Aorta, formerly Art XX, was a queer, feminist art and literary magazine based out of Oakland. We had a few great years: exhibitions, panels, conferences, performances, parties.... and four beautiful issues. We are in the process of putting all our content online, check it out here. Below is the Introduction (manifesto, of sorts) from Issue 1.
Art XX is a magazine dedicated to the promotion of women in the arts... but what is a woman anyway? Icannot give an answer, because I do not believe that one exists. However, given the contentious nature of this term, I will attempt to clarify. We at ArtXX do not believe that a woman is a state of being, or that it can be defined by one's genetic structure, body parts, levels of estrogen, or pronouns.
We are not reductive feminists looking for the absolute value of 'woman.' Gender is an adventure, an expression of culture and creativity that we each wear. And, while we can divorce gender from sex and sexuality, we cannot disentangle gender from our identity. It is always asserted, in whatever variation, by our very existence. To invoke 'woman' as a natural, political and uncontested, analytic structure is to confine our imaginations and limit the potential identities that are recognized and legitimated in our worlds. Why then would we continue to find 'woman' a useful and viable word?
Because, woman is a mythology embedded in the collective consciousness of our respective cultures, and anyone who has ever identified, or been identified as a woman has had to face this mythos. It is those individuals who have had the story of 'womanhood' written on their bodies, consensually or not, that ArtXX is providing a space for.
We believe that feminism is innately transgendered, as it works to discomfit and expand the historical categories of 'male' and 'female.' Feminism is- or should be- about gender equality, regardless of what that gender is. But until gender equality exists, 'woman' demarcates a condition from which we struggle, thrive, and create.