Linda Stein (artist)
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September 13, 1943 |
The Bronx, New York US
Stein was born in the Bronx to a working-class, Jewish family. She attended the School of Visual Arts and Queens College, where she earned a B.A.. While working as an art teacher she earned an M.A. at the Pratt Institute.
Stein is a member of the Veteran Feminists of America, a source of information for writers on the 1970s Women's Movement. In 2005, the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen fooled her into an interview with his character Borat telling her he was a journalist for Belarus Television making a documentary about the United States, which was included in his 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. In the interview, Stein responded seriously and angrily to Cohen's character's ludicrously sexist attitudes on women, and finally stormed off the interview set.
In the 1990s, Stein made a sculpture series, Blades, fusing machetes with wood, rope, and other materials. These objects looked like weapons, with knife-like edges, that were ancient and spoke to relationships of power and violence. Stein composed origin stories that undid these associations and offered alternatives, such as defense and empowerment for the user. These were exhibited at the Monmouth County Arts Center, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Farleigh Dickinson University, SoHo 20, and the Jamaica Arts Center, among other venues.
After 9/11 attacks, which occurred while Stein was working in her TriBeCa studio, she was unable to make art for a year. When she returned to her studio, her new sculptures were figurative and embodied protective qualities. The Knights of Protection series was begun in 2002. The earliest were shield-like forms made of mixed media that hung on the wall. Later Knights were more figurative, sturdy paper constructions collaged with images of Wonder Woman, Princess Mononoke, and the Asian goddess of protection Guanyin. In 2009, Stein attached shoulder pieces allowing the sculptures to be worn like armor. She invited visitors to her studio to experience "body-swapping": donning the "sculptural avatars" and imagining what it would feel like to be in a differently gendered body.
Stein made free-standing torsos covered in scavenged leather and mixed media that were intentionally difficult to identify as masculine or feminine. This series has been touring museums and universities from 2010 to 2017 under the title The Fluidity of Gender.
In 2012, Stein began a series titled I Am the Environment: My Gender, My Nature. Cast paper torsos, this time more unambiguously feminine, are encrusted with natural materials: beans, shells, seeds, and stones. They suggest the embeddedness of the body in ecological systems.
She is currently working on a series of five foot square tapestries including leather, metal and fiber called Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females. Inspired by historical accounts of individuals who actively intervened to save Jews from Nazi persecution, such as Oskar Schindler, Stein was interested in discovering and celebrating equally brave women. Anne Frank is well known for her diary kept while hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland, but other subjects are less famous. Before Noor Inayat Khan was executed at Dachau, she sent radio signals to allies in occupied France. Ruth Gruber was an American journalist and government official who wrote the stories and took pictures of displaced Jews in the years after the war. First exhibited at the Flomenhaft Gallery in Chelsea in December 2014, the tapestries will tour the United States and international venues.
Selected solo exhibitions
The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein has toured museums and university galleries since 2010. These have included:
- Freyberger Gallery, Penn State Berks
- Hub-Robeson Galleries, Pennsylvania State University
- Andrews Art Museum, Andrews, NC
- Bryan Gallery, Coastal Carolina University
- United States Institute of Peace, Washington, DC
- Spiva Art Center, Joplin, MO
- Fine Arts Gallery, St. Edward's University
- Ford Gallery, Eastern Michigan University
- Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College
- Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University
- Peter Paul Luce Gallery, Cornell College
Other solo shows:
- "Strong Suit: Armor as Second Skin," National Association of Women Artists, New York City (2009)
- "The Power to Protect: Sculpture of Linda Stein," Nathan D. Rosen Museum, Boca Raton, FL (2007)
- "Women Warriors: The Yin and Yang," Flomenhaft Gallery, New York City (2007)
- "Sculpture of the Heroic Woman," Anita Shabolsky Gallery, Jim Thorpe, PA (2007)
- "Wonder Women Reborn," The Art Mission Gallery, Binghamton, New York (2007)
- "Heroic Visions," Longstreth Goldberg Art, Naples, FL (2007)
- "Knights," Flomenhaft Gallery, New York City (2006)
- "Wonder Woman Reborn as Linda Stein," The Art Mission Gallery, Binghamton, NY (2006)
- "Sculpture of the Heroic Woman," Anita Shapolsky Gallery, Jim Thorpe, PA (2006)
- "(K)Night Watch," New York University, Broadway Windows, New York City (2005)
- "The Face: An Obsession of Anger (3 Decades)," Morgan Gallery, Smith College, Northampton, MA (2004)
- "Embedded Glyphs," The Art Club, New York City (2002)
- "Sounding Blades," Spiva Art Museum, Joplin, MO (1998)
- "Musical Blades," Cortland Jessup Gallery, Provincetown, MA (1996)
- "Blades," Jamaica Arts Center, Queens, NY (1994)
- "Blades: Transcending Aggression," Monmouth County Arts Center, Monmouth, NJ (1991)
- "Blades: Reversing Violence," Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Window on Broad, University of the Arts, Philadelphia (1991)
- "Blades: A Psychological Environment," Fairleigh Dickenson University, Edward Williams Gallery, Hackensack, NJ (1991)
- "Blades in New York: A Multi-Media Environment," Soho 20, New York City (1991).
- Stein, Linda (July 2008). "The art persepective: Suzanne Lacy". On The Issues Magazine. Merle Hoffman.
- Filippone, Christine (2013). "Ecological Systems Thinking in the Work of Linda Stein". Woman's Art Journal (Spring/Summer).
- "How I was duped by Ali G". Downtownexpress.com. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Peyser, Andrea (October 9, 2006). "The Borat Trap's Big Catch: How Fake Kazakh Fooled A Feminist". New York Post. Archived from the original on November 2, 2006. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
- Morris, Terry (February 18, 2012). "Running from 9/11 led sculptor to life's work". Dayton Daily News.
- Bible, Ann Vollman (2010). "Ruptures of Vulnerability: Linda Stein's Knight Series". Journal of Lesbian Studies. 14 (2–3): 154–73. doi:10.1080/10894160903196582.
- Matlock, Jann (Fall 2007). "Vestiges of New Battles: Linda Stein's Sculpture after 9/11". Feminist Studies. 33 (3): 569–90.
- Wolf, Amy (2008). "Lady of the Knights: Linda Stein and the Art of Soft Power". Bitch Magazine (Fall): 50–53.
- Ilnytzky, Ula (July 14, 2014). "Artist creates 'empowering' wearable sculptures". AP The Big Story. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
- Hobbs Thompson, Margo (October 2011). "Linda Stein's "Fluidity of Gender"". Sex Roles. 7–8. 65: 647–50. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-9973-9.
- Peyser, Andrea (November 24, 2014). "Borat is her muse". New York Post.
- Green, Stacy (June 5, 2014). "Art Exhibit Tours Andrews". Andrews Journal.
- "Brooklyn Museum: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Linda Stein". brooklynmuseum.org.