Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Deirdre Logue & Allyson Mitchell

FAGing it Forward

Curated by Doug Jarvis

The Feminist Art Gallery (FAG), co-directed by artists Deirdre Logue & Allyson Mitchell, has transformed the backyard of an urban Toronto home and pushed it into the international art world. They have achieved this by asking you to put forward the names of those you want to acknowledge, recognize, and make more visible. On a name tag - or postcard - you are invited to write your name and the name of someone you want to recognize. The card then adds to Logue & Mitchell's archive. Based on the premise of paying it forward, it's a methodology that targets a politicized art world, changing the value systems that are at play by naming people thmeslves as that which brings value to artistic community. FAG celebrates those who need to be recognized, people who are themselves politicized. In their artist statement, Logue and Mitchell call this FAGing It Forward:

"When you come to the FAG, we ask you to make a nametag: first, with your name - so we can all know who each other is - and second, with the name of a feminist/queer/politicized artist, poet, rock star, writer, friend, inspiration, mentor, matron or lover - someone you want to make visible, someone you want everyone to know about. We call this FAGing It Forward."

Projects like this, that challenge institutional structures, have a history within contemporary art. Institutional critique attempts to reveal the socially and historically constructed boundaries of art systems. It works to shed light on the assumptions and inherent biases of gallery and museum practices; how they function to propagate distinct streams of taste. FAG inhabits the aesthetics of this historical movement. Not just to reference the critique of systems of power that under represent and marginalize women artists, queer artists, and artists who work outside of the mainstream, but as a medium itself.

FAG projects mobilize a process of inclusion, cooperation, and collaboration: All facets of the exhibition become part of the work. They employ a 'matronage program,' a micro-funding system of support they have developed that pairs donations to the gallery with individual artists and projects. Bringing the artist, audience, and gallery together in a collaborative economic exchange, they are able to make visible artists whose work doesn't fit into traditional consumerist models.

To this end FAG is changing the world. Using philanthropic tools in innovative ways, they are affecting how the game can be played. They are doing it from within the art system, using the mechanisms of presentation and support to reveal itself - like the snake simultaneously swallowing and regurgitating it's tail - for the advantage of others, as well as the system itself.