Speaker Series #17: Marsha Meskimmon | WACK! and Beyond: the contingent constant of feminist interventions in curating

On Thursday the 20th of August Marsha Meskimmon, Professor of Art History and Theory at Loughborough University (UK) will be presenting at the CCA’s Speaker Series event.

Arguably, over the past decade, feminist interventions in the arts have taken what might be called a ‘curatorial turn’, a deliberate move to examine and evaluate the significance of feminism to exhibition-making and curatorial thought. Meskimmon’s presentation explores feminism’s ‘curatorial turn’, suggesting that it might be understood as a contingent constant of feminist interventions into art’s histories, theories, institutions and practices, simultaneously characterised by a long-term, embedded relationship between feminism and curating (constancy) while remaining open to the emergent potential of feminism as a process of continual change (contingency).

Positioning a feminist ‘curatorial turn’ as a contingent constant argues for the power of its provisional, sometimes momentary, effects. To ask what the feminist curatorial turn is suggests that it might be understood as a fixed object; to position feminism’s curatorial turn as a process of continued meaning-generation is to ask what it can do. This presentation argues that it can do many things and, indeed, has an important strategic role to play in both feminist theory and activism.

Marsha Meskimmon is Professor of Art History and Theory at Loughborough University (UK). Meskimmon’s research focuses on transnational contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on women’s practice, feminist corporeal-materialisms, and the politics of home in a global world. Her publications include: The Art of Reflection: Women Artists’ Self-Portraiture in the Twentieth Century (1996), We Weren’t Modern Enough: Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism (1999), Women Making Art: History, Subjectivity, Aesthetics (2003) and Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination (2010). Women, the Arts and Globalisation: Eccentric Experience (co-edited with Dorothy Rowe), was published in 2013 and with Phil Sawdon, she has just completed the book Drawing Difference: Connections between Gender and Drawing (since the 1960s). With Amelia Jones, she edits the series Rethinking Art’s Histories for Manchester University Press.


Thursday 20 August

16h30 – 18h00

Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Centre for Curating the Archive Level 3, Old Medical School Building, Hiddingh Campus

For further information, kindly contact Nancy Dantas at 021 480 7151 / nancy.dantas@uct.ac.za