The project lies somewhere between a performance, an installation and a participatory event. Initially provoked by the Tea Party protests, A Feminist Tea Party recasts the “tea party” as a playful, progressive, inquisitive and inclusive space. Conceptually, it engages with the history of the tea party (from Boston to Beck) and feminism (from the suffragist movement to Lady Gaga). A Feminist Tea Party’s aesthetics are meant to mirror techniques of the Tea Party movement, which has effectively played on the concept of historical reenactment as a vehicle for political discourse.
We revisit the consciousness-raising groups of the 1970s in the set of a mid-century tea party. Dressed in 1950s costume and greeting guests in our “parlour”, we draw on the iconographic heritage of contemporary representations of women—sex and service, the consumer and the consumed. We create site-specific installations within each venue, building a set that recasts each space as a home and an open forum where essential and discomfiting issues can be discussed freely and with a sense of humor.
We invite viewers to join us for tea, sweets and conversation.
All are welcome to participate, regardless of your gender, your political persuasion, or whether you identify as feminist.
The project began in early 2010, as a one afternoon event within Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida’s project #class at Winkleman Gallery in New York City. Since then it has been exhibited in venues across the United States, adapting its installation to fit each venue and its content to suit each audience. It has also been expanded to include side projects in alternative formats. Past venues have been:
4Heads Governors Island Art Fair, New York, NY
SEVEN Art Fair, Miami, FL
NYFA Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Campbell Soady Gallery, LGBT Center, New York, NY
2011 College Art Association Conference, New York, NY
Winkleman Gallery, in collaboration with Jennifer Dalton, New York, NY
Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA
Scripps College, Claremont, CA
The Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
West Gallery, California State University, Northridge, CA
A. I. R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Alfred University, Alfred, NY
ArtScape, Baltimore, MD
A Feminist Tea Party has been featured in The Huffington Post, Bitch Magazine, the James Kalm Art Review, and Hyperallergic, among other publications. We have written about the project for NYFA Current, M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online, 25th Anniversary Edition, and Emergency Art Index 2013.