How to Curate a Sexist yet Canonized Artwork?

A Model for Feminist Curating of Collections

  • Taya Hanauer-Rehavia University of Giessen
Keywords: Het Kattenkabinet, The Bookstore Amsterdam, Feminist Curating, P is for Pussy, curating collections


This _Perspective reflects on the curatorial strategy employed in the DIY exhibition P is for Pussy, curated by myself in the artist community space The Bookstore in Amsterdam West in April 2017. Proposed here is a non-prescriptive curatorial methodology based on the case study of P is for Pussy and abstracted as a way of dealing with forms of social oppression represented in and by the art histories embodied in collections and archives. The methodology entails a change in approach to art within exhibition contexts and combines artistic, curatorial, and academic strategies in order to express critique of sexist representations by visibilizing underlying cultural values. P is for Pussy exhibited artworks featuring women and cats from the collection of The Cat Cabinet (Amsterdam), framed by prints from the history of Western art and juxtaposed with large, narrating wall texts in thematic groupings. The exhibition sought to convey the cognitive and sensorial experience of an argument and challenge accepted modernist modes of viewing and thinking about art. Breaking with both conventional and feminist curatorial consensuses, the greatly criticized concepts of ‘authorial curating’ and determinate argumentation lines within art and curating are brought here for their feminist potential to counter oppressive artworks without censoring them.