Generating Feminisms: Italian Feminisms and the “Now You Can Go” programme
Reckitt, Helena. 2017. Generating Feminisms: Italian Feminisms and the “Now You Can Go” programme. Art Journal, 76(3), ISSN 0004-3249 [Article] (In Press)No full text available
Abstract or Description
The article concerns the development of the public events programme “Now You Can Go” that the author organised in collaboration with six feminist curators, artists and researchers, Angelica Bolletinari, Giulia Casalini, Diana Georgiou, Laura Guy, Irene Revell and Amy Tobin, in London, 2015. It discusses the programme’s exploration of early moments of feminist thinking, art and activism, particularly those from 1970s and 1980s Italy. Inspired by the name of Carla Lonzi’s 1980 book Vai Pure (Now You Can Go), the programme engaged with the implications of Lonzi’s tactics of withdrawal and renunciation: of art criticism, feminist leadership, and – as outlined in Vai Pure – romantic complementarity with a man.
The essay explains how “Now You Can Go” also traced the legacy and current relevance of the practices of the Libreria delle Donne di Milano [Milan Women’s Bookshop] collective, Diotima in Verona, Cooperativa Beato Angelico in Rome, international Wages for Housework, and feminist thinkers including Adriana Cavarero, Silvia Federici, Lea Melandri and Luisa Muraro. Considering why this legacy has been under-translated and overlooked, Reckitt highlights the radicalism of Italian feminist stances on sexual difference, non-assimilation, and politicized relations between women. She discusses the artist Claire Fontaine’s formulation of Human Strike and its relationship to Italian feminist theory and practice.
Reckitt highlights aspects of the “Now You Can Go” programme, including debates around social reproduction and gendered caring labour; the rehabilitation of women artists into the market and canon; and translating feminisms across time, place, context, and language. In approaching Italian feminism as a living archive that resonates in the present, she shows how the programme emphasised embodied experience, intimacy, dialogue and participation above spectacle and representation.
Reflecting on what it means both to curate feminist context, and to curate as feminists, Reckitt underscores the need for attention to be paid to behind-the scenes, infrastructural conditions. In this context she describes her curatorial role as establishing a framework that seeks to engender collective exploration and subjective awakening.