A Feminist Tea Party
A Feminist Tea Party is an ongoing collaborative project by Caitlin Rueter and Suzanne Stroebe. Our project has evolved from its first incarnation as part of#class organized by Jen Dalton and William Powhida at Winkleman Galleryin New York, NY, where it lasted only an afternoon. Since then, we have brought our project to several venues in New York and beyond, including 4heads Art Fair on Governors Island, #rank at SEVEN art fair in Miami, and The College Art Association conference in New York, and The NYFA Gallery. This past fall, we traveled to the west coast for our California “tour” where we participated in the Getty Foundation Initiative Pacific Standard Time with the Pomona College Museum of Art. While in California we hosted events at three other venues:Scripps College, The Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, and West Gallery at California State University, Northridge.
Our project lies somewhere between a contemporary consciousness-raising group, a performance, an installation and a joke. We wed two conceptions of a tea party: (1) the tea party as historical referent and site of political debate (think: the Boston Tea Party or the Beck/Palin “Tea Party”) with (2) the tea party as a gendered and highly-stylized ritual (think: 4 o’clock tea). Provoked by the Tea Party protests, our project recasts the “tea party” as a playful, progressive, inquisitive and inclusive space.
We revisit the consciousness-raising groups of the 1970s in the set of a mid-century tea party. But, rather than recreating the exclusive environment of the historical consciousness-raising groups, or the homogeneous scene typical of the historical tea party, we include a wider cast of discussants, conflating the past and present to create an environment where essential and discomfiting issues can be discussed freely and with a sense of humor.
A Feminist Tea Party is an installation, a performance, a participatory event and a multi-faceted collaboration. At each event, we invite a new group of guests and, with them, a new conversation. We hope to engage with each of our guests, asking them to experience the space we have created, to perform within it by playing our game, to learn from each other in an open, supportive space for dialogue and, finally, to witness our collaboration and join us to make it their own.
Please join the conversation regardless of your gender, your political persuasion or whether you identify as feminist.