Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking Around: Sandy Orgel

Linen Closet by Sandy Orgel, 1972
 Now that I am looking through my disorganized image files, I've come across another piece that changed everything for me when I first saw it. This is "Linen Closet" by Sandy Orgel. It was installed in Womanhouse in 1972. Womanhouse was a women-only art installation and performance organized by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, co-founders of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Feminist Art Program.

This simple piece is powerful. Orgel accomplishes so much with an economy of means. The relationship between the manequin and the shelves is everything. The shelves cutting through the woman - decapitating her. They also seem like horizontal bars of a cage.  As I think more about this work, I can also contemplate the woman and the closet as part of each other. The woman, like the closet, is built into the home. While Orgel does not present a positive portrayal of this relationship, the relationship is there none the less as is increasingly important to me. My continually developing and changing understanding of my role as a woman keeps me engaged in this piece.

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