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An Insistent History: Declaring the Women’s Art Revolution at the Sundance Film Festival
Calling it “an insistent history that refuses to wait any longer to be told,” Lynn Hershman Leeson declares “WAR,” her acronym for the women’s art revolution begun in the 1970s, through the film !Women Art Revolution, which will be shown as part of the New Frontier series at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Ms. Leeson spent the last 42 years filming feminists on the front lines of the battle for artistic equality as well as joining the battle herself. As writer, director, producer, and narrator of the film, Leeson resurrects the spirit of the ‘70s and recovers the lost history of women in art. This “insistent history” refuses to go away, and this film and the historical projects linked to it ensure that it never will.
Since 1968, Leeson almost obsessively filmed interviews with women artists and curators. This 83-minute film gives only the tip of the iceberg of nearly 13,000 minutes of interviews, many of which can be seen in their entirety at a site run by Stanford University. Leeson interviewed many of these figures several times over the years. To see the toll that years of oppression took on artists such as the late Nancy Spero, who tells a humiliating tale of being asked to present her portfolio on the floor and “genuflect” before the male gallery owner, speaks volumes about how the male-dominated art world literally robbed the life from many of these amazing artists.
Just as An Inconvenient Truth used the personal story of Al Gore to give a human core to that documentary, Leeson uses her own story as a center around which the maelstrom of the feminist art movement whirls. Photos of the pre- and post-Berkley Leeson set side by side humorously yet powerfully demonstrate the impact that societal changes had on her and other women in the late 1960s. Later, as women artists struggled to find an identity as much as a history, Leeson recounts her use of a false identity (“Roberta Brietmore”) for nearly a decade as a means of going where her “real” self could not. You never forget for a moment that Leeson lived through this history first-hand and always sense her passion for preserving the meaning of the movement burning just as hot as when it first happened.
It’s always a great pleasure for me to “discover” and artist I’ve never known before. Seeing the work of so many women artists for the first time and hearing their stories in Leeson’s film can be overwhelming at times. I found myself mentally connecting dots from this film to the MoMA’s On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century exhibition (which I reviewed here) and the roles that Yvonne Rainer and Carolee Schneeman played. Similarly, one of my new favorite artists, Martha Rosler, a star of the Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968, appears prominently in this film, both as an artist and as a powerful, insightful, critical voice. This film will educate all but the most ardent students of women’s art. Here is “That ‘70s Show” that we’ve never had the chance to see the first time around. Allowing this generation to open that “gift” of (re)discovery may be the finest legacy of this project.
Leeson leavens much of the sadness of the film with humor, particularly when the Guerrilla Girls appear in full simian regalia to clamp their sarcastic bite upon the rump of the male-dominated establishment. The comic art of Spain Rodriguez and soundtrack by Carrie Brownstein keep things rocking and rolling. However, the sadness remains. When Sheila Levrant de Bretteville painfully relates the sheer economic strife of being a woman artist, you cannot help but tear up in solidarity for talent so woefully mistreated on such a grand scale. The harrowing reality of rape for these women appears with a brutal honesty. The saddest tale of them all, however, must be that of Ana Mendieta (the mustachioed, gender-bending face in the image above). Mendieta married the Minimalist sculptor Carl Andre in 1985. As Leeson explains, Minimalism—art eliminating all content, particularly political content—vied with Feminist art for the soul of art in the 1970s. Mendieta’s marriage to Andre seemed a mixed one philosophically. That mixed turned tragic when Mendieta fell to her death from a 34th floor window 8 months after the wedding after an argument with Andre. Mendieta becomes a central martyr of the cause in this film, literally killed by the hand of Minimalism, which muted her individual voice as part of the larger women’s movement.
Despite this tragic story, the exuberance of these women is what comes through in the end. Rachel Rosenthal, Judith Baca, Joyce Kozloff, Faith Ringgold, Marcia Tucker, Howardena Pindell, Faith Wilding, Suzanne Lacy, and others speak out with a thrill in their voice when recalling the empowering raising of consciousness of the era. The loudest voice, however, is unquestionably that of Judy Chicago, whom Leeson honestly portrays as a valuable yet divisive member of the movement. Leeson never lapses into sentimentality and refuses to sugarcoat the often bitter and embittering Chicago. This refusal to paint the women’s art revolution as one big happy family makes it seem more authentic than the neater art histories we’re accustomed to hearing.
The film ends on a hopeful note by showing artists such as Janine Antoni, Miranda July, and Camille Utterback taking claim on this legacy and moving forward with it into the future. The final face you see is that of Mendieta, but the note struck is not that of defeat but that of victory in remembrance. Leeson begins the film by fruitlessly challenging patrons outside a museum to name three women artists. After watching !Women Art Revolution, you’ll find yourself never forgetting these courageous and talented ladies.
[Many thanks to Lynn Hershman Leeson for providing me with a review copy of her film, !Women Art Revolution. Many thanks also to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for providing me with the image above and other press materials. The festival will be open free to the public Thursday, January 20, through Saturday, January 30, 2011.]
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.