Anima, Silueta de Cohetes (Firework Piece)
Anima, Silueta de Cohetes (Firework Piece) Film Super-8.
© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York


Being a woman artist in the globalising art scene since the 1970s: Esther Ferrer, Ana Mendieta–a dialogue between generations

Talk by Shelley Rice with Esther Ferrer at the Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine

Le 08 November 2018

Jeu de Paume Extramural

This seminar is intended as a three-way conversation between artist Esther Ferrer, critic and historian Shelley Rice and the public attending it, around the life and work of artist Ana Mendieta. A prior condition is that participants will have first seen the exhibition at the Jeu de Paume, which features short films by the artist, and will formulate questions about Mendieta’s experiences in the 1970s and 80s as a Cuban-American artist living in New York and working in an international context. These questions must be written and communicated to Shelley Rice and Esther Ferrer in advance. They will address these problems through the prism of their own experiences during that particular historical moment.

Esther Ferrer is a Spanish feminist artist who has long lived in France, and Shelley Rice was Ana Mendieta’s travelling companion and colleague in New York. As a journalist and feminist during this period, she shared her friends, her concerns and her political activism with Ana Mendieta until the artist’s premature death in 1985. Shelley Rice will kick off the discussion with a short presentation of the work of Mendieta and Esther Ferrer in order to prepare for the interactions to follow. Drawing on their considerable experience, Esther Ferrer and Shelley Rice will talk about Mendieta’s art and the topography of life in the art world, both local and global, as it would have been for a woman nearly fifty years ago. They will then try to answer the questions put by young women curious about this important artist and her relevance to sexual politics in the 21st century.

Esther Ferrer began her career as an artist in 1966. Working alone or with the Spanish ZAJ group, she privileged the ephemeral practices of performance and actions. Starting in the 1970s, she devoted a considerable part of her activity to installations, photographs and pictures, based, among other things, on the series of prime numbers. She represented Spain at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and her distinctions include the Spanish National Prize for Visual Arts (2008), the Velazquez Prize (2014) and the Mujeres en las Artes Visuales prize. She has exhibited in numerous galleries, museums and art fairs and, as a performer, has taken part in many international festivals. Her two most recent exhibitions are “Todas las variaciones son válidas, incluida esta” (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2017), and “Espacios entrelzados” (Museo Guggenheim-Bilbao, 2018). She is also the author of two radio pieces.

Shelley Rice is an Arts Professor at New York University (Photography and Art History departments). She is the author of Parisian Views and Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman, and has co-authored several books and catalogues, notably The Book of 101 Books, Paris et le Daguerreotype, Jacques Henri Lartigue and Orlan en capitales. Her essays have been published in journals such as Art in America, Artforum, The Art Newspaper, Bookforum, Aperture, Tate Papers, French Studies and Études Photographiques. She has been guest blogger and journalist for the Jeu de Paume online magazine. Shelley Rice has been awarded several research grants and prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Fulbright fellowships (for France and Turkey), a National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts prize, a Hasselblad Research Fellowship and the PEN/Jerard Award (non-fiction). In 2010 she was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2015 she won the David Payne Carter Prize for Teaching Excellence at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

École Normale Supérieure
45 rue d’Ulm, 75006 Paris

Thursday 8 November at 1.30 pm.
As part of the seminar on “Artistic Globalisation and Digital Approaches” organised by ARTL@S. Session introduced by Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, lecturer, École Normale Supérieure.


ARTL@S is a research group focusing on artistic globalisation, which makes available to researchers digital sources and tools facilitating a simple or expert approach to the internationalisation of the arts (exhibition catalogues, biographies of artists, interactive map of artistic Paris from the 19th century to the present). The project, which has been based at the École Normale Supérieure since 2009, is directed by Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (ENS Paris) in collaboration with Catherine Dossin (Purdue University, USA) and Léa Saint-Raymond (Collège de France).
ARTL@S, which was started in December 2018, in collaboration with the AWARE association, studies the role of women in artistic and cultural globalisation in the contemporary period, be it the careers of women artists, their exhibitions and the circulation of their works, and the role of women mediators of artistic internationalisation (collectors, gallerists, art critics, magazine editors and other mediators between spaces and cultures). The Parisian seminar, housed by the Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, alternates sessions on current research, inviting specialists of women’s history and in particular the history of women artists, stimulated by our transnational questioning, and practical sessions providing training on the digital approach to humanities, using sources concerning women. The seminar also offers practical working sessions based on historical documents including exhibition catalogues and their digital translation. It offers a training in statistical and cartographic visualisation and the critical use of these digital methods. The project is financed by Labex TranferS, by the Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (IHMC, CNRS) and by the Université Paris Sciences Lettres.