historically hysterical 
April 2019
The Peale Center Baltimore, MD
Organized by ​​​Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS), historically hysterical was on display during April 2019 throughout the entirety of Baltimore's Peale Center.  The show featured artists who reject the coercive hierarchy of gender roles in order to smash the patriarchy. Created by a class of twelve women curators, the exhibition uses installation, performance, photography, and mixed media fiber works—all created by contemporary women artists—to transform three floors of Baltimore’s historic Peale Center.
historically hysterical featured women artists from diverse backgrounds who reference some of the materials and methods of seminal feminist art from the 1970s but draw their content from the present moment.
This link between past and present mirrors current political realities: As a record-breaking 102 women joined the U.S. House of Representatives in the wake of #MeToo and the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, some journalists dubbed 2018 the “Year of the Woman”—a title previously used to describe 1992, the year Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation battle. The struggle for the acknowledgment of women’s experiences, contributions, and imaginative labor in a male-dominated system seems to echo across decades, forever unresolved.

As well as the the work on display, the show featured a performance by Baltimore Hardcore feminist punk group War on Women during the opening, an artist talk, and interactive room interventions such as a selection of anarchist and feminist texts in the library, and a 'hysteria room.'
Each room was named after women of the Peale family, Elizabeth, Rachel, and Sophonisba, recognizing their history in a traditionally male dominated space.

The entrance way and library featuring selected anarchist and feminist texts.  
Suzanna Scott's "Coin Cunts" featured on the staircase leading to the show
Suzanna Scott's "Fiber Fetishes" on display next to the introductory text 
anarcha-feminism in historically hysterical
“it's like suddenly in the middle ages, people figured men should be in charge of women's bodies since they were in charge of pretty much everything else.”
—inga musico, cunt: a declaration of independence

for historically hysterical, the twelve women curators in mica’s exhibition development seminar (eds) reject the hierarchy of gender roles  and take back men’s claims over women’s bodies. stretching across three floors of baltimore’s peale center, the show invites artists from diverse backgrounds to reclaim processes known as “women’s work” and bring them into the present. the resulting installations, performances, and works in photography and fibers redefine the conversation around contemporary feminine identity. 

historically hysterical reflects the spirit of anarcha-feminism, an ideology that rejects traditional power relationships and demands horizontalism, equity, and free association. the curators present this perspective as a radical approach to the fight for gender equality.

following 2018,  “the year of the woman”—a title previously used in 1992 when anita hill testified against then-supreme court nominee clarence thomas—we continue to hear echoes of women’s marches, the revelations of the #metoo movement, and the voices of the 102 women who have joined the house of representatives.
Katie Bell
Nakeya Brown 
Veronica Casado Hernandez
Margo Elsayd 
Amy Helminiak 
Suzanna Scott
Tamar Stone
"Hysteric's Workout" featured an installation of and live performance  by Veronica Casado Hernandez during the opening reception. 
A banner for Baltimore feminist punk band War on Women 
Photography by Shan Wallace 
Tamar Stone's Corset Book and Doll Bed Sculptures 
"The Rose Garden" by Amy Helminiak 
Works by Amy Helminiak 
Installation by Katie Bell 
Margo Elsayd's "pate-tree-ark-ee beatdown" hanging before work by Amy Helminiak and Nakeya Brown 
Photography by Nakeya Brown 
The hysteria room was created by the education team to feature four interactive activities questioning societal gender expectations.
dirty windows, stained glass offered menstrual pads for participants to write their responses to the prompt "share a time you challenged the societal expectations of gender." 
touch, consent offered yes and no pillows for visitors to participate in a consensual pillow fight. 
dress up, dress down prompted participants to reject societal expectations via tearing traditionally 'feminine' clothing.
soap, scum provided rubber gloves and steel wool to 'scratch away the patriarchy' revealing facts about injustices against women. 
eds mica
Hannah Ahn
Andrea Alvarado-Sierra
Yun Jun
Miry Kim
Deyane Moses
Agnes Oh
Isabel Pardo
Chloe Phan
Victoria Schultz
Hanul Song
Lily Wilkins
Qinnan (Rivers) Zhu
Teachers and Mentors
Jeffry Cudlin
Rodrigo Carazas
Paul Farber
Jeremy Hoffman
Nicolas Rodriguez

Special Thanks
George Ciscle
David London
Nancy Proctor
Gregory Sholette

made possible in part by support from Friends of EDS

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