Old Mistresses

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Old Mistresses

Date and time

Saturday 8 June, 10.30am–5pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Margareta Gynning, Lubaina Himid, Frances Morris, Ella Mills, Minna Moore Ede, Ruth Noack, Ingrid Pollard, Griselda Pollock, Nina Power and Joanne Rhymer

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What is the position for women today in art history? Has gender inequality been banished from museums along with racism, or do we need an expanded feminist critique?

To mark the launch of the new edition of Parker and Pollock's classic 'Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology' (1981), this study day chaired by Griselda Pollock will create a forum for debate between curators, artists and scholars about the current state of affairs in the art world.

Speakers at this event include Margareta Gynning, Lubaina Himid, Ella Mills, Minna Moore Ede, Ruth Noack, Ingrid Pollard, Griselda Pollock, Nina Power and Joanne Rhymer.

Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Iwona Blazwick will no longer be contributing to this event.



Introduction:  Gill Hart, Head of Adult Learning at the National Gallery

Museums/institutional perspectives and contexts


Griselda Pollock
Old Mistresses after all these years


Margareta Gynning
Pivotal Images/Transformative Encounters – Feminism and Curating at the Nationalmuseum, Sweden


Discussion and questions


Break (refreshments provided)


Joanne Rhymer
Rosa Bonheur, The Horse Fair: Shifting Perspectives


Minna Moore Ede
Leda and the Swan: a myth of seduction, creation and destruction


Discussion and questions


Lunch (not provided)

Artists/curatorial practice


Lubaina Himid, Ingrid Pollard and Ella Mills
Talking on Corners: Speaking in Tongues


Ruth Noack, Frances Morris and Griselda Pollock (with a recorded contribution from Iwona Blazwick)
Curating the Contemporary


Break (refreshments provided)


Summary of the key issues and themes of the day: Nina Power


Round table and final questions


About the speakers

Margareta Gynning is Senior Curator at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden. Gynning holds a PhD in Art History from Uppsala University (1999) and has been affiliated with Centre for Gender Research and Centre for Fashion Studies at Uppsala and Stockholm Universities. She is a pedagogue and feminist scholar who has curated exhibitions, educational programs and published books and articles on various aspects of the visual culture of the 1800s and 1900s.

Lubaina Himid is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire and directs the Making Histories Visible Project. During the past 30 years she has exhibited widely both in Britain and internationally with solo shows that include Tate St Ives, Transmission Glasgow, Chisenhale Gallery London, Peg Alston New York, and has work in several public collections including Tate, Arts Council England, Birmingham City Art Gallery, New Hall Cambridge, Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester and The International Slavery Museum Liverpool.

Frances Morris is Head of Collections (International Art) at Tate. Formerly Head of Displays at Tate Modern, she curated the first major re-hang of the collection in 2006 as well as overseeing the opening display in 2000. Frances curated Tate Modern's recent retrospective of Yayoi Kusama. Past exhibitions and catalogues include the major retrospective of Louise Bourgeois which opened at Tate Modern in October 2007; ‘David Smith’, 2006; ‘Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris’, 2005 (co-curated with Professor Christopher Green); ‘Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-72’, 2001; ‘Rites of Passage’, 1995 (co-curated with Stuart Morgan) and ‘Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism’, 1993. She is currently working on a retrospective exhibition of Agnes Martin.

Ruth Noack is Head of Programme, Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art in London. Trained as a visual artist and art historian, she has acted as art critic, university lecturer and exhibition maker since the 1990s. Noack has co-curated numerous exhibitions including documenta 12 (Kassel, 2007). She provided Garden of Learning (Busan Biennale, 2012) with its exhibition layout, and is presently working on a show called 'Sleeping with a Vengeance − Dreaming of a Life'. Noack’s reviews and monographic essays have appeared in numerous journals and catalogues. Her book on Sanja Ivecovic was published by Afterall in February of 2013.

Ingrid Pollard studied Film and Video at the London College of Printing followed by an MA in Photographic Studies, University of Derby. Ingrid is well known for exploring heritage, the romanticism of English landscape, and England's hidden histories associated with Africa and the Caribbean.

Ella Mills is a doctoral student at the University of Leeds, researching British artists Lubaina Himid and Maud Sulter. Focusing on two exhibitions, 'The Thin Black Line' (1985, ICA) and 'Thin Black Line(s)' (2011/12, Tate Britain), Ella's thesis investigates the essential role African, Caribbean and Asian British women artists and photographers played in the emergence of a 'Black Art Movement' in the 1980's.

Griselda Pollock is Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art and Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds. Author of many books, edited collections and articles on post-colonial, international, queer feminist interventions in art's histories, on cultural theory and the museum, and on difference, aesthetics and psychoanalysis, her most recent books include 'Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum' (2007), 'Bracha Ettinger: Art as Compassion' (2012), with 'After-affect/After-image: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation' (2013) and 'Visual Politics and Psychoanalysis: Art and the Image in Post-Traumatic Cultures' (2013) forthcoming. She is currently completing a book 'The Nameless Artist in the Theatre of Memory: On Charlotte Salomon's Life? or Theatre?'.

Nina Power received her PhD in Philosophy from Middlesex University on the topic of Humanism and Anti-Humanism in Post-War French Philosophy, and also has an MA and BA in Philosophy from Warwick. She currently teaches Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and Critical Writing at the Royal College of Art. She is the author of 'One-Dimensional Woman' (Zer0, 2009), and of many articles on European Philosophy and politics.

Minna Moore Ede is Assistant Curator of Renaissance Paintings at the National Gallery, London. She completed her PhD at Keble College, Oxford in 2002 on Religious Art and Catholic Reform in Italy 1527–1546. Since then she has written and worked on a number of exhibitions at the National Gallery that include 'Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan' (2011), 'Renaissance Faces' (2008–9), 'Rubens: A Master in the Making' (2006), 'Raphael: from Urbino to Rome' (2004) and 'Polidoro da Caravaggio: The Way to Calvary' (2003). Last summer she curated her first solo show – 'Metamorphosis: Titian 2012' – which was a unique collaboration between the National Gallery and The Royal Ballet and was nominated for a South Bank Award.

Joanne Rhymer studied for her MA in History of Art: Modernism and the Politics of Representation at University College London. Until April 2013, Jo was the Adult Learning Officer at the National Gallery, responsible for devising education events to increase visitor enjoyment and engagement with the National Gallery Collection. Jo recently took up the post of Public Programmes Manager at Sotheby’s Institute. Areas of interest include women artists, 19th and early 20th century French painting and visual culture.

Image above: Detail from Berthe Morisot, Girl on a Divan, about 1885