O'Born Contemporary


A Feminist Tea Party: Straddling the 49th

June 14 – June 16, 2013

about the programme

Do come in for a cup of tea…

O'Born Contemporary is pleased to present A Feminist Tea Party: Straddling the 49th, a three-day collaborative artwork by Caitlin Rueter and Suzanne Stroebe. OBC will be the fifteenth venue in the ongoing series and the host of A Feminist Tea Party's first instance outside the United States.

A Feminist Tea Party lies somewhere between a performance, an installation and a participatory event. Initially provoked by the Tea Party protests subsequent to the 2008 presidential election, A Feminist Tea Party recasts the "tea party" as a playful, progressive, inquisitive and inclusive space. Conceptually, it engages with the history of the tea party (from Boston to Beck) and feminism (from the suffragist movement to Lady Gaga). A Feminist Tea Party's aesthetics are meant to mirror techniques of the Tea Party movement, which has effectively played on the concept of historical reenactment as a vehicle for political discourse.

Rueter and Stroebe revisit the consciousness-raising groups of the 1970s in the set of a mid-century tea party. Constructing a room in the center of the gallery, they create both a home and a forum. Dressed in 1950s costume and greeting guests in their "parlour", they draw on the iconographic heritage of contemporary representations of women-sex and service, the consumer and the consumed. The gallery is recast as a home, an open forum where essential and discomfiting issues can be discussed freely and with a sense of humour.

Through the duration of their residency at OBC, Rueter and Stroebe invite viewers to join them for tea, sweets and conversation. Each day, a different co-host drawn from Toronto's vibrant and uniquely varied cultural landscape will introduce a topic to engage guests in an informal discussion about feminism.

All are welcome to participate, regardless of gender, political persuasion, or identity as feminist.