Chelsea space is pleased to announce CAN DO: Photographs and other material from the Women's Art Library Magazine Archive as the next exhibition in our autumn 2015 programme. Selected by Mo Throp and Maria Walsh, this collection of mainly black and white photographs from the Women’s Art Library Magazine archive has rarely been seen outside the confines of its black boxes in the Special Collections at Goldsmiths University library. The photographs are one of the material remains of a dynamic independent art publication dedicated to the debates and documentation of women’s art from 1983 to 2002.
The magazine began life in 1983 as the Women Artists Slide Library Newsletter, acquiring, over the course of its 20-year run, the titles: Women Artists Slide Library Journal (1986); Women's Art Magazine (1990); and make: the magazine of women’s art (1996). Artists submitted photographs of their work for publication, some images were printed in the magazine, most were not, but all were carefully stored in the library stacks at Goldsmiths where the curators were (re)introduced to them by Althea Greenan, curator of Special Collections at Goldsmiths as they researched material for their recent book, Twenty Years of MAKE Magazine: Back to the Future of Women’s Art (I.B. Tauris: 2015).
Taking this photographic h(er)story out of the archive, this exhibition speaks to a present fascination with women’s art of the recent past. What memories, what future can be intimated from these photographic fossils? As well as the photographs, which have been organised into thematic sections entitled: Performance, Portraits, Body, Installation, Protest, the exhibition is comprised of other materials from the archive, including artist’s originals commissioned for the covers and pre-digital layouts and includes a vitrine of objects from the collection selected by Althea Greenan.
With thanks to the Women's Art Library, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Maria Walsh is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Chelsea College of Arts. She is also a writer, and author of Art and Psychoanalysis (I.B. Tauris, 2013), as well as many articles on artists' moving image. She is currently guest editor of 'Feminisms', the forthcoming issue of MIRAJ (Moving Image and Art Review Journal).
Mo Throp is Associate Researcher at Chelsea College of Arts. She is also an artist and writer. She was Chair of the Trustee Board of the Women’s Art Slide Library from 1994-1997.
Together they convene the Subjectivity & Feminisms Research Group at Chelsea.
The Women’s Art Library was originally set up as the Women Artists Slide Library in the late 1970s, with the main purpose of providing a place for women artists to deposit unique documentation of their work. This artists' initiative developed into an arts organisation publishing catalogues, books and a magazine (which includes the MAKE serial publication titled The Women Artists' Slide Library Newsletter, The Women Artists' Slide Library Journal, Women's Art Magazine and make, the magazine of women's art), from 1983 to 2002. In 2004 the research resource became part of Goldsmiths College Library Special Collections. As part of Goldsmiths Library Special Collections, the Women's Art Library continues to collect slides, artist statements, exhibition ephemera, catalogues, and press material in addition to audio and videotapes, photographs and CD-Roms.