Give Me What You Ask For brings together the work of Victoria Cabezas (b. 1950) and Priscilla Monge (b. 1968) exploring how these Costa Rican artists challenge conventional art disciplines by drawing on their own experiences. The artists use experimental strategies to advocate for women and to critique established patriarchal structures.
“Cabezas and Monge mapped the Costa Rican art context from their distinctive yet irreverent perspectives of the body,” says Gabriela Rangel, director and chief curator of Visual Arts at Americas Society.
“Pondering their paths helps recognize genealogies that show that women were to a large extent the catalysts for change in terms of the boundaries of the region’s contemporary art,” says exhibition curator Miguel A. López (TEOR/éTica and Lado V, San José, Costa Rica).
Cabezas experiments with photography to explore issues such as exotification and interventionism in the Central American political economy and formulates a criticism of gender constructions in popular culture. Cabezas humorously addresses the politics of bananas—an essential aspect of understanding the regional political economy and international relations—alluding to sexual desire, the commodification of bodies, and the interdependence between the construction of masculinity and consumption.
“This show allows me to revisit and rethink my own work in new light, through the dialogue created between Priscilla´s work and mine by the show’s curatorial scrutiny,” says Cabezas.
Though she was trained as a painter, Monge, the recipient of Costa Rica’s 2018 Francisco Amighetti National Award for Visual Arts, is a post-medium artist who questions how gender hierarchies condition social spaces and seeks to reveal the entwinement of love and aggression.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Monge started using menstrual pads to create powerful objects, photographs, installations, and performances. During those years, Monge created soccer balls out of pads, defying the patriarchal constructions ascribed to specific sport disciplines. Simultaneously, the material used embodies taboos of keeping menstruation hidden.
“It is important to note that during the 1990s, most cultural initiatives in Central America were led by women, and most of the artistic production of the time was also made by women,” says Monge. “As artists, we were not oblivious. We had very important things to say and to make visible.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with texts by Coco Fusco, Miguel A. López and Antonella Pelizzari.
The exhibition Victoria Cabezas and Priscilla Monge: Give Me What You Ask For is made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Additional support is provided by the Export Promotion Agency of Costa Rica (PROCOMER), the Mex-Am Cultural Foundation, the Smart Family Foundation of New York, and the Cowles Charitable Trust. This exhibition and publication received in kind support from TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica.
Americas Society gratefully acknowledges the support from the Arts of the Americas Circle members: Estrellita Brodsky, Galeria Almeida e Dale, Kaeli Deane, Diana Fane, Alexandra García, Isabella Hutchinson, Carolina Jannicelli, Vivian Pfeiffer and Jeannette van Campenhout (Phillips), Roberto Redondo, Erica Roberts, Sharon Schultz, Herman Sifontes, Axel Stein, Edward J. Sullivan, and Juan Yarur Torres.
Panel: Ask for What You Want with Miguel A. López, Victoria Cabezas, and Priscilla Monge, moderated by Gabriela Rangel
February 13, 4:30pm
Book launch and panel: The Noisemakers: Estridentismo, Vanguardism, and Social Action in Post-Revolutionary Mexico by Lynda Klich, with the author, Luis Carranza and Mary Coffey, moderated by Edward J. Sullivan
February 21, 6:30pm
Panel: From Global Feminisms to Radical Women: Building a Feminist Archive with Andrea Geyer, Catherine Morris, and Diamond Stingily
March 12, 6:30pm
Panel: Networks of Experimental Photography with Leslie Hewitt, Claudia Joskowicz, and Antonella Pelizzari, moderated by Diana Flatto
March 28, 6:30pm