Cheri Gaulke’s Twin Diptyych exhibited in Breaking in Two: Provocative Visions of Motherhood

Please join me this coming Saturday evening, Feb. 11, 6-9 pm, for an opening of the exhibition Breaking in Two: Provocative Visions of Motherhood. I got to see much of the show during installation this week and it’s really wonderful. I am exhibiting a new work called Twin Diptych. When I was invited to be a part of this show I knew I wanted to do something in collaboration with my partner, Sue Maberry, and our daughters, Xochi and Marka Maberry-Gaulke. We decided to explore portraiture and got to thinking about how parents pose their children when the kids are little and they have nothing to say about it. We have a portrait of Xochi and Marka as angels and everyone adores it. The truth is that the little darlings were absolutely miserable during the shoot and the photograph represents that one moment when they appeared to be happy. Sue and I decided to photograph them as angels again, but this time give them the opportunity to pose us any way they desired. We got off easy as they decided to pose us as American Gothic by Grant Wood. We chose to mimic William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s angels. Many of you saw a shot from the series on our holiday card. In addition I will be showing the artists’ book, Marriage Matters, and the video by Xochi and Marka called Our Wedding.


FEBRUARY 11 – APRIL 14, 2012
(event schedule below)

ARENA 1 A project of Santa Monica Art Studios
3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm
310/ 397-7456

Curated by Bruria Finkel, filmed by Sabine Sighicelli
Contact information: Tel: 310 251 4299,

BREAKING IN TWO is the first comprehensive exhibition of work by women artists who are mothers where the work itself integrates the maternal experience, the relationship to the body, the child, the family, and the society at large. The exhibition, which is part of Pacific Standard Time, will feature a multi‐cultural group of four generations of nationally and internationally recognized artist‐mothers selected to represent the multi‐faceted and changing realities of motherhood. The exhibition includes painting, drawing, sculpture, collage and assemblage, installation, photography, film/video, poetry/writing and performance. Curator Bruria Finkel, herself an artist, asserts that “the subject of motherhood was taboo in the art world in the 70s; women artists were advised not to disclose their motherhood status for it might interfere with their ability to progress in the art world.”

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: Kim Abeles, Lita Albuquerque, Eleanor Antin, Michele Asselin, Jo Ann Callis, Joyce Dallal, Bruria Finkel, Magaret Garcia, Cheri Gaulke, Tierney Gearon, Judithe Hernandez, Channa Horwitz, Katherine Jacobi, Mary Kelly, Margaret Lazzari, Andrea Liss, M. A. M. A., Kim McCarty, MaryLinda Moss, Mother Art, Sandra Mueller, Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence, Renee Petropoulos, Astrid Preston, Alison, Saar, Betye Saar, Sola Augustsson Saar, Lezley Saar, Reva Santo, Sylvia Sher, Amy Shimshon‐Santo, Elena Mary Siff, Doni Silver Simons, Linda Vallejo, June Wayne, Ruth Weisberg, Miriam Wosk, Kim Yasuda, and Stella Zhang.


February 11, 2012, 5–6 pm VIP opening, 6–9 pm Public opening

February 26, 2012, 12–3 pm Walk-through curator and artists

March 17, 2012, 3–5 pm Mothers on Motherhood: Dance and Spoken Word Performance

March 31, 2012, 2–5 pm Panel discussion, the social and aesthetic implications of Motherhood, a scholarly interaction

April 14, 2012, 6–10 pm Exhibition closing celebration

-Cheri Gaulke

Feminist Art Workers lead tour of Pacific Standard Time exhibition

“This Ain’t No Heavy Breathing, performance by Feminist Art Workers, 1978
On Saturday, January 14, at 11 am, I will be leading a special tour of the exhibition Doin’ It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building at Otis College of Art and Design. The exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, an initiative of the Getty that explores the birth of the LA art scene. I moved to Los Angeles in 1975 as a young artist to be a part of the feminist art movement and the experience and the times were life-changing. I have two installations at the Otis exhibition representing two collective performance art groups I cofounded – Feminist Art Workers (1976-) and Sisters Of Survival (1981-). Saturday’s tour features Feminist Art Workers and I will be joined by my collaborator Laurel Klick.

Emerging from the educational programs at the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, Feminist Art Workers incorporated techniques of feminist education into participatory performance structures. We addressed issues of community (Heaven or Hell?), violence against women (This Ain’t No Heavy Breathing and Traffic in Women: A Feminist Vehicle), and equal pay for equal work (Bills of Rights). Our performances took place in locations as varied as city streets (Pieta, Afloat), during protest rallies (Draw Your Own Conclusions: Know on 13), in coffee houses, art galleries and museums.

