Abject Object: Feminism, Art & the Academy

A photograph from one of the exhibiting artists
Thompson Library
Thompson Gallery (Room 125)
1858 Neil Avenue Mall
Columbus, OH 43210-1286

August 22, 2023 - March 3, 2024
Exhibit Hours: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday - Friday, 10:00am-6:00pm | Saturday and Sunday, 11:00am-5:00pm
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The feminist art movement began in earnest in the 1960s and 70s, bringing with it a tide of reflective, performative and radical artmaking designed to grapple with the historical oppression of women. Artists used the act of making to both work through and shine light on the experiences of being othered in the artworld and their everyday lives. Abject Object appeals to the viewer to consider visual material through the lens of objectification—and the process of making a defiant act in the face of oppression.

In the 1980s, feminist art came to The Ohio State University in full force, beginning with the exhibition All’s Fair: Love and War in New Feminist Art, guest curated by Lucy Lippard in 1983 and including other programs such as the RAPE exhibition curated by Stephanie Blackwood in 1985. Other well-known feminist artists like Carolee Schneeman, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer and Judy Chicago came through Ohio State in the 1980s. Their presence on campus contributed to the development of an activist program of exhibitions mounted at Ohio State’s University Gallery prior to the opening of the Wexner Center for the Arts in 1989.

As a result, the collections at University Libraries – and in particular those of University Archives, the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library and the Fine Arts Library – reflect the long history of feminist art at Ohio State. From exhibition records and ephemera to colorful posters and more, Ohio State’s rich collections reflect the material production of feminist creators.

But while art and feminism have a long history, they also have a present and a future. Feminism as a movement is as needed and relevant as ever. For example, while many feminist movements historically excluded women of color and trans and nonbinary people, contemporary feminism is influenced by the radical inclusivity of Black feminist groups like the Combahee River Collective and by Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of “intersectionality,” a term used to describe the multiple layers of oppression experienced by Black women.

In addition to the selections from University Libraries’ collections on display, artists from the Ohio State community will also share work in the gallery. These artists, ranging within their careers from mid-Master of Fine Arts program to tenured faculty, make work informed by feminism, some overtly and others in more subtle ways.

Feminism at its core is a dialogue and ethic of care. This exhibition seeks to bring artists, researchers and members of the community into dialogue with one another. This ongoing conversation grapples with the ways in which feminism emerges as a visual art seeking to communicate, as well as a less didactic but equally powerful influence in artmaking.

Artists in the exhibit include:
Annelise Duque
Brianna Gluszak
Dionne Lee
Paloma Martínez-Cruz
Bryan Ortiz
Gina Osterloh
Carmen Winant

Banner Image Credit:
Annelise Duque | Cut, Crack, Chop | 2023
image courtesy of the artist

Thumbnail Image Credit:
Gina Osterloh | Pictures of Body Scans: Studies of Ears, Listening | 8.5" x 11", 2023 | 
image courtesy of the artist, Higher Pictures Generation New York and Silverlens Manila & New York

Additional Programming


  • Friday, August 25, 4pm-5pm - Thompson West Entrance
    Join us for a Taco Reparations Brigade Production of Chicomecoatl Revealed / Chicana Bloodlore of Yore.

    The Taco Reparations Brigade is: Paloma Martínez-Cruz, Bryan Ortiz, Jackie Courchene Spayd, Cat Ramos, Eric Serrano and Hannah Grace Morrison.

Open House

All’s Fair: Lucy Lippard in Conversation with Tomie Arai

  • Monday, October 2, 2:30pm-4:30pm - Thompson Room 150
    Join us for a hybrid event All's Fair: Lucy Lippard in Conversation with Tomie Arai followed by guided tour with Abject Object curator Courtney Hunt.
    • 2:30p-3:00p Refreshments
    • 3:00p-4:00p Virtual Conversation
    • 4:00p-4:30p Guided Tour
  • This event is co-sponsored by Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Department of Art, and Department of History of Art.

Artist Talks

  • Tuesday, November 14, 3:00pm-4:15pm - Thompson Gallery
    Join us for Abject Object: Artists' Talks to hear from three of the contemporary artists exhibiting work in Abject Object: Feminism, Art and the Academy. We will hear from artists Brianna Gluszak, Paloma Martinéz-Cruz, and Gina Osterloh as they provide further insight into their art practices and relationship to feminism.

Press Coverage


Photo of Courtney Hunt Courtney Hunt
Art and Design Librarian