Pensacola, Florida
Monday October 15th 2018


A Creative Side of Feminism

By Stephanie Sharp

Pensacola Museum of Art debuts a pop-up exhibit, “Feminist Iconography IV,” this month in partnership with the Women’s Study Collective at UWF and the UWF Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program alongside the traveling exhibit, “Rebels with a Cause: American Impressionist Women.”

The annual pop-up exhibit will feature work from students and faculty of UWF that explores gender, sexuality and feminist themes. In addition to the pop-up exhibit, there will be an opening reception featuring an interdisciplinary lecture that covers the presence of women, sexuality and gender in art throughout history and today.

If the title of the show suggests religious connotations, that’s by design. The Women’s Study Collective and the UWF Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program wants to communicate the power and impact of the feminist issues addressed in the exhibition.

“Using ‘Feminist Iconography’ as the title of our show, we are making a statement that art is a powerful medium which addresses feminist issues such as sexuality, gender and race,” said Maggie Crain, co-president of the Women’s Studies Collective and a history graduate student at UWF. “In many ways, art is being used as a voice and, as such, can claim a place in the larger art-world or culture.”

The show addresses a variety of feminist issues through various mediums and from diverse perspectives. Both UWF faculty and students will have work on display in the pop-up exhibition, disrupting the usual context of the academic structure.

“Everyone’s art is on an equal footing, which is a very feminist concept,” said Crain.

Rebecca Steward, academic advisor for the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UWF, hopes that the exhibit will unite people of different backgrounds and experiences around the common theme of feminism.

“‘Feminist Iconography IV’ is designed to showcase common threads present in various groups of people and disciplines. Our theme is very much intended to embrace diversity by bringing various groups of people together,” said Steward.

The pop-up exhibit is also a way to enrich the visitor’s experience of the female impressionists featured in the traveling exhibit, “Rebels with a Cause: American Impressionist Women,” organized by the Huntsville Museum of Art. “Feminist Iconography” will serve as a modern connection to the impressionist work.

“I think the ultimate goal is to get visitors to the museum to think about the progression of women in art or how feminist ideas are expressed through art,” said Crain.

Kylie Pugh, co-president of the Women’s Studies Collective and an English graduate student at UWF, hopes that the impact of complementing the female-driven “Rebels with a Cause” show with the “Feminist Iconography” pop-up exhibit will drive home the importance of featuring more women in all disciplines.

“Feminism is about inclusivity and equality. These are two things that are often not featured in many disciplines, including art. Having feminist art exhibits proudly puts on display perspectives and themes that you may not typically see in traditional art shows or in the everyday interactions with art,” said Pugh.

This pop-up exhibit will support a critical part of the Women’s Studies Collective’s mission: to heighten the public’s awareness of the issues surrounding Women’s Studies and garner support for women’s issues and experiences.

“Through this art exhibit we can both create a discussion about social justice/injustices as well as celebrate successes within our community. It’s important to create a safe space to foster these values and engage in the important discussions that are cultivated at diversity-centered events such as this exhibit,” said Steward. “Having a feminist-themed art exhibit at a respected community staple such as the PMA is an ideal way to carry out that mission with integrity.”

WHAT: Pop-up exhibit showcasing feminist-minded art from UWF students, staff and faculty
WHEN: On display through Monday, Dec. 11; Interdisciplinary lecture and opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1
WHERE: Pensacola Museum of Art, 407 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $4-$7, free for museum members and children younger than 3