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November 13, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-13

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6A - Friday, November 14, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Friday, November14, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Minimalist exhibit
comes to UMMA

For my mom and
Miranda Hobbes,
two working mothers

ByALEXANDER BERNARD
DailyArts Writer
You don't have to be a
woman, or an artist, to feel
the unifying sentiment behind
this exhibit.
Each work UMMA Dia-
was created
by a different logue:Two
artist, with a Generations
broad range
in scale and of Women
materials. One Minimalist
piece is woven P
with string to
create patterns Through
on a large January
canvas, while 25 2015
another is a 3D
block painted 3:00 p.m.sto
in geometric 4:30 p.m.
shapes.
"Reductive
Minimalism: Women Artist's
in Dialogue 1960-2014" is an
exhibit at UMMA, running
through Jan. 25. The concept
behind the exhibit, curated by
University alum Erica Barrish,
wastopair minimalist paintings
from the movements' origins in
the 1960s, with works from its
contemporary resurgence. The
exhibit contains nine pairs of
paintings, each focusing on
a specific element that both
old and new artists explores.
The pairings draw attention
to the common ground these
women artists share despite
generational and cultural
differences.
Barrish, the Director of
Sales for the Marianne Boesky
Gallery in New York and a
long time art specialist for
Christie's Auctions and Private
Sales, is the guest curator of
the exhibit. On Nov. 16, from
3-4:30 p.m., both she and
Alison Gass, associate director
for Exhibitions, Collection
and Curatorial Affairs at the
Cantor Arts Center at Stanford
University, will be speaking at
UMMA regarding this exhibit.
Barrish's study of fine
arts and art history at the
University prepared her well
for the different facets of the

art world.
"My early education as a
studio artist has allowed me to
work today in the commercial
marketplace identifying
with working artists as well
as working with historical
material," Barrish said. "While
art history at Michigan has
allowed me to speak the
vernacular that has helped
me academically, but also
commercially."
As the curator, Barrish built
the conceptual structure from
which the exhibit evolved.
Once she knew the themes of
the exhibit, it was a matter of
finding and accessing works
that would form the exhibit.
This process is often why
exhibitions take so long to
come to fruition. From start
to finish, Barrish estimated it
took her two and a half years to
compile all the elements of this
exhibit.
"Part of being a curator is
knowing where the bones are
buried, and not in the obvious
places. That takes a career of
being in the marketplace. You
see things that people don't
know exist," Barrish said.
The treasure hunt proved
to be especially challenging
for this exhibit because she
needed to gather works from
two separate periods of art. In
addition, each piece needed
a comparable work from a
different period, meaning
that matching complementary
pieces was crucial. The
original female minimalists
did not receive the commercial
success that modern female
minimalists have received,
making Barrish's knowledge
of the art market's evolution
even more valuable. Barrish
elaborated on the process of
finding themes to explore in
exhibitions.
"It starts by wondering why
there were certain voids in
a collection, then looking at
other institutions' collections
and looking at what their voids
were ... they were remiss atsome
of the historical material."

Though the search and
acquisition process was
extensive, knowing when to cut
was equally important in the .
building process. Originally
Barrish had over a hundred
pieces in mind, and eventually
whittled it down to 18 works,
making nine pairs. This
selectivity allows for both a
greater focus on each piece and
amore streamlined experience
for the viewer.
Barrish purposefully sought
out work made by a broad
spectrum of artists. For one
artist, Svenja Deiningeran, it
was her first show in the United
States. Barrish's experience
as the Director of Sales for
the Marianne Boesky gallery
exposed her to young talent
throughout the world.
"Coming from a commercial
vantage point with a historical
background has allowed me to
understand the seismic shift
she has presented as a painter
and also (to understand) that
she is somebody worth paying
attention to," Barrish said.
Barrish stressed that the
pairs in which the artists were
not only living during different
times, but in different places,
were often the most successful.
For example, artist Shirazeh
Houshiary, an Iranian artist, is
the only Middle Eastern artist
in the show, and her work is
juxtaposed with Sally Hazelet
Drummond, an American artist
who rose to prominence in the
1950s.
"When you look at her
(Houshiary's) work in
comparison to Sally Hazelet
Drummond, whois as American
as you could possibly get, there
is no question that those woman
are speaking exactly the same
language about syncopated
brushstrokes and tactility of
surfaces," Barrish said. "Not
only are they separated by
several generations, they are
separated by continents, and
their work couldn't be more
synergy. For me that's one of
the strongest comparisons in
the entire exhibition."

