Sue Scott Gallery

Goings on About Town: Art

The New Yorker, October 2010

JEWISH MUSEUM
Fifth Ave. at 92nd St. (212-423-3200)—“Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism.”

Through Jan. 30. |  “Shulie: Film and Stills by Elisabeth Subrin.” In 1967, the burgeoning feminist scholar Shulamith Firestone, then a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, was chosen by four male directors to be the subject of a film about the “now” generation. Shot in an eerie, flat style, the black-and-white documentary showed the brilliant Firestone in a variety of situations, including the mail room where she worked, pontificating on her identification with the black male postal workers. (In 1970, Firestone would elaborate on the ties between white women and black men in her groundbreaking book “The Dialectic of Sex.”) In 1997, the equally brilliant conceptual artist Elisabeth Subrin produced a shot-by-shot re-creation (made in color, using actors), reclaiming the original film from the male gaze and subverting the idea of documentary as truth. Subrin’s ghostly evocation is a powerful and original exploration of a woman as political and intellectual object—an anarchic and unintentional pinup. The inclusion here of large-scale film stills underlines Subrin’s argument: now you see Shulie, but, then again, maybe you don’t. Through Jan. 30. (Open Saturdays through Tuesdays, 11 to 5:45, Thursdays, 11 to 8, and Fridays, 11 to 4.)