Women in Revolt!

★★★☆☆

Curated by Linsey Young
On until 7 April 2024

“In the early 1970s, women were second-class citizens” is as good an excuse for a survey of British 2nd-wave feminism as any. But just like the two decades of social politics and activism it narrates, this encyclopaedic exhibition requires an encyclopaedia to navigate. Not because the story is opaque – many of the works in the show are already familiar – but because the institution’s impulse to streamline its plot – to make history, in other words – demands scrutiny.

The intentions seem honourable and in the exhibition guide, the threads are distinct. There’s a room for labour, a corner for childbirth, one for black women, and a section for lesbians. This is as close to nuance as Tate gets today. But in the gallery, the material is so abundant that a visitor not already acquainted with the arguments might struggle to understand the conflicts that directed and often broke the march of progress which the museum would have us lock step with. 

Counterintuitively, it might have been more productive to exclude the hundreds of pamphlets, zines, and other ephemera and show only those artefacts of the period that somehow already earned their place in the museum store. This would aestheticise, rather than ideologise this history. 


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Florian Meisenberg, What does the smoke know of the fire? at Kate MacGarry, ★★★★☆

Florian Meisenberg

What does the smoke know of the fire?

★★★★☆

Meisenberg’s paintings are either the product of a conspiracy or documents of a conspiracy theory.

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, Bad Luck Rock at Josh Lilley ★★☆☆☆

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman

Bad Luck Rock

★★☆☆☆

This is a poor man’s version of history or a philistine collector’s absolution.

Kevin Brisco Jr, But I Hear There Are New Suns at Union Pacific ★★☆☆☆

Kevin Brisco Jr

But I Hear There Are New Suns

★★☆☆☆

I didn’t get to see this show. Perhaps for the best.

Meeson Jessica Pae, Secretions & Formations at Carl Kostyál ★★★★☆

Meeson Jessica Pae

Secretions & Formations

★★★★☆

Oil paint can cause cancer.

Robert Ryman, Line at David Zwirner ★★★☆☆

Robert Ryman

Line

★★★☆☆

The artist’s signature becomes a distress call.

Oh, the Storm at Rodeo ★☆☆☆☆

Oh, the Storm

★☆☆☆☆

This exhibitions is trying to explain the concept of ‘crazy paving’ to a blind man. It’s impossible to tell where a work ends and the wall begins.

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