Personal politics

By GREG COOK  |  April 23, 2014

Stern dropped out before graduating in the mid-2000s and moved in with artist Mike Taylor and friends in Providence. Here she found work programming AS220’s performance space from 2008 to ’11. She also drums in the punk feminist band Whore Paint.

Stern has made political prints since at least the 1990s, and was one of the founders of the Justseeds political artists’ cooperative (along with Erik Ruin, who has also landed here). These prints tend to be more blunt and didactic in both their statements and their craft. Her broadsides have addressed reproductive justice, accessible health-care, and how deportations affect families — sometimes working directly with activist organizations to develop, distribute, and use the prints.

Stern has exhibited her prints (particularly her activist work) all over North America, but her art has hovered at the fringes of Providence’s galleries and museums. In recent years, a primary place to catch what she was up to was on the walls of the Craftland shop in Providence, which has featured her prints of anthropomorphic cats and her activist broadsides, like a smiling cat saying, “ Give love! Buy nothing!”

Providence is great at fostering artists, but the limited number of exhibition spaces means much of it stays underground. Eight years ago with the show “Wunderground,” the RISD Museum surveyed part of this local scene. As Stern and other local peers from this milieu approach midlife, it’s time for institutions like the museum to circle back and give these artists solo mid-career retrospectives — to support them and art-making here, and to continue to demonstrate just how amazing this community is.

Follow Greg Cook on Twitter @Aestheticresear.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BEAUTY AND RUIN  |  July 30, 2014
    You’ve surely seen Providence painter Agustín Patiño’s work.
  •   EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Somewhere around the 1950s, Florence Leif drastically changed her style.
  •   DOODLES, LIGHTS, AND DREAMS  |  July 16, 2014
    Gibson Prouty has found a muse — classic yellow pencils with pink erasers on the end.
  •   SEEING ANEW  |  July 09, 2014
    The aim of the RISD Museum’s eight newly renovated galleries for its permanent collection of fashion and Egyptian and Asian art seems to be “quiet contemplation.”
  •   BRIGHTNESS AND DARKNESS  |  June 25, 2014
    Constellations of mirror ball clouds dangle from the ceiling on pink cords at the center of the room and slowly rotate and sparkle. You’re invited to peer though weird, lumpy crystal-telescope-things.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK