Trustman Art Gallery

Trappings: Stories of Women, Power and Clothing

Photography and video works by Two Girls Working: Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki

October 9 - November 9

Simmons University presents “Trappings: Stories of Women, Power and Clothing,” a show of photography and video works by Two Girls Working: Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki, Oct. 9 – Nov. 9 at the Simmons University Trustman Art Gallery, fourth floor, of the Main College Building, 300 The Fenway, in Boston.

A reception for the artists will be held in the Trustman Gallery from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Ludwig and Piechocki met in Brooklyn, NY, in February 2000 and have never lived in the same city; this long-term project has also been a long-distance collaboration. They initiated “Trappings” to explore individualized approaches to power through interview-based community dialogue. “Instead of creating a project that articulates our own perspectives, we developed a project that openly explores the relationship of women to power within the construction of personal identity,” they said.

In 2005, Ludwig and Piechocki visited Boston and the Simmons University campus to interview women for the project. They invited women in Boston, as they have across the country to answer the question, “What do you wear that makes you feel powerful?” The women responded by coming together in small gatherings and wearing the clothing that made them feel powerful. The artists photographed the women and made a video that documented their responses.

The exhibition in the Trustman Gallery will present the viewer with photographic portraits, video journals, and an array of maps and wall text that document the sometimes surprising, always engaging, answers to that question. The participants represent a fascinating cross-section of American women, from students in the northeast, to Native Americans in the northwest, from elderly women in senior centers, to young mothers in kitchens.

The artists developed a book based on their findings, “Trappings: Stories of Women, Power and Clothing,” which will be published by Rutgers University Press this fall. “Trappings…” is the second of three fall exhibits in the series “Spinning Straw into Gold: The Ethics of Production,” curated by Trustman Gallery Director Barbara O’Brien. The series focuses on the inspiration for and production of contemporary art in a post-appropriation age where the methods of the art community now bridge other academic disciplines such as sociology, journalism, and political science.

A panel discussion that features all artists whose work is on view in the Trustman Gallery this fall will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, from 4:30–6 p.m. in the Kotzen Meeting Room at Simmons University. Panelists will include Chantal Zakari, Two Girls Working: Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki, Deborah Bohnert, and Rachel Dayson-Levy. The panel will be moderated by Trustman Gallery director and series curator O’Brien.

Also in conjunction with the series is a lecture by noted art critic and scholar Donald Kuspit. Kuspit will give an address on the topic of “Ethics in the Post-appropriation Age” Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Linda K. Paresky Center at Simmons University.

The series, “Spinning Straw into Gold: The Ethics of Production” was funded by the LEF Foundation and by the Catherine Hannah Behrend Class of ’70 Fund.

Trustman Art Gallery hours are 10 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 10 AM – 7 PM on Wednesday and Thursday. The gallery is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Kyle Mendelsohn at (617) 521-2268 or find us on Instagram.