“Could this Be The Female Century?” As an opener, the question acknowledges a longstanding history of women pioneers. I’ve often wondered if the term, “female,” sounds formal. Feminist, Femme…each share their own charged set of associations. The concept that women are now setting the stage in contemporary art is Mary Ceruti’s core message, which is the very premise of how she’s built her career. Possibly "female" is a necessary neutrality to represent a cross section of important women artists, whose professional work spans across several decades.
Mary Ceruti, the Director of the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, reflects at Locust Projects in Miami's Design District. Ceruti showed examples of work by women artists that is just now being revisited from the early 80s like Agnes Denes's, Wheatfield, a Confrontation, in Battery Park. Mary shared her own personal narrative and discussed conversations she's had over the years with women artists and administrators, who each dreaded the days when they announced their pregnancies and family life changes to boards, directors, and curators. Women are expected to juggle careers and families in each hand; today artists serve as studio and curatorial practitioners, often balancing time in the studio with curating and self-organizing.
An artist in the audience addressed the feeling of looking around at his fellow residents and wondering, was I chosen to represent a token Latino? I hope to run into this artist soon. He raised a good point that I think of often: Is the art world race and gendercentric in the current moment? Not that this is always a bad thing, yet, pointing to it and questioning identity is really at the center of good artistic exploration. Ceruti mentioned that education in all departments from small to large institutions on these pertinent issues is necessary for producing social change. I respect how far Ceruti's come in receiving acknowledgement for her own cultural practice.