Overview

The Feminist School of Painting is a solo exhibition by Ad Minoliti. Culminating her residency at KADIST, the project will transform the galleries into an active classroom with new murals of vibrant silhouettes of animals, landscapes, and geometrical forms.

Reimagining the structure of an art school, Minoliti will collaborate with a group of Bay Area artists, scholars, writers, and teachers to lead weekly workshops open to intergenerational artists and non-artists alike. Each workshop is centered around a traditional painting genre—landscape, portraiture, still life—and will combine discussion and studio painting instruction to reimagine historical narratives related to that week’s subject. By incorporating her collaborators’ diverse backgrounds in biology, science fiction, gender studies, technology, and more, the free workshops aim to promote accessibility and curiosity over any art-specific expertise. Rooted in Minoliti’s practice, The School will employ feminist queer theory and experimentation as a foundation for learning and critical thought.

The newly commissioned murals not only animate the classroom but also converse with a long-established history of mural paintings making culture accessible through images in outdoor public spaces—especially in the Mission District where KADIST is located. By engaging with and bringing this tradition inside the gallery, The School works to overturn expectations often associated with experiencing contemporary art today by promoting visual literacy and personal connection. In addition, a fanzine library, videos related to the workshop’s themes, and a coloring station for kids and adults are provided to offer moments for individual creative production.

Classroom

Workshops

october 6: MYTHOLOGY PAINTING

Often figurative and large in size, mythological paintings take their inspiration from myths, fables, or historical legends. They are traditionally understood to be a veiled explanation for an historical event, a belief, or a phenomenon of the physical world. In this session, we will draw parallels between mythological paintings and science fiction depictions. The latter often portrays life on other planets and imagines future scientific, technological, social and environmental changes. We will invent myths, tales, and legends for these alternative universes and conceive speculative mythological paintings based on new stories, original scenarios, or our favorite movies.

In collaboration with Sarah Hotchkiss, a San Francisco-based artist and arts writer. She watches a lot of science fiction, which she reviews in the semi-regular publication Sci-Fi Sundays. She is the visual arts editor for KQED.

october 13: HISTORY PAINTING

History Painting historically depicted scenes from the Bible, and Greek and Roman history and mythology, but was later used as a form of documentation. These paintings were often used to share stories about events taking place across the world—especially in communicating the activities of colonized territories to the empire. In this session, we will consider the possibility of honoring the story of the world through reimagined iconic moments from our shared human history. Using the space race as a starting point, we will explore the way we’ve been taught to understand history through images in ancient painting, using technological development as a kind of new frontier for exploration.

In collaboration with Megan Prelinger, co-founder of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco, and a contributing archivist in the Prelinger Archives film collection. She is the author of several books, and is a frequent collaborator with museums, as well as a Bay Area naturalist.

october 20: PORTRAITURE

Portrait paintings represent a group of persons or an individual, and can be realistic or symbolic. Historically, painted portraits have indicated social status and importance, often understood through the composition, dress, setting, and position of hands, among others. We will dedicate this session to honoring a Queer or Trans person from the past to highlight folks from history who are often overlooked. In advance of the class, we invite participants to research and choose a Queer or Trans ancestor they would like to create a portrait of. Research resources can be found at the public library, the Tenderloin museum, the GLBT museum, or the Queer Cultural Center’s online resources, among others.

In collaboration with Katie Gilmartin, a printmaker, writer, and teacher. She runs the Queer Ancestors Project, devoted to forging sturdy relationships between young Queer & Trans artists and their ancestors.

october 27: STILL LIFE AND GENRE PAINTING

Still life paintings depict inanimate subjects like food, flowers, vases, fabrics, and animals, which were often chosen to convey certain religious or symbolic meaning. Similarly, Genre Paintings portray scenes of ordinary life—from living rooms to picnics, and bars to markets. The people and places in these images usually represented without any added drama or exaggeration. This workshop will consider the diverse customs and traditions of domestic life from other perspectives, cultures, bodies, and families. It will also shift the typical focus of these scenes to emphasize the daily life other creatures, like animals. We’ll address how images of domestic life might change from culture to culture, from people to people, or from dog to dog.

In collaboration with Marcela Pardo Ariza, a Colombian visual artist and curator. Ariza explores the relationship of wry humor, queerness and representation through color sets and prop-like objects.

november 3: LANDSCAPE

Landscape paintings focus on depicting the natural world around us. While mountains, gardens, rivers, and forests are often the main themes, landscapes may also feature subjects within them such as animals, people, and houses. Over the last 70 years, this genre has also begun to address more urban and industrial settings. In this session, we will specifically look at the way nature has historically been constructed from a male perspective (the dominant voice through most of art history) and propose alternative viewpoints to depict landscapes. We will imagine landscapes from the position of other planets, from other human or nonhuman species, and from other time periods when humans didn’t exist.

