Feminist Matter(s): Propositions and Undoings

Created for the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial, this project was intended to initiated collective inquiry about how feminist knowledge sharing might inform “bench-side” approaches to scientific method and science pedagogy. Gallery visitors were invited to sit at the different tables, alone or with another person, to think and talk about the themes, histories, and ideas embedded in each setting—and to share their responses in the space. We combined notes, drawings, materials, and objects that reflect some of our own and others’ meanderings and serious study in scientific, social and artistic pursuits. Our intent was to evoke intimate versions of the sometimes-improvised lab work benches, work spaces and kitchens, in which many women scientists (and artists) did their first important work.

In the spirit of Virginia Woolf’s Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid, we invite you to do some “tea table thinking” here and in the spaces in which you live and work.

  • Pittsburgh Biennial, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University.
    Curated by Astria Suparak, Sept 16–Dec 11, 2011.


An interactive super-sized sculptural performance originally created as an element of subRosa’s “Knowing Bodies” installation in Fusion! Artists in a Research Setting [see below]. Constructa/vulva comes with a wildly colorful collection of ‘parts’, including many sizes and shapes of labia, cervix, and clitori. Performers (in recent versions, costumed as speculums) encourage and assist audience members in creating their ideal vulva by affixing their choices of parts to Velcroed surfaces. An instant portrait of the audience member with their creation was given to them.* The project honors the 1970s Feminist Women’s Health Movement, which encouraged women to get to know, love, and care for their own bodies and sexualities.

  • Fusion! Artists in a Research Setting, Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, Aug. 22–Sept. 29, 2000.
  • EveryBody!: Visual resistance in feminist health movements, 1969-2009, curated by Bonnie Fortune. I-Space, Chicago. Sept. 11–Oct. 10, 2009 & Carleton College Gallery, April–May, 2011.