Skip to Content

Screening and Discussion: Robert Adanto ‘The F Word’

F Word Screening
Image: Kate Durbin’s Cloud 9’, as seen in Robert Adanto’s The F Word’ 

The University of Michigan Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies (LRCSS), Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG), Institute for the Humanities, and Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design are proud to present a screening and discussion with documentary filmmaker Robert Adanto.

The F Word explores radical 4th wave” feminist performance through interviews with a new generation of feminist artists who use their bodies as subject matter. 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.

Featured artists include 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. In addition, the film features 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), as an on-screen expert, as is noted art critic and curator, Nancy Princenthal.

Robert Adanto is a Los Angeles native currently based in Miami. A classically-trained actor and documentary filmmaker, he earned his M.F.A. in Acting from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program and is currently playing Shylock in Shakespeare Miami’s production of The Merchant of Venice. As a filmmaker, he is interested in exploring how artists respond to rapid, sometimes catastrophic change. His documentaries have looked at China’s explosive contemporary art scene (The Rising Tide 2008), the lives and works of Iranian female artists (Pearls on the Ocean Floor 2010), the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the lives of New Orleans-based artists (City of Memory 2014), and radical 4th wave” feminist performance in Brooklyn (The F Word 2015). He is currently working on Born Just Now, a film looking at the Belgrade-based performance artist Marta Jovanović. His films have screened at over 40 international film festivals and have been presented at various museums around the world.

The F Word
Screening followed by Q & A with director Robert Adanto

Tuesday, January 24 from 6 — 8:30 pm
Modern Languages Building — Room 1
Address: 812 Washington Street, Ann Arbor.