A pioneer of feminist art in Mexico, Monica Mayer uses humor and satire to address gender-related topics largely absent from public discourse. Intimidations. . . no. Arte, vida y feminismo (Intimate Matters… Or Not. Art, Life, and Feminism, Editorial Diecisiete) examines her prolific writing practice, a vital extension of her artistic output for more than four decades. At a time when gender-based violence is spreading throughout Mexico, Mayer’s writings remind us that the feminist struggle – in the art world and beyond – is still fought on the battlefield of language. .
I AM AN ARTIST WHO WRITING . . . many. I started writing journals at the age of eight and have continued and diversified this practice through letters, articles, blogs, texts for performances, drawings that include words and other types of textual works of art. In 2016, I invited my colleagues Katnira Bello and Julia Antivilo – artists who share my passion for art, feminism and performance – to dive into my archives; they read over 1,500 of my writings and selected those featured in this book.
Some of the contributions for my column in the universal, which was published between 1988 and 2008, are included in Intimate affairs. . . or not. Art, life and feminism. Because I was publishing in a journal, people immediately thought I was an art critic, even though my practice as an artist never ceased and I always wrote like myself, Mónica Mayer, a Mexican feminist artist. My writing has always been situated, it has never claimed to be objective. Oddly enough, because I wrote about my craft and the works of other artists, some people took me less seriously as an artist.
This newspaper column, like my artwork, reflected my interest in the public. The most of the universalThe income came from the classifieds, so I imagined my reader as someone in between job interviews. I wrote with the idea of seducing them so that they were interested in feminist art, which fascinated me. Since the internet was not that mainstream at the time, I did it through humor, accessible language, and constant references to pop culture. Back then, it was all about television and telenovelas––You will find many references to it in my texts. I tried to build bridges between the reader’s daily life and contemporary art. I was lucky to have Paco Ignacio Taibo as my editor; he allowed me to write as I wished. I could publish works as articles. I could invent imaginary art competitions to talk about the role of women in the art world, award ironic prizes, etc. I wanted to raise questions and let the audience draw their own conclusions.
This anthology offers a history of Mexican art different from canonical history, with its emphasis on “neutrality” and glorious narratives rather than processes (bumps and bruises all). Discovering the circumstances, the networks of personal relationships and all that we consider to be gossip allows us to understand the larger picture. While I sometimes enjoy the foundational tales of art history, I generally prefer to question them and address what was not said, which influenced the things that happened and their ripple effects. In my writing, I have never bothered to classify the work of my colleagues – I want to take a bigger picture from my own perspective and say, “This is where I come from, and this is what. I see. “