A frigid afternoon in Brooklyn at Pratt, MFA and MA students gathered for the Summit Conference featuring a panel called Me Too: Building Ethical Communities moderated by feminist artist Elaine Angelopoulos. Joined by Sara Reisman from the Rubin Foundation, feminist artist Rebecca Goyette and Sophie Sandberg of Catcalls NYC, I spoke about a decade of the City of Today for Feminine Urbanism and its current Cunt Quilt iteration.
Addressing the transformation of the NYC art world from the 1980s to today, Elaine highlighted emerging and forgotten voices in her decades long effort. The panel was heartwarming, but most of all when an MA student preparing for a career in the museum track approached me about her life-threatening bout with ovarian cancer this past year. Her emphasis on describing her genitals as “disgusting” and “disturbing” were heartbreaking. We spoke for about an hour about her experiences. She was quivering in tears when she admitted her shame and insecurity around her private parts and that she was inspired by the openness of the Cunt Quilt project to seek professional psychological help in overcoming her reproductive and social anxieties. It was the most impactful experience I’ve had presenting this project to date. I have been accosted during protests, questioned by others on the other side of the aisle, and witnessed young girls giggling and then kicking their legs in the air at the quilt yelling “Yas Queen!” but never, have I imagined that the project would speak so directly to an individual’s struggle with her privates.
I’m deeply grateful to the Pratt community for opening their institution to this important dialog. The abject nature of the project makes it difficult for organizations to highlight its importance, but I am reassured that our culture will shift towards a more inclusive view of intersectional feminism.