Ara Osterweil

  • Hana Makhmalbaf, Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, 2007, 35 mm, color, sound, 81 minutes.

    Sophie Mayer’s Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema

    Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema, by Sophie Mayer. London: I. B. Tauris, 2016. 272 pages.

    THESE DAYS, feminism doesn’t always look or sound the way you think it will. In British film scholar and activist Sophie Mayer’s new book, Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema, fourth-wave feminism is digital, transnational, transsexual, anticolonialist, and multiplatform. It is also occasionally “cisgender,” “Two-Spirit,” and—perhaps most regrettably—“merqueer.” As the aforementioned list suggests, getting with the program might require not only recognizing some unexpected political

  • Spread from Artforum, November 1974. Advertisement by Lynda Benglis.

    FUCK YOU!

    THIS BRIEF TAXONOMY attempts to theorize why “Fuck You” has been such an indispensable survival strategy for feminist and avant-garde artists. Because, let’s face it, we live in a world that’s so totally fucked that sometimes the only possible response is to acknowledge it with a response of equivalent animosity. Even if it means having to use the F-word (by which I mean feminist).

    THIRTEEN WAYS OF SAYING FUCK YOU

    1. IN ITS MOST OBVIOUS ITERATION, FUCK YOU IS AN ACT OF AGGRESSION.

    A feminist FUCK YOU turns the aggression of patriarchy back on itself. It holds up a mirror to culture, so that what is reflected back is nothing more than an asshole giving himself the finger. In her book, SCUM Manifesto, Valerie Solanas writes:

    Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete

  • Ana Mendieta, Burial Pyramid, 1974, Super 8, color, silent, 3 minutes 17 seconds. 35-mm color slide. © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC.

    BODILY RITES: THE FILMS OF ANA MENDIETA

    SOMETHING IS AMISS in the first shot of Ana Mendieta’s film Moffitt Building Piece, 1973. The image is of an ordinary white Midwestern exterior with a glass door and a storefront window, both blinkered by venetian blinds. Neither the address number (230) nor the old-fashioned lettering (H. F. MOFFITT) provides much of a clue. But after a few moments, the camera tilts down to what looks like a bloodstain on the sidewalk in front of the adjoining door. The blot seems out of place, for nothing else in the scene portends violence. Before we have a chance to figure out what has happened, the camera