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Criticism By and About Women

January 17, 1988|ZAN DUBIN

The influx of women into the visual arts since the 1970s hasn't only altered the look of contemporary painting and sculpture, it has changed the way that art is looked at and analyzed as well. The current and future role of art criticism by and about women will be explored in a symposium to be held Friday and Saturday at UCLA.

"Art Criticism for Women in the '90s" will address new critical approaches that, says symposium co-coordinator Sondra Hale, has "put some feminist art criticism in the vanguard in its revolutionary ways of looking at art."

"We thought that feminist criticism has really come of age and has become very sophisticated in its ability to use these different approaches," says Hale, a visiting associate professor of women's studies and anthropologist at UCLA. "And it's time to find out what direction we're going in the 1990s."

Neo-Marxism, deconstructionism, semiotics and psychoanalytic theory are among the new critical methods to be explored and explained during the symposium, presented by the Woman's Building, Hale said. Its speakers, art critics, artists and writers from around the country, include Janet Bergstrom, a feminist writer specializing in film; Nancy Buchanan, a Los Angeles artist; Catherine Lord, dean of the School of Art at CalArts; and David Antin, a critic, poet and performance artist.

Robert Storr, a contributing editor of Art in America, will share a panel on the equality--or inequality--of women's versus men's representation in the art world, specifically analyzing the role of the male art critic.

The symposium will also offer an arena "to try to break down some barriers between critics and artists," Hale said, by including both of these on the speakers' roster, compiled by Hale, Betty Ann Brown, an art historian, Sheila de Bretteville, a co-founder of the Woman's Building, Joan Hugo, an art critic, and Sue Maberry, administrative director of the Woman's Building.

A screening of "Toute Une Nuit," a film written and directed by Chantal Akerman to be discussed by various critics, will launch the symposium Friday at 7:30 p.m. at UCLA's Melnitz Hall. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Wight Art Gallery and Astro Artz/High Performance, Saturday's first panel begins at 9 a.m. in Dickson Auditorium and its last begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets, available at the door, are $40, $35 for Woman's Building members. Information: (213) 221-6161.

A related exhibition at the Woman's Building, "Image & Text," runs Saturday through Feb. 26. The multimedia group show with some works by some symposium presenters explores "the contrapuntal relationship between visuals and language," notes a statement, its artists examining "the roles of gender, work, money and power in our society."

STATE SUPPORT: The California Arts Council, the state agency that will allocate about $11.5 million for the arts in California in fiscal 1988, has set deadlines for its major grant programs. Here is a list of upcoming deadlines:

Organizational Grants Program: Feb. 1.

Artists in Residence; Schools: Feb. 11; Communities and Social Institutions: Feb. 29.

Traditional Folk Arts Program, Master-Apprentice Grants: Feb. 24.

State-Local Partnerships, local governments only, Feb. 26.

Art in Public Buildings Program: Aug. 1.

Grant applications and a guide to council grant programs may be requested from the California Arts Council, 1901 Broadway, Suite A, Sacramento, Ca, 95818. Information: (916) 445-1530.

The council has also set the dates and cities for its meetings for 1988, all open to the public which may testify at the sessions. Here is a list:

Fri., Jan. 29, San Jose, site to be determined.

Fri., March 25, Riverside, site to be determined.

Thur. and Fri., June 2-3, La Jolla, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art.

Thur. and Fri., Aug. 25-26, Sacramento, site to be determined.

Wednesday, Dec. 14., Costa Mesa, the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts.

Meetings are usually held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call the council closer to meeting dates for unspecified sites and definite times.

PRICE HIKE: The Southwest Museum has raised its admission prices. Adult admission is now $3 per person; student and senior citizen admission is $1.50; and children aged 7-18 is $1.

The new prices were instigated in the wake of a major fund raising effort "to show the board of trustees that the administration is doing whatever it can to help the museum," also currently in the midst of administrative changes, said museum spokeswoman Carol Selkin. "Eventually, membership prices will probably go up too," Selkin added, though she could not specify the exact amount of such an increase.

Stirling L. Huntley, the museum's interim director, said in a prepared statement, "Our new prices bring Southwest Museum admission in line with other major museums in the area."

RELATED EVENTS: The Palos Verdes Art Center has planned five weeks of cultural activities in conjunction with "Ancestors and African American Art," an exhibition Friday (through Feb. 27) of traditional African art and work by 20 contemporary black American artists.

On Jan. 25, historian Leonard Simon will present a lecture at the center entitled "Two Centuries of Black American Art." On Feb. 1, Merrik Posnansky, former director of the Uganda Museum and the UCLA Institute of Archeology, will deliver "The African Achievement." Both lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday craft classes for children, a film series, and an artisans demonstration are among other events planned. Exhibits of contemporary folk art-style prints and photography accompany the main show as well. Information: (213) 541-2479.

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