Legal Gender: The Irreverent Art of Anita Steckel
Curated by Kelly Lindner and Rachel Middleman
November 1 – December 14, 2018
Featuring the work of the politically-engaged artist Anita Steckel (American, 1930-2012), Legal Gender focuses on the Steckel’s innovative use of collage and appropriation as a feminist strategy to counter the dominant male narratives endemic to art history and American society.
Anita Steckel (1930-2012) was a feminist artist whose career spanned roughly 50 years. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 24, 1930 to immigrant parents from Russia. Steckel’s diverse body of work responds to the social issues and political crises she experienced during her lifetime. Although she worked primarily in collage and montage mediums, she also produced many paintings and a limited number of sculpture, ceramic, and photographic works. Her subject matter incorporates multi-layered imagery of political leaders, cultural icons, art historical figures, the city of New York, and her own image. She often used sexual imagery to critique patriarchal institutions and systematic power inequalities. Throughout her career, use of collage and montage with appropriated images was a central feminist strategy that served her artistic and political goals. Manipulating images, she turned the table on the oppressors, bringing out into the open the injustices she saw in the world.