Parsons The New School for Design presents GENDER PLAY, a two-day conference (March 28th and 29th, 2013) that will explore the issue of gender and its impact and influence on the production of art and design.The conference will feature the insights of an international mix of artists, designers, researchers, and scholars in the field, including curator Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art, designer Laurene Leon Boym of Boym Partners, and the acclaimed artist Ernesto Pujol. The conference will also serve as the platform for the launch of the international Gender Design Network (iGDN), a new initiative aimed at connecting designers and artists around this topic.
"While gender boundaries are being bent, subverted and broken down left and right in artistic, technological and political forums, many industries—particularly ones that hinge on product design—are still responding to the 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' notion," said Uta Brandes, a professor of Gender and Design Research at Köln International School of Design and a co-organizer of the conference with Simone Douglas, director of the MFA Fine Arts program at Parsons. "While it is undoubtedly true that women and men bring different experiences, interests and ways of thinking to purchasing, designing and interacting with products and services, the tired cliché of 'pretty 'n' pink' designs for girls versus sturdy, blue designs for boys—the essence of which is translated into adult designs—is perpetuating prejudices."
The first day of the conference will focus on gender in relation to the design fields, while the second day will explore some of the major theoretical and political debates that have marked these issues in the fine arts, from second-wave feminism to postcolonial influences and queer theory. Artists, writers and theorists will address major works of painting, installation, sculpture and video and performance art, as well as international artists and collaborators associated with these debates.
"The cross-pollination of feminism and art, as well as feminism and cultural and political theory, spans most of the last century and continues today," said Douglas. "These fields are constantly igniting exciting, innovative, diverse and radical voices that reverberate globally. But the feminist project is far from complete. It continues to initiate new ideas and strategies to create community and alliances, while at the same time challenging power structures across politics, culture and the personal sphere."
Parsons The New School for Design is a global leader in design education, with programs that span the disciplines of design and the fine arts. Parsons prepares students to creatively and critically address the complex conditions of contemporary global society. Its curriculum is geared toward synthesizing rigorous craft with cutting-edge theory and research methods, and encourages collaborative and individual approaches that cut across a wide array of disciplines. Parsons is an integral part of The New School, a university founded in 1919 as a place for radical ideas and thinking, which in its history served as the first home of the New Museum, and also offered the first university course on women's studies.
Free and open to the public, but reservations are required.