Yearly Archives: 2018

Open Call: Trestle Gallery, Small Works 2018

Trestle Gallery Seeks Applicants for Small Works 2018, Curated by Sharon Louden

Application Deadline: May 1st, 2018
Show Dates: July 26th – August 29nd, 2018

Submission Guidelines: 

– Pieces may be no bigger than 12″ on longest side – we accept 2D and 3D framed and unframed works of all media. If a work is framed, the frame can be a maximum of 2″ larger than the piece itself, making the max dimension 14″
– You may submit up to 3 works for consideration
– Images must be in JPEG format, 1000 pixels on longest side
– CV and Statement must be submitted in PDF form

Submit Online: https://trestlegallery.submittable.com/submit/91991/small-works-2018

Contact: trestle@brooklynartspace.org

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About the Curator:

Sharon M. Louden is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books.
Louden graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicagoand an MFA from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Weisman Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Louden’s work is held in major public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.

Image Credit: Ahn Hyun Jung, “Cranky and Grumpy”, 2017, Wood, 2.75 x 2.5 x 1.25″


Trestle is a 501c3 non-profit contemporary art space located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that was established in 2012 in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Our mission is to foster creativity and community by offering exhibition, education, and networking opportunities for contemporary artists and curators. We provide a place for creative people to focus on the development of their art and their career. Our mission is carried out through four core programs: Contemporary Exhibitions, Professional Development, Community Classes, and Residencies.

Why Do Women Climate More Than Men?

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

I have been doing work at the intersection of arts and climate change for over a decade, and though I have no scientific data to back what I’m about to say, I have observed that women climate much more than men—that is to say, this particular intersection is overwhelmingly female. I have found this to be true again and again, whether I’m leading workshops, commissioning playwrights, or publishing essays by artists who engage with the issue. As soon as you say “arts” and “climate change” in the same sentence, the traditional male/female ratio gets reversed.

In a world where we have to fight tooth and nail for equal representation, how did women manage to claim a space, let alone that space, for themselves? Although this state of affairs seems to be true in all of the arts, including the theatre, it is certainly not true in the sciences. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. And my own unscientific observations, based on who I meet at universities and climate change conferences, confirm that there are far more male climate scientists than female. So, what is it about the intersection of arts and climate change that attracts women, or, at the very least, that hasn’t caught most men’s attention yet?

Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13–9 BC. Marble, Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen.

Since we are the primary caretakers of children, I suppose it follows that we would be the primary caretakers of the planet. How we bond with our offspring must be similar to how we bond with nature and our environment. In almost all cultures Mother Earth is female so there is clearly a deep-rooted connection; think of Gaia (Greek), Pachamama (Inca), Jörð (Norse). Not to mention the countless female deities associated with nature such as goddesses of water, wild animals, mountains, forests, etc. But while this reasoning may be partly true, I hesitate to see it as absolute and reinforce traditional gender roles. If the nurturing impulse was the sole driving force, we would be a majority in more than one discipline that has climate change as its primary focus.

Could this gender imbalance be a function of the deeply entrenched inequalities in the arts, which keep women in the margin, away from economically viable opportunities and the eyes of the public? Used to being cut off from the mainstream, we may be turning to where we feel we can have an impact. With climate change being so politically charged, small and nontraditional venues are more likely to engage with it than large institutions. Those venues are also more likely to have a woman at the helm, which, in turn, increases the chances of women artists working there. Since commercial success is mostly inaccessible to us, maybe we choose to focus on issues that are personally meaningful rather than financially rewarding.

In addition, according to UN Women, climate-induced disasters exacerbate entrenched gender inequalities. Or, as the title of a WomenWatch article aptly describes it, The Threats of Climate Change are not Gender-Neutral. In impoverished countries, women and girls face greater health and safety risks as resources become scarce or compromised, and they are more likely to become victims of gender violence. Women also have less access to decision-making and economic assets that may mitigate the effects of climate change. Female artists may be especially attuned to this reality and understand the need to address climate change as an imperative to protect ourselves.

I brought up this question of gender in relation to arts and climate change in a few conversations recently to see if anyone had any insight. A colleague from the UK cited women’s ability to collaborate as a possible factor influencing female artists’ decisions to engage this issue. Climate change mitigation and adaptation requires collaborative problem-solving across many sectors and an ability to bring multiple partners together. Since women show greater proficiency in this skill than men, she posited, wouldn’t they naturally gravitate toward a field that requires working across disciplines and establishing successful collaborations? I did a bit of research to see if there was data out there that supported this claim. This is what I found:

According to an article from BBC News, a worldwide study conducted in schools shows that girls outperform boys at collaborative problem solving. Girls “show more positive attitudes towards relationships, meaning that they tend to be more interested in others’ opinions and want others to succeed.” Another study done by the School of Management at the University of Buffalo reveals that “when male-dominated work groups foster collaboration and communication, it’s women who are more likely to emerge as leaders.” Because groups tend to choose leaders who exemplify their values, when those values include communication and increased interactions between members, women have a leadership advantage.