Klick and I will offer insight into this historic art work, the time period, and the Woman’s Building, an organization that has had a huge impact on the form and content of contemporary art. We will also have a sneak preview copy of our new 230-page book, Feminist Art Workers: A History, as well as the book, Sisters Of Survival, about the anti-nuclear performance group that I cofounded. Both books will be available for purchase at $20 (SOS) and $25 (FAW) – cash or check only. This is an excellent opportunity to see one of the most interesting Pacific Standard Time exhibitions and hear personal stories from two artists who lived the history.

I hope to see you on Saturday at 11 am at Otis College of Art and Design Gallery, 4500 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. For more info, go to the gallery website: There are all kinds of video interviews and other interesting stuff that can be found there. And it’s all free!

Also stay tuned for notice of a private tour of my other Pacific Standard Time installation at LACE in Hollywood, which closes January 29. You can always check my blog for information about what I’m up to and if you sign up you’ll receive occasional notices.

Thanks and I hope to see you Saturday!

– Cheri Gaulke

“Pieta, Afloat,” performance by Feminist Art Workers, 1978

Sisterhood City: Feminist Art in Los Angeles

Friday, Jan. 21 at 2 pm I will be participating in a panel discussion at the LA Art Show. The panel, Sisterhood City: Feminist Art in Los Angeles, is moderated by art historian, critic and writer Betty Ann Brown, and includes Otis gallery director Meg Linton, critic Peter Frank, and artists Sandra Rowe, Linda Vallejo and myself (Rachel Rosenthal is unable to participate). Panelists will discuss how politics, history, and geography conspired to make California the perfect locus for the genesis of a rich tradition in feminist art. Come hear us, make comments of your own, and cruise through the L.A. Art Show while you’re there! It’s at the LA Convention Center and you can find more info about parking, admission and a list or art exhibitors at

College Art Association Conference Presentations on Public Art and Motherhood


This Wednesday, February 25, 2009, I will be on two panels at the College Art Association conference in Los Angeles. I am chairing the panel, What’s the Story: Public Art and Narrative. It requires a CAA conference pass which you can find out more about here The second panel, Breaking in Two and Mending: Art and Motherhood, is free and open to the public, as it is sponsored by Women’s Caucus for Art.



 Water Street: River of Dreams, Gaulke's metro station art

What’s the Story? Public Art and Narrative in Los Angeles


Wednesday, February 25, 9:30 am – 12 pm

West Hall Meeting Room 515A, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center

College Art Association 2009, Chair: Cheri Gaulke


Public art can be “plop art,” completely unrelated to its location, or it can be intimately connected to the history, culture, and geography of the place where it is sited. What happens when public artists see themselves in service of a story about the place or community in which the work will exist? What motivates the artist to approach the work in this way and what is the process of researching and creating the work? Los Angeles has a rich tradition of public art ranging from historic works from its founding in the nineteenth century through the WPA era, to more recent murals by community activists, to contemporary artworks integrated into metro stations, libraries, and civic locations. Many of these works reveal fascinating stories about the people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who have contributed to making Los Angeles into a multicultural city.
The presenters on this panel include scholars and working artists who will bring insights into a discussion of such issues as: How do artists distill complex historical stories into visual statements? What is the role of text in narrative-based visual art? How do public artists engage audiences as active viewers? Is collaboration with non-artists a component of making the work? Does the ethnic identity of the artists and the communities, if different, present challenges in the production of the work? Does the gender or politics of the artists to be featured in this panel presentation, which are female and feminist, play a role in their aesthetic or thematic approach?
Outline of Panel Presentations:

Cheri Gaulke – Overview showing many LA works by women and raising some issues that can be discussed

Marlena Doktorczyk Donohue – “The Theory and Practice of Social Story Telling” Donohue will lay out a theoretical framework while discussing specific projects by Kim Abeles and Cheri Gaulke.

Holly Barnet-Sanchez – “Meanings that Change Over Time – The Public Faces of Murals at Estrada Courts Housing Project in East LA” An historic look at murals produced in a federally funded housing project in the 1970s.

May Sun – will present her many works in LA that incorporate text and storytelling including “Listening for the Trains to Come” in Chinatown, “La Ballona” in Culver City, “Sky Coyote” in Woodland Hills, “Flow” in Pasadena, (title?) in Union Station, and the Hollywood & Western Red Line Subway station.

Sheila de Bretteville“LA to Ekaterinburg; how this story develops…” De Bretteville will discuss the evolution of her public art practice from early Los Angeles public artworks (Biddy Mason wall, Little Tokyo sidewalk) to a recent project in Russia.

Jacki Apple – on the Venice Oakwood Project which presents a visual and oral history of African-American seniors in Venice.

 Gaulke and her family

Breaking in Two and Mending: Art and Motherhood

Wednesday, February 25, 12:30 – 2 pm

Concourse Meeting Room 406AB, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center

Sponsored by CAA/Women’s Caucus for Art

A lively discussion about the challenges faced by artist-mothers, as well as the benefits of their very full lives. The session is structured around 5 themes, with two panelists each conversing about that theme. 


