new-york

Mai-Thu Perret

The Kitchen

For an artist whose work is peopled only by women and thus clearly seems in some way to be “about” gender, Mai-Thu Perret nonetheless confounds attempts to understand its function in her practice. To some critics, Perret’s variations on the theme of “All women, all the time” add up to a clear investment in and contribution to “feminism, as a distinct tradition of self-empowerment.” But such an assessment (this one made by Hamza Walker in 2006) and others like it are just as often refuted. In the pages of this magazine, for instance, in an essay detailing the work of the Geneva-based artist, critic Hannah Feldman testily acknowledged the woman question but only in order to deem it retardataire. Arguing that Perret’s project bucks the dreariness of identity politics, Feldman found it surprising that feminism would ever be “insisted upon” in conversations about the artist. Indeed, for Feldman,

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