Photo by Barbara Smith
Rozi Smith at Nasty Women
For many women who marched on Saturday, the immediate answer to the otherwise proverbial question of “what’s next?” meant heading up the hill to Helmuth Projects in Bankers Hill. And for those who were still pumped from the march or perhaps came looking for a little extra motivation to keep their spirits high, the Nasty Women art exhibition did not disappoint.
Similar to the spirit of the march, the Nasty Women show was just one of many that had been scheduled nationally to protest the current administration. The four curators of the San Diego version went all out for the show and appeared to have recruited nearly every female artist in town. Proceeds from the show were going to female-friendly causes such as Planned Parenthood, the LGBT Community Center and others. By the time I arrived, nearly every piece that I would have conceivably purchased already had a red dot next to it. I ran into a colleague who lamented the same fact, but had settled on purchasing a drawing from the makeshift children’s gallery and play area that had been set up.
As readers may have guessed, the place was packed with people, many of whom were still sporting their pink pussyhats. Truth be told, I’ll generally avoid going to exhibition openings. I find the bustle and crowds to be distracting from the actual art. So I’ll admit to having found the show to be much more of an after-party than an art show.
But then I took a deep breath and stared at pieces like Lori Mitchell’s “Ninja Mom” drawing. Then I took in Melissa Walter’s wood-and-paper “Two” and Sara Parent-Ramos’ mesmeric, cardioid sculpture. And then I remembered the real reasons we were all there. So it might be said that Nasty Women is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time even if the the art was often an afterthought.
A lot has been made about how to keep the momentum going from the Women’s March and what artists in particular can do to fight back. Shows like this one are a good start and, given the sheer amount of art on the walls, there’s bound to be a piece within this showcase that inspires others to collective action. There will be a closing reception on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. As I said to one of the curators as I left, let’s keep this momentum going.