The Berkeley Art Center commissioned Adia Millett to work on a video project entitled “Act Like a Lady” as part of the BAC’s new digital exhibition “The Option to…” – a series of projects by artists working in video, animation, writing, textiles, photography and interactive media, as an opportunity to respond to our new shared reality with an idea that the artists saw as relevant to the continuation or expansion of their practice. “The Option to…” also coincides with the Feminist Art Coalition’s yearlong initiative to draw attention to projects informed by various feminisms. New projects will be released every few weeks from October 2020 through February 2021.
Watch the video: https://www.berkeleyartcenter.org/adia-millett
“It is an inquiry into the artist's personal relationships to gender, femininity, and the social impact these issues have on our identities, through the vehicle of wearing dresses.
In the 1890s, women in the United States were arrested for wearing pants. And until 1993 women could not wear pants on the Senate floor. As I began thinking about my personal relationship to feminism and what it looks like visually, dresses came to mind. I probably wear dresses in public three to four times a year. When I do, I feel different, almost as if I am performing. So this is where the project begins. I purchased seven floral dresses to wear for the month of August, with the intention of discovering what happens when I remove the option to wear pants. What questions come to the surface? How are we perceived differently when we wear dresses? How do we behave differently? And what actions do we take to employ change? With these new discoveries as the foundation for making art, I will cut the dresses apart and shape them into something new.”
- Adia Millett, 2020