Opening reception: Tuesday, April 11, 6-8 p.m.
What I Want: Women, Design, and Empowerment explores the complex and sometimes-contradictory
role that design has played from the mid-Twentieth Century, through second wave
feminism, to present non-binary intersections in the pursuit of gender expression
and equality for those who have uteruses, menstruate, and/or identify as women.
The exhibition features objects, interfaces, and clothing that have sought
to enable those who have uteruses, menstruate, or embrace womanhood as
independent and creative subjects in a material world largely designed by and
for men but consumed by those who identify as women.
Design’s relationship with the individual and with societies is rarely uncomplicated.
With the introduction of the contraceptive pill came the rise of laws designed
to constrict reproductive rights for people with uteruses; for every breast pump
that facilitates new parents’ choices about work and nutrition, there exists a
poorly designed familial leave policy; and so many designs “for her,” even for
very young girls, come with the baggage of implicit and explicit expectations
about class, race, gender performance, labor, and sexuality.
This exhibition begins a dialogue around designs created to emancipate those
who menstruate, give birth, and/or identify as women. It asks visitors to
contemplate, from their own positions, the ways in which these products,
garments, and interfaces have, for better and sometimes for worse, governed,
shaped, and facilitated modern and contemporary experiences.
exhibition is co-organized by independent curators Jimena Acosta and
Michelle Millar Fisher (part-time faculty, School of Art and Design History and
66 Fifth Ave., Ground FloorArnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
The New School