Category Archives: Women

Marking the days…

As I had hoped in my last post, I did complete Grad School. I submitted all my papers and finished all projects assigned. It was a significant marker in my life, but not as big as the one that is about to unfold.

My mother-in-law has been the closest (geographic) relative, aside from my husband, since I moved to NYC. In fact, the act of moving to NY nearly a decade ago placed me roughly three thousand miles away from my entire immediate family.

In a few short weeks, I will start living just a short drive up the road from my mother-in-law. This act marks a significant shift in my adult experience of familial proximity and relational intentionality.

I don’t know what the future holds for me without a school year cycle to order the days, with this new experience of community, and an open ended moment of my career. What I do know is that I’m trying to carve out a space where things move slower, where my impact is deeper, and my dreams can shape reality.

Is it asking too much of life to hope for something different, more than what I’ve found so far? I hope not. Still, my nerves are on alert.

In this new space I will be taking risks, but betting on myself; I will be focusing on small things, but hoping for many ripples; and I will be a part of a team, rather than an individual.

Here’s to it.

Hero-ine Space


If you only see one movie this year that stars Sandra Bullock, make it GRAVITY, (but I admit that I enjoyed ‘The Heat‘ as well.) This subtle, yet complex, story line is paired with outstanding effects and manages to explore a range of primal notions of humanity – birth, death, faith, rebirth, reincarnation, evolution, weakness, (and the polar north that is George Clooney.)

Still from 'Gravity'
Still of Bullock, from ‘Gravity’

This film may not make many young girls want to go out and be astronauts. In fact, there were moments where it made me question why we dare to leave the atmosphere at all! However, it was a very well told story that I’d encourage you to see played out – the first chance you get. Bullock delivers believable moments of terror, and gives (what I thought to be) a remarkably unsentimental performance of a character so tragic as ‘Ryan Stone’.

I recommend this 3D movie not just for the glasses, but also for the interesting take on a silver screen heroine, and another look at a group of unusually specialized civilians that many of us idolized as children.

Astronaut Catherine 'Cady' Coleman
Astronaut Catherine ‘Cady’ Coleman

The faces of 14 women you should know.

Taylor, Alen “International Women’s Day 2013” In Focus, The Atlantic.

“The fourteen current elected or appointed female heads of government. From top left, in order by length of time in office:
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. President of Argentina, Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, and Park Geun-hye, the newly elected President of South Korea.
(Reuters/Sebastien Pirlet, Thierry Gouegnon, Marcos Brindicci, Sukree Sukplang, Ints Kalnins, Petar Kujundzic, Andrea De Silva, Andrew Taylor, Claudio Reyes, Bazuki Muhammad, Ints Kalnins, Lucas Jackson, Unati Ngamntwini, Ahn Young-joon)”

Guest Interview for CIVA: Moving Image/Subjective Surface

Originally Posted: December 3, 2012, 10am, CIVA

An Interview with Karen Brummund, Artist in Residence, DGW 2012
By Bonnie Kate 

Earlier this year, CIVA assembled thirty-some young female artists, historians, and administrators for a conference situated in scenic Vermont. The conference, Doing Good Well (or DGW,) set out to celebrate, encourage, and further train a select group of skilled women working in creative fields. I was honored to be among the attendees of the conference as an Independent Curator and Arts Administrator alongside some truly brilliant individuals from several different disciplines, counties and continents. 

DGW was first held early in 2011, and has received support through the Sister Fund and Sword and Spoon Foundation. Laura Cootsona directed the conference with significant leg-work by Shannon Sigler (CIVA’s Associate Director) and their remarkable leadership team: Jinny Bult De Young, Saundra Diehl, Linda Stratford, JJ Hansen, Allison Cook, Marianne Lettieri, and Kimberly J. Miller, with 2012 apprentices Janna Dyk, Kim Garza, and artist in residence, Karen Brummund.

During this rare event, Karen Brummund engaged the attendees of DGW in a site-responsive project of interpreting the homestead façade, (298 Holiday Farms,) located on the property in Vermont.  Ms. Brummund describes the process on her website saying, “Over the course of one weekend, arts professionals made images that represent this building and shared context. Their marks, both abstract and representational, are projected onto the building and blend with the physical place.” The result was an installation that both reflected Karen’s historical style of work and our very mission of sharing together in generative dialogue.

