Sexism challenged through art

Artistic trio challenge language in upcoming Crossman exhibit


photo courtesy of Spooky Boobs Collective

Dana Hockbein, Staff Reporter

The Crossman Gallery will feature a feminist exhibit, The Pervasive Curse, produced by three Wisconsin-based artists known as Spooky Boobs March 4 through March 22.

Spooky Boobs is made up of Amy Cannestra, Myszka Lewis and Maggie Snyder. The mission of the collective is to use art, language and design as a means to help stop the perpetuation of sexism in our culture.

The trio formed in response to shared sexist experiences while in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

“We found ourselves discussing these things over waffle fries and beer and decided to validate these experiences by visualizing them and connecting with other women over them,” said Spooky Boobs.

Cannestra combines video, sculpture, performance and installation to challenge social norms and tradition.

Lewis is a curator at Tandem Press in Madison, Wisconsin. Her artwork pairs printmaking with fiber arts and sculpture to address the conceptions of expectation and labor.

Snyder is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects where personal and political meet. She was a former instructor in the UW-Whitewater Art Department.

“Spooky Boobs takes a very direct approach to exposing the derisive terms that are regularly used to describe women in both informal and formal settings,” said Michael Flanagan, director of the Crossman Gallery.

Flanagan knows two of the three members of the collective. He said through that connection the group approached him with an exhibit proposal.

In addition to the exhibit, there will be a performance on March 4 from 5-7 p.m. in the Crossman Gallery. Audience members will play an important role and are encouraged to participate. Attendees can expect to experience performance art that addresses sexism.

“We look forward to performing in the Crossman Gallery because the conversations generated by this piece are fascinating and ultimately lead us to evolve the work we do,” said Spooky Boobs.

Flanagan noted that many of his students in the department have expressed enthusiasm for the event, and he is hoping for a good turnout. This event is free to the public.

The collective has been awarded for their work. They have received a People’s Choice Award at the Heuser Art Center Gallery in Illinois. They also had a special recognition award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Through their use of printed material, performances and even social media campaigns, Spooky Boobs said, “There is a larger cultural conversation about sexism that’s currently happening, and it is exciting to be a part of it as artists.”