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Previously censored feminist artists to be given a voice at Frieze London 2017


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The Frieze Art Fair is once again coming to London, and this year is adding a new section to be curated by independent curator and scholar Alison Gingeras.

This new section, entitled Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics, will be dedicated to female artists since the 1960s, whose works have been excluded from mainstream exhibitions due to their radical or controversial nature.

Sex Work will “pay homage to artists who transgressed sexual mores, gender norms and the tyranny of political correctness and were frequently the object of censorship in their day”, Gingeras says, as well as “highlighting the seminal role galleries have played in exhibiting the radical women artists who were not easily assimilated into mainstream narratives of female art”.

Ten galleries, representing different artists, are confirmed to partake in this section. Those being represented at this year’s Frieze London will include The Box and Karma International presenting Judith Bernstein, Galerie Andrea Caratsch presenting Betty Tompkins, Blum and Poe presenting Penny Slinger, Richard Saltoun presenting Renate Bertlmann, Salon 94 presenting Marilyn Minter, and Hubert Winter presenting Birgit Jürgenssen.

To Gingeras, it was important to recognise the galleries alongside the artists. She explains that “these galleries often blazed a trail for museum exhibitions” for many figures “were too transgressive to be included in anthologising museum shows, which arguably forged a consensual canon for important feminist art.”

She believes now is the time for these female artists to be brought into the limelight and recognised, for these pioneering women and their work “resonate more than ever with the new feminisms that are taking shape in response to contemporary political realities”.

Still today, debates about pornography, whether it is empowering or exploitative, and more widely the politics of erotic representation, prove to be one of the most divisive issues within feminist political and artistic circles.

“While much feminist art has been integrated into mainstream art history, artists who embraced a sex-positive attitude in their work have been systematically excluded”, Gingeras deplores.

And thus this is the very issue that Frieze London’s Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics, curated by Alison Gingeras, will address this October, from the 5th to the 8th in London’s Regent’s Park.

Image credit: Graham Carlow/Frieze

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