Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pink Poem

At bottom is an excerpt from a text by Karen Henry on the artist Kate Craig, where mention is made of Mary Ready, singer.


These performances took place during the height of the sexual revolution: for the first time, the pill provided women the opportunity to enjoy sex without the natural consequences of pregnancy. Along with the empowerment of sexual freedom came the renewed politics of feminism. The ethos of the time encouraged participatory action and women were working together to organize political and social activities. This new stridency was often “anti-feminine” in an effort to distance women from the overly acculturated terms: pink for girls, blue for boys, dolls for girls, guns for boys. Kate, wryly contrary and ever the individual, turned her collecting interests to an exploration of the colour pink. She collected pink household and fashion items and made her own pink clothes. At one point she had her hair cut in a spiral around her head. Though this was not a performance character, it was a sustained activity in line with the simple Zen performances of the Fluxus movement and French artist Robert Filliou who spent time at the Western Front during this period. Kate was not a performer who loved the stage. Kate was more comfortable integrating performance into her everyday life. It was the context in which she lived, and performance represented a deliberate lifestyle choice. The “pink poem” culminated in 1980 in the videotape Straight Jacket. In the tape, Kate models an intricately tailored straight jacket that she made of pink satin. The soundtrack, a sing-song performed by Mary Ready ( written by Kate with music by Hank Bull) revolves around the theme of “inside-out.” Given the constriction of the garment and its sensual surface, itʼs hard not to see this reflection on the significance of pink in a feminist context, though the tape and the ongoing work ultimately associates the colour with a female sensuality that is bound by social constraints not limited to heterosexual politics. For one thing, Kate had spent the last ten years surrounded by a creative cadre of gay men that practiced its own forms of misogyny 

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