Libby Nutt Williams
Annual Colloquium - 2003
Doing and Undoing Women Gender Construction in Global Mediascapes
Recipient of the prestigious McKnight Foundation Interdisciplinary Artist Fellowship and recently the Dayton Hudson Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art at Carleton College, Minneapolis-based visual artist Judith Yourman has exhibited widely nationally. Her ongoing project, a series of multimedia works that examines transgressive women in popular culture, combines images of contemporary "female offenders" (appropriated from news reports, television programs, and talk shows), with written texts, such as nineteenth-century etiquette books, criminology books, and Girl Scout handbooks. By drawing on visual imagery from electronic media and recontextualizing them, Yourman explores issues of transgression, power, and gender in contemporary visual culture.
In "Save Martha Stewart-or not-and Other Female Offenders," Yourman will examine the recent case of "female offender" lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to demonstrate how reactions to Stewart's alleged insider-trading practices are entirely consistent with the rhetoric used by the media to condemn other transgressive women, such as hotel-chain magnate Leona Helmsley, Amy Fisher of Joey Buttafuco-fame, Olympic ice skater Tonya Harding, and child-killer Susan Smith. Yourman will also consider whether the virulent reactions against Stewart are connected to her one-time status as "the ultimate housewife."