Women in Uganda carrying water from a shallow well in plastic jerricans. Photo from waterjournalistsafrica.com.

Further research produced another interesting article published by Stanford Medicine about the cognitive differences between men’s and women’s brains. Women retain stronger, more vivid memories of emotional events than men do. They also recall emotional memories more quickly, and the ones they recall are richer and more intense. As a warning not to jump to easy conclusions though, the Stanford article concludes: “Trying to assign exact percentages to the relative contributions of ‘culture’ versus ‘biology’ to the behavior of free-living human individuals in a complex social environment is tough at best. … The role of culture is not zero. The role of biology is not zero.”

In light of these studies, it seems reasonable to say that women tend to work more collaboratively than men, and that this propensity may be a factor in why female artists are taking on climate change in greater number than their male counterparts who are better equipped at solving problems alone. And if women do, in fact, have stronger and more vivid memories of emotional events then men do, and recall them more quickly and intensely, wouldn’t it be harder for us to turn away from the tragedies brought on by climate change? Wouldn’t we feel compelled to expose them in every way we can and work to prevent more from happening?

All of this suggests that there isn’t one reason but, more likely, multiple reasons why women climate more than men. And these reasons are both internal and external. They have to do with who we are biologically, how our genetic makeup predisposes us to seek or excel at certain things, and how we relate to our life circumstances and exist in a world where our chosen roles are affirmed or denied by our communities.

OK. This is perfectly logical, but entirely uninspiring. Let’s try something more radical.

Is it possible that female artists are intuiting the world’s need for certain skills, know that they are ours to offer, and actively seeking ways to use these skills in service of a different future? Are we slowly establishing ourselves as leaders by using the arts, a fairly benign point of entry, to show what is possible? Are we engaging with climate change because it’s urgent, yes, but also because it’s the most obvious leverage point in creating a more gender-balanced world?

Forgive me for waxing poetic here but I do believe there is truth to the saying “The Future is Female.” It’s no coincidence that the #MeToo movement is happening in this very moment and that women all over the world are taking to the streets. Yes, it took a corrupt, racist, misogynist, narcissistic, and generally disgusting president in the United States to galvanize us, but the abuses perpetrated against women—whether sexual or other—are no different from the abuses perpetrated against our planet.

Luckily, the systems that have made those abuses possible are starting to crack. And we saw what happened last summer when a crack in the Larson C ice shelf grew to the point where an iceberg the size of Delawareweighing one trillion tons, broke free from the Antarctic continent. Cracks are to be taken seriously. If you keep chipping at them, they invariably turn into earth-shattering events.

Perhaps after millennia, the cosmic pendulum is finally swinging back toward the feminine. Thanks to women everywhere, perhaps the yin is finally reasserting itself and reclaiming its share stolen by the yang. And perhaps just like our days running our economy on fossil fuel are numbered, our time running the world on testosterone is over.

And to the men out there who may be wondering what’s going on, I say: Join us! We need you! We need you in the #MeToo movement. We need you in the environmental movement. We need you making deep, challenging, beautiful, provocative, earth-shattering work at the intersection of arts and climate change so we can all find our way forward together. A number of your peers—brave male artists, including wonderful theatre artists—are already doing this work, but we need more. And don’t be mistaken: this is not about hugging trees (though if you’ve never hugged a tree, I highly recommend it). This is about figuring out whether we have it in us, as a species, to continue living on this earth with justice and integrity.

Before I sign off, here’s a last bit of statistics from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs:

The evidence is clear: wherever women take part in a peace process, peace lasts longer. In fact, a peace agreement, which includes women, is 35 percent more likely to last at least fifteen years. And without the solid foundation of peace, development is doomed to be unstable and unsustainable.

Climate change. Justice. Peace. We got it.

Now, Ladies. Let’s climate some more, shall we?

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Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. She is the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle – an organization created to support the writing, development and production of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight countries of the Arctic – and the founder of the blog and international network Artists & Climate Change. She is a co-organizer of Climate Change Theatre Action, a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented in support of the United Nations COP meetings.


 

Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Art as Collision

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Despite being more connected than we ever have been, today’s world is, arguably, more fragmented than it has been since we entered the era of the global village. We can track the shift: think Brexit, Trump, and the rising of imaginary walls in what seems like a regression to Cold War-era isolationism.

