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Mothernism is a nomadic tent camp audio installation and a book, dedicated to staking out and making speakable the “mother-shaped hole in contemporary art discourse.”

Since 2013, the installation has travelled to various venues in the United States (The Poor Farm in Manawa, Vox Populi in Philadelphia and Ordinary Projects and the Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago) and has also spawned a series of panels and “story time” readings as well as the curatorial project 3am Maternal at Vox Populi in Philadelphia. I am posting updates on this blog as the project progressed and still progresses.

In the summer of 2015 it travelled to Europe and visited South Bank University in London (GB), The Rijksakademi in Amsterdam and Upominki and Printroom in Rotterdam (NL). Rotterdam was also the site for the related symposium “The Mothernists.”

In recent months and weeks I have had the pleasure of touring the Mothernism installation to some great venues in the United States, including the Elisabeth Foundation in New york (NY), the Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial in Elmhurst (IL) and my first US museum solo at The Contemporary Austin (TX). As the good-enough mother she is, the installation accommodates the different spaces she visits to make it what we need… and this old mama is only getting more photogenic with age. Photos from the 2015/2016 Mothernism tour can be found here on this blog:


Thesis Abstract: Mothernism


At the intersection of feminism, science fiction and disco, “Mothernism” aims to locate the mother-shaped hole in contemporary art and discourse.

The central hypothesis being examined is if the proverbial Mother is perhaps perceived as a persona non grata in the art world, because her nurturing nature is at odds with the hyperbolic ideal of the singular artistic genius.

But what do mothers really do? They nurture and educate other people. Like artists and curators they give them a piece of their minds and, sometimes, their bodies.

In keeping with this generous principle, “Mothernism” is a hybrid project consisting of visual, spatial and textual components forming a synergetic, immersive whole: Through the letter writing and art production of the fictional alma mater Queen Leeba it explores the perceived schism, as well as the overlap, between mothering and artistic and curatorial practice.

Mothernism operates as a practice-based approach to critical research, and engages what can be dubbed “confluences of influences”: seeking to eke out information not solely from primary sources, but more importantly from their non-obvious interconnectedness.

Professor and Chair, Painting and Drawing Department,
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Dean of Graduate Studies
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Ph.D., Associate Professor Visual and Critical Studies & Liberal Arts School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This Thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.

Department of Visual and Critical Studies
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, May 2013

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