Last Saturday, about 600 volunteers in 31 venues around the globe engaged in a collective effort to change the world, one Wikipedia entry at a time.
In the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, in nonprofits and art schools, in museums and universities, these people—mostly women—set out to write entries, uncredited and unpaid, for the fast-growing crowd-sourced online encyclopedia.
At a time when Wikipedia is becoming increasingly influential, “it’s really tangible to be able to fix something that is visibly wrong,” says Jacqueline Mabey, a co-organizer of Saturday’s Edit-a-Thon with Siân Evans of the Art Libraries Society of North America’s Women and Art Special Interest Group, Michael Mandiberg, an artist and associate professor at CUNY who teaches with Wikipedia, and current Eyebeam Fellow Laurel Ptak.
More than 150 people crowded into Eyebeam’s Chelsea headquarters during Saturday’s event, while satellite venues reported turnouts ranging from 6 to 60.
Volunteers versed in the process, protocol, and ethic of Wikipedia gave tutorials to the newcomers, who were mostly artists, activists, students, and scholars. They learned what constitutes a proper reference, how to create external links, and when and where to put footnotes. They learned that people can’t write about themselves, and what kind of sources are acceptable.
By the end of the day, around 100 new entries were up (around 80 more were enhanced). The new pages, devoted to figures ranging from Australian modernists Ethel Spowers and Dorrit Black to Catalan painter Josefa Texidor i Torres to contemporary artists including Mary Miss, Xaviera Simmons, Audrey Flack, and Monika Bravo, vary widely in scope, grammar, and quality of content. But the Wikipedia team expects that blips will vanish as the hive mind has its work on the entries.
“You have someone you know a lot about? It takes ten minutes,” says Ximena Gallardo C., a gender and film scholar at LaGuardia Community College. “This is the world brain. It’s just starting.”
“The event seemed like a new kind of consciousness raising that was very goal-oriented,” says Casamento, a masters student in American literature at Brooklyn College. “It was aimed at writing women into history in a new way for the digital age—by giving more women the awareness and tools to take matters in their own hands.”
To see the list of artists, along with the other cultural figures and movements added to Wikipedia during the Art+Feminism campaign, click here. Following are excerpts from some of the new entries:
Mequitta Ahuja (born 1986) is an African American painter. She received her BA at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (1998), and her MFA at University of Illinois in Chicago, IL (2003). She refers to her works as “automythographies,” or which she explains as “process of identity formation in which nature, culture, and self-intervention merge.”
She tends to feature vast landscapes with an abstract touch displaying warriors, goddesses, and other fantastical beings. Her work has been featured globally, in countries such as the United States, France, Brussels, Germany, India and Dubai. Her work has received the 2011 Tiffany Foundation Award, a 2009 Joan Mitchell Award, and the 2008 Houston Artadia Prize.
Dorrit Black (23 December 1891 – 13 September 1951) was an Australian painter and printmaker of the Modernist school, known for being a pioneer of Modernism in Australia…. Her work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia as well as in many state and regional galleries, and in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Black was influenced by the Modernist and Cubist art movements she was exposed to in London and Paris…. Black is noted for her painting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as it was being constructed.
Cosima von Bonin (born 1962) is a German contemporary artist…. Cosima von Bonin was born in Mombasa, Kenya… [H]er experiences in Africa may have been the inspiration for one of her future exhibitions, “Ein Löwe im Bonsaiwald (Lion in a Bonsai Forest), in Cologne (1997).” …
One of the focuses of von Bonin’s artistic works is to draw links between works of art and the world of fashion, music and architecture. Her creations frequently include collaboration with other artists for collective activities, including parties, DJ sets, music performances and audio and video exhibitions, effectively making them of an ephemeral nature.
Monika Bravo (born 1964) is a multi-disciplinary artist born in Bogotá, Colombia, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York…. Her work has received acclaim including a 1999 New York Times review [that] called her piece Synchronicity (from a group exhibition at El Museo del Barrio) a “standout…small, beautifully blurry video images of boats plowing through New York Harbor…”… Among Bravo’s most well-known artworks is September 10, 2001, Uno Nunca Muere La Vispera dedicated to artist Michael Richards who died in Tower One on the morning of the September 11 attacks.
Laurie Halsey Brown is an artist and curator based in San Francisco. Best known for her collaborative projects incorporating urban landscapes, Brown founded, in 2008, the artistic laboratory senseofplace LAB…. Brown was one of 15 artists that were part of a residency program, sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, located in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center when the September 11 attacks destroyed both the working space and the council’s Tower 5 office. The group exhibited nonetheless, showing at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
Doris Porter Caesar (8 November 1892 – 1971) was an American sculptor best known for her portrayals of the nude female body. Doris Porter Caesar was born in Brooklyn…. In 1925 she studied under Alexander Archipenko, under whom she developed her expressionistic approach to representing the female body….
Caesar experimented with sculpting the female body in clay, bronze, and brass, often elongating the figures to be taller than human height. In 1927, she cast her first bronze, the primary material she would work with throughout her career…. There, she was inspired by Ernst Barlach, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, and Käthe Kollwitz, whose work led her to turn away from classical forms and begin distorting the figures she sculpted until they were “stick-like.” … In an article published in Hill News (March 11, 1975), Caesar says that she chose sculpture “because its big and fights against you all the time.”
