It’s a strange time to be an artist in America. On the one hand, the urge to resist and express through creative means is stronger and more necessary than ever. And yet it’s easy for art to feel futile, insular and trivial amid dire political times.
Jackson, whose ceramic sculptures often operate on the fringes of the feminine grotesque, found that, post-election, her glam-horror aesthetic was no longer so horrific. “I’ve been making these monsters, but they’re not dark enough, they’re not intense enough,” she said. “However scary a sculpture could look, it’s nothing compared to Trump in the White House. The reality is horrifying.”
Yet rather than giving up on her craft, Jackson became more determined than ever to channel her skills into active resistance. For this reason, it was crucial to Jackson that the “Nasty Women” exhibition not just be “a group show of Bushwick artists,” as she put it, but an accessible visual protest that could reach beyond the borders usually ascribed to art happenings.
Along with the New York-based show, there are currently 23 other “Nasty Happenings” scheduled for the coming two months, taking place everywhere from Lubbock, Texas, to Brussels, Belgium. Jackson invites any and all other nasty women interested in getting involved to organize their own “Nasty Women” show, with instructions available on the show’s website. Her only request is that all shows adopting the “Nasty” name donate their proceeds to an organization benefiting women’s rights.
“I want this visual art protest to count,” Jackson said. “I want to inspire others, to continue to make art, to continue to march in protest, to resist as much as possible. This election has been a wake-up call. Our challenge is to not forget. We can’t just be defeated; we can’t just turn apathetic. We have to be active.”