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Fun Feminism

GEGENWART / 24.09.2022–22.01.2023 / Curators: Maja Wismer, Alice Wilke, Claudia Müller, Senam Okudzeto

Even today, works by female artists are still underrepresented in the Kunstmuseum Basel collection. The same is true for leading art museums around the world. Now as before, women still need to assert their importance as protagonists of (Western) art history.

For over half a century, artists, art historians, gallerists, and curators have been working to represent female perspectives in the visual arts within exhibition spaces, museums, publications, and archives. In particular by linking feminist themes with humour, artists create works that function at once as a means of activism and a call to action. Comedy and satire are multifaceted means of expressing an artistic-feminist stance that prompt a shared, liberating laughter. As the American literary scholar bell hooks put it twenty years ago, “Feminism is for everybody”.

A selection of key works by female artists held by Kunstmuseum Basel — including Guerrilla Girls, Pipilotti Rist, Martha Rosler, and Rosemarie Trockel — anchor this group exhibition.

Fun Feminism was born through conversation between Senam Okudzeto and Claudia Müller. The artists approached Kunstmuseum Basel with the suggestion of looking at the collection through a feminist lens, while combatting the stereotype of feminism as humourless with an emphasis on joy, playfulness and irreverence — which gave rise to the current exhibition. It features outstanding, yet rarely shown works with a feminist subtext in the permanent collection from the late 1960s to the 1990s, and recent works by contemporary artists.