Synopsis

Robert Adanto's The F Word explores radical “4th wave” feminist performance through interviews with a new generation of feminist artists who use their bodies as subject matter. Because the female body continues to be politicized and policed, and because these artists delve into the fecund territory of female sexuality, self-objectification, and the female form as a site of resistance, many remain marginalized by the mainstream art world. Brooklyn-based Leah Schrager, well known for her performance practice, Naked Therapy, states, “As soon as you introduce a bit of sexiness or sexuality into an artwork it suddenly becomes questionable. Just because something elicits arousal or shows elements of sexiness does absolutely not make it not art.” While some 4th wave artists, like Ann Hirsch and Kate Durbin, choose to analyze representations of female identity though digital media, others, like the radical, queer, transnational feminist art collective, Go! Push Pops, explore sexuality and gender in pop culture in the digital age. As feminist lecturer Kristen Sollee explains, 4th wavers, unlike their predecessors, “are not afraid to be ‘girly’, (or) to be hyper-feminine, or to wear a mini-skirt, to self-objectify” in the service of challenging patriarchal oppression or sexist ideals. 

Video Still from Claudia Bitran’s Video “The Zone (action)” 03:17 mins, 2013. © Claudia Bitran 2013  

Director 

ROBERT ADANTO made his directorial debut with The Rising Tide (2008), a feature-length documentary exploring China’s meteoric march toward the future through the work of some of the Middle Kingdom’s most talented photographers and video artists, including Wang Qingsong, Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, Yang Yong, Chen Qiulin and O Zhang. Shot in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in the summer of 2006, The Rising Tide captures the confusion and ambiguity that characterize the new China. “An often surprising and thought-provoking documentary,” wrote WICN’s Mark Lynch, “The rest of us better make an effort to grasp what their work is about, or get out of the way. An “eye-opener” in every sense of the word, if you are an artist, curator or art teacher be sure to catch this film.” Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010), his second feature, examines the lives and works of Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. Featuring interviews with art luminaries Shirin Neshat and Shadi Ghadirian, Pearls on the Ocean Floor received the Bronze Palm Award for Best Documentary at the 2011 edition of the Mexican International Film Festival and the Spirit of Independents Award at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. The film was recently screened in Amsterdam at Francis Boeske Projects, in association with Opening Up: 9 Artists from Iran. His latest film, City of Memory, premiered at the 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and explores Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the lives of visual artists from New Orleans. It features interviews with Deborah Luster and Tameka Norris.  In September, City of Memory will screen in association with Katrina Then & Now: Artists as Witness, an exhibition at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Mr. Adanto earned his M.F.A. in Acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

His films have enjoyed screenings at The Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow; Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt; The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler Galleries;  The Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia; The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles;  The Worcester Art Museum, MA; The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami;  The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota; the 2009 Hong Kong International Art Fair;  The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO;  The Royal College of Art in London;  The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; The National Museum of Australia in Canberra; The Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco;  The Orange County Museum of Art, CA;  The Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Art Institute; the Kansas City Art Institute;  Jagiellonian University, Krakow, PL; The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Harvard University; Yale University; Wellesley College; UCLA; USC, The University of Kansas; New York University; and the University of Michigan.

Artists

The F Word explores radical 4th wave feminist performance. It features interviews with Narcissister, Ann Hirsch, Go! Push Pops, Rachel Mason, Rebecca Goyette, Leah Schrager, Rafia Santana, Kate Durbin, Faith Holland, Damali Abrams, Claudia Bitran, Michelle Charles and Sadaf.  Dr. Kathy Battista, Director of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York and author of Re-negotiating the Body: Feminist Artists in 1970s London (IB Tauris, 2012), is an on-screen expert, as are noted art critic and curator, Nancy Princenthal, and Kristen Sollee, feminist lecturer from the New School.

 

Experts

 

Team

The F Word explores radical, 4th wave feminist performance. Featuring interviews with Narcissister, Ann Hirsch, Go! Push Pops, Rachel Mason, Rebecca Goyette, Leah Schrager, Claudia Bitran, Rafia Santana, Kate Durbin, and Sadaf.  Dr. Kathy Battista, Director of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York and author of Re-negotiating the Body: Feminist Artists in 1970s London (IB Tauris, 2012), is an on-screen expert, as are noted art critic and curator, Nancy Princenthal, and Kristen Sollee, feminist lecturer from the New School.