4 Timely Exhibitions at Marketview Arts Confront the Pervasiveness of Rape Culture

1. photo by Jennifer Sprague

What Were You Wearing?
October 5 – 27, 2018
3rd Floor, Marketview Arts
Reception: October 5, 2018, 5:00 PM

The “What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation originated at the University of Arkansas in 2013. Created by Jen Brockman and Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert, the project was inspired by Dr. Mary Simmerling’s poem, What I Was Wearing.

Dr. Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Brockman had worked as sexual violence and intimate partner violence survivor advocates for over a decade when the Installation was created. The Installation was born out of an advocacy lens. The question, “what were you wearing?” was pervasive for most survivors. Dr. Wyandt-Hiebert and Ms. Brockman wanted to create a project that would place the work of bearing witness to this question’s answer back on the shoulders of the community and humanize the survivor in the answer. To ask the question, “what were you wearing?” cost the questioner nothing, there is no labor in making this statement. However, the survivor must pay dearly in not only their answer; but also, in the burden of self-blame. The Installation challenges participants to engage with the universal connection we have with clothing and reflect on what gives this specific rape culture myth so much power. To put clothing on is so basic and common, to take that action and conflate it with pain and suffering taints not only the individual outfit for the survivor; but also, calls in to question all simplistic and normal behaviors as dangerous. The Installation asks participants to understand that it was never about the clothing and the act of shedding those clothes is never enough to bring peace or comfort to survivors. The violation is not simply woven in to the fabric of the material, it is a part of the survivor’s new narrative. If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing our clothes. Instead it requires all of us to evaluate what enabled us as individuals and as a society to ask, “what were you wearing?” in the first place.




Paul Rucker: In Her Words
October 5 – 27, 2018
3rd Floor Anteroom, Marketview Arts
Reception: October 5, 2018, 5:00 PM

Guggenheim Fellow Paul Rucker’s work often represents his research into incarceration and racial disparities in the US criminal justice system. This video work, with a soundtrack featuring Rucker playing the cello, uses the famous case of Brock Turner, a Stanford University student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious victim, to demonstrate how young white men accused, and in this case convicted of sexual assault, are given preferential treatment in our court system.  Following the jury’s verdict finding Turner guilty  Judge Aaron Persky, who presided over the case, said, “”I mean, I take him at his word that, subjectively, that’s his version of events. The jury, obviously, found it not to be the sequence of events.” The prosecution sought a 9-year sentence, 5 years less than the 14 year maximum sentence. Persky gave Turner a 6-month sentence, of which he only served half. Turner’s father called the sentence “a steep price to pay for 20 years of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” Rucker’s piece focuses on how those 20 minutes affected the victim, presenting her story in her words. The words move quickly, forcing the viewer to not look away.




Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
October 5 – 27, 2018
1st Floor, Marketview Arts
Reception: October 5, 2018, 5:00 PM

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights: International Posters on Gender-Based Inequity, Violence and Discrimination is a traveling graphic design exhibition organized and curated by Elizabeth Resnick, Professor Emerita at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. This sampling of the larger exhibit has been curated to complement the What Were You Wearing? and #metoo exhibitions running concurrently at Marketview Arts as well as the YWCA’s Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event held downtown on October’s First Friday. The exhibition title comes from an important 1995 speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.


Carmen piece

October 5 – 12, 2018
2nd Floor, Marketview Arts
Reception: October 5, 2018, 5:00 PM

This is a community exhibition in which anyone may participate by sharing a story, poem, or work of art (any medium; drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound, graphic design/protest sign) relevant to the experience of sexual assault, harassment and/or intimate partner violence. Participants may either identify themselves in their work or remain anonymous. Submissions may be dropped off by the entrance of Marketview Arts (37 W Philadelphia St, 17403) between September 25 – October 4 and there will be opportunities to add to the exhibition during First Friday on October 5 until the following Friday, October 12. Additionally, anyone may anonymously submit their story electronically using the following webform: https://ycp.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8rjNcF54ht7DmqV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s