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. She lived and worked most of her life in New York City with early adventures to the West Coast and South America. She was married to sculptor Jordan Steckel in 1953 (divorced in 1967), and in 1960 they had a daughter, Dinah, who is mentally disabled. Anita Steckel studied art at Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art, Cooper Union, Alfred University, and the Art Students League where she also taught from 1984 until her death in 2012. She considered American painter Edwin Dickinson to be one of her most influential teachers.
Although Steckel worked primarily in collage and montage mediums, she also produced many paintings and a limited number of sculpture, ceramic and photographic works. In addition to issues of gender and sexuality, her body of work also deals with such subjects as art history, political leaders, jazz, anthropology and animals. Throughout her career, Steckel continued to create political and personal works, and her final series, Revisions on a Photo Album (2011-2012), demonstrates the intensity and critical eye for which she is known.