It is through this prismatic lens that I would like to focus, even if briefly, on three different practices which have contributed to understanding our period and concurrently have extended the social contexts in which these practices still unfold.
To begin with, nineties feminism not only jettisoned gynophobic stereotyping, but also probed sexual, ethnic and racial differences. This explains why, on one hand, feminism today is more likely to address all the clichés about what it means to be a woman -since as a construct (whether historical or fictional), woman is always open to investigation. On the other hand, it offers a much broader range of positions, not to mention realignments, as in the challenge posed by women of color to the authority of white women to speak for all women in general2. The sustained productions of the last twenty years of Adrian Piper, Carrie Mae Weems and Lorna Simpson are just few of the known paradigms. The same can be said about non-Western feminist rebuttals of Western hegemonic discourses.
1. For a solid analysis of this issue see Laura Cottingham, "The Feminist Continuum: Art After 1970," in The Power of Feminist Art, ed. by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994), 276-287.
2. In the late 1980s a number of feminist organizations for women of color emerged in the United States, among them: Coast to Coast (African-American artists ), Vistas Latinas, and Godzilla (Asian-American artists).
3. For an informed discussion of this issue see Phil Mariani and Jonathan Crary, "In the Shadow of the West: An Interview with Edward Said," in Discourses: Conversations in Postmodern Art and Culture edited by Russell Ferguson, William Olander, Marcia Tucker and Karen Fiss (Cambridge and New York: 4.The MIT Press and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1990), 93-103. 4 Paul D. Miller, "Motion Capture: Shirin Neshat's Turbulent," Parkett 54 (1998-1999), 160.
5. Ibid, 159.
6. For an excellent discussion of the history of this work see Linda Nochlin, "The Origin without an Original," October 37 (Summer 1986): 80.
7. Ibid, 80.
8. See Slavoj Zizek's, Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1991), 145.
9. Janine Antoni, quoted by Rosa Martinez in Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1998), 61.
10. Mignon Nixon, "Bad Enough Mother," October 71 (Winter, 1995): 74.
11. Amelia Jones, Body Art/Performing the Subject (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 281.
12. Thomas Crow, The Rise of the Sixties (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996), 122.
13. Ibid, 99.