November 13, 2012

A public panel discussion, organized by Lynne McCabe as part of Room to Be (Ms.)understood: A Social Sculpture Workshop, among Jacki Apple, Lynne McCabe, and Elizabeth Gregory, moderated by Jenni Sorkin.

Lynne McCabe’s Room to be (Ms.)understood aims to interrogate the origins and genealogies of these practices by looking to a different, often neglected history of feminist writing, performance, and site-specific interventions from the 1970s.


Participant bios:
Since 1971 visual, performance, and media artist, audio composer, writer, director, producer, and educator Jacki Apple’s diverse artistic career has encompassed a wide range of media and forms – multimedia installations, interdisciplinary performance, audio, radio, photography, video, film, artist books, drawings, site specific works, and public art projects. Her works have been performed, exhibited, and broadcast in art spaces, galleries, museums, theaters, festivals, on radio and cable TV throughout the United States and Canada, and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Apple began doing feminist performance, conceptual, and installation works in 1971. She co-founded and curated exhibitions and performance at Franklin Furnace in New York City from 1976-80. In 1981 she moved to Los Angeles and since 1990 she has created an ongoing series of site specific installations, performances, photographic works and artist books dealing with environmental issues. She is a professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA where has she been a faculty member since 1983. She is the 2012 recipient of the College Art Association Distinguished Teaching of Art Award. A former contributing editor for High Performance Magazine, Apple has published over 250 critical essays and reviews on performance, dance, music, media arts and installation, in numerous magazines and journals. She is currently preparing four decades of her archives for the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Her ongoing web archive can be seen at


Elizabeth Gregory is Professor in the English Department and Director of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Houston. She teaches courses on British and American modernism, contemporary poetry, ancient and classical literature, feminist criticism, and motherhood studies. Her current projects explore the dynamics of contemporary birth timing, the economics and politics of women’s work—in the home and outside it, and the later poetry of Marianne Moore. Her books include Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood (NY: Basic Books, 2007) and Quotation and Modern American Poetry: “Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads” (Houston: Rice University Press, 1996). She edited the volume The Critical Response to Marianne Moore (NY: Praeger, 2003). For the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program she organized the conferences “Feminist Pedagogies: Interdisciplinarity, Transnational Practices, and the Production of Knowledge” (2011), “Gender, Creativity and the New Longevity” (2008), “Drive FAMILY Friendly: Family Friendly Policy in Texas” (2007), and “21st-Century Motherhood: Change” (2005).


Originally from Scotland, Lynne McCabe received her MFA in Social Practice from the California College of the Arts in 2010 and her BA with honors from the Glasgow School of Art in 1999. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the group exhibitions Formals at the Studio for Urban Projects in San Francisco, Last Day of Magic at the 53rd Venice Biennale, and a collaborative public performance The Debate at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2008. In 2010 she contributed to the SFMOMA public programming web project “Open Space”. In 2010 she curated exhibitions and gatherings in her Berkeley home as part of a project called She Works Flexible Now. In Houston her group and solo exhibitions have included Portable On Demand Art in 2011, the 2008 Houston Area Exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum, her 2007-08 residency at Lawndale Art Center, The Caledonian Institute for the Study of Interpersonal Relationships presents a series of intimate exchanges hosted by Lynne McCabe at Lawndale Art Center in 2002, and the exhibitions $timulus, WHO ARE YOU?, and Order Diptera at Diverseworks Artspace. Her ongoing project pot·luck culminated in 2007 at Project Row Houses, where she was also a visiting artist in 2011. McCabe was a recipient of the 2008 Artadia Award.


Jenni Sorkin is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Critical Studies in the School of Art at the University of Houston.  Her work examines the confluence of gender and material culture within modern and contemporary art history, theory and criticism. She is currently completing a book manuscript, titled “Live Form: Craft as Participation”, which examines the legacy of Black Mountain College, craft pedagogy, and the history of ceramics from 1952 to 1975. Her writing has appeared in the New Art Examiner, Art Journal, Art Monthly, NU: The Nordic Art Review, Frieze, The Journal of Modern Craft, Modern Painters, and Third Text. She has written numerous in-depth catalog essays on feminist art and material culture topics. She has been an invited lecturer at Cal Arts, Cornell University, Dia Beacon, Ohio University, the School of Visual Arts, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, the Textile Museum of Canada, and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. In 2010, she co-organized “Blind Spots/Puntos Ciegos: Feminisms, Cinema, and Performance,” for the eighth edition of SITAC, the International Symposium of Contemporary Art Theory, held in Mexico City. She has been awarded fellowships from the ACLS/Luce Foundation and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of the 2004 Art Journal Award, given by the College Art Association.


LOCATION: Blaffer Art Museum Media Room, University of Houston, Entrance 16 off Cullen Blvd