The exhibition “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” challenges us to think of gender outside of the binary and to understand the multidimensional, intersecting compositions of identity. The exhibition’s title takes inspiration from writer and activist Audre Lorde, who famously wrote, “Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference—those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older—know that survival is not an academic skill… For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
With this in mind, educators will consider what tools artists in the exhibition employ to challenge normative definitions, and will participate in a workshop to explore how power structures influence the development of identity through the lens of gender. Following the premise of the exhibition, the workshop will focus not on gender in itself, but on its intersections with various other dimensions of identity—including race, ethnicity, class, and disability. How can gender be both a tool and a weapon? How does gender relate to other identity markers? What other power structures are revealed through a consideration of gender, and how do these structures operate in your classroom?
9:30 AM: Registration
10 AM–12 PM: Artist Talk and Discussion
Artist Tuesday Smillie will begin our professional development seminar with a conversation on how her work attempts to answer the question, “How is gender a tool and a weapon?” Smillie is a Brooklyn-based artist who explores transfeminist politics through watercolor, textile, and collage. Interested in art as a form of protest and celebration, Smillie often engages with questions of how the past informs the present, recreating historical protest signs that present new political slogans. Her work calls for a collective reimagining of gender and a willingness to keep moving forward after our failures.
1–3 PM: Educator workshop with Educator-in-Residence Tiffany Jones
In the afternoon session, facilitated by staff and Educator-in-Residence Tiffany Jones, participants will consider how and when gender operates as a tool or a weapon in the classroom and school environment. Educators will take part in a discussion and activity, which they may use in their classrooms to prompt students to think about intersectionality in relation to these questions, through students’ engagement with art and other cultural content.
The New Museum welcomes educators of all disciplines, but this program is geared toward high school teachers. Reservations are honored on a first-come, first-served basis. Workshop space is limited.