This weekend wrapped up artist and faculty member Micol Hebron’s wrap-around installation at
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)
gallery. Hebron literally wall-papered the gallery space with posters from her
project — leaving a partial wall open for attendees who felt inspired to contribute a creation.
About 20 people took up the creativity mantle, adding to the 450-plus poster collection. Next on the docket for the collection and Hebron is an installation at Ohio State University,
San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art
, then onward to Europe. Along the way, Hebron is using the Tally installations as a backdrop for community discussion on current issues in feminism.
“Starting to make good use of the sabbatical time,” Hebron says with a laugh.
The traveling installation has always had a vein of community building surrounding it, as it was born out of crowd-sourced art. That element of pulling from artists the world over and adding their voices to a visual conversation on disparate art practices lends itself to making the installation itself a platform for feminist discussion, in this instance to draw in youth, male and trans feminists.
At the youth open mic night at LACE, the discussion about the future of feminism came from local high school students in Los Angeles.
“We don’t get to hear from teenagers that much in ways that highlight and values their perspectives,” Hebron said.
Some of the male students from Hollywood High School had interviewed Hebron in a documentary touching on topical issues in social justice, feminism in general, LGBTQ youth and homelessness. Now on the other side of the mic, those students, as well as others, discussed feminism’s impact on their lives.
“We had a great conversation on what it is to be a male – stereotypes and clichés they encountered as men trying to talk about [feminism],” Hebron said.
In addition to giving youth a chance to speak, incorporating discussions of trans-feminist issues and perspectives in conjunction with gallery installations provides an avenue to talk about taking feminism out of the “girls club.”
Hebron said one of the more contentious issues in feminism today is how some sectors of the community react towards trans-women joining the discussion. Hebron said that recently there has been backlash in some regards to inclusion – some sectors feel giving more energy toward discussing trans issues detracts from the struggles of non-trans women. Some of the recent news related to that backlash, Hebron said, has been extremely negative and potentially hurtful. So, a trans-led discussion was built with local activist Ada Tinnell and Chapman alum Addison Rose Vincent’15.
“We wanted to provide a way to talk about it and provide the community with the tools to discuss that,” Hebron said.
Feminism has been at the heart of the project since its inception in 2013, when Hebron was idly flipping through arts magazines and noticing that gallery shows were showing predominantly male artists. But it’s not for a lack of female artists, Hebron says. More than 50 percent of arts degrees in the United States are conferred to women, according to the education majors portion of the 2009 U.S. Census.
However, the representation of female to male work in major galleries is skewed at 30 percent versus 70 percent. Through no active intent, the percentage representation of female to male created art is flipped in Gallery Tally submissions.
“Feminism is something that should concern and benefit everybody. It’s in everybody’s best interest if we have a community that treats everybody equally,” Hebron said. “We have so much to give.”
Featured at top: The Gallery Tally plasters the walls of LACE.