes from Laura Mulvey‘s seminal essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”: “In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.” When women are both the looker and the looked at, the exhibition suggests, the distance between voyeur and the object is conflated and “to-be-looked-at-ness” may simply become “to-be-ness.” The exhibition continues through September 19, 2009.