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The Errata Project, (2017 - )


   

errata_project
                                     folder design: Javiera Pintocanales

 THE ERRATA PROJECT                                                                


Oveview
Building on the conscious omission of women artists in the early editions of H.W. Janson’s History of Art, The Errata Project takes the form of a continuously growing library archive dedicated to female artists. The project is realized through participating institutions as they collaborate with the public and construct a related social platform. The Errata Project creates an instrument for community involvement to maintain sustained dialogues about women in art and society with the ultimate goal of sensitizing people at local levels towards gender equality and positive changes.
 

Introduction
As we move toward the third decade of this century, social attitudes and laws promoting male privilege endure. The art world is no exception. This raises questions about mechanisms that have perpetuated inequality.

One striking example is an art history textbook, first published in 1962 and endorsed by many universities, which sold millions of copies in 15 languages and set the standard for art history survey texts. A renowned, yet prejudicial textbook, the early editions of H.W. Jansen's History of Art excluded women from its pages for more than 20 years.


Description

The Errata Project uses an early edition of H.W. Jansen's History of Art as the foundation of an ever-continuing erratum with annexed volumes dedicated to those omitted historical female artists as well as today's female artists. The erratum, a literal expansion on the concept, grows exponentially as women's contributions are added to additional volumes, dwarfing the original textbook that functions as a historical reference point and reminder to the exclusive, counterproductive patriarchal bias that is still perpetuated today.

The erratum is housed in a participating institution's library. The juxtaposition of the original book with a growing and much larger erratum will create an installation of visual and philosophical contrasts constituting a physical, community reference tool under the name The Errata Project Archive. This archive will be available to the public for the study of women artists and their contributions.

Collecting data on female artists for The Errata Project Archive is achieved through the participation of local institutions with members of the community and art professionals. Credit will be given to the authors of the included research. Involving local communities with the actual production of its content will stimulate a larger discussion of women's equality. As an evolving activity, The Errata Project will strive to create over time bonds within a broad cross-section of the local community.

Through the participation of curators, historians, docents, students and the general public, research materials are compiled and vetted periodically by a curatorial team to consider historical, contemporaneous, and international as well as local women artists. As The Errata Project Archive grows, project collaborators will search out women artists yet to be added.

Programmed public discussions form an essential part of The Errata Project. These talks, related to the lives of women artists and women's rights, will build a community lexicon on the values women bring to art and society.

With each passing year, the growing Errata Project Archive and continuing public discussions aligned with The Errata Project will raise awareness in participating communities about the importance of gender equality to facilitate a foundation for positive action and sustainable, positive change.

Montana to Mexico: the history of the Errata Project
Eda May Collier (1871-1969) was an artist, a landscape painter. She was captivated by the rugged landscapes in and around Glacier National Park, Montana, where she painted her best-known work; Running Eagle “Trick” Falls
 
Eda May was born in Pennsylvania to the Watchman family who were of German-Jewish descent. After her parents were killed in an accident, she was adopted by the Calhoun family. In 1891, she married Charles Collier and they traveled west to make a home in Kalispell, Montana, where Charles worked for the railroad. Eda May gave birth to 10 children and even with the daunting task of raising such a large family she found the time to paint. 
 
Eda May Collier was my Great-Grandmother. 
As a boy growing up, when I had the opportunity, I would study her painting Trick Falls. It inspired me.
 
In my teens, while (not) doing homework at the public library, I discovered the work of other women artists rummaging through art magazines. By the time I took my first art history survey course, I was already familiar with the work of Eva Hesse, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Nevelson, Agnes Martin, Kathe Kollwitz, Louise Bourgeois, among others. 
 
The required text for this course was the book Janson’s History of Art. After thumbing through it several times, I realized there were no women artists included. Gender parity and women’s rights were not on my radar at the time, but the total omission of women artists from an academic textbook on art history seemed drastic and took me by surprise. I felt cheated . . . and the book was not cheap. This revelation left an indelible mark in my life.
 
As the years and then decades passed, I would revisit this experience in my mind, contemplating, but never successfully formulating, a sculptural project using Janson’s book. 
 
One night I mentioned this experience to art curator Pilar Perez as we left a dinner party where we had been surprised by a comment made during the evening by a visiting artist who stated that women were incapable of making great art. 
 
This event brought my attention back to Janson’s History of Art and formed the impetus for The Errata Project (2017 - ) and Errata: Addition by Subtraction, 2021.

—Davis Birks, 2021



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2021_errata_poster_opc
Poster for the presentation of The Errata Project at Oficina de Proyectos Culturales, 2021
Poster design: Jonathan Jackson Poe

Exhibition: The Errata Project

Oficina de Proyectos Culturales, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Artists/ Authors:
Marilyn Arsem
/Alexander de Re,  Judy Baca/ Alessandra Moctezuma,  Heat Cassils/ Malgorzata Kazmierczak,  María Eugenia Chellet/ Elia Espinosa,  Judy Chicago/ Elroy Quenroe,  Hung Liu/ Jeff KelleyGuerilla Girls/ Christine Filippone,  Vivian Maier/ Lisa Barlow,  Marta MInujín/ César Cortés Vega,  Martha Pacheco/ María Fernanda Matos,  Kiki Smith/ Joao Rodríguez,  Ireri Topete/ María Fernanda Matos,  Kara Walker/ Pilar Pérez,  Beatrice Wood/ Jonathan Jackson Poe

Curators: Richard Di Via, Pilar Pérez, and Paola Paz Yee

November 19, 2021 - January 19, 2022

 



2017_errata_cuc_betchel
October 17, 2017
Artist Davis Birks with professor and artist Gustavo Betchel discussing the Errata Project with students at the Centro Universitario de la Costa, CUCosta.



2018_errata_convference_cuc

March 08, 2018
Students and faculty during the conference Project Errata, presented by the artist Davis Birks, artist and professor Ireri Topete, and artist and professor Javiera Pintocanales, at the Centro Universitario de la Costa, CUCosta.


2021_errata_guerilla_girls_pages
 2021
Page designs for the artist Guerilla Girls as part of the presentation of the Errata Project at Oficina de Proyectos Culturales OPC, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Curatorial text by: Christine Filippone

Page designs by: Javiera Pintocanales and Jonathan Jackson Poe





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