[-empyre-] #remakemistresses

melinda rackham melrack at icloud.com
Tue Nov 3 18:39:35 AEDT 2020

she launched into the silent void..  
while the globe seethed and heaved 
at what would become tomorrow 

And here is what I've been up to for 6 months in iso in the country - playing dress-ups and serious number crunching:

Why copy tired old masters when you can remake contemporary Australian mistresses?

CoUNTess: Spoiling Illusions since 2008,

#remakemistresses responds directly to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of the arts industry in Australia and Internationally. Following the lead of @tussenkunstenquarantaine‘s Stay At Home Challenge! on Instagram, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Getty in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), and many others who challenged their now at home audiences to playfully engage in the century’s old pastime of recreating famous paintings or tableau vivants.

#remakemistresses also responds to the postponed National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA)  Know My Name season of Australian women artists. Originally slated for early 2020 it is now rescheduled to open on 14 November 2020. As co-author with Elvis Richardson of the forthcoming book CoUNTess: Spoiling Illusions since 2008,  charting the history and legacy of the CoUNTess project’s and advocacy of gend er asymmetry in the art world, I am keenly aware that women are severely underrepresented in every national art collections – a mere 25% at the NGA.

Any call to create shared cultural moments from art collections primarily composed of “old masters” is ripe for parafeminist intervention. Both parody and femmage, my remakes of contemporary Australian women artists or “modern mistresses”  over 6 months from March till August 2020 are shot on an iPad using only materials at hand, and placing them in the midst of our COVID-19 heightened visual culture (mostly without image manipulation) on Instagram and Facebook under the #remakemistresses hashtag. 

#remakemistresses is a femmage, honouring of the work of under seen, under collected and under acknowledged contemporary Australian Women artists. It encompasses research, curation, performance, photography and social media engagement to increase the visibility and knowledge of Australian contemporary women artists who work with painting, performance, photography, ceramics, sculpture, film, digital media, jewellery, body art, textiles, sound, drawing and collage. It makes visible the creative and personal networks and communities which support and inspire them.

#remakemistresses utilises parody and irony, not in a derogatory way, but playfully and critically. Each remake stands on its own as an image and a visual quip, however knowing or discovering the context of the artist and their original work adds a deeper level of viewing and thinking pleasure as the works speak to each other. It is an inclusive creative celebratory and bold public visual platform for the ageing female body.  Its humour embodies concepts that a diversity of women artists have created over decades, and it delights in fostering a celebratory and cohesive atmosphere among us.

I am planning on another edition of #remakemistresses in collaboration with other curators and encompassing  discussions with First Nations women artists on negotiating to recreate their work.

The book has been a fascinating, learning curve,  labour of love, co authoring with Elvis and having feedback from an articulate knowledgeable brains trust of women artists writers and curators. it.s  just at design and  will launching  2021- there will be a party. 

Love to you all in our maddening world.


warm regards,

Melinda Rackham
Artist & Author, PhD
Adjunct Research Professor
UniSA Creative
University of South Australia

a	P.O. Box 1109
	North Adelaide 
	South Australia 5006

e	melinda at subtle.net
m 	+61 410 596 592
w	http://www.subtle.net

> On 3 Nov 2020, at 7:54 am, Renate Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hello -empyre- subscribers, 
> Dan Lichtman will be moderating this month, but in the meantime we will keep our OCTOBER open call alive:  
> -empyre- tactics and strategies in the age of Corona Virus.
> We ordinarily pick up our monthly discussions in September after summer break but as we explained early in October we delayed. We acknowledge the extra stresses of the Covid pandemic that have overtaxed so many of us.  We want to be sensitive to our participants' extra responsibilities at home and the more intense planning and workload at work and school.
> Do you have an exhibition coming up?  A new publication?  Anything else you want to share? We invite all 2,200 plus members of -empyre- to share thoughts about the current pandemic and upcoming news to share until Dan begins his discussion next Monday, the 9th. 
> Best. Renate
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
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