Sonia Ebling (Taquara, 1918–2006) was a Brazilian sculptor and teacher…. Eblin represented Brazil in dOCUMENTA of Kassel, and participated in the seventh São Paulo Biennial….
[S]he received an order for a relief to be installed in the Palace of the Arches in Brasília. In 1970, she taught a course in cement sculpture at the School of Fine Arts at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; six years later, she was invited to assume the chair of sculpture at the same university. Her work in cement includes the adding of oxide pigments and vegetable fibers, creating a durable and adaptable piece of art characterized as both a painting and a sculpture. She died in 2006.
Audrey L. Flack (born 1931 in New York) is an American artist known for her pioneering contributions to photorealist painting, printmaking, and public sculpture. Flack studied fine arts in New York from 1948 to 1953, studying under Josef Albers among others. She earned a graduate degree and received an honorary doctorate from Cooper Union in New York City, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Yale University. She studied art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
Flack’s early work in the 1950s was abstract; one such painting paid tribute to Franz Kline. The ironic kitsch themes in her early work influenced Jeff Koons. But gradually, Flack became a New Realist and then evolved into photorealism during the 1960s. She was the first photorealist painter to be added to the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in 1966.
Tina Girouard (born 1946, Louisiana) is an American artist best known for her work and involvement in the SoHo art scene of the 1960s and early 1970s. Although not as widely recognized as some of her contemporaries, she was “an early founding participant of 112 Greene St., FOOD, the Clocktower and PS1, Creative Time, Performance Art and the Fabric Workshop” and “In addition to her own projects she was involved in films, videos and performances by Keith Sonnier, Richard Serra, Lawrence Weiner, Laurie Anderson and the Natural History of the American Dancer, among others.”
Girouard’s work was featured in a solo exhibition curated by Susan Rothenberg at CUE Art Foundation in 2004. More recently it was shown as part of “112 Greene Street: The Early Years (1970-1974)” curated by Jessamyn Fiore at David Zwirner Gallery in New York in 2011, and included in the related publication.
Eve Andree Laramee is an Ecological artist and professor whose interdisciplinary artworks operate at the confluence of art and science. … Laramee’s interest in the history and culture of science has resulted in collaborations with physicists, hydrologists, geologists, biogeographers, and ecologists since the 1980s…. Her artwork investigates the environmental and health impacts of atomic legacy sites. Her work tracks the invisible traces left behind by the nuclear weapons complex and its “peaceful” dopplegänger, the nuclear energy industry, as well as other forms of environmental degradation.
Simone Leigh (Born 1968) is an American contemporary artist. Leigh works in sculpture, video, and installation. Her influences include African art, ethnography and feminism. Her sculptures mix surreal juxtapositions of ceramics with found objects. Her motifs include cowrie shells, roses, plantains, urns, and toilet bowl plungers; these forms, both molded and handcrafted, are often assembled, stacked, or hung in groups. … Her 2012 exhibition at The Kitchen was well received, with positive reviews in Art 21, Artnet.com, and Ebony.
Eve Mosher is an American environmental artist living and working in New York City. She is best known for her public art installation HighWaterLine, which premiered in New York City in 2007. Her predictions about where waters would rise due to climate change were validated by flood levels during Hurricane Sandy in 2012…. Eve Mosher used topographic maps, satellite images, and data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, to predict the locations likely to be subject to flooding. Then Mosher walked 70 miles of New York coastline to draw a 4″ blue chalk line on the ground, marking the predicted water levels.
Senga Nengudi was born as Sue Irons in Chicago in 1943 but grew up in Los Angeles and Pasadena. … Nengudi was part of the radical, avant-garde black art scenes in both New York City and Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1975, Nengudi began her “Respondez s’il vous plait” (RSVP) series for which she is best known. Combining her interest in movement and sculpture, Nengudi created abstract sculptures of everyday objects through choreographed sets which were either performed in front of a live audience or captured on camera. … Complicating cultural, ethnic and racial classification became as central to Nengudi’s work as her handling of gender constraints. She often combines African, Asian and Native American art forms in particular for her performance pieces and staged photographs.
Lisa Oppenheim was born in New York City. … Oppenheim’s work plays with the process of creating photographs and film. Her pieces often question the documentary genre as well as the concept of archives. In utilizing archival sources, she interrogates and reappropriates the archival function of narrative-making and -omitting, and how narrative and imagery are intertwined but ultimately separate. In work such as Lunagrams (2010) in which she exposed archival glass negatives using moonlight, Oppenheim experiments with time as a force of art and imagery. Oppenheim has had the honor of many solo and group exhibitions at international venues including the Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum in New York City, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, the Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska in Bosnia, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Ecological artist Aviva Rahmani’s public and ecological art projects have involved collaborative inter-disciplinary community teams with scientists, planners, environmentalists and other artists. Her projects range from complete landscape restorations to museum venues that reference painting, sound and photography….One of Rahmani’s best known works is Ghost Nets, 1990-2000 (Tallmer, Kagan, Carruthers, Genocchio), which includes her original theories of environmental restoration and trigger point theory….Rahmani’s current work reflects her interest in the application of mapping analysis, to “explore potential solutions for urban and rural water degradation in large landscapes.” Virtual Cities and Oceans of If and the on-going Virtual Concerts address global warming and geo-political conflicts by demonstrating, analyzing and interpreting the local impact of global warming at international real world sites.
