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In 2012 YES! Association / Föreningen JA! took part in the exhibition Anti-Establishment curated by Johanna Burton at CCS Bard Galleries with the many-fold project SMOKING AREA. One part, Hannah Arendt Memorial Smoking Porch commemorating the German-born Jewish American political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), was never completed during the duration of the exhibition. Through the invitation by curator Olga Kopenkina to be part of the exhibition Feminism is Politics! (September 28-November 23, 2016), YES! Association / Föreningen JA! found the means to finalize this part of the project by mounting a brass plaque at the Hannah Arendt Center building at Bard College, located in the house which Mary McCarty occupied 1946-47, and again 1986-89. Mary McCarty was Hannah Arendt’s dear friend and later her literary executor.
During the weekend September 16-17 the Hannah Arendt Center hosted YES! Association / Föreningen JA!. The artists inhabited the porch as a space of appearance. This documented action became YES! Association / Föreningen JA!’s contribution to the exhibition Feminism is Politics! curated by Olga Kopenkina, on view at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery from September 28 – November 27, 2016.
For Hannah Arendt, action and speech create a space between participants, which can find its location almost any time and anywhere. It is the space of appearance. The space where I appear to others, as others appear to me. By mounting the commemorating brass plaque at the building we propose that the porch at the Hannah Arendt Center becomes a space of appearance – a space stripped of some layers of legislation, a space for negotiating, engaging, testing and acting in relation to each other and specific materials and objects in dialogue with some aspects of Hannah Arendt’s life and thinking.
The video Space of Appearance and the rubber plaque template for the Hannah Arendt Memorial Smoking Porch plaque was included in the exhibition Feminism Is Politics! at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, September 28-November 23, 2016.
The curator Olga Kopenkina writes about the exhibition: Feminism Is Politics! is an inquiry into what is conceptualized by feminists and queer/lesbians in the 21st century as New Feminism. The exhibition features video, performance works and art activism that address the feminist position in action and redefine the notion of “political” within the new millennium’s paradigm of uncertainty and precarity.
Artists included: Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz; Bureau of Melodramatic Research; Melanie Cervantes; Regina José Galindo; Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya); Victoria Lomasko; Liza Morozova; Mujeres Públicas; Tanja Ostojić; YES! Association / Föreningen JA!; Anna Zvyagintseva.
Download the Feminism Is Politics! catalog.
YES! Association / Föreningen JA! participation in Feminism Is Politics! was supported by Iaspis, Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists.