ArtAnimalAffect or (AAA) is a coalition of three interdisciplinary artists: Kathryn Eddy, L.A. Watson and Janell O’Rourke, we are dedicated to bridging art and activism within the field of critical animal studies. We utilize a post-humanist, eco-feminist approach to art-making that recognizes non-human animal subjectivity and values diverse and non-hierarchal modes of being in the world. AAA aims to create an open-ended dialogue that questions the social construct of “the human,” through the production of object-based encounters and social exchange.
Using multi-media such as: video, installation, sound, photography, sculpture, and painting,, we investigate prevailing concepts about human/animal relationships and offer alternative narratives rooted in a non-anthropocentric vision of the future. By facilitating a diverse array of affective experiences, AAA invites the viewer/listener into intimate moments of exchange, whereby an expanded empathy is possible.
ArtAnimalAffect has curated two art exhibitions. In 2015 What Does Art Add?: figuring the more-than-human world was exhibited in Newark NJ. This exhibition was inspired by the book Artist/Animal by Steve Baker who is a writer, an artist, an art historian. He was also a participating artist in the show. And In 2017 The Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition inspired by Carol J.Adams book by the same name, exhibited at the Animal Museum in Los Angeles.
The art book The Art of the Animal: fourteen Women Artists Explore The Sexual Politic of Meat was published in 2015 by Lantern Books as a companion to the exhibition. It includes a forward by the Animal Museum curator Carolyn Merino Mullin, an introduction by J. Keri Cronin and an afterword by Carol J. Adams.
The artists of ArtAnimalAffect are determined that their art should not only critique but also intervene in the Anthropocene, invade and impose upon this age in which humans are in awe of our own killing power. The work of Kathryn Eddy, Janell O’Rourke, and L.A. Watson bursts in on our self-amazement with acutely emotional amplifications of this discomfiting reality: we are not “above” or “outside” the world we pollute and devour; rather we are no better than devoured things, we deserve no better, and in many ways we are beneath the nonhumans we exploit. I cannot think of a more timely, more necessary interjection for art to make.
To me the most refreshing thing about ArtAnimalAffect is that their interruptions foreground the exploited and consumed. This isn’t just another painting of a mushroom cloud meant to shock-and-awe me once again with the awesomeness of the shockingly powerful. The Gloaming is the uprising of the silenced, the effaced, and the dead. The voices of absent pigs and lambs rise out of menus, the store-bought chicken rises out of anonymity to descend into a reverenced grave, the beautiful bovine body rises out of words like protein and stands above them; so in the strange light of The Gloaming everything that is obscured by everyday anthropocentrism becomes the complicated mist through which, from now on, I must see and hear everything I do.
I think art is activism when, as an artwork acts upon me, I cannot help but rethink my most basic actions, my seemingly automatic ways of being in the world. The works of ArtAnimalAffect immerse all my senses in the complicity of humans’ most basic actions—from using words to shopping for food and sitting down to eat—in the fatal reification of nonhuman animals by turning what we do all the time inside out. But these artworks immerse me in different stories too. They make me an active participant in alternate histories and possible futures where nonhumans and humans live and die together, not as slaves and masters but as Earthling animals.
The Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition
The Animal Museum: 421 Colyton Street, Los Angeles, California 90013
February 25 – April 30, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 25, 5-8pm
With special guests SPOM author Carol J. Adams, Dr. Stephen F. Eisenman (author, The Cry of Nature: Art and the Making of Animal Rights, Martin Rowe (Lantern Books), and artists featured in the exhibition. PLUS live jazz music from Stray Dog Song, vegan appetizers and cash bar.
Colloquium: Sunday, February 26, 2- 5 pm, $20
Carol J. Adams presenting “The history of the sexual politics of meat slide show: working with ARTISTS, liberating ideas and oppressive images ” + Q&A and “Women, Animals, and Art” Panel Discussion that includes Carol J. Adams, the curators and artists, to address the theories found within the book. Panel moderator: Dr. Stephen F. Eisenman, author of The Cry of Nature: Art and the Making of Animal Rights
The Sexual Politics of Meat (SPOM) exhibition is an artist-run show by: Kathryn Eddy, Janell O’Rourke &
L.A. Watson, featuring fourteen contemporary women artists whose work has been inspired by the
eco-feminist theories presented in Carol J. Adams’ book, The Sexual Politics of Meat. The SPOM exhibi tion aims not simply to illustrate the ideas found in the book but instead, highlights how artists internal ize theory and create original work as a result; the exhibit will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the book.
The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams explores the ways that women and animals are marginal ized and objectified in patriarchal cultures. Through an exploration of how persons might literally and metaphorically become “pieces of meat,” Adams analyzes the object-status of nonhuman animals and its relationship to the objectification of women throughout visual and literary culture.
Through their work, the artists of SPOM examine intersecting oppressions based on gender, race and species, exploring what objectification means to them personally, politically and poetically. Working in a wide variety of media the artists of SPOM ask, “How does someone become something?”
Featured artists: Nava Atlas, Patricia Denys, Kathryn Eddy, Suzy Gonzalez, Hester Jones, Renee Lauzon, Maria Lux, lynn mowson, Janell O’Rourke, Olaitan Valerie Callender-Scott, Angela Singer, Sunaura Taylor, L.A. Watson, Yvette Watt.
What Does Art Add? Figuring the More-than-Human World
Curated by Kathryn Eddy and Janell O’Rourke
April 10 – May 29, 2015
Opening reception: Friday, April 10, 6 – 8 pm
City Without Walls (cWOW) located at 6 Crawford St. Newark, NJ is pleased to announce a new group exhibition entitled What Does Art Add? Figuring the More-than Human World, curated by Kathryn Eddy and Janell O’Rourke. The show will run from April 10 – May 29, 2015, with an opening reception Friday, April 10 from 6 – 9 pm.
Featured artists include: Steve Baker, Kathleen Benton, Kathryn Eddy, Vincent Evans, Leah Grimaldi, Kathy High, Nils Karsten, Maureen O’Leary, Janell O’Rourke, Deborah Simon, L.A. Watson and Josh Worman. In this show these artists focus on animal life in ways that move beyond romanticized, sentimental or objectified images that have permeated centuries of human-centered attitudes toward other animals. The title is inspired by a question posed by the eminent theoretical writer, historian and artist Steve Baker in his 2013 book Artist|Animal. “What does art add?” What does art offer that the language and outlook of literature, or anthropology, or philosophy might not bring so intensely to our attention? Each of these artists brings to the exhibition an interest in exploring the complicated relationships that we have with other animals. How does our human-ness interfere with making art that shifts from an anthropocentric outlook to something else? What can we learn from that struggle in order to go beyond the human edge? How does that possibility create a space for working in-between; and is it even possible? What becomes apparent through these artists’ processes is an engagement with materials, intuition, queries and ideas that points towards multiple forms of agency, identity, nature and culture beyond the human.
About Steve Baker:
Steve Baker is Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. Now working as an independent writer, researcher and artist, his recent book Artist|Animal (in the “Posthumanities” series from the University of Minnesota Press) has been praised by the prominent American artist Mark Dion for its author’s “rigorous ethnographer’s eye” and “deep understanding of the nuance, intricacy, and contradictions in how artists work today.” Examples of Baker’s roadkill imagery have been exhibited in the USA, UK and Australia, and several were recently included in major animal-themed museum exhibitions in Poland and Germany. They have been discussed in Giovanni Aloi’s Art & Animals, and in the journals Art & Research, Antennae, and Tierstudien.
About the curators:
Kathryn Eddy and Janell O’Rourke are founding members, along with L.A. Watson, of the art coalition ArtAnimalAffect which is dedicated to bridging art, activism, and critical animal studies. They recognize how all earthly beings are interconnected and how our diversity is part of our shared experience in understanding tolerance. Through artwork, they aim to raise awareness of animal issues, as well as provide exhibition opportunities for contemporary artists working with human and nonhuman animal relationships.
Eddy and O’Rourke have exhibited their work on the east and west coasts. Most recently the collective is working with the ecofeminist writer and theorist, Carol J. Adams to publish the book The Art of the Animal. This will feature the artwork and writing of fourteen women artists who have been inspired by Carol’s theories and will accompany an exhibition opening at The National Museum of Animals and Society in Los Angeles in Fall 2015.
About City Without Walls:
City Without Walls (cWOW) is an urban gallery of emerging art that advocates the careers of artists while building the audience for contemporary art.
City Without Walls is New Jersey’s oldest not-for-profit alternative art space, in continuous operation in the city of Newark since 1975. They operate a professional fine art gallery that showcases the work of contemporary artists on site, off-site, online and through traveling exhibitions.
City Without wall is located at 6 Crawford St. Newark, NJ 07102. 973-622-1188. Cwow.org