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AU art class hosts ‘Feminist Tea Party’
4/12/12

This week, students in Professor Laurel J. Carpenter’s art class participated in an ongoing event in art circles, the Feminist Tea Party.

Carpenter, associate professor of fine arts, described the tea party "movement":
"A Feminist Tea Party is an ongoing collaborative project by artists Caitlin Rueter and Suzanne Stroebe. The artists revisit the consciousness-raising groups of the 1970s in the set of a mid-century tea party.

"However," she continued to explain, "rather than recreating the exclusive environment of the historical discussion sessions, or the homogeneous scene typical of the historical tea party, they include a wider cast of discussants, conflating the past and present to create an environment where essential and discomfiting issues can be discussed freely and with a sense of humor.

"A Feminist Tea Party is an installation, a performance, a participatory event and a multi-faceted collaboration," said Carpenter. "At each event, the artists invite a new group of guests and, with them, a new conversation. The artists hope to engage with each of the guests, asking them to experience the space created, to perform within it by playing along with the game, to learn from each other in an open, supportive space for dialogue and, finally, to witness the artistic collaboration and join Rueter and Stroebe to make it their own.

A Feminist Tea Party was presented on the second floor lobby of Powell Campus Center, April 10, from noon to 6 p.m. The Alfred University Tea Party was an initiative of the interdisciplinary art major (in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences), with co-sponsor support from the Women’s Leadership Center.

Carpenter is a performance and installation artist, investigating longing, devotion, and alchemy in her durational live works. She has exhibited extensively in New York City and has been a fellow and invited artists at the International Performance Art Festival, Cleveland; The Performance Studies International Conference; and the MacDowell Colony. She has also exhibited in Europe.

Carpenter earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Tufts University and a master of fine arts degree at the University of Connecticut.