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About the event

Please join us on Wednesday evening April 19 from 6-8pm at the James Gallery for the exhibition reception for Soft Skills.

Pairing artworks from the 1970s with contemporary practices, Soft Skills critically examines interpersonal capacities like communication, cooperation, empathy, and flexibility, framing them as modes of feminized performance—and moreover, as work. Early feminist art often troubled the threshold between artifice and authenticity, using devices like masquerade and fictive personae to denaturalize the relationship between subjectivity and gender. This exhibition draws parallels from that groundbreaking work to more recent art from the U.S. and Canada, historicizing their connection in light of the transformation of labor practices in those countries over the past four decades. Together, the works demonstrate role-play and self-management as both feminist performative strategies and imperatives of post-Fordist labor.

The exhibition comprises works by Eleanor Antin, Endia Beal, Tasha Bjelić, Danielle Dean, Heather Keung, Barbara Kruger, Suzy Lake, Jen Liu, Martha Rosler, Emily Shanahan, Frances Stark, and Martha Wilson, and is curated by Kaegan Sparks, 2016–17 Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow and doctoral student in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

This exhibition is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.