John L. Marion Chair in Art History, Fordham University
“Women Artists and the Arte Útil Movement”
“We have to put Duchamp’s urinal back in the restroom,” announced Cuban artist Tania Bruguera. Bruguera is the founder of Arte Útil movement. She is one of a rapidly growing number of artists who no longer make works of art but are instead engaged in making art work. Rather than making things—art objects that enter the commodity system—they have been turning their creative energies to changing things: finding ways to give art agency and formulating strategies for some of the most progressive practices of contemporary art. They have taken up the very radical idea that art can be useful. Not surprisingly, it is women artists who are among the most active in this movement—making art that has relocated from the galleries and museums, migrated from behind the couch, and gone out to work.