But let’s not be too quick to become despondent. I believe the fault lines we’re seeing emerge are probably the last hurrah of old, staid ways of thinking. Traditional power is in a corner, and right now it happens to be screaming the loudest. The more people feel their way of life (or thinking) is under threat, the more likely they are to retreat into silos where all ideas are familiar and comfortable.

That’s where the artist comes in: to challenge, to disrupt, to interrogate what makes people uncomfortable, and push us towards understanding ourselves and the world more fully. Good art is often not born out of comfortable spaces, but comes from conflict and collision – and it’s not until there’s difference that people collide. Through collision there’s an exchange of ideas and perspectives, and through that exchange, if those involved are really listening and applying themselves, art, as well as the acknowledgement of a shared humanity and connection to the planet we live on.

“Every culture has its origins in hybridization, interaction, confrontation. In isolation, by contrast, civilization dies out. The experience of the other is the secret to change,” writes Octavio Paz in an essay on art and culture.

Young people today feel less defined by national borders, and increasingly see themselves as global citizens. Modern technology and media connect us all. We are increasingly becoming aware of “the other,” of how their differences manifest in their perspectives, and we are learning to listen, sometimes readily, sometimes with more resistance. If we accept our role as artists, and take responsibility for creating art that grasps at truth, we can tap into the collision and the difference, experience others, and challenge each other, as well as our audiences. Art is, after all, confrontation. We can become a collective made up of a kaleidoscope of culture that pushes new modes of expression.

But to do this, we need to think outside the box. We need to go outside the box if we are to collide. We need to be curious, raise questions, and be understanding, even if we don’t find the answers that we sought. We need to think differently about booking art, making it, marketing it, curating it and selling it. We need to dismantle traditional ways of thinking to build newer, more nimble models that adapt to the world’s changing dynamics and reflect our myriad of truths, through our practices and experiences.

This work is already happening in museums, in art centers, in hospitals, in academia, in businesses. It’s happening everywhere, in all the spaces in which there’s tension, where we push ourselves in new and potentially unknown and brave directions. I like to call our generation, especially the youth of today, the “slash” (/) generation because we’re not afraid to throw caution to the wind and try our hands at new and exciting things. Today’s artists, myself included, wear many different hats.

In addition to my roles as theatremaker, educator, and international arts advocate/consultant, and underpinning all of them, I’m a connector. I’m curious about people and I encourage them to be curious about one another. I’m fortunate enough to be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices through programming conferences and hosting long tables where the art “elite” sit alongside young cultural innovators. These forums are vital sites for disruption because artists are the real cultural diplomats, as their creations speak to the people, their audiences, the loudest, and make further linkages possible.

Too often I hear people say they “can’t.” “How?” they ask. They get so bogged down by that question that they don’t even think about the what. They don’t realize that the closer they get to the what, the clearer it becomes, the more the question of how begins to fall away. When I hear an artist say, “I can’t,” I ask: “How do you work in a field of imagination, of dreams, of access, and say it cannot be done? You are here, in this field where we have the privilege of engaging with ideas and expression, and with that, comes responsibility. You must speak your truth. You are a thought leader. Discover what you have to offer, acknowledge it, and let it radiate from you. You’re here. You have power. You’re in a position to make a difference and create change.”

There’s a dire need in art, and the world today, for voices to speak, limbs to tweak, brushes to streak, from a new, diverse generation of artists. The current fragmented world this generation grows up in, just like others before, is a particularly fertile ground for the creation of art. Increasingly, our communities are rich with people from all walks of life. It’s an ideal space for collision, for learning, for artistic expression. Let us not pigeonhole what culture should be. Let us not build walls around our traditions. Instead, let’s allow ourselves to engage and collide with all the “others” around us, and march to the tune of a future that’s pregnant with potential. Let’s tap into our moment of political and ideological fission to create art that does not shy away from difference or shirk uncomfortable questions. Engage. Learn. Create. The world is our audience…as well as our teacher.

(Images: I-DENT-I-TIES, a large-scale interdisciplinary performance project with 50 students of the University of the Free State Qwa Qwa Campus, South Africa. Creative Team: Djana Covic, Nico de Rooij, and Erwin Maas.)

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Erwin Maas is a New York based theatremaker, educator and international arts advocate from the Netherlands. He has worked extensively in Australia, Europe, South Africa and USA. In New York, he directs numerous productions Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway as well as Site Specific. Maas is the Artistic Director of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA), Artistic Associate & Director of the Fellowship Program for the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), Co-founding Director of the Pan-African Creative Exchange (PACE), and the Programming Director for the Off Broadway Origin Theatre Company


 

Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog