Dickinson-inspired 'They Shut Me Up in Prose' exhibit opens

They Shut Me Up in Prose is inspired by poet Emily Dickinson and focuses on reframing femininity.

 GILLIAN WEARING’S ‘Me as Mona Lisa,’ 2020. (photo credit: SUZANNE LANDAU)
GILLIAN WEARING’S ‘Me as Mona Lisa,’ 2020.
(photo credit: SUZANNE LANDAU)

Inspired by the works of American poet Emily Dickinson, the They Shut Me Up in Prose exhibit debuted on International Women’s Day on Tuesday with 15 paintings, photos and one full-wall installation at the Nassima Landau space in Tel Aviv. The show has the same title as the poem and includes artworks from six women, who focus on reframing femininity, challenging stereotypes and discussing identity in their works.

Some 200 people attended the invitation-only opening.

For artists Kaye Donachie, Maria Farrar, GaHee Park, Hannah Starkey, Gillian Wearing and Grace Weaver, this is their first time exhibiting work in Israel.

Wearing, an international sensation, has been working to create provocative pieces for three decades and currently has a solo exhibition at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum. Her works explore city life from a female perspective.

Curator Suzanne Landau says promoting women artists is not new for her. She has a history of bringing them to center stage at the Israel Museum and Tel Aviv museum. She says only recently did it become trendy to bring female painters into major exhibition spaces. Landau says Wearing is already seen in the art history books and that bringing two of her biggest pieces was a pleasure.

“One [piece] was wallpaper, but it is a very important one where she wanted to confront herself and find how she would look at 70 or older – and she worked with a scientific team who make renderings for people who, for example, are missing for 10 or 20 years,” Laundau explained. “She created 15 portraits in different ages, outfits and haircuts. It looks like so many different people. But its always her. Its identity.”

Steve Nassima, co-founder of the foundation and art space, says working with Suzanne ensures bringing diverse art exhibits to the space because they each come from different backgrounds. He said the crowd at the opening called the exhibit the best to date.

“We have such a diverse, intense, dynamic and connected program connected to what’s going on for major art of the world. Wearing is extraordinarily sought after. It puts Tel Aviv on the map of high-quality art experiences,” Landau said.

The exhibit runs until the end of the month, when Women’s History Month will have run its course. Nassima Landau is located at 55 Ahad Ha’am St., Tel Aviv, and renews its art exhibitions every four to six weeks.