Performance and sculpture artist Kate Gilmore introduced herself to a crowded Kresge auditorium on Monday evening with a series of videos of herself covered in dust. Hammering away at a hardened bucket of plaster stuck on her foot, the Halley K. Harrisburg ’90 and Michael Rosenfeld Artist-In-Residence kicked off her week-long visit with a presentation of her work. One such presentation depicted her with an axe, chopping down a giant, fake-blood-oozing wooden heart.

Gilmore’s video presentations primarily showcased females working through obstacles with relentless determination. In some of her graduate school productions, Gilmore even dressed up as Hillary Clinton as a symbol of female perseverance.

“I’m interested in looking at power structures in society, I’m interested in using art as a means of communication to talk about things that should change and I’m interested in the conversation between art and power,” said Gilmore. 

Gilmore, who will spend the rest of her visit with students in the classroom discussing their work one-on-one, emphasized the importance of unity for both aspiring artists and accomplished artists within the art community, specifically in the aftermath of the recent election.

Gilmore said that a majority of the art community is shaken up by the election, although she maintains a hopeful outlook.

“We need to not be isolated anymore, [we need to be] like a community. We should do something better for the world in general … while doing things together and creating personal, lasting relationships,” she said.

According to Anne Curtis ’20, a student who attended the event, Gilmore’s work, particularly her Clinton piece, spoke to the empowerment often found in feminist art. 

“Ms. Gilmore was a very engaging speaker who was very passionate about her work and was excited to share that passion with us,” she said. “Her approach to art was very interesting, and she has a very unique method to convey her messages.”

Emily Olick-Llano ’20 was particularly interested in Gilmore’s video of women stomping on ceramic vases full of paint. 

“I really enjoyed Kate Gilmore’s video of women stomping on ceramic vases full of paint,” Emily Olick-Llano ’20 added. “It was a scene that [I’d never pictured] when thinking about art, but I loved the uniformity of the color and arrangement before and after the vases were destroyed. It was both unsettling and empowering.”​