298 Holiday Farms by Karen Brummund from kmmbrummund on Vimeo.

Intrigued by Karen’s unpretentious, physical, and time-based process – she and I continued to dialogue after departing from Vermont. I began to imagine what it could be like to encounter her work in an urban setting such as my own neighborhood. Karen employs somewhat common aesthetic values such as the photocopy, or line drawings (made by collaborators with various skill levels,) and projects the interpretations of the surface onto the original. The outcome is curious, surprising, arresting, and yet accessible and familiar through her choice of media. 

Below is the result of an interview that occurred over the last month between Karen and myself via email. I hope that her words and work inspire your thinking about surface, structures, and sublimity, as they have mine.


Bonnie Kate:
Karen, Tell me a little about your roots/Where you come from.

Karen Brummund:
I grew up in Atlanta.

My background is actually in education and community development. I was drawn to the philosophical aspects of education and eventually realized I was approaching curriculum development more like an artist.

In order to explore a new career path, I went to graduate school for fine art in London at the University of East London. Once I realized that I don’t like (and am not that good at) painting… I became more interested in making art outside of the studio… and interested in other artists who were working that way like Francis Alys, who had just finished a 5 year residency project with Art Angel, researching London; other younger artists were building on the (short) history of community-based art in England; and the Jerwood Center‘s exhibitions, questioning “what is drawing?”

After graduate school, I moved to Ithaca, NY. I’ve been practicing art since 2005 with little to no experience before that, (except for a great high school art education).


BK: Were there structures in Atlanta that inspired your consideration for the façade? Or was it during that time in London when this all started developing more concretely?

KB: In high school art classes, I learned how to approach art as an idea. (I left Atlanta after high school and just now moved back to the Southeast.) In college education courses, I learned to construct activities or environments where knowledge could be discovered. After college, I was working for a community-development organization, in Indianapolis; I learned how the history, structure, and culture of community affect the lives of individuals and families.

I found an interest in the façade through a few projects early in my art-making career. In 2005-2006, I had one exhibition at The Brady Art & Community Center in the East End, London where I used the outside façade like a canvas for a street level/outward facing/active drawing, and in a completely different series called the Invisible Gaze, I began installing my photographs in public space


BK: Through your community-development lens – Do you think your work will be informed by returning to the south and having started your own family? 

KB: Calling Alabama home and being a parent still feel very new. They both will change me, but I don’t know that either is pushing my work in a specific way right now. Through working in community-development, I began to see cities/places as layered and connected. I like to explore new places (Alabama included). It’s layers and landscape. 


BK: Do you recall your earliest experience with a work of art? What about the work provoked you? 

KB: The first art exhibition I remember attending was the “Rings” exhibition at the High Museum of Art. It was curated in conjunction with the Olympics in Atlanta.

They curated 5 large themes, like love, awe, and anger. The exhibition had a ton of paintings and sculptures. A lot of well-known works of art had been included from around the world.

The link between emotions and art moved me… being able to sense an emotion so clearly when walking into a room of paintings was a new experience.


BK: Are there any artists who you feel have inspired you – even if not evident in your work, who stick in the back of your mind?

KB: Francis Alys, Robin Rhode, and Rene Margritte.


BK: Where would you place the sacred in relation to the (at times) mundane built landscapes we encounter in our day-to-day lives? 

KB: I don’t consider the buildings I work with as sacred or mundane.

Buildings might be considered one or the other because of their function, symbols, or labels. 

I’m more interested in the questions and priorities that lead to mundane, branded, copied, or thoughtless landscapes and in reflecting on the dialogue that parking lots, parks, bridges, and highways create.

 I like working in public space because it’s communal, complicated, and creative. But I’m not sure we require our built landscape to be that or  “sacred” or even inspiring.  I don’t think “sacred landscapes” should be relegated to National Parks. I want to be able to work, walk, and live in a built landscape that inspires similarly.

