“Out of Here” Participatory Art Performances

Performances, every Thursday, 3:00-5:00 pm, March 20 to April 17, 2014, at the HUB-Robeson Art Alley Gallery in conjunction with the Out of Here exhibition that was created in the Judy Chicago@Penn State course.
A video overview (2:36 minute) of all five performances is linked here. Commentary by the public about the performances are posted via Twitter @OOHclosetcakes with specific hashtags for each performance as indicated below.

During spring 2014, Karen Keifer-Boyd, a professor of art education and women’s studies, teamed up with artist-in-residence, Nancy Youdelman to teach a special topics course incorporating Judy Chicago’s feminist art teaching methodology documented in the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection. Youdelman was a student of Judy Chicago in the Feminist Art Program in the 1970s. Course participants experimented with the participatory art pedagogy to engage interactive, content-based, visual and performative, feminist art activism for an exhibition titled “Out of Here,” aimed at a wide-audience that frequents a university commons area. Self-reflexivity, collective memory-work, feminist consciousness-awakenings, and content-searches were the catalysts for collaboration and creativity. Participants are from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Korea, and the USA. Those from the USA identify as Cuban/Arab, Cherokee, Italian, and other identities. The participants explored their ascribed, selected, and enforced positionalities. See more about the course at http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/out-of-here/

“Closet Ethnography”

March 20, 2014 at the HUB-Robeson Galleries Art Alley

Closets are cultural places where identity is fantasized, archived, questioned, and molded. Closets are places for mourning, reflection, and celebration. Closets hold material symbols of life stories, if we pause and pay attention. From clothes that celebrate rites of passage, and stored items worn by deceased loved ones, to secret journals or items hidden away or in a locked safe, this private world receives daily interaction but is rarely mentioned. Closets are making, reflective, redemptive places for mourning and honoring. What stories does your closet tell?
Twitter @OOHclosetcakes  hashtag:  #OOHclosetethnography

“Closet Cakes”

March 27, 2014 at the HUB-Robeson Galleries Art Alley

Commitment, dreams and re-vision: the process of building, spilling, joining, separating, breaking and joining is the active creativity and conception of women artists within the studio space. The creating of objects, a reflective and meditative expression is metaphorical of the life cycle and the environments that create our existence. Much in the same way that cake is prepared, mixed, baked, iced and consumed, so is the woman in society. What varieties are there? How and when are women created and consumed in society? What environments are we born from? What flavor are we and for whom?
Twitter @OOHclosetcakes  hashtag:  #OOHwomb

“Comfort Women”

April 4, 2014 at the HUB-Robeson Galleries Art Alley

Kang Duk-kyung (1929–1997), a survivor of comfort women, neither married nor had a family, is honored by Hyunji Kwon, Karen Keifer-Boyd, Nancy Youdelman, Jeanne Weber, Nouf Alhamdan, Helen Geleskie, Veronica Hicks, Amy Migliore, Farima Safaitakhtehfooladi, and Leslie Sotomayor. Her abject body can be honored, respected, and allowed to rest in peace.
Twitter @OOHclosetcakes  hashtag:  #OOHcomfortwomen

“The Tea is Ready”

April 10, 2014 at the HUB-Robeson Galleries Art Alley

During this performance, the Out of Here class explored the changes Iranian women have faced through the use of tea and costume changes. The changes were divided into the following four periods:

Pre-Islamic Iran
Archeological excavations at Shahr-e Sookhteh “Burnt City,” a prehistoric settlement in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of southeastern Iran, has revealed that the women of the 4th-3rd millennium BCE community maintained a high level of socio-economic status. Of the seals discovered in graves there, 90% were in the posession of women, who in turn made up over 60% of the population. The distribution of the seals, which as instruments of trade and government represented economic and administrative control, reveals that these women were the more powerful group in their prehistoric society.

Arab Conquest of Iran
During the first two centuries of the Muslim era (7th-8th centuries AD) the Sasanian state and much of the east Iranian region in Central Asia were conquered by the mostly Arab armis of the early Islamic state. The accounts of this conquest are often contradictory, the exact course of events unclear, precise dates for even major events elusive, and the size of the armies difficult to determine. New religion limited the women involvement in society as well as bringing the new style of clothing. Black was the color preferred by Arabs in contrast with the importance of white color in zarathushtrian culture as a sign of pureness.

Pahlavi Period
The Pahlavi Shahs were the rulers of Iran between 1925 and 1979 and the introduced many reforms converning women’s rights. An example of an early reform introduced by Reza Shah was the forced unveiling of women by a special decree on January 8, 1936 which, as the name suggests, involved the police force pulling the hijab away even from religious women, by force. Women’s involvement in society in general increased. Iranian women increasingly participated in the economy, the educations sector and in the workforce. Levels of literacy were also improved. Examples of women’s involvement: women acquired high official positions, such as ministers, artists, judges, scientists, athletes, etc. This improvement in the position of women became so ingrained that the conservative Islamic revolution could not completely undo it.

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution Iran became an Islamic Republic
During the era of post-Revolution rule, Iranian women have had more opportunities in some areas and more restrictions in others. One of the striking features of the revolution was the large sale participation of women from traditional backgrounds in demonstrations leading up to the overthrow of the monarchy. The Iranian women who had gained confidence and higher education under Pahlavi era participated in demonstrations against Shah to topple monarchy. The culture of education for women was established by the time of revolution so that even after the revolution, large numbers of women entered the civil service and higher education, and in 1996 fourteen women were elected to the Islamic Consultative Assembly. In 2003, Iran’s first woman judge in Pahlavi era, Shirin Ebadi, won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in promoting human rights. However, Ayatollah Khomeini seemed to express appreciation for women’s issues after he took power. In May 1979, the day of celebration for Iranian’s Women’s Day, and the day after Ayatollah Khomeini imposed hijab on women.
Twitter @OOHclosetcakes  hashtag:  #OOHsheWRITES


Out of Here

April 17, 2014 at the HUB-Robeson Galleries Art Alley

The final performance of the exhibition, “Out of Here” on April 17, 2014 at Penn State’s HUB-Robeson Galleries Art Alley focused on Helen Geleskie’s Confidence Confessional and Nouf Alhamdan’s Coded Cakes. Participants used their cell phones to take selfies and responded to prompts above each work of art. They posted the selfies and responses to the Out of Here social media pages (Twitter @OOHclosetcakes#OOHconfession)

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