Clare Rojas (born 1976) is an internationally shown artist, considered to be part of the Mission School. She is “known for creating powerful folk-art-inspired tableaus that tackle traditional gender roles.”
She works in a variety of media, including painting, installations, video, and children’s books. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design.
Rojas also plays guitar and banjo under the stage name Peggy Honeywell. She has released two albums: Faint Humms (2005) and Green Mountain (2006). In her more recent work, Rojas has moved from figurative paintings into pure geometric abstraction.
Joan Semmel (born October 19, 1932, New York City) is an American feminist painter, professor, and writer. She is best known for painting large scale, realistic nudes of her own body as seen from her perspective looking down…. Semmel’s most recent solo show was “Joan Semmel: The Lucid Eye” at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2013…. Her awards include the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award 2013, Anonymous Was a Woman, and the National Endowment for the Arts awards…. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC), and the Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, NY).
Xaviera Simmons is an American Artist based in New York City who works with performance, photography and installation. Recent solo exhibitions include David Castillo Gallery, Miami (2013), More Art, New York (2012), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2011), and Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York (2011). She has also performed or presented work at such venues as the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Museum of Modern Art, New York; New National Museum of Monaco; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and SculptureCenter, New York.
Split Britches is an American performance troupe, which has been producing work internationally since 1980. Split Britches was founded by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, and Deb Margolin in New York City in 1980…. In Split Britches: Lesbian Practice/Feminist Performance, critic and theorist Sue Ellen Case aptly sums up the importance of the trio in the development of contemporary lesbian performance: “the troupe created a unique ‘postmodern’ style that served to embed feminist and lesbian issues of the times, economic debates, national agendas, personal relationships, and sex-radical role playing in spectacular and humorous deconstructions of canonical texts, vaudeville shtick, cabaret forms, lip-synching satire, lyrical love scenes, and dark, frightening explorations of class and gender violence.”
Ethel Spowers (11 July 1890 – 5 May 1947) was an Australian artist associated with the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. … Spowers trained as an artist in Melbourne, with some study in Paris as well (most notably with André Lhote). …She was one of several Australian women artists at the Grosvenor School, including Dorrit Black and Eveline Syme. Spowers mounted an exhibition of Australian linocuts in Melbourne in 1930. In 1932, she became a founder of the Contemporary Art Group, promoting modern art in Australia. Spowers apparently destroyed some of her original works late in life; the surviving prints are especially valued by collectors in recent years. In 2011, Ethel Spowers’ “Wet Afternoon” sold in New York City for £51,650, much higher than any of her previous works had brought at auction. The next year, Spowers’ “The Gust of Wind” more than doubled that mark, selling for £114,050 in April 2012, a record price for any Grosvenor School print up to that date.
Frances Stark (born 1967) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer, whose work centers around the use and meaning of language, and the translation of this process into the creative act. She often works with carbon paper to hand-trace letters, words, and sentences from classic works by Emily Dickinson, Goethe, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and others to explore the voices and interior states of writers. She uses the hand-traced words, often in repetition, as visual motifs in drawings and collage compositions that reference a subject, mood, or another discipline, such as music, architecture, or philosophy. Her work had been exhibited internationally, including the 2008 Whitney Biennial, the Performa 11 biennial, and the 54th Venice Biennale. Stark is also a writer of prose and poetry that has been published in various magazines, catalogues, and books. Born in 1967 in Newport Beach, California, Frances Stark is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles…. Stark, in addition to Laura Owens and Sharon Lockhart, is from a group that came to be known as “L.A. Women Artists.”
Lill Tschudi (1911–2004) was a Swiss artist associated with the Grosvenor School of Modern Art…. Lill Tschudi was born at Schwanden, Glarus, Switzerland…. Tschudi officially studied at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art from 1929 to 1930. From 1931 to 1933, she lived in Paris and studied with André Lhote, Gino Severini, and Fernand Léger…. Her typical subjects included athletes, such as skiiers and cyclists, transportation scenes, workers, and musicians…. Tschudi died in Switzerland in 2004, age 93…. Prints by Grosvenor School artists, including Tschudi, proved popular at a 2012 auction in London.
Zarina Hashmi (born 1937) is an Indian artist who produces work in a number of forms, primarily using paper. Her work spans drawing, printmaking, papermaking, sculpture, and drawing. Born in Aligarh, India, she has lived and worked in New York since the 1970s. She has lived also lived in Thailand, Germany, France, and Japan. Her work is abstract and minimal and explores the concept of home. The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles organized the first retrospective of her work with “Zarina: Paper Like Skin,” an exhibition that traveled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has also been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.