Maybe I work in public space to find some kind of personal sublime. I don’t want the façades or the artwork to be sublime. I don’t want the installations to be awe-inspiring. I more want them to ask why the building across the street isn’t …or maybe it is and I just stopped long enough to figure that out.


BK: Do you observe any correlations (anecdotally or ideologically) between your own artistic social practice and what could be called religious practice? 

 KB: Yes, the word “practice.” 

Both domains are seeking to apply ideas and beliefs from one place into another. “Art” that is no longer relegated to white or black spaces, but is integrated into our living. “Religion” that is worked into our very being and working; they both are practiced in the colorful spaces.

“Practice” is a word full of “process” (my other favorite word). After the installation at DGW, a few people asked me what I consider the artwork. The artwork, “298 Holiday Farms,” is the process and memory.

It is important that the installations at DGW, and others, have the dissonance and resonance that comes when we’re “practicing” something. During the installation, the video lit up the grand homestead under an incredible starry night. But I’m not looking for a flashy, saturated moment that often comes with technology and big screens. The installation is rough, textured, and full of questions. The projection highlights the struggle to translate what we see rather than the achievements of the drawing.

At DGW, the audience was solely the people who made the images in the video projection. Therefore the installation is more personal to the audience. I talk a lot about drawing. Drawing is the immediate, physical link between what we think and what we sense. It’s the link that is most interesting to me. In the DGW installation, I want to see where the link becomes fragmented (as many participants just drew one part of the facade) …where it becomes a whole different song (as many responded abstractly or personally). 


BK: And do you seek the sublime in these excavations of the facade? 

KB: When I “excavate” the facade, I want something simple to be complicated. And the experience of complicated to feel rich. 

When I started working on the piece for DGW (before we ever got to Vermont), I wrote this about the piece. It is the context for the process and the work of the piece:

The place where we are

The place that we share

The place we don’t know

The place we believe will come


BK: If you could work on any facade in the world, what would you take on?

 KB: I loved working at Casa Poli.

The experience of living in the building before making an installation was incredible. Rather than a specific building, I would love the opportunity to live in a building and then create based on that experience.

More specifically, living in a building that is inspired – where the architects pushed themselves and the materials to create an altering experience.


 BK: Do you secretly wish you were an architect?

If you had the chance to make your own “Inspired” structure, what are some of the elements you might include or borrow from others?

KB: I sometimes joke that when I retire, I’ll become an architect.

I have opinions about architecture, but I am amazed by the gifts of truly great architects. A lot of different things draw me to a building, but there are some that were simply designed to be thought about and to be felt. 

I prefer buildings that don’t work too hard to draw attention to themselves, but rather transform your location or mood. They don’t need to be dressed up with decor because they create their own imaginative spaces. 

It’s similar to what I look for in art: surprising, freedom, layered, and connected.


 BK: Like Phillip Johnson’s Glass House? Although, I guess there aren’t really great surfaces to project onto.

KB: I would love to make a paper installation for the glass house.


BK: So, on a personal note: Your son is turning 1 year old. What is something you hope for the future of the world he will grow up in? 

KB: When I think about how my artwork and my parenting overlap, especially in terms of hoping and futures, I hope for a world that better understands itself and better loves itself.


On that note, let us all engage the world in the process of becoming one that better understands itself and better loves itself, “The place we believe will come.”


Related Links:



Hunter Open Studio Review

Were you there? I admit that academic open studio events are not for the faint of heart. But fortunately some artists take pity on the poor curators and hipster-friends who dredge out to their academic buildings, up flights of stairs, and get lost in the labyrinth of hallways, and temporary wall divisions by offering dollar store candies, or Charles Shaw! That makes it all worth it! No, I am kidding, we go for the art! We go hoping to snatch up some goodies of another sort.

Enough chatter: Here are my TOP picks of Lady Artists at Hunter’s grad program: 

Theresa Andrea

Theresa’s offering for their department auction was a directive to make a personalized work for the winning bidder. A process oriented artist with a consideration for the personal and direct experience.