In collaboration with Martha Kenney, Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. Located in the tradition of feminist science studies, her work examines the poetics and politics of biological storytelling.

november 10: ANATOMY AND NUDES

Representations of unclothed figures have been central in Western art history, specifically in Ancient Greece and later during the Renaissance. Nudes have notably conveyed specific—and often biased and binary—ideals of male and female beauty, emotions, and energy. This session will challenge traditional ideals of beauty by considering the various and complex anatomies and identities of the body. We will examine artworks that advocate for all types of bodies, made by fat activists, queer Latinx artists, and others. The workshop will also investigate the potential of collage and the avatar figure as possible tools for inventing and representing a mutant identity.

In collaboration with Maggs Dao, a queer multimedia artist. Their work investigates hybridity and multiplicity of bodies and of the Self.

november 17: GEOMETRY AND ABSTRACTION

Geometry and Abstraction replace figurative forms with bold colors and simple shapes—like triangles, circles, and trapezoids—to represent the realities of life. Despite their seeming simplicity, they often symbolize religious figures, musical compositions, science, and nature. Foregoing the male artists who typically dominate the history of geometry and abstraction, this workshop will focus primarily on works by female artists from Latin America including Lygia Clark, Ines Raiteri, Yente, Silvia Gurfein, Mira Schendel, Scafati, Carmen Herrera, and others. Minoliti will also incorporate ideas and techniques from her own practice to imagine more open interpretations of geometric abstraction.

Ad Minoliti is a painter who combines the pictorial language of geometric abstraction with the perspective of queer theory. Her different experimental installations encompass art history, architecture, queer feminism, interior design, animalism and speculative fiction.

Public Programs

october 17: ECCENTRIC CONVERSATIONS WITH THE EMERGING SCHOLARS PROGRAM

 

Sienna Freeman, Elena Gross, and Anthea Black in conversation with the work of Ad Minoliti. Moderated by Kim Anno.

Art History often fails to acknowledge—and at times actively erases—the relationships, networks, and eccentric circles of influence that form the background of feminist and queer artists’ lives. Social exchanges, affiliations, alliances, amorous bonds, and even chance encounters that hold great meaning remain invisible in the face of “finished” artworks, exhibitions, and the history books. While developing The Feminist School of Painting at KADIST, artist Ad Minoliti embarked on a dialogue with many Bay Area artists and writers, including Sienna Freeman, Elena Gross, Anthea Black, and Kim Anno. Eccentric Conversations opens their exchange through a series of short, commissioned presentations, an open forum, and the presentation of a new zine to mark the occasion.

This event is an incarnation of the Emerging Scholars Program (ESP), which brings together recent graduates in the disciplines of fine arts, humanities, social sciences, and environmental design whose work explores gender identity and issues relevant to queer and trans people of color. In collaboration with Bay Area nonprofit, community-based arts, and social service organizations, the program hosts conversations that bring local perspective and develop a network of queer scholars and like-minded partners.

Co-presented by KADIST and the San Francisco Queer Cultural Center.

Elena Gross is an independent writer and cultural critic. She specializes in representations of identity through fine art, photography, and popular media. Elena is the host of the arts & visual culture podcast, what are you looking at, published by Art Practical. Her most recent research centers on the work of artist Lorna Simpson and conceptual and material abstractions of the body in photography.

Sienna Freeman is a San Francisco–based visual artist and writer, hailing from New York state and Philadelphia. Her visual work has been exhibited across the United States, and internationally in Switzerland, London, Belgium, and Canada. Her written work has been published in DailyServing, Art Practical, and California College of the Arts’ Sightlines journal. Freeman earned an MA in Visual & Critical Studies and an MFA in Fine Art from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and a BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Anthea Black is a Canadian artist, writer, and cultural worker. Her studio work addresses feminist and queer history, collaboration, materiality, and labor and has exhibited internationally, and most recently with the publication of The HIV Howler: Transmitting Art and Activism, an artist newspaper in collaboration with Jessica Whitbread. She is an Assistant Professor in Printmedia and Graduate Fine Arts at California College of the Arts.

Kim Anno is a painter, photographer, book artist, and filmmaker/video artist whose work has been exhibited and collected by museums nationally and internationally, including SFMOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, Honolulu Museum, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Oakland Museum, Getty Research Institute. Anno has been at work on an epic social practice filmmaking project, Men and Women In Water Cities, made with local actors and citizens in coastal communities who are grappling with sea level rise.