News and Events

Radical women celebrated on campus in class, artist talks, workshops, and more

maria gaspar city as site art Maria Gaspar's City as Site
February 13, 2024
Meghan O'Toole

This semester, the campus and community will have an opportunity to engage with a series of talks and workshops that coincide with a class centered on radical women artists.

Assistant Professor of Art Susy Bielak is at the heart of the programming, which weaves together Lake Forest College’s artist-in-residence program, the Department of Art and Art History’s ongoing engagement of artists, and Bielak’s new course, Radical Women: Cross-disciplinary Approaches to Latina and Latinx Artists. This course is cross-listed in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies (GSWS) and Latin American and Latinx Studies (LNAM). 

The parallel Radical Women series highlights four Latina artists from the US and Mexico and provides opportunities for Foresters and the surrounding community to engage.

“This class and programming speak to the broader spirit of our department and the liberal arts context of Lake Forest College by engaging art as a vehicle for critical thought, creative expression, and dialogue,” Bielak said. “This project also connects to ongoing research and teaching on campus across disciplines that span art and art history, cinema studies, English, GSWS, LNAM, and philosophy, among others.”

Bielak designed the semester’s programming in part in consideration of the College’s significant Hispanic-Latinx community and as a way to foster intercultural understanding. Bielak leveraged her research and strong network of Mexican, Latinx, and Central American contemporary art to inform the course, lectures, and workshops.

“As a Mexican-American artist myself, I have drawn upon my community of fellow artists to develop this programming with the students in mind,” Bielak said. “The student body is invested in the larger world, and the artists featured in this program take on issues of social and political concern.”

Adela Goldbard, this year’s Artist in Residence, and Nuria Montiel will visit Lake Forest College to engage with the Radical Women class and the entire campus. Maria Gaspar and Laura Anderson Barbata also will visit the class via virtual artist talks.  

Goldbard is an artist and filmmaker who lives between Mexico City and Rhode Island, where she teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. In her artist statement, she notes that her work “questions the politics of memory by suspecting archaeological preservation, official history, mass media and popular culture.” Her work melds photography, video, sculpture, text, public actions and immersive installations.

Adela goldbard with her art

In it, she “challenges traditional cinema by re-enacting history and by collectively building, staging and, importantly, destroying—always with subtle parody and dark humor.”

Bielak describes Goldbard’s work as a unique blend of artistic innovation, meaningful community engagement, and theoretical rigor. Goldbard’s artist talk, Poetics of Violence, will explore works in which “collaborative work, reenactment, as well as destruction, fire, and catharsis, function as tools for radical embodiment and disobedient communal agency.”

Alongside this talk, Goldbard will visit classes such as Gender & Territory in Latin America, and lead a cross-disciplinary workshop on sound as research. Using the lens of sensory ethnography and sound—including sound walks, sound recording, sound design, and sound installation—participants will gain the skills to craft an immersive sound design as part of a sensory investigation into time and place.

Nuria Montiel is recognized for her innovative use of printed words in public spaces, fostering the exchange of ideas for collective thought. For over a decade, Montiel has worked to expand the artistic and political significance of printmaking in her home country of Mexico and abroad.

 nuria montiel with her work

Through her innovative participatory project, Imprenta móvil (Mobile Press), that began in 2010 and remains ongoing, Montiel, who is based between Mexico City and Cholula, where she teaches at Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), travels and invites those she encounters to create prints using her mobile printing cart.

“Nuria’s background in printmaking is the catalyst for her ongoing material innovation, from creating sculptures out of soil, to weaving tapestries out of film,” Bielak said.   

In her artist talk, Montiel will share a set of her projects from the past decade, including the Wxnder Wxrds project developed in residency at the Hyde Park Art Center and centered on posters made in collaboration with various Chicago communities—all expressing wishes and concerns of the city’s citizens.   

Montiel will visit classes such as Art and the Environment and lead the hands-on workshop Textiles as Resistance. Students will contribute their own interventions to handkerchiefs that UDLAP students have printed with phrases and images in dialogue with artistic practices tied to protest and activism by Latin American women.

Following the on-campus visits by Goldbard and Adela, Gaspar and Anderson Barbata will visit remotely.

Maria gaspar art

Maria Gaspar is based in Chicago and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. An artist whose work has been written about in publications such as The New York Times and Artforum, Gaspar often works on site-specific and community-based projects. For the last ten years, issues of mass incarceration and the Cook County Jail in Chicago, which is the largest single-site jail in the United States, have featured heavily in her art practice. Through video, installation, sculpture, sound, and performance, Gaspar’s practice “draws attention to the widespread impacts of carcerality in US life, even as the workings of the nation’s prisons, jails, and detention centers often remain invisible for many.”

laura with her textule work

Laura Anderson Barbata is based in Brooklyn and Mexico City, and uses art and performance to “encourage social justice by documenting traditions and involving communities in her practice.” Her work has been collected and exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), The Museum of Modern Art (CDMX), and Museo of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro), among others. Barbata's art is deeply entwined with social practice, community engagement, and postcolonial critique. Her work spans artist books, drawing, performance, photography, stop-motion animation, and large-scale collaborations. Her current projects include The Repatriation of Julia Pastrana and Transcommunality (ongoing since 2001), a collaboration with traditional stilt dancers from New York, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Oaxaca, Mexico.

The artists’ campus visits are made possible in large part by the Mojekwu Fund and Visiting Artist Committee, and Department of Art and Art History. The departments of communication, gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, and Latin American and Latinx studies are also supporting the project.

Bielak developed the Radical Women course by drawing upon her ongoing research focus on Latinx and Latin art. She connected with a diverse set of students, including first generation college students, Latinx students, female students, and non-binary students, to understand their needs for an interdisciplinary course of this nature.

According to the course description, the research-based Radical Women seminar “focuses on ways in which artists engage the political body—including through self-portraits, the relationship between the body and landscape, the mapping of the body, the power of words, and repression and resistance.”

Join us for Radical Women-related events:

  • February 22, noon – 1 p.m.: Brown Bag lunch with Nuria Montiel (primarily for Art & Art History Department students; write to Carrie Spezzano,, with interest; DU 312)
  • February 22, 4 p.m.:  Mundos posibles/Possible worlds, Nuria Montiel Artist Talk (open to campus and public; DU 209) Register here
  • February 23, 1 – 3:50 p.m.: Textiles as Acts of Resistance workshop with Nuria Montiel  (for Radical Women class and up to six additional students; interested students should contact Professor Bielak at with a one to two sentence statement of interest; DU 312)
  • March 27, noon – 1 p.m.: Brown Bag lunch with Adela Goldbard (open to students, faculty and staff; write to Carrie Spezzano by March 6 with interest; DU 312)
  • March 28, 4 p.m.: Poetics of Violence, Adela Goldbard Artist Talk  (open to campus and public; Tarble Room, Brown Hall) Register here
  • March 28, 4 – 8 p.m.: Adela Goldbard film screening  (temporary video installation; short films on loop, 20-minute total duration; open to campus and public; Skybox)
  • March 29, 1 – 3:50 p.m.: Sound as Research workshop with Adela Goldbard (for Radical Women class + up to 6 additional students; interested students should contact Professor Bielak at with a 1 – 2 sentence statement of interest;  Durand 302)
  • April 12, from 2 – 3:50 p.m.: Maria Gaspar Artist Talk (visit to Radical Women class, open to faculty/staff/students with interest in joining; virtual)
  • April 19 from 1 - 2:30 p.m.: Laura Anderson Barbata Artist Talk (visit to Radical Women class, open to faculty/staff/students with interest in joining; virtual)