Animating the Archives: the Woman’s Building

Woman’s Building, “Animating the Archives: the Woman’s Building,” Avenue 50 Studio131 N Avenue 50, Los Angeles, California 90042, May 13th- June 3rd, 2017 Opening Reception, Saturday, May 13 at 7 PM – 10 PM Performance On Saturday, May 27 at 7 PM – 10 PM

“Fifteen women artists received a fellowship from the Woman’s Building and Metabolic Studio’s Special Projects in Archiving to create new works inspired by the history and legacy of the Woman’s Building and the feminist art movement. Come see what Johanna Breiding, CamLab, Teresa Flores (with Maryam Hosseinzadeh), Raquel Gutierrez, Hackers of Resistance, Onya Hogan-Finlay in collaboration with Phranc, Carolina Ibarra-Mendoza, Marissa Magdalena, J. Alex Mathews, Felicia ‘Fe’ Montes, Cindy Rehm, Gladys Rodriguez, Hana Ward, Lisa Diane Wedgeworth and Diana Wyenn have produced. The exhibition runs until June 3. See for details on accompanying events.” –Woman’s Building

“The Woman’s Building was critical to the development of this art form in the 1970s. A new generation will demonstrate how performance has evolved. “Fissures in Frisson” is a performative rendering of inter-generational memoir of politicized eros as Raquel Gutiérrez embodies a discursive history of Los Angeles lesbian movement making. “Hackers of Resistance” take direct action to demand freedom of assembly without fear of surveillance; they seek to hack back and reprogram our world, one power structure at a time. In “L/D” — Marissa Magdalena investigates the through line that extends from the Woman’s Building’s past into present day through conversations between artists to whom the Woman’s Building was foundational and their mentees; from these dialogues Marissa will create art pieces to be worn on the body. The title refers to “Lift Over Drag,” the ratio necessary to achieve flight. “Strike Light” – by J. Alex Mathews explores gestural accumulation inspired by the “STRIKE” of light of a match; this project re-imagines Cheri Gaulke’s The Postcard Project: Our Heroines, Arlene Raven’s Picture This, or, Why is Art Important? and Jane O’Reilly’s feminist reclamation of “CLICK,” described as the moment we see that something is wrong with the world portrayed at face value and resounds in a woman-deaf, woman-blind world as an earth shattering revelation.” – Marissa Magdalena

Woman’s Building Archive

The Metabolic Studio is participating in the ‘LA as Subject’ Archives Bazaar hosted by the USC Doheny Library on October 15, 2016 ( This annual event brings together over eighty institutional and private archives held within LA County that celebrate the rich and diverse history of the region.

This year, the Metabolic Studio will be showing a range of objects including posters, magazines, books, vinyl, photos and buttons, and art works by the incredible women who formed the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. Brought together by Metabolic Studio’s Carolyne Aycaguer, Rochelle Fabb and Laurelin Kruse for the Archive Bazaar, this array of Woman’s Building material offers a vital experience of the creative spirit that congregated and was built at the Woman’s Building, drawn from the personal archives of Nancy Buchanan, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Clsuf, Nancy Fried, Anne Gauldin, Mary-linn Linn Hughes, Maria Karras, Phranc, Leslie Starus-Labowitz, Cheryl Swannack, Arlene Raven, and Sue Maberry, as well as the Otis College of Art and Design—Millard Sheets Library, the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, and the Archives of American Art.

From 12.00-1.00pm on October 15th, the original members of the performance collective Sisters Of Survival – Jerri Allyn, Anne Gauldin, Cheri Gaulke, Sue Maberry, with Marka and Xochi Maberry-Gaulke  will create a special roving performance ‘S.O.S. 2016’ at the Archive Bazaar. Sisters Of Survival is a feminist anti-nuclear performance art group founded in 1981 at the Woman’s Building. On October 15th, its members will wear nun’s habits colored in the spectrum of the rainbow. They will unfurl message flags from peace organizations collected during the early 1980s in the U.S. and Europe.

From 1975 to 1991 the Woman’s Building was located in the Beaux Art Building on North Spring Street in downtown LA, which is adjacent to the Metabolic Studio, which has been situated at 1745 N Spring Street since 2006. Founded by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Judy Chicago, and Arlene Raven in 1973, the Woman’s Building was always highly ambitious in its creation of women’s initiatives, and has changed many lives. It was the home of far-reaching programs including the Women’s Graphic Center, the Feminist Studio Workshop, the Center for Feminist Art Historical Studies, LA Women’s Video Center, and the Lesbian Art Project. Performance collectives that originated at the Woman’s Building are Ariadne: A Social Art Network, Feminist Art Workers, Sisters of Survival, Mother Art and The Waitresses.

The Woman’s Building will be undertaking a Metabolic Studio Special Project in Archiving from mid October 2016 until end of March 2017. Using a large warehouse space foot space at the Metabolic Studio at a time of great change in the neighborhood, the Woman’s Building will be assessing and passing on their legacy to younger artists.

The Metabolic Studio has participated in the Archive Bazaar for the past four years, presenting previous Special Projects in Archiving, which extend and deepen the dialogs around the Studio’s signature projects, and the critical issues that they embody. In 2012, we shared Dr. Selwyn McCabe’s archive—an Australian heart surgeon working in Owens Valley in an abandoned factory that is now Metabolic Studio’s creative hub, as part of its ongoing investigation of the Owens valley as a primary source of water for LA. In 2013, our focus was on the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct to celebrate its centenary and activate its history by supporting local archives to digitize material relating to the Aqueduct. In 2014, we presented the archive of Ed Reyes—a Los Angeles District One Councilman who worked to improve Downtown Los Angeles social infrastructure and the sustainability of the Los Angeles River during two decades. Both the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the Ed Reyes Special Projects in Archiving have extended and fed into Metabolic Studio’s ongoing Bending the River Back into the City. In 2015, we shared the archive of architecture and furniture designer Lenny Steinberg, a native Los Angelino whose practice for over half a century manifests the creative spirit of Mid-Century design in Southern California, and Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio’s continuing dialog with creative women and their legacies in LA.

Photo Credit and Caption: “Picard Pick Art
#3 Animating the Archives: The Woman’s Building @ Avenue 50 Studio opening 13 May, 2017 — at Avenue 50 Studio.”