Interview with Curator of "Pulverize the Patriarchy" at Chinatown Soup Gallery
PULVERIZE THE PATRIARCHY
Chinatown Soup Gallery, 16 Orchard Street, July 7 - 9, 2017
Pulverize the Patriarchy is a group show exhibiting work by 12 female lens-based artists (three of whom I've interviewed for Woman Crush Wednesday: Ellen Carey, Erin Carr, and Caroline Tompkins!) I sat down with the curator, Crystelle Colucci, to learn about how the show came about and what's next for her and her side project, Cooties Zine.
Interview and photographs by Hallie Neely
HALLIE NEELY: You’re 21 years old, and just graduated with your BFA in Photography from SVA. How did you get this opportunity to curate this show? Tell me everything!
CRYSTELLE COLUCCI: I kind of just took the initiative myself. After Donald Trump was elected I felt like I needed to do something; I felt like I needed to use art to take action. And just in general I’ve always been aware of the under-appreciation of women in the arts. It’s always bothered me how women, even now, are so underrepresented in art and in general. Obviously seeing what’s going on with the defunding of Planned Parenthood, which you know Planned Parenthood isn’t just about providing abortions; millions of women and men get their check ups, prenatal care, all sorts of things that people need- it’s such a vital program for people who don’t have health insurance, who can’t pay for the care they deserve. So I felt personally attacked when I hear about the defunding because it’s something that’s so important to me. I reached out to a bunch of different artists – some that I’ve graduated with, some that have taught me, some that I met at gallery openings or some that I was just a fan of. I contacted them and everyone that was on board was super helpful and really excited about it. Because of the cause, everyone was really supportive.
HALLIE: And how did you get to this gallery?
CRYSTELLE: Chinatown Soup is run by this amazing woman, Michelle Marie Esteva. She wanted a space where emerging artists could go. And this is a non-profit space, so it's the perfect spot. We could make all the donations to Planned Parenthood, and the gallery isn't taking a percentage.
HALLIE: How did you choose who you wanted to be in this show? I know some of these artists are mutual friends of ours, but for those who didn’t attend SVA, how did you find them and their work?
CRYSTELLE: I decided to go with artists that I felt were really powerful, that really stood for what women could do in photography. You know this is a group of really badass women from all different levels in their careers and all types of backgrounds.
HALLIE: What does to “pulverize the patriarchy” mean to you?
CRYSTELLE: Patriarchy is a part of almost every aspect of our lives, and it's entrenched in ways that we often don't even realize. Because it's so engrained in our culture we need to be doing everything we can to try and flip that narrative, to show women are just as deserving, capable, and powerful as men.
HALLIE: What do you think the work in the show speaks to other than to “pulverize the patriarchy”?
CRYSTELLE: I think it’s about people from different paths coming together to stand up for what we believe in. There's a wide variety of genres within photography that are being displayed and I wanted to bring that to the forefront.
HALLIE: This show is a first exhibit for Cooties Zine, right? So can you talk about Cooties Zine and what it’s all about?
CRYSTELLE: Cooties is a feminist zine that my best friend Neeve McDonnell and I did together. She did the writing and I did all the visuals and curating. Sort of what the show is serving, the zine is going to serve the same – a place where female artists can show their work and speak their voice of all different kinds – I want to provide a place where emerging artists can show their work. I think having well-known artists along with emerging ones really helps them.
HALLIE: What’s next for Cooties Zine? Do you imagine exhibiting more work in gallery settings or do you have other plans or ideas?
CRYSTELLE: Yes! I think we want to do about 3 shows a year, or you know, as many as we can. We want to do more things like this for different causes.