HERstoric Conference — Reclaiming Women in the Arts

Mar 7, 2020

A roundtable discussion about rediscovering women artists and rewriting art history. Tere Arcq, Susan Aberth, Mary Ann Caws, and Gloria Orenstein. Moderated by Abigail Susik.


Speaker Biographies

SUSAN L. ABERTH is the Edith C. Blum Professor in the Art History and Visual Culture Program at Bard College. In addition to her 2004 book Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art (Lund Humphries), she has contributed to Seeking the Marvelous: Ithell Colquhoun, British Women and Surrealism (Fulgur Press, 2020), Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist (Phoenix Art Museum, 2019), Surrealism, Occultism and Politics: In Search of the Marvelous (Routledge Press, 2018), Leonora Carrington: Cuentos Magicos (Museo de Arte Moderno & INBA, Mexico City, 2018), and Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-Garde (Manchester University Press, 2017), as well as to Abraxas: International Journal of Esoteric Studies, Black Mirror, and Journal of Surrealism of the Americas.


TERE ARCQ is an art historian and independent curator based in Mexico City and specializes in women artists and Surrealism in Mexico. She worked as Chief Curator at the Museo de Art Moderno (MAM) in Mexico from 2003-2008 and since then she has organized various exhibitions among them Remedios Varo. Five Keys, and Alice Rahon. A Surrealist in Mexico for MAM; Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna, for the Pallant House in Chichester and Norwick in England; In Wonderland. The Adventures of Women Surrealists in Mexico and the United States at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Musée Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Quebec, and MAM; Frida Kahlo Connections with Surrealist Women Artists in Mexico for the Instituto Tomie Ohtake in Sao Paulo, and Fundación La Caixa in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. Her latest exhibitions are Leonora Carrington. Magical Tales, a retrospective at MAM and MARCO (Monterrey) and Surrealism in Mexico for Di Donna Galleries. She is currently advising various museum shows on Surrealism and Women. In collaboration with Susan Aberth she is writing two books, one on Carrington’s Tarot and the other on Carrington and Varo’s creative collaboration. She is co-curating a Carrington retrospective for the MAPFRE Foundation in Madrid and the ARKEN Museum in Denmark opening in the fall of 2020.


MARY ANN CAWS is Distinguished Professor Emerita and Resident Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. She is an Officier of the Palmes académiques, a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Union College, is the recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Getty fellowships, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the past president of the Modern Language and Literature Association and of the American Comparative Literature Association. She is the author of The Eye in the Text, The Surrealist Look: an Erotics of Encounter, The Modern Art Cookbook, Blaise Pascal: Miracles and Reason, Creative Gatherings: Meeting Places of Modernism, a translator of Mallarmé, Char, des Forêts, Reverdy, Breton, Desnos, and the editor of HarperCollins World Literature, the Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry, The Surrealist Painters and Poets, and Milk Bowl of Feathers: Essential Surrealist Writings.


GLORIA FEMAN ORENSTEIN is Professor Emerita in comparative literature and gender studies at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. from New York University and is a pioneer in the field of women of Surrealism, scholarship of ecofeminism in the arts, and shamanism, having also been a student of a shaman from Samiland. She introduced the work of Frida Kahlo to the North American feminists in the 1970s and at the same time befriended Leonora Carrington, who would be a great source of inspiration in her continued studies of Surrealism over the next three decades. Dr. Orenstein is the founding member of the Women’s Salon for Literature in New York City and has been included in Feminists Who Changed America, 1963–1975. She is a contributing editor to FEMSPEC, an interdisciplinary feminist journal, and has authored over 100 publications, including her books, The Theater of the Marvelous: Surrealism and the Contemporary Stage; The Reflowering of the Goddess; and Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism. Most recently she contributed to the book In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States and has been honored with the 2018 lifetime achievement award by the Women’s Art Caucus.


ABIGAIL SUSIK is Associate Professor of Art History at Willamette University and Faculty Curator at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Oregon. She is co-editor of the forthcoming books: Surrealism and Film after 1945: Absolutely Modern Mysteries (Manchester University Press, 2020), and Radical Dreams: Surrealism, Counterculture, Resistance (Penn State University Press, 2021). Susik’s forthcoming and published essays include contributions to: Surrealism and Mythology (Routledge, 2020); Cambridge Critical Concepts: Surrealism (Cambridge University Press, 2020); Journal of Surrealism and the Americas (Spring 2020); The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism (Bloomsbury Press, 2019); Modernism/ modernity (September 2017); Time and Temporality in Literary Modernism (1900–1950) (Leuven University Press, 2016); Blackwell Companion to Dada and Surrealism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016); Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-Garde (Manchester University Press, 2016); Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics (Liverpool University Press, 2015). She is co-curator of the upcoming exhibition “Alan Glass: Surrealism’s Secret” at the Leeds Arts University in 2020, and she also curated a major survey of Imogen Cunnigham’s photographs at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in 2016. Susik is a founding board member of the International Study for the Society of Surrealism and co-organizer of its 2018, 2019 and 2020 conferences. Her current book project is entitled Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work.