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.