Elizabeth Tubergen

Elizabeth was responsible for a large Pyramid, which took up nearly the whole common area in the department auction space. It offered seating for some, and other more ponderous looky-loos considered it’s sturdy crafts-woman-ship.


Sophie Grant

Sophie is “Interested in childhood perceptions of reality and agency, her work reflects upon the education of the senses.”


Janna Dyk

Playing with connectivity of objects and the construction of the photographic image… We’re excited to see what comes next out of Janna’s studio.


Margeaux Walter

Capturing subtle observable “people watching” gestures in photo/digital collages. I liked her “Sweet Dreams” work that was up for auction. I nearly bid on it, but my art-budget is limited these days, even in the case of student work!

Young Curatorial Assistant: Alli Peller

Her name may not appear on the press release, but Allison Peller has been critical to the organization of the New.New York exhibit (curated by Artist / Photographer / Curator / Educator, John Silvis) at the Essel Museum in Vienna. With the exhibit (open NOW, since November 23rd) quickly approaching, I wanted to get a few words from Allison on the experience of assisting with this exhibition, and her path as a worker in the cultural field.


Allison Peller was born in Washington on military base Fort Lewis and has lived in Missouri, and Maryland. Ms. Peller, her siblings, the Dr., and Mrs. Peller eventually returned to Washington State, for a time. The family now resides in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The first time Ms. Peller came to New York was as a 5-year-old child with her family. During this visit they attended an exhibition of Monet’s bridges at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work left an impression on her young mind, noting, even then, the aesthetic difference that it made, “As Monet started going blind.” They visited the Museum again when she was in Middle school, on another family trip, and she knew then that she truly loved New York, and the art that was accessible there.

A story her father likes to tell, which follows their first trip to New York, is of an incident where he pointed to an art print, proclaiming, “Look! It’s a Monet!” Allison calmly corrected him, “No Dad, that’s not a Monet, it’s a Manet.” This is the moment it became clear to her family that her interest went beyond the children’s books, but stretched into a real curiosity of the field. Her confidence in this direction came later as she matured and explored her options for further study.

She attended Bethel University’s undergraduate program for Art History, and Studio Art in Minnesota. She choose the program specifically for the advantage of spending a semester in New York at their Center for Art and Media Studies (NYCAMS). She thought that the semester would quench her love of the big city, seeing her self as more of a “country mouse,” but instead she fell in deeper love, and returned to New York upon graduation for a post-baccalaureate fellowship for curatorial studies under the mentorship of NYCAMS director, John Silvis.

While still in her undergraduate studies, she was trying to be “practical,” by exploring interior design and other applied versions of her creative bent. But it was futile. When she finally faced that fine art history was indeed her passion, and she should be pursuing curatorial work “for real”  – she obtained an internship under the museum director at her university, and later went on to an internship at the Pace Gallery in New York, where she also was employed until recently when she began working as a freelance curatorial assistant.

Her Post-Baccalaureate fellowship began in the Fall of 2009 under the mentorship of John Silvis. She started as an assistant for the exhibit “Incarnational Aesthetics,” and culminated with her own curatorial project “Regeneration: Root Beer Float Social,” in the Spring of 2010. During this period she became the point-person for events such as a fashion show, curated exhibits, and student shows; also facilitating the transport of work and the website updates for each project. Although she had co-curated an exhibit during her internship with the Bethel University Museum, drawing from their collection, “Regeneration” was the first time she had the freedom to make curatorial decisions on her own, building an exhibit that she could truly take ownership of. In her words, “I felt like it looked really good once it was up. It felt really good.”

In the instance of the current Essel Museum exhibition, New.New York, Ms. Peller again came on board as an assistant to John Silvis, but on a scale that she had not yet worked. There are 19 artists in the exhibition (two of which work together as a collaborative team,) all working in New York, with several installation works being installed on-site, in Vienna, opening this Thanksgiving week. Silvis brought Ms. Peller on-board early-on to aid in preparation such as studio visits, (taking measurements, photo documentation,) managing images and videos for their Tumblr page, and keeping details organized for the shipment of work. Peller also assisted Silvis in the portrait sessions for each artist, which would be included in the catalog for the exhibition.

