Panel Discussion on Feminist Performance Art in the 1980s

Panel Discussion on Feminist Performance Art in the 1980s

Wed. March 13 at 7 pm I will be in conversation with feminist performance art colleagues Suzanne Lacy, Leslie Labowitz-Starus, and Martha Wilson, and moderated by Dr. Alexandra Juhasz. Sponsored by Pitzer Art Galleries it takes place at the 18th Street Arts Center – 1638 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA. The panel is in conjunction with the exhibition “Martha Wilson” at the Pitzer College Art Galleries. The title of our panel is “We’ll Think of a Title When We Meet AKA LA London Lab.” That was actually the title of a performance series that took place in the 1980s at Franklin Furnace in NY (which was founded by Martha Wilson). The series was a gathering of feminist performance artists from Los Angeles and London. I did a solo performance called “Broken Shoes” as well as a collaborative performance with Feminist Art Workers called “Heartbeats.” Wednesday’s discussion should be interesting. I hope to see you there. –Cheri Gaulke

Gaulke to lead discussion after screening of the film “!Women Art Revolution”

This Wednesday, September 19 at 7:00 pm, I will be leading a short discussion following a screening of “!Women Art Revolution.” This award-winning documentary film by Lynn Hershman-Leeson provides a fascinating chronicle through intimate interviews, art, and rarely seen archival film and video footage. “!Women Art Revolution” reveals how the Feminist Art Movement fused free speech and politics to radically transform the art and culture of our times. The film highlights significant – and often outrageous – moments, many of which played out in Southern California. The film was recently named by MOMA NY as one of the three best documentaries of the year (along with Wim Wenders’ “Pina” and Werner Herzog’s “Into the Abyss”).

The film and discussion will take place Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at 7:00 pm in the Glendale Public Library Auditorium, 222 East Harvard Street, Glendale, CA 91205. Admission is free to the public. Attendees receive 3 hours FREE parking across Harvard Street at The Market Place parking structure with validation at the library’s loan desk.

The program is sponsored by The Associates of Brand Library & Art Center and the Glendale Public Library as part of their REEL ART series which features films with a strong voice and perspective on art, artists, and life. Says Teri Deaver, Director of Events, “by pairing screenings with stimulating talks by experts on film and the topics presented, we hope to provoke thought and conversation”. Arlene Vidor, president of the Brand Associates states that “this is a great opportunity to switch off the home video stream and DVD player and share a film viewing experience with a like-minded audience”. I say, “if you haven’t yet seen this film, now’s your chance!” I hope to see you there.

-Cheri Gaulke

Third Annual ONE Queer Film Fest

Please join me tomorrow when the 3rd Annual ONE Queer Film Fest will screen two short films that I executive produced that also happen to be by my daughters Marka and Xochi Maberry-Gaulke. “This PSA is Gay” was written by Marka and turned into a Claymation by students in my Harvard-Westlake Summer Film Program. “Love Our Families” is a public service announcement created by Xochi and her friend Anjoum Agrama during The Righteous Conversations Project, which brings together Holocaust survivors and teens to make PSAs about contemporary injustices. In addition, Marka and Xochi are featured as subjects in a documentary by Lisa Udelson and Catherine Opie called “Same Difference.” There’s a link to the trailer below.

There are screenings all day long and we are part of the HERE & NOW: Youth & Family Shorts Series from 1 – 2:30 PM at the REDCAT (under Disney Hall). Tickets are available at and cost $13 in advance and $16 at the door.

The fest is a celebration of the rich cultures and diversity within our LGBT communities.  All proceeds benefit the great work of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, the world’s largest LGBT history collection (based right here in LA)!

HERE & NOW: Youth & Family Shorts Series, 1 – 2:30 PM  

Screening followed by panel and Q&A with filmmakers including Cheri Gaulke, Marka and Xochi Maberry-Gaulke.  Panel moderated by James Gilliam, Deputy Director of ACLU Southern California.

Films include:

THIS PSA IS GAY (Miranda Kasher, George Khabbaz, Patric Verrone, Marka Maberry-Gaulke, Albert Zeng) – When a girl wears a rainbow button to school, she discovers that people’s words can sting!

THRESHOLDS (Yovani Flores) – An urban tale about pushing barriers in the moments lived between each breath.

TWO BOYS (Victor Bumbalo) – Two recently transplanted New Yorkers, a mother and her sixteen year-old-son, are lugging a Christmas tree through the streets of Los Angeles unaware of what Christmas has in store for them.

LOVE OUR FAMILIES (Anjoum Agrama, Xochi Maberry-Gaulke, Gabe Benjamin) – A Public Service Announcement that looks at the true meaning of family.

SPIRAL TRANSITION (Ewan Duarte) – A compelling, candid, and interwoven documentary exploring the filmmaker’s relationship with his mother as he transitions genders.

SAME DIFFERENCE (Lisa Udelson and Catherine Opie) – Among the cries of “What about the children?” during the debate over California’s Proposition 8, where were the voices of actual children?