In true Silico
blazing fashion
Facebook chang
game last montl
announced they

o Valley trail-
, Apple and
ted the mom-
h when they
would begin

offering up
to $20,000
to female
employees"
for them to R
freeze their
eggs - effec-
tively grant-
ing women NATALIE
more time GADBOIS
before their
biological
clocks begin
to run out. Female employees
now wouldn't have to worry
nearly as much about stalling
(and thereby hurting) their
careers in order to have chil-
dren. Science gives them the
ability, and now their employ-
ers are giving them the cash,
to wait.
The move has been both
heralded as a progressive
response to the serious plight
of the working mother, and
concurrently criticized as
a selfish attempt to control
employees for the companies'
gain. While this new policy
is a generous way of granting
women agency over both their
careers and their family lives,
it seems to me like a sad sub-
mission: Apple and Facebook
are throwing in the towel,
basically telling working
women "No, you can't have it
all." It's a BandAid for a great-
er social issue, insinuating
that if women want to be suc-
cessful in the corporate world,
they should wait to have kids,
rather than the companies
finding productive ways to
accommodate women's choic-
es so that their careers aren't
negatively impacted.
When I began thinking
about this column, I knew I

RELEASE DATE- Friday, November 14, 2014
Los Angeles Times Daily Crosswo
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lew
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didn't want to get into a dis-
cussion of the Mommy Wars,
the slightly derogatory term
for the difficult choice moth-
ers make to stay at home or
work. Clearly, everything
would be better if we lived in
a world where moms and dads
and stepparents and those
without children all had the
agency and means to do what-
ever they wanted with their
lives. Unfortunately, we don't.
The dichotomy between work-
ing mothers and non-working
ones is no better represented
than on TV. We have Olivia
Pope and Kalinda Sharma,
fierce and sexy and hard-
edged, firmly childless. Or we
have Claire Dunphy, a stay-at-
home mom who is frustrated
and unfulfilled. There isn't
much in between. However,
those few, there are televi-
sion (and real-life) women
who have been able to juggle
careers and children without
following Apple and Face-
book's edict that they should
to delay having children in
order to be successful.
When my friends and I dis-
cuss which "Sex and the City"
characters we are, I consis-
tently yell, "I'm a Miranda!"
Miranda Hobbes, the cyni-
cal, neon-haired, ambitious
lawyer who spends much
of her time on-screen judg-
ing the off-kilter choices of
her more glamorous friends;
Miranda, who gladly works 80
hour weeks and (hilariously)
fights back against sexism in
her office; Miranda, who gets
pregnant in her late 30s and
decides to keep both her baby
and her high-powered job, a
choice rarely represented on
television. In one particularly
poignant scene, she tapes her
face to the mobile hanging
above her son's bed, terrified
that he won't remember her.
Miranda can balance single
motherhood and a career,
but the show isn't afraid to
show how hard it is to do so
- she isn't anything close to
a superhero, and when she
loses control she is at her most
relatable.
On NBC's "Parenthood,"
Julia Braverman-Graham is
the youngest of the four cen-
tral siblings, and from the
beginning she is depicted as
another ambitious, go-getter
litigator. For the first few sea-
sons of the show, it seems as
though Julia truly does have
it all: she works insane hours,
but finds time to make it to
her family's bi-weekly get-
togethers (why the extended
Bravermans spend so much
time together is beyond me.)
Her husband Joel takes care
of their daughter, navigating
the perils of the PTA so she
doesn't have to.
It's almost too picture
perfect, which is why it was
so powerful when Julia's
carefully constructed faade
began to unravel in season
four, beginning when Joel
decides to go back to work.
She makes a fatal mistake at
the firm because she's wor-
ried about her newly adopted

