Got Tortilla with Butter on Phone. Think it's the End?
Selected press: Aqnb / Mousse Magazine
Rod Barton is pleased to present Got tortilla with butter on phone. Think it's the end?* a group exhibition curated by Mikkel Carl. In an attempt to answer this delicate, perhaps metaphorical question recently posed by Cher (!) on Twitter*, the show presents a number of what may or may not simply be referred to as "female" artists.
Used as an analytical tool this otherwise descriptive term female must be something distinguishable from so-called feminine aesthetics as well as from politicized feminist positions. Hence, the works of this exhibition can be said to structurally reflect (upon) the fact that they are made by women – arguably in a variety of ways – but without aesthetically, morally or politically over-emphasizing the gender of their maker.
Furthermore, the works more or less directly express a sensibility towards the revised terms of production, distribution and reception, being the reality of the post-Internet era – something, which even the most profoundly analogue art objects can actually do. Since Plato, dividing reality into presumable opposites has been the dominant logic: male vs. female, culture vs. nature, mind vs. body etc. But, paradoxically, information technology – itself based on the difference between the zeros and ones of binary computer programming – is now seriously starting to deconstruct those dichotomies.
Yet, new (social) media are not only part of the solution; they also cause further dissemination of the problem. Misogyny and everyday sexism have recently resurfaced and much of this has been put down to the perceived anonymity of the web platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. The Internet is a site for both the sexist act, but also for those wishing to speak out against it. Perhaps the most prevalent case in recent history was the spate of threats of violence and abuse for Caroline Criado-Perez and anyone else that voiced their support for her and her campaign to have more women on UK bank notes. The subsequent arrests and incarceration of a man and woman for sending menacing messages caused significant debate around Internet abuse, its punishment and where freedom of speech ends and abuse begins.
When a man organizes an exhibition solely involving female artists, he deliberately makes himself the butt of the criticism concerning the continued masculine control of the art institutional apparatus. Artist/curator Mikkel Carl has consciously set himself up for this in an effort to address head-on the issues of sexual (in)equality, having staged a similar exhibition at a public institution in Sweden, this second iteration – likewise with an international roster of artists – looks to explore ideas of regional discrepancies between the sexes.
* The title of this show has not been sourced directly from Cher. Rather it is taken from a text by Gerardo Contreras called Spacious Soul Hole used as press release for Brian Kokoska / Debo Eilers' show Rare Angel at American Medium in New York earlier this year.