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exhibition

Jennifer Bornstein: Feminist Archaeology

Bornstein 4

Feminist Archaeology, an exhibition created by Jennifer Bornstein RI ’15, is an interdisciplinary art project consisting of an original video projection with accompanying prints and sculptures. The exhibition explores various strains of feminism that the artist has experienced both personally and through her research and that have been somewhat at odds with one another over time.

The video component of the exhibition purposely conflates various historical periods of feminism. It includes moving-image media from several sources: 16mm film, high-definition video, and Sony Portapak, an anachronistic 1970s video camera that shoots only black-and-white, standard-definition video. Portapak was frequently used by artists to make experimental, performance-based videos during the time in the 1970s that coincides with the focus of this project’s artistic research. The print component of the exhibition consists of large-scale, 1:1 relief-type prints made using oil-based printing ink on canvas. The prints were created from pieces cut from a temporary drywall structure that was formerly in Harvard’s Carpenter Center. Segments of the drywall structure, which was built as a collaborative project by students in Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) and served as Bornstein’s classroom and as a video projection room while she was a visiting lecturer in VES, are also displayed in the exhibition as sculptural elements.

Research for Feminist Archaeology began in 2014–2015, when Bornstein was a Radcliffe–Harvard Film Study Center Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. The research materials for the exhibition, which function partly as the project’s blueprint, come from the collections of Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. 

The artist would like to thank the Harvard undergraduates Eriko Kay and Lily Scherlis, who contributed significantly to the development of the work, and also the VES students Ariana Chiavaron, Helen Miller, Billy Orman, Noel de Sa e Silva, Gleb Sidorkin, Kensho Tambara, and Sam Wolk for their help with the project.


Jennifer Bornstein is an artist living in New York City who works in diverse media, including video, 16mm film, sculpture, and printmaking. She received an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. She has received numerous awards and grants, including a DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm fellowship and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. Her work has been widely exhibited at institutions in the United States and Europe, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Bornstein was a Radcliffe–Harvard Film Study Center Fellow in 2014–2015 and a visiting lecturer on visual and environmental studies at Harvard from 2015 to 2017.


Curated by Yukio Lippit, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Director of the Arts, Professor of History of Art and Architecture

Produced by Meg Rotzel, arts program manager

Exhibition design by Joe Zane, gallery coordinator 

Curatorial assistants, Eriko Kay ’18 and Lily Scherlis ’18

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