Pairings and Themes:

Alison Saar/Tierney Gearon (motherhood as content)

The artist-mother, in her expression of motherhood, breaks away from the image of motherhood fed to us by the media. What new ways do we see artist-mothers expressing an essential topic that has been trivialized and devalued because it is too ‘obvious.’ What is the public’s reaction to these artistic expressions of motherhood?

Kim Yasuda/Cheri Gaulke (the artist’s space and the home space)

How do artist-mothers deal with conflicting priorities? The artist-mother can be pulled equally by both the need to produce art and the need to respond to children’s needs and be present with the family. Culturally, these have been incompatible if we still think of the artist as being selfish, self-obsessed and the mother as selfless, all-sacrificing.Please also discuss partners in the home, especially supportive partners.

Linda Vallejo/Kim Abeles (financial dependence/independence)

How do women make it in the art world? What have been some of the choices they have made in order to sustain their art and make it all work? The social/economical system is not supportive of professional women who have children, and even less of artists who have children. How does this affect women as a whole?  How does it affect different ethnic groups?  For some professions in the arts, is it an advantage to hide one’s identity as mother in order to get a job?

Ruth Weisberg/ Alicia Weisberg-Roberts (generational issues / role models / leading meaningful lives, child’s perspective)

What differences have there been in raising children in the 70s as opposed to raising children today? What rewards have there been for both mother and child when the artist-mother is dedicated to both aspects of her life? What is this like when the children are still at home, as compared to later when the children leave and are independent?

Bruria Finkel/Sabine Sighicelli (exhibition / documentary)

Breaking in Two:  The Exhibition will explore the image and place of the mother in our culture through four generations of artists

Breaking in Two:  The Documentary Film focuses on the creation of this group exhibition, as a starting point for an exploration into the mother’s psyche and into our culture’s conditioning.




Kim Abeles Transforms Trash Into Art at Harvard-Westlake School

Obama in 9 Days of Smog and McCain in 18 Days of Smog, 2008

Obama in 9 Days of Smog and McCain in 18 Days of Smog, 2008

I would like to invite you to check out this exhibition I organized at Harvard-Westlake School where I am now the Visual Arts Department Chair.

Over a period of five weekdays, nationally acclaimed artist Kim Abeles was dumpster diving at Harvard-Westlake’s upper school to collect trash without the general knowledge of students, faculty or staff. She then cleaned, ironed, and assembled the trash in her studio and transformed it into new artwork. Abeles environmental art, as well as works that were collaborations with Harvard-Westlake students, will be featured in the Feldman-Horn Gallery in an exhibition called Nature Studies, from Feb. 9 – March 6. The gallery is open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. school days and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Please join us for two public events on Wednesday, Feb. 18. At 9:35 a.m., Abeles will do a gallery talk especially for students and staff, and she conducts another talk at 6 p.m. especially for parents and the public, which will be followed by a reception until 9 p.m.

Abeles, currently a professor of art at the California State University, Northridge, earned national recognition with her smog series in which she literally invented a way to “paint” with particulate matter. The Harvard-Westlake exhibit will feature her complete collection of presidential smog plates. Other large-scale environmentally themed works on display include The Leaf Lounge (All the World’s Leaves), in which hundreds of fabric leaves were created at five times the normal size in which Gallery visitors are encouraged to lounge!

Leaf Lounge (All the World’s Leaves), 2000

Leaf Lounge (All the World’s Leaves), 2000

Each year, the Harvard-Westlake Visual Arts Department hosts a professional artist’s exhibition in Feldman-Horn Gallery. Inspired by HW’s Green Initiative, Visual Arts Dept. Chair Cheri Gaulke contacted Kim Abeles, who is known for work that addresses environmental issues and often involves communities. Abeles began working with teachers and students to develop projects that involve the skill sets taught within the classes. Students in various departments examined the relationship between humans and the world around them, particularly our consumption-driven culture. Video students recorded Abeles as she dumpster-dove and carried garbage from the trash bins to her car. Math classes evaluated the typical consumption and waste at Harvard-Westlake based on the collected materials, like the amount of water left in discarded water bottles. Photography students investigated the relationship between the sun’s ultraviolet rays and skin tones. Sculpture students made “smog catchers” by using leaves from campus trees. Environmental-science students collected water labels and documented the trash each of them generates over two days. The environmental club and women’s studies students made connections between the environment and Native American spiritual teachings. Journalism students documented the entire process in the school newspaper.

In the spring, a catalog of the exhibition will be published that documents and examines the role of art in education and how art can be a tool for social change around issues such as the environmental crisis. The exhibition and catalog are made possible through the generous support of Harvard-Westlake Trustee Janis Feldman Horn.

For more information, contact Harvard-Westlake Visual Art Department Chair Cheri Gaulke at (818) 487-6596 or

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