Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity
As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. This week, State of Sex takes an all-encompassing look at sexuality, gender and all the flavours of the American rainbow.
Ca·pri·cious – Given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour. Over the past ten years multi-disciplinary art platform Capricious has crept up on us, carving out an undeniable monopoly on erotic, queer and feminist discourse through art. It only seemed right then, to get them to round-off State of Sex. Today they'll be giving us an exclusive insight into their favourite artists raising the bar right now. Check back here throughout the day for their Dazed guest edit.
Bianca Casady, one-half of Coco Rosie and founder of new fem-arts mag GAG (Girls Against Guns), deals in gender identity and provocative, surreal spiritualism. Earlier this year at MoMA PS1 Bianca and her co-editor Anne Sherwood Pundyk joined forces with Vaginal Davis for a celebration of the 'wild female soul', featuring feathered-smoke blessings, altar offerings and sound healing. But when she's not curating out-there ritual performances, Bianca's feeling her way through the art-world through freshly feminist-tinted glasses. A longtime friend of the Capricious family, Bianca went to Sophie Mörner and co. with her new venture and GAG was born. A year on from the launch of the debut issue and in the lead-up to next month's show at Hole Gallery, Bianca fills us in on the continuing prevalence of 'feminism fear' in the art world and gender oscillations.
You’ve worked with Capricious a lot over the years and now you’re publishing GAG with them – what draws you to Capricious and excites you about what they do?
Bianca Casady: I liked the freedom I have as an artist working with them and the risks they take with the subject matter.
Why did you start GAG?
Bianca Casady: I dont know exactly. It came in a flash when my sister uttered "girls against god". I felt compelled to create a publication to help voice the voiceless. Blasphemy is always a good way to start.
Your work both as a performer and your art work has always been about gender and sexuality as well as sex and feminism, how did it all start?
Bianca Casady: I always oscillated between genders as least with my own identity expression. Lately I have been trying to embrace the feminine and also define it for myself. So much of our education of the feminine is a male construction. Some times I just want to take off my shirt without being a sex object. There is so much shame to overcome. Most of the portraits in my visual art are male. I'm not sure exactly why. The female seems to be half invisible in my own world, I'm searching for her.
You've spoken out in the past about feminism being a former 'dirty word' for you - what changed that? Which feminist artists have changed your approach to the word?
Bianca Casady: Antony. I heard about some older generation women artists not willing to use the term and that started a little fire in me. I started thinking "what the heck to people think feminism is" male hatred? Lesbianism? Most people after a five minute discussion about what feminism is will change their tune and want to call themselves one. There is a lot of muck to clean off the word but the muck is just a bunch of misogyny.
Why are so many women afraid of the word ‘feminist’?
Bianca Casady: People have been brainwashed to think it means "ugly, angry bitch".
Do you think it's possible to 'get feminism wrong' in art, like when you see people almost hijacking the word, slapping gratuitous tits & ass shots up and calling it subversive?
Bianca Casady: I'm not sure about all that. The female body has been stolen and sold for so many years it's a real mind fuck. Did you know that the number one commodity on earth is women?
Tell us about Future Feminists and what that stands for? How did working with people like Anthony Hegarty come about?
Bianca Casady: We are 5 artists. Antony, Kembra Pfahler, Johanna Constantine and my sister Sierra and I. We started getting together and discussing in a circle. It's hard to define future feminism. We're in the process of putting together our first unveiling of the work we've been doing the last few years – we're presenting it at the Hole Gallery in NYC this september.
You’ve talked in the past to Dazed about that sense of exclusion for women in the art world – having to literally paint yourself into the picture?
Bianca Casady: For sure. I felt like in order to get a prestigious art show I had to paint butt-holes.
Have you found it easier to express your feminism through art than music? Both in terms of creation and reception?
Bianca Casady: I find more freedom in the art world and more reception from the people in music. Not sure if that makes sense. But I feel a real exchange of hope and excitement with feminism and our musical audience.
What would be your dream collaboration for a feminist-focussed art project? What would you like to create next?
Bianca Casady: Not sure. I have to think about that one. Lots of my dreams are happening. The women in FF are truly inspiring.
What's next for you with GAG – how do you see the mag evolving?
Bianca Casady: It's a mystery. One issue at a time. It's been a real teacher for me. Unearthing baried feminist knowledge has been both disturbing and empowering.
Read more from the State of Sex