-Cheri Gaulke

Breaking in Two: Visions of Motherhood closes April 14, 2012

Twin Diptych by Cheri Gaulke. Left: The Mamas Pose the Babies. Right: The Babies Pose the Mamas

Tomorrow (April 14) is your last chance to see the wonderful exhibition “Breaking in Two: Visions of Motherhood,” curated by Bruria Finkel, at Arena 1 Gallery, 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. The gallery opens at noon and there’s a closing reception from 6-9 pm which I plan on attending.

I am exhibiting a new photographic work called “Twin Diptych” as well as the video “Our Wedding” and the artists’ book “Marriage Matters.” There’s lots of strong and diverse work in the show and I highly recommend it. Here’s what the Los Angeles Times said about my work:

“One of the most engaging currents threading through the show has to do with reciprocity, the way that children, in effect, birth their parents, endowing them with new, utterly altered identities. In Cheri Gaulke’s poignant “Twin Diptych,” mothers and daughters each get a turn at representing the other. Gaulke and her wife, Sue, pose their teenage twins as winged, gossamer-draped angels, a tongue-in-cheek coda to the similarly staged baby picture the girls hold before them. The girls, in turn, picture their mothers with equally exaggerated grimness, unsmiling, in matching black, their colorful glasses and blue-streaked hair the only overt notes of subversion.” –Leah Ollman

The participating artists include: 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 Agustsson Saar, Lesley Saar, Reva Santo, Sylvia Sher, Amy Shimshon-Santo, Elena Mary Siff, Doni Silver Simons, Linda Vallejo, June Wayne, Ruth Weisberg, Kim Yasuda and Shuang Zhang.

-Cheri Gaulke

Visual Art Source Editorial on Cheri Gaulke

Reprinted from Visual Art Source, Weekly Newsletter, January 20, 2012

Editor’s Note
by Marlena Donohue

The trouble with cliché’s, stereotypes and all such quick handled ways of seeing and being is they’re fixed – caught in historic, conceptual, ideological stop frames. We need them because to relearn everything at each encounter is evolutionarily untenable. But these hooks are limiting, subject to abuses of laziness and vast misuse. Nothing you needed me to tell you.

How does this relate to our cultural moment? Particularly in art we act on labels, move from brand after brand; the fertile, intricate, messy reality that art invariably points to gets trumped by the trope.

Case in point: For decades L.A. was by moniker a cultural backwater. In fact, during the late 1940s/early ’50s, in the run-down hooker district of turned-ever-so-hipster Venice, some of this city’s now fabled artists were composing detritus, colonizing vernacular spaces — coffee shops, garages – right alongside Rauschenberg’s New York combines and high theory’s institutional critique.

Pacific Standard Time argues persuasively that this nearly four decade “get thee to New York” business was more of a repeated word fiction than something accurately describing the creative reality here. As PST winds down, we find that through the miracle of Chiat Day’s ad men and the Getty gazillions, L.A. has overnight become another formulaic: “uncovered art Mecca.” Both the good and the ugly L.A. are simplistic abstractions that obscure the city’s lived experience, the actuality of art made here, the exhilaration and complete, serious bummer of a place we all plot to exit daily, but like a really screwed up but sexy lover, never can quite quit.

This applies to everything. For years and years, Feminism here was subsumed under the truly philistine rubric of “hysterical lesbians.” PST venues and the remarkable scholarship that those generous Getty funds allowed reveal the prescient conceptual sophistication of very early L.A. feminist thought and art. The late Arlene Raven was teaching that history was not unfolding destiny, but one of many permitted stories way back in the ’70s.

So in this spirit, I want to call attention to the career and current LACE PST entry by pioneering feminist Cheri Gaulke. Since its inception, Gaulke’s work has asked questions about margins and centers, about what exactly a lived body — female or other — means in an age of vastly constructed identities. Her classic “This is My Body” from the mid-70s featured the naked, model-gorgeous (and openly lesbian) Gaulke on a large cross reaching Eve-like for an apple, not because we gals and our wayward instincts simply cannot refuse the bad boys like Satan, but as a metaphor for choice. Gaulke went on to co-found the Feminist Art Workers, linking community work with artwork (anticipating the field of art now called “public practice”). Alongside discourses on the gendering of art history, she rode through Century City in a pick-up draped on the lap of fellow artist Nancy Angelo to reclaim for women Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and the notion of compassion.

Gaulke’s Metro Gold Line project reminded us about L.A.’s deeply indigenous origins (something else we just now “discovered” through the wonders of PST). Her book art is extensive — my favorite being a beautiful investigation of foot binding and the ‘torque’ on the female form and psyche when both of these are bent to fit some code. In Gaulke’s current installation at LACE, the foot/shoe metaphor returns. Viewers are invited to don shoes — men’s, women’s — while video projections record feet walking on differing terrain. That we fetishize and eroticize through clichés, that we can perform – in an act of choice – a variety of selves, that we are able to be inclusive rather than hierarchic, that unchecked abstractions are not lived reality – Gaulke creatively addresses all of  this and more.