Art-world activism was out in full force in the streets of New York City this weekend, where Michele Pred led feminist artists from all over the country in the We Vote parade. The march kicked off in Washington Square Park and processed across 14th Street and up Tenth Avenue to Nancy Hoffman Gallery, where Pred’s solo exhibition is on view through November 24.
“I had asked to have the show timed to the election,” Pred told artnet News at Saturday’s march. “I felt like it was a really powerful time to do a public piece. I see it as a piece from my show, getting it out in the public eye and sharing it with everyone. Making a public statement and taking it outside the white walls is a really key element for me.”
We Vote is a sequel of sorts to Pred’s Parade Against Patriarchy, which she staged outside the convention center during last year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach. Many of those artists, including Krista Suh, creator of the Pussyhat, and Ann Lewis, who showed in the NYCLU’s recent Museum of Broken Windows exhibition, were back for round two, bringing new feminist works aimed at galvanizing voters to take to the polls today.
This time around, Pred launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the parade, raising $17,065 to provide travel grants to artists traveling from cities across the world to New York for the occasion—Pred is from Oakland, and other participants live in London, Stockholm, Detroit, Seattle, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, as well as New York—as well as for video and photographic documentation, insurance, permits, and staff.
Chanting all the way, the marchers implored the gathering crowds to vote. Promisingly, jaded New Yorkers clapped and cheered as the procession passed, many promising to do their civic duty and visit the polls on November 6.
artnet News spoke with 11 artists and artist groups at the We Vote parade about their works and why they came out for the march.
1. Michele Pred, My Body My Business
“I’ve been making these bulletproof vests with one of my taglines—’My Body My Business’—that I’ve been using for a long time. I decided to feminize it a little bit and make it ‘we can be powerful, we can be bulletproof, we can go and stand out and make out voices heard.’ It’s taking military police garb and transforming it into something powerful for feminists.”
2. Alessandra Mondolfi, Vote
“These midterms are the most important, defining, crucial election in my lifetime in this country. The future of this country is on the ballots: It’s either dictatorship or democracy. Your choice.”
3. Ebony Brown, Vagina Butterfly
“I look for every opportunity to wear a costume and express myself. I’m a vagina butterfly; I based it on a doodle I always do. It’s just sweet and pretty; I’m trying to popularize the vagina. [I wanted to participate] because of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing. My mom went to high school with Anita Hill. I was really young when that was happening, so I didn’t really understand the intensity of what she went through. I think we need to have more women in office. Too many men make decisions about women and it feels as though we’re going backwards as a society.”
4. Krista Suh, Bite Into Democracy
“This design is from my ‘What Would Eve Do’ series. I was haunted by how literally the Genesis origin story of the Western world is about how a woman wanted something and she screwed it up for the rest of us. I think that’s still following us today when a woman seeks higher office and people freak out. I wanted to reclaim that story. And the apple is about the first bite of knowledge and how women took that bite, and also [the knowledge that comes with] voting. And you can buy this fabric and download the instructions on how to make this apple on my website, and host your own vote parade.”
5. Bud Snow, Protection Dress
“I was inspired by many stories throughout history about women hiding children under their gown to protect them. I’m an immigrant from Vancouver, and I’ve lived here for 12 years, but I’m not allowed to vote in this country. At this time in our political climate, it was important for me to come to New York and represent with an energetic protection dress for people who are hiding or fearful right now about being extradited from the country. Normally, this shows as a sculpture hanging from a ceiling in a gallery, so this is the first time I’ve worn it in public.
6. Ann Lewis, Actions of Feminists
“It’s an extensive list of actions we can all take in our daily lives to promote intersectional feminism, to support people of all genders, all sexual orientations, all socioeconomic spaces—there’s a lot to talk about here, but they’re free and you can pick them up at Nancy Hoffman Gallery.”
7. Daniela Puliti, Art, Empathy, Community, Voice, Choice & Vote
“Each hexagon is a different combination of colors. The white actually has a range of five skin tone colors. It’s a play off the red white and blue but the white is many shades. The white, pink, and blue border is for the trans community, and everything is stitched around with the rainbow for LGTB. I use crochet a lot in my art practice. I create fiber installations with a combination of weaving techniques, and this is just a wearable version.”
8. Andrea Lauer, Brick x Brick
“Sarah Sandman’s my partner in crime for this project, but she’s out canvassing today. We started two years ago and have done it in 19 states. We had 220 suits made in Nepal in this ethical manufacturing development, funded by a $20,000 Kickstarter campaign, and we silk-screened 6,000 patches in our studio in Brooklyn [based on offensive things that Trump has said about women]. There are different people who perform with us every time, building a wall against misogyny. We have a mailing list of 2,000 people.”
9. Michelle Hartney, Trump’s Flag
“I spent a year unraveling five American flags, including one huge 10-foot flag, and I made them into a mop. It’s a piece about free speech about the domestic labor that women and immigrants and African Americans have done for our country.”
10. Holly Ballard Martz, Old Glory
(whitewashed and monetized) and Equal Protection Body Armor
“The flag is an actual US flag that I took the color out of and added vinyl, stuffing it with shredded US currency. I started removing color from flags right after the  election. It was based on this idea that the president-elect was openly supporting white suprematism and that he was taking all the color out what should be our country. Money in politics. It’s ridiculous how those people with money are controlling where our country is headed.
“The vest is based on the idea is that the Constitution is a promise of protection, but it’s not protecting us in the way that it should. It mimics body armor but obviously, it can’t protect us from a bullet.”
11. Christen Clifford and Amy Finkbeiner, Flower Kart
Clifford: “This is Flower Kart; it was also in ‘Art in Odd Places: Body.’ It’s a matriliny access station.”
Finkbeiner: “It’s about the unpatriation and redistribution of information, knowledge, and supplies toward repossession of our bodies.”
Clifford: “We’re giving away sex-ed themed copies of Bell Hooks’s Understanding Patriarchy, [writings by] Silvia Federici, we have period supplies, emergency birth control, and two medical abortions.”
See more photos from the We Vote Parade below.
“Michele Pred: Vote Feminist” is on view at Nancy Hoffman Galery, through 520 West 27th Street, October 16–November 24, 2018.
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