What is “being female” if art works have gender? This is the initial thought.
“…...we have yet to breathe in fully the breath of the woman and her thought in architecture. When woman’s air impregnates our objects, we will be astonished, and angels will cease to weep.” These are the closing words of Evening in Llano by the architect John Hejduk. Female spirit is Hejduk’s ultimate goal for architectural space. Since he’s always been held as the artist amongst architects, One would take a guess that the breath of woman is a task meant for art. Spiritually speaking, his contemporaries and earlier modernists were more masculine and exclusive, despite their resolve to break away from tradition and journey beyond the known world of consciousness. As projected by Hejduk, the feminine, inclusive way of thinking is now taking over the mainstream contemporary art. Upon innovation in form and thematic articulation, contemporary art is given a new dimension: the interaction between the work and the viewer, very much like what we refer to in practical life as user experience. In the light of interactive viewing, artists can exert more control or choose to exchange equally with the viewer. Works with feminine characteristics are often controversial, and at the same time easily dismissed. In the context of contemporary art, our judgment of an art piece is based on the artist’s identity and intention, in other words, the work requires more emotionally involved viewing. In recent couple of years, the success of the Big Band show seems to indicate a shift in the public attitude. More and more people are willing to see art from their point of view as individuals. They respond to artist’s message and how it came to be, tuning in to the relationship between the work and the creative process. This trend no doubt gives us a feel of variety show, yet somehow it did reveal to the public the tender part of art. A more involved, attentive audience can judge for themselves, telling the genuine from the affected, and they can also challenge institutionalized professional guidance. The white wall of art space actually needs its opposite, presenting permissive, healing, contextual, and hallucinogenic art works that take a clearly personal stand.