Patriarchy-Smashing Group Show “Every Woman Biennial” Lights Up the City of Angels
New York is a serious art town, and its major cultural institutions—just like those pretty much everywhere else in the country—are still white-male-centric. So it must have been supremely satisfying to swan in with a group show championing women and women-identifying artists and cheekily proclaim it the Whitney Houston Biennial as that other big event, the Whitney Biennial, was opening to much fanfare. That’s exactly what C. Finley—an artist whose electric personality, colorful jumpsuits, and platinum mop top are right in line with the vibrant murals and paintings she makes —did in 2014.
Flash forward five years, and Finley has renamed her art child the Every Woman Biennial—a rebrand that is both a subtler nod to the iconic singer and a stronger statement of purpose—and launched it both in New York City and Los Angeles, another sign of the potential and excitement that surround inclusivity and diversity, not to mention the L.A. art scene’s allure.
As befits its renegade spirit, EWB L.A.’s iteration was staged downtown, in the city’s gritty, bustling Fashion District. Open to the street and housed in the historic Bendix Building, the show was jam packed with works in a dizzying variety of mediums, from video, collage, and sculpture to painting, drawing, and photography. Every speck of wall space was filled, as was much of the floor. For a show championing women artists, the quantity was a message in itself. There were also live events, including a Persian Pan-Handle Go Go by L.A.-based artist and designer Parisa Parnian that was curated by Gina Young, who does a queer-centric theater series here in L.A. called Sorority.
Thanks to EWB’s warm embrace of artists at varying stages of their practice, younger creators could see their work alongside that of established L.A. artists like Suzanne Wright and Nao Bustamante. The empowerment was palpable. Maybe we really are stronger together. Maybe salvation can be found in the heart of every woman.
Every Woman Biennial was on view in L.A. through June 3-12, 2019.