Harmony Hammond’s work can appear bewildering at first, expansive in its diametrical explorations, and sprawling in its material juxtapositions.
Harmony Hammond has had a pioneering impact on art, in particular through her insistence on feminist and queer content in abstract work.
This past weekend I joined the audience for the day of panel discussions at the Brooklyn Museum organized by The Feminist Art Project as part of the annual College Art Association Conference. I was only able to stay for the first three and a half panels, in a day that included five. But in those three and a half panels, a clear through-line started to emerge, at least from my perspective. That through-line involved the idea of creating collective histories, of asserting a history that complicates singular narratives, and that makes it clear that whole communities of differing experience and perspective participate in the making and supporting of the arts.
Ridykeulous, founded by artists Nicole Eisenman and A.L. Steiner in 2005, describes itself as an effort to “subvert, sabotage, and overturn the language commonly used to define feminist and lesbian art,” primarily through exhibitions, performances, and zines. Attacking the marginalization of queer and feminist art as “alternative” cultures, they insist upon participating in mainstream dialogues about art and culture; in adopting the role of curators and organizing exhibitions, Steiner and Eisenman forcefully insert themselves and their collaborators into the spaces, both literally and figuratively, of the art establishment. Though not all of the artists in Readykeulous are female, nor do all identify as queer, they share an interest in disrupting the status quo.