Good Witches

There are various negatively connoted words in the English dictionary that have been variously redeemed.  If Antoinette Aurell has her way, then “Crone,” the title of her forthcoming documentary, will be next on the list. “It’s not so much about feminism,” Aurell says, so much as it is about an even playing field. She plans to interview 13 women of maturity and distinction in various fields—an “underrepresented” category in our youth-obsessed media, asking about motherhood, religion, and war. Aurell says the project is largely personal. It’s a rite of cultural passage.

Last night at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Crone held a benefit auction to raise funding for the project, and the men cooked. Specifically, Aurell’s husband, artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, served a cold Thai soup. Of course, he’s been serving food to political and socially curious ends for decades. The auction included work by well-known artists like Elizabeth Peyton and Douglas Gordon, alongside lesser-know Thai artists, friends of Aurell’s from Chang Mai where she lives when she’s not in New York.

Thus far, Aurell has interviewed two of her proposed subjects, artist Nancy Spero and theologian Mary Daly. She was impressed by Spero’s dedication: “I wait ’til everybody in the house goes to sleep, then I get to work,” Spero told her, revealing “the balancing act” many of the veterans of the civil rights and feminists movements have mastered. Time itself is emerging as a central theme of the documentary; participating performance artist Shoplifter plans to “become a blob” in the gallery, imitating time on a clock with her legs and arms. It’s a new kind of biological clock.—LEFT: SHOPLIFTER PERFORMS. PHOTO BY ROSALIE KNOX