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Friday, March 10, 2006


Posted by on March 10 at 2:42 AM

I’m at JFK airport right now, preparing to board a propeller plane that will take me to DC, and then another plane that will ship me home. I always seem to fly in the dead of night or in the dark early morning. This time, I’m thinking about Hannah Wilke, the feminist artist whose performances, sculptures, and photographs stood out at this year’s Armory Show (which opened in NY yesterday) like, well, a naked feminist at a contemporary art show. Where has feminism gone? I have to think about this since I got two hours of sleep last night because of the screaming, ill, 2-year-old daughter of a friend of mine (it’s her birthday today, and I raise a coffee cup to you, Sagey).

My old friend was our high-school valedictorian, and now she is a fairly miserable mother of 2 who wonders how her choices once felt so broad and now are so limited. She and her husband struggle financially, even though he is a Columbia professor (they have a lot of educational debt), and she asked me several times whether I thought she was the problem — whether she should adjust her standards for her life. So it was not without notice that I took in Hannah Wilke’s fantastic, and unusual, solo show at the Armory Show yesterday, a show where only a quarter of the artists included are women, and approximately none are doing overtly feminist work, except Wilke, who died 12 years ago. More to come in a column …

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While there's the feminist component to this issue (reminiscent of the mommy wars debate of whether it's a "waste" for educated, ambitious women to stay home with their kids), there's also the NYC component. I've known a lot of parents who realize that their money goes a looooot farther outside of New York. NYC is expensive, and doubly so if you've got kids.

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