Sensing Woman is a multisensory event taking place at C24 Gallery in Chelsea, New York City, for five days and four nights of Art by 50 contemporary visual artists, along with conversation, storytelling and music – altogether around the future of being female. All profits from this event will be donated to organizations working to protect autonomy over our bodies and improve maternal and sexual health, including the groundbreaking advocacy organization the Center for Reproductive Rights.
How did this curatorial project come about ?
I was approached by Christine Mason to curate a “vagina art show” almost a year ago in response to the multiple states that were already greatly restricting access to abortions at that time. The initial concept was hers, wanting to create not just an exhibition, but a week-long gathering with programs spanning culture, medicine, and discussion on the governance of female embodiment. Through this combination of a pop-up art show and event programming, we will raise funds for organizations working to protect and defend autonomy over our bodies, maternal health, and care for women, including The Center for Reproductive Rights and The Center for Intimacy Justice.
It sounded like a fantastic idea to me, so I began researching artists who addressed this subject matter, looking for the contemporary Georgia O’Keeffe’s and Judy Chicago’s out there. I wanted to put together a show that would not only speak to the female anonymity of the vulva, but bring together work that addressed a wide range of approaches from the political, personal, sensual and serious.
What was your curatorial vision and can you highlight some of the featured art?
I was looking for work that would touch on a variety of subject matters that address the topic of women’s health, both mentally and physically. Sophia Wallace’s works about the clitorus, to Sana Musasama’s work about female excision. Finding a balance between the heavy subject matters of the recovery of sexual abuse addressed in the works of Caroline Wayne and the cheeky commentary of the “Coin Cunts” by Suzanna Scott that draw connections of money and power to femininity.
It was important to me to also make space for pieces that are not necessarily obviously about the vulva, but associated with other physical aspects of the female body and experience such as in the work of Theda Sandiford or works about motherhood as in Anna Ogier-Bloomer and Alexandra Carter. The show has a wide variety of mediums, genres and styles that will meet the varied tastes of our viewers. I see each work as a start to a conversation as there is a unique story behind each piece.
Curatorially, I love finding those little gems of connection between works by different artists, be that the artist’s color choice, pattern, or material – which brings the diverse artworks together. There are a lot of flesh tones and pinks throughout the show, but also little pops of green, blue and gold, and a mixture of abstraction and figurative works. There really is a little something for everyone and together they create a beautiful and thoughtful connectivity to the feminine experience.
Sensing Woman 22 C24 Gallery 560 West 24th St. Chelsea, 10011 NYC
Massey is the creator and curator of the WoArtBlog where she highlights and promotes the work of female identifying artists. Her curatorial projects have shown in such venues as the Hunterdon ArtMuseum, Court Tree Collective, BioBAT Art Space, ISE Foundation, and Cluster Gallery amongst others. She has also collaborated with other organizations focusing on women artists such as AllSHE Makes and i like your work Podcast to create online shows and opportunities for wider audiences. Massey’s projects have been featured in such publications as Art Net News, Visionary Project and ABC News.