The F Word
I first met filmmaker Robert Adanto in 2008 at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami Florida, where he had been invited to present his first film, The Rising Tide, a documentary film examining the explosive Chinese contemporary art scene that features Wang Qingsong and Cao Fei, and other leading photographers and video artists from the People’s Republic of China.
As an early adopter and collector of the Chinese Contemporary Art movement, I found myself a bit like a fish out of water here in Miami where Chinese contemporary art was relatively unknown and completely unappreciated by both collectors and the art institutions. Many visitors to my home asked “how could you live with these works” which I found a bit off-putting, but said nothing.
The film Rising Tide remains for me a very important piece documenting in real time the work, and in particular, the less commercial but from an art historical point of view more important, photographic works of art. Notably, Wang Qingsong went on to become the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at the most prestigious museum focused on photography in the United States, the International Center of Photography in New York City, curated by Christopher Phillips. Cao Fei has also become a very important artist in a movement that has few women reaching the heights of their male counterparts but recently recognized with a monumental public installation at the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong for the occasion of the 2015 Art Basel-Hong Kong.
Since Rising Tide, Adanto has produced three other films focusing on contemporary art: Pearls on the Ocean Floor, an award-winning film featuring Shirin Neshat, Shadi Ghadirian and other Iranian female artists, and City of Memory, his 2014 film examining Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the lives and art of New Orleans-based artists like Deborah Luster and Tameka Norris. I was fortunate to catch a screening of City of Memory at MoCA North Miami in August and his new film The F Word made its world premiere at the 30th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival this year. Given the important topic of the underrepresentation of art works by women in our international museums, the film is timely.
It offers portraits of artists who remain on the fringes, women marginalized by the larger art world. They include Narcissister, a masked Brooklyn-based performance artist known for performing burlesque-type pieces in which she performs a reverse striptease, and Leah Schrager, well known for her performance practice, Naked Therapy, who confidently asserts, “I think there are multiple ways in which we can live our sexuality, and I think that supporting women who are doing it in a public way is really valuable to the world and also I think recognizing it as art, when it’s intended as art, is really valuable.”
The F Word explores radical 4th wave feminist performance via interviews with artists delving into the territory of female sexuality, self-objectification, and the female form as a site of resistance.
At a time when women remain underrepresented in the art world, Robert Adanto’s The F Word takes a hard look at the edges of female sexuality among several women artists today. It may or may not be your taste. The significance of these works from an art historical point of view will only be known with time. One thing is certain, Adanto is a brave filmmaker.
The F Word will premiere Saturday, November 14 at 9:15pm at Cinema Paradiso-Fort Lauderdale. A second screening is scheduled for Sunday, November 15 at 5:45pm at Cinema Paradiso- Hollywood.
Cinema Paradiso- Fort Lauderdale Cinema Paradiso- Hollywood
503 SE 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood