Art against