Alien She is the first exhibition highlighting the lasting impact of the pioneering punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl on today's artists and cultural producers. The exhibition focuses on seven contemporary artists working in a wide range of disciplines, including visual art, music, documentary film, new media, writing and performance, and provides a view into the passion and diversity of the original Riot Grrrl movement. The artists—Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Tammy Rae Carland, Miranda July, Faythe Levine, Allyson Mitchell, L.J. Roberts, and Stephanie Syjuco—are each represented by several projects from the past 20 years. With approximately 900 historical and contemporary objects, the exhibition includes sculptures, photographs, videos, artist publications and drawings, as well as self-published zines and hand-designed posters from institutions and private archives worldwide.
Formed in reaction to sexism, racism, and homophobia in the punk music scene and in the culture at large, Riot Grrrl emerged in the early 1990s and inspired many people around the world to pursue socially and politically progressive careers as artists, activists, authors, and educators. This self-organized network made up of teenagers and twenty-somethings reached one another through various platforms, such as letters, zines, local meetings, regional conferences, homemade videos, and later, chat rooms, listservs and message boards. The movement in Southern California was (and continues to be) active, with music shows, meetings, and benefits throughout Orange County at places like Koo's Café in Santa Ana, UC Irvine, all-ages club Chain Reaction in Anaheim, the Huntington Beach Library, Stab You In The Back Records in Costa Mesa, YWCA in Orange, and many house shows.
Emphasizing female and youth empowerment, collaborative organization, creative resistance, and DIY ethics, Riot Grrrl helped a new generation to become active feminists who created their own culture and communities to reflect their values and experiences.
Photo documentation of The Swan Tool, performance by Miranda July, 2001, photograph by David Nakamoto
Installation shot: Foreground: Ladies Sasquatch (2006-2010); Found textiles, taxidermy supplies, appliqué borg, styrofoam, wood. Recommended Reading (2010); Wallpaper of photocopied drawings. Both by Allyson Mitchell and courtesy of the artist and Katharine Mulherin Gallery, Toronto.
Tammy Rae Carland, Selection from I’m Dying Up Here, (Glitter Drapes), 2010-ongoing, Inkjet print (AP), 49 ¼ x 39 ⅝ inches framed, Courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.
Various Artists and Lenders, Flyer Wall, c. 1991-present, A sampling of poster designs from Riot Grrrl, related shows, conventions and meetings solicited, from institutional and personal archives through open calls, word-of-mouth and invitations.