Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now (on view Oct. 26, 2019 through Jan. 19, 2020) presents a group of artists working in both natural and urban environments whose work exploits the power of place to address issues of social, environmental, and personal transformation. Through a focused selection of key works made between 1970 and 2019, which extend beyond traditional categories, Counter-Landscapes illuminates how the strategies created by women artists in the 1970s and 1980s are employed by artists today. Developing a practice of performative actions, these artists countered the culture that surrounded and oppressed them by embodying the live elements of performance art in order to push for social change.
Featuring photography, video, sculpture, painting, drawing, performance, and installation centered on performance in the landscape, the exhibition initiates a dialogue across generations, locations, and genders. It brings the work of an innovative generation of women artists—Marina Abramović, Eleanor Antin, Agnes Denes, VALIE EXPORT, Rebecca Horn, Leslie Labowitz, Suzanne Lacy, Ana Mendieta, Adrian Piper, Lotty Rosenfeld, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Beth Ames Swartz, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles—together with more recent work by artists who have adopted and extended their methods. These artists, both male and female, include Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Angela Ellsworth, Ana Teresa Fernández, Maria Hupfield, Saskia Jordá, Christian Philipp Müller, Pope.L, Sarah Cameron Sunde, Zhou Tao, and Antonia Wright. Counter-Landscapes shows how, in the process of overcoming the extraordinary obstacles they faced as women, artists working in the landscape in the late 20th century developed inventive methodologies that have profoundly influenced younger artists and changed the face of the art world. Ultimately, the works underline and emphasize the pervasiveness of the feminist legacy, which is too often neglected, marginalized, and undervalued.
Organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by Director and Chief Curator Jennifer McCabe. Exhibition support provided by the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation, The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.