Screening “The F Word” Documentary on “4th Wave” feminist artists

Terri Smith

March 26, 5:30 PM–9:00 PM

Franklin Street Works presents Robert Adanto’s documentary film “The F Word” at the Stamford Innovation Center. The movie explores radical “4th wave” feminist performance through interviews with a new generation of feminist artists who use their bodies as subject matter. This public event is at 7:00pm on Saturday, March 26, at the Stamford Innovation Center and includes a post screening Q & A featuring: director, Robert Adanto; scholar and curator Dr. Kathy Battista; and two of the film’s featured artists Leah Schrager and Katie Cercone of Go! Push Pops. There will be a public cocktail reception at Franklin Street Works prior to the screening from 5:30 – 6:30 where people can view the current, feminist themed, exhibition “Cut-Up: Contemporary Collage and Cut-Up Histories through a Feminist Lens” and meet the director in a casual setting. The two downtown venues are a 10-minute-walk or short drive from each other. The event is free with a suggested donation of $5.

Film Trailer can be viewed here:

Because the female body continues to be politicized and policed, and because these artists delve into the fecund territory of female sexuality, self-objectification, and the female form as a site of resistance, many remain marginalized by the mainstream art world. Brooklyn-based Leah Schrager, well known for her performance practice, Naked Therapy, states, “As soon as you introduce a bit of sexiness or sexuality into an artwork it suddenly becomes questionable. Just because something elicits arousal or shows elements of sexiness does absolutely not make it not art.”

While some 4th wave artists, like Ann Hirsch and Kate Durbin, choose to analyze representations of female identity through digital media, others, like the radical, queer, transnational feminist art collective, Go! Push Pops, explore sexuality and gender in pop culture in the digital age. As feminist lecturer Kristen Sollee explains, 4th wavers, unlike their predecessors, “are not afraid to be ‘girly’, (or) to be hyper-feminine, or to wear a mini-skirt, to self-objectify” in the service of challenging patriarchal oppression or sexist ideals.

Dr. Kathy Battista, Director of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York and author of Re-negotiating the Body: Feminist Artists in 1970s London (IB Tauris, 2012), is an on-screen expert, as are noted art critic and curator, Nancy Princenthal, and feminist lecturer, Kristen Sollee.

Featured Artists are: Narcissister, Ann Hirsch, Go! Push Pops, Leah Schrager, Kate Durbin, Rebecca Goyette, Rachel Mason, Rafia Santana, Damali Abrams, Faith Holland, Claudia Bitran, Michelle Charles, and Sadaf.


Robert Adanto, a classically trained actor, earned his M.F.A. in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently heads the Film & TV Production program at NSU’s University School. His films have been Official Selections at more than fifty international film festivals and have enjoyed screenings at The Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow; The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; The Worcester Art Museum, MA; The Tel Aviv Museum of Art and others. He made his directorial debut with The Rising Tide (2008), a feature-length documentary exploring the explosive Chinese contemporary art scene. Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010), his second feature, examines the lives and works of Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. Featuring interviews with art luminaries Shirin Neshat and Shadi Ghadirian, Pearls on the Ocean Floor received the Bronze Palm Award for Best Documentary at the 2011 edition of the Mexican International Film Festival and the Spirit of Independents Award at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Adanto’s 2014, City of Memory explores Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the lives of visual artists from New Orleans. His newest film, “The F Word,” focuses on “4th wave” feminist artists who, among other tactics, use their bodies as subject matter in their work. Among other screenings, The F Word was recently presented as part of the Guerrilla Girls Twin City Takeover at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and at Dallas Contemporary, in association with Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics, an exhibition curated by Alison Gingeras.