son, and then misses her
daughter's recital to cover
up for that mistake, and sud-
denly, poignantly, we find
Julia standing in her kitchen,
breakfast burning behind
her, as she repeats, "I can't
do it anymore." It takes a
show fully aware of its char-
acters to portray this kind of
breakdown realistically - but
"Parenthood" doesn't stop
here. Julia doesn't become a
content, non-working mom.
After a few months with a
listless lack of structure, she
falls apart, achingly demon-
strating that some moms are
better when they are working,
happier and healthier when
they have lives outside of their
children. Julia's desperation
and the ravaging effects it
has on her family is painful

to watch, but also a deeply
complex representation of a
woman who is earnestly try-
ing to figure out how to make
things work best for her and
her family.
Both Julia and Miranda
are fleshed-out examples of
corporate working mothers -
high-powered, Ivy-educated
execs who also happen to
change diapers and go to
tee-ball games. But not all
powerful portrayals of work-
ing mothers take place in the
corporate world. In a manner
that mirrors actress Connie
Britton's own mid-life revival,
her character Tami Taylor
on "Friday Night Lights" is
a flawlessly flawed example
of a woman who took the
traditional route and stayed
home with her daughter
before deciding to embark on
a career. Tami works as a high
school counselor, bringing
the same prescription of mea-
sured pragmatism and nurtur-
ing warmth to her career that
she does to her family. She
doesn't fumble while adjust-
ing to this new role, but rather
is able to tailor her charisma
into her job, growing as an
advocate for her students and
her family.
Tami is not a leader in the
same way as Miranda and
Julia, and her job grants her
some basic flexibility that
the corporate life doesn't.
However, she is unapologeti-
cally ambitious in her career,
just as they are, moving from
counselor to principal and
ultimately college administra-
tor. Tami also doesn't have
the freedom within her rela
tionship that the others do;
unlike Miranda, who raises
Brady mainly on her own,
and Julia, who relies on Joel
to stay home with the kids,
Tami also must compete with
her husband, Eric, constantly
reasserting that her job is
just as important as his. She
is effectively waging a war on
three fronts; her career, her
children and her husband.
This constant struggle makes
it so much more empowering
that the show ends with their
family moving for her career
rather than Eric's.
Why do these women mat-
ter so much? While TV isn't
perfect, the past few years
have shown a meteoric rise in
powerful female role models,
these characters included.
Why must the Julias and
Tamis and Mirandas be dis-
tinguished from the Olivias
and the Claires - admirable
and successful in their own
right?
Because Apple and Face-
book's announcement shows
that while they care about the
women who work for them -
and I do believe their move is in
many ways progressive - they
are giving up on Miranda and
Julia and Tami, giving up on
the idea of a world in which it's
OK for women to choose to have
kids and a career within their
own chosen time frame.
Because my mom has
worked a high-powered job

my whole life and also raised
three children. Because she
has missed some of my broth-
ers' soccer games and fed us
chiefly Stouffer's frozen lasa-
gna. Because this morning she
called me from the airport three
times to give me advice on this
column. Because I call myself
a Miranda due to the fact that
she has always said she was one
too. No one can have it all - and
the idea that we must strive for
that sets an impossible stan-
dard - but as I begin to think
about what I want to do for the
rest of my life, I need to know I
can do it all, whatever my "all"
is. Miranda, Julia, Tami and
my mom taught me that I can.
That's why they matter.
Natalie is a mama's girl. If you are
too, e-mail gadbnat@umich.edu.

#I

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