Martha Wilson Posturing (1972-1973)

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Martha Wilson explores her female subjectivity in the photo series Posturing (1972-1973). In these photographs, Wilson performs for the camera by embodying different personas that confront the politics of gender. By pairing text with each photograph, Wilson creates a performative relationship between the mediums that enact her corporeal experience while performing as the female drag queen, the butch lesbian, and the middle aged woman. Here, Wilson asserts political autonomy over her image and counters phallocentric notions of female subjectivity. She reverses the male gaze by becoming a subject of her own desire, while challenging ideas of beauty that condition women’s perception in patriarchal culture. This gesture works to confront male spectatorship and to critique social formations of gender. Wilson’s subjective agency places her identity as a woman artist front and center, a radical position that challenged the aesthetic practices of male conceptual artists in the 1970s.

Martha Wilson is a pioneering gallery director and feminist artist who creates innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity. Wilson founded Franklin Furnace in 1976, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion, and preservation of artist books, temporary installation, performance art, as well as online works. She has been described by The New York Times critic Holland Cotter as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.” Wilson has received fellowships for performance art from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; Bessie and Obie awards for commitment to artists’ freedom of expression; a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts; a Richard Massey Foundation-White Box Arts and Humanities Award; and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.  www.marthawilson.com

Additional Info

  • Título: Posturing
  • Holdings: photo gallery
  • Duração: Unknown
  • Idioma: English
  • Data da performance: 1972-1973
  • Credits: Performed by Martha Wilson. Text by Martha Wilson. Photography by Doug Waterman and Richards Jarden. Photographs courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York.