The Essel Museum is hosting the exhibition as a part of their emerging artist series as an example of the work currently coming out of New York City. What ties this group together is not necessarily their “young” or “emerging” status, rather their aesthetic ties to a New York heritage while contemporarily “re-imagining how they use their medium. For example, the Ladd Brothers use beading, textiles, and ribbon,” which, “came out of a [garment/fashion-related practice,] and used those influences to make these really beautiful stacking sculptures.” Another example she gives is of Robin Kang’s brick installations that are essentially built of photographs of bricks printed on acetate and used to construct new structures. Overall the exhibit focuses on this act of “changing the formal paremeters” or giving a new twist to familiar material; Keeping the definition of the New York art scene open to the entire city, not just one borough, furthermore, not one industrial zone.

Allison Peller had prior experience working with a few of the artists who were on the exhibition roster, and plans to build on those relationships. (This includes Reid Streilow, who was also among the artists in her Regeneration exhibit.) She also hopes to continue to put herself in the way of Silvis, as he has played a critical role as a mentor to Peller. She has only begun investigating graduate programs for Art history, but will continue to be actively involved with emerging artists, making studio visits, and building her own curatorial values and style as she emerges onto the New York art scene herself.

New. New York, Curated by John Silvis

Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria
November 23, 2012 – March 31, 2013
Opening Reception: November 22, 2012 from 6-8pm
Gartenbaukino film screenings November 23, 2012 9pm

[photo courtesy of the Essel Facebook page]

Jude BroughanVince ContarinoBrent Everett DickinsonRob FischerRyan FordEgan FrantzRico GatsonRobin KangSteven and William LaddSarah LeeChristopher McDonaldAnn PibalLisa SigalShelly SilverReid StrelowSiebren VersteegLetha WilsonTamara Zahaykevich.

“New York, often described as the world capital of contemporary art, is the focus of exhibition activity in the Essl Museum this autumn. NEW. NEW YORK offers an insight into the work of 19 young artists from New York. A vibrant young art scene has developed in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in recent years, with numerous ateliers, culture initiatives and alternative art spaces. It is here that the American artist and curator John Silvis made his selection of artists for the coming exhibition in the Essl Museum.

All 19 artists are at different stages of their careers; what they share is that they use familiar materials and media in their work in an often surprising form, and in doing so produce “something new” in order to distinguish themselves from the traditional art canon and to develop their own forms of artistic expression. They all work with familiar media such as painting, photography, sculpture etc., but they change the formal parameters, combining, for example, materials such as concrete and photography in a refreshing way. The fascination with presence and the object seems to be an apt investigation in our media saturated landscape accentuating the absence of the human hand.  The work in New.New York does this by deconstructing existing art genres, slowing down time, re-purposing material and resurrecting old technologies, without attempting to issue its own manifesto, instead the viewer is presented with diverse artistic visions and forges anticipation for the unexpected by infusing art objects with the potential of transformation.”

Related Links:

Collect them All!

I can’t think of a better binder to put women in than the U.S. Senate. :)

“These are your women in the Senate in January 2013:
Republicans: Deb Fischer, Nebraska; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Susan Collins, Maine; Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire. Democrats: Diane Feinstein, CA; Barbara Boxer, CA; Mary Landrieu, Louisiana; Barbara Mikulski, Maryland; Debbie Stabenow, Michigan; Amy Klobucher, Minnesota ; Claire McCaskil, Missouri, Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire; Kirsten Gillibrand, New York; Patty Murry, Washington state; Maria Cantwell, Washington state; Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts; Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin; Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota; Mazie Hirono, Hawaii.”

I’m No Lady, All Voices

Some thoughts to end the day with: Power to the Powerless

Today I saw the Forbes list of POWERFUL WOMEN who “run the world” (speaking of which, happy b-day Hil!). So, that’s cool, but… you may have also noticed their list of Richest People is still made primarily of white men, and women who inherited money and/or are in the Walton (that’s Wal-Mart) family.

Yesterday I saw Hyperallergenic’s list of the most POWERLESS people in the “Art World”. I would like to point out that this list is talking about the “commercial Art World”, whose perspective represents a few high-roller/internationally franchised galleries and fairs. And yes, I could be lumped into more than one of their top 20, corroborated by that ELF Audit I mentioned in the previous post.

While I agree with their statement about the unfortunate state of affairs for real Gallery Girls, due to the  “reality show of the same name [that] set [us] and feminism back at least 30 years.” Clearly, Bravo is the one with real power, at least when it comes to one’s 15 minutes of fame. (Note: this concept of your ‘moment in the sun’ came from Andy Warhol, btw, so – there’s that.)

However slighted, I was intrigued by this list, so I looked into their archive… Most of it is tongue-in-cheek, and funny-because-it’s-true, but then I came across their list from 2009 (I know, I know, people don’t even care about stuff that happened online an HOUR ago, but…) hear me out:

“#19 – Rosalind Krauss – we included her on this list because we couldn’t remember who she was and we were too lazy to Google her.”


So, first of all – a profound thank you to whomever programed that, oh, so cheeky site, Let Me Google That For You.

Secondly, these lists just re-affirmed that ALTHOUGH some of us want to live in a world that treats women, in fact all people, with the respect they deserve, the fact of the matter is we need to keep an eye out for traces of inequality all around us, and name it! #CTSummit

Maybe we have tried to WILL this into reality by practicing the power of positive thinking, to avoid seeming like bitter old maids or irrelevant hippies, but we’ve gotta be willing to sound an alarm and speak honestly when we see incidences of injustice. In a sense, that is exactly what this “powerless” article did. They just didn’t provide any solutions.

If we neglect to defend ourselves, and each other we can wind up in a backslide, nay, a reverse avalanche real quick. And who will we have to blame? No one, but ourselves, for the naiveté that tells us that women, men, and people of all races and creeds are treated the same. All we have to do is ride on any form of public transportation to see  that inequities are all around us.

However, we do have tools to advocate for the powerless, and opportunities to name our own power.

It is JUST as important to be honest about the inequalities that are pitted against us, as it is to look into the faces of those who have it worse.

I just have to say a quick shout out to Pat Mitchell, who certainly has more power than I do, but is such a rock-star in her keynote address, below, where she urges women to acknowledge their own power, and open their eyes to the powerless around them.

Do you feel like a strong, empowered woman who wont be stopped by negative stories told in media, or even propagated by other women? Well, if that is the case, I’d say: Put your money where your mouth is, and HELP a sister out. There are women all around us who need more power imbued upon them…

…And that is also why we should support PBS.

SftPwr project/not alone!

Yesterday I told my little brother in an all-too-rare phone call of sisterly wisdom how I’ve seen that there are just so many different ways to live life in this world. That there are so many different ways to employ one’s self. I noted also that if you can imagine something – there has probably been someone who has also imagined it, and more! …Maybe in a different way than you imaged, but there are kindred spirits out there, you just have to find them.


Today, I saw an article about some women who call themselves the East London Fawcett (ELF) Group, or Art Audit.

The mission of the Great East London Art Audit is to provide a platform for celebrating women in the arts. The projects and events we conceive, and are involved in, encourage a wider examination of the position of women within today’s art world, and address contemporary issues surrounding gender inequality within London.”

Something tells me that we are on to something if women in different countries are investigating these issues. (Yay – I found some more of my “people”!)

Incase you had not heard, I am working on a new website that is less of a personal blog (like and more of a resource and digest for women in the arts (globally). I’ve started by launching a facebook page and twitter account for the namesake project “SftPwr” and the primary web site is under development now.

SftPwr will include a bunch of things:
We hope to inspire younger women with original content (such as professional interviews), educate ourselves about the past with information on historical role models, and highlight contemporary cultural issues and events (primarily in New York City where we are based, but we are expanding this).

I hope that YOU can continue to be involved in this new phase as a reader, and hopefully on a level of interactivity where your voice can be heard, and your projects can get seen, and maybe we will even get some people jobs, grants, and the honor they deserve!

Because we’ve gotta have each other’s backs…

Related Links:
Huff Post article
See the results of their report