Anita Steckel: The Feminist Art of Sexual Politics
Stanford Department of Art & Art History presents Anita Steckel: The Feminist Art of Sexual Politics at the Stanford Art Gallery
Curated by Richard Meyer (Stanford University) and Rachel Middleman (Cal State University, Chico)
On view February 3–March 11, 2022
View a recording of the accompanying symposium, Anita’s Call to Arms: Radical Art, Politics, and Teaching.
Anita Steckel: The Feminist Art of Sexual Politics showcases the audacious work of American feminist artist Anita Steckel (1930-2012). Throughout her career, she confronted issues of gender inequity, objectification, female desire, and social injustice. The title of the exhibition cites Steckel’s show at Rockland Community College in 1972, which was attacked by local politicians for its sexual content.
Visitors to that show found paintings, prints, montages, and sculptures that pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable for art, particularly for a woman artist. In response to the controversy, Steckel founded the Fight Censorship Group in 1973 with Louise Bourgeois, Martha Edelheit, Joan Semmel, Hannah Wilke, and other female artists.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of The Feminist Art of Sexual Politics, art historians Richard Meyer (Stanford University) and Rachel Middleman (Cal State University, Chico) have organized the most comprehensive exhibition of Steckel’s art to date. It reunites, for the first time, work from the 1972 show and explores Steckel’s lifelong commitment to artistic freedom, feminist visibility, and the fight against censorship.
A fully illustrated catalogue of Anita Steckel: The Feminist Art of Sexual Politics will be published in the Spring 2022 with essays by Kelly Filreis, Alison Gingeras, Richard Meyer, and Rachel Middleman. The catalogue has been supported by a grant from the Jay de Feo Foundation
Co-sponsored by The Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; The Clayman Institute for Gender Research; and the Burt McMurtry Arts Initiative Fund.