+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Dear Demie Kim,For some months, a group of women artists met weekly to discuss feminist art issues and as part of our healing of past situations where we felt discouraged by the media's disregard of women artists' participation in the art world, we were made aware of your article and so wrote this letter to you to request a response from you regarding your article titled The Performance Artist who Tied Himself to a Woman for a Year that was published by Artsy.com on December 19, 2017. As it happens, one of the women in our group is the woman who tied herself to Tehching Hsieh for a year - Linda Mary Montano. In reading this article we felt called to ask you some questions.First, we would like to know how it happened that in the year 2018 a recent female graduate of a two year course study and recipient of a masters degree in art history from The Clark in cooperation with Williams College winds up titling her article The Performance Artist who Tied Himself to a Woman for a Year?We wonder if you hoped this blatant and controversial title might spark debate? It did. Lots of it on Facebook and at other venues, in text conversations and during sleepless nights! Maybe you considered the title a publicity stunt? Is it possible you proposed a different tile that was rejected by an editor? Please tell us.
As a cure, we have submitted some fill-in-the-blank possible solutions to The Performance Artist who Tied Himself to a Woman for a Year, and ask, a woman what? " He tied himself to a…………"
A: WOMAN ASTRONAUT?B. WOMAN BIOCHEMIST?C. WOMAN CHEMICAL RESEARCHER?D. WOMAN DIETICIAN?E. WOMAN ECOLOGIST?F. WOMAN FLIGHT ENGINEER?G. WOMAN GEOPHYSIST?H. WOMAN HISTORIAN?I. WOMAN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER?J. WOMAN JUDGE?K. WOMAN KEEPER OF RECORDS?L. WOMAN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT?M. WOMAN MIDWIFE?N. WOMAN NUTRITIONIST?O. WOMAN ORTHOTIC TECHNICIAN?P. WOMAN PERFORMANCE ARTIST?Q. WOMAN QUALITY CONTROL TECHNICIAN?R. WOMAN REGISTRAR?S. WOMAN SCULPTOR?T. WOMAN TAX ADVISOR?U. WOMAN UNDERGROUND MINE SAFETY ENGINEER?V. WOMAN VETERINARY SURGEON?W. WOMAN WEIR AND DAM OPERATOR?X. WOMAN X-RAY OPERATOR?Y. WOMAN YOGA TEACHER?Z. WOMAN ZOO KEEPER?(This list of solutions has been added to Nina Isabelle's letter by Linda Mary Montano)
It has been suggested that the letter P could have been used...……... Woman Performance Artist.
Second: We understand that it would be impossible for you to know everything about everyone throughout all of art history and maybe that is why your title does not reflect Montano's "good art-history name?". However artist Jennifer Zackin suggests that as sisters, as me too survivors, as artists, as creators, as mothers, as daughters we must be more careful in the future and begin to think twice when we speak to/write about/think about not only other women, NOT ONLY OURSELVES, but about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING! Times are fragile and so are we! So is everyone, everywhere. We found, even in our meeting together, that mistakes are made, apologies are given and hopefully received.
Third: In the future we hope that, as an art historian and art writer, that not only you but ALL of us will take the time to look further into scenarios where gender and power imbalances are often hidden, and that we will work to write/talk/think about truth for the sake of justice and equality. Although it might be exciting and easy to regurgitate the patriarchal version of history, it can also be exciting to find new voices and speak up transparently and without gender bias.Fourth: Do you think that you can correct this inaccuracy and give credit where credit is due? Would you be willing to revise your title? Include more references to Linda's work? Publish an explanation?
Thank you for your consideration and we wish you all the best with your career. Please know that this is a learning experience for all of us as we reach out for healing of the art-life past.
We look forward to your response.
Nina IsabelleWith Linda Mary Montano & Jennifer Zackin
FOOTNOTE: It seems that the "old" title is gone and has been changed to The Performance Artist Who Went to Impossible Extremes. Perhaps someone noticed the fact that using the generic "woman" was not politically or art historically correct.
Dear Linda, Nina, and Jennifer:
Thank you for your extensive feedback regarding the original title of the Artsy article on Tehching Hsieh. As a media outlet, we try our best every day to make sure our headlines are both informative and engaging to our audiences. However, sometimes we do not get it right. In those cases, we always make sure to address incorrect or misleading information.
This headline is one such instance, and we were indeed very aware of valid criticisms and concerns surrounding it. That is why we made the decision to re-title the piece, as you mention, 'The Performance Artist Who Went to Impossible Extremes.' Linda Montano is also clearly identified in the piece as a fellow performance artist, and is named in the relevant image captions.
These amendments were made back on May 14. We certainly appreciate your insightful concerns; similar feedback was what prompted us to make those amendments at that time.
Artsy | New York
Thank you! Sorry for the delay here. I just wanted to clarify that Demie did indeed receive the original email, and other messages, and we have collectively been in conversation about that before my response. She is very much in the loop with the discussion and simply wanted to make sure we were responding in unison, to avoid any confusion. I's the responsibility of the senior editors on the team to oversee the headlining process, and to address any concerns, which is why I was the one to respond initially after discussing at length with Demie.
And of course it's no problem to post our response in conjunction with the original letter on your blog -- thank you for asking.
Glad we could clarify this to everyone's satisfaction. And please do keep in touch with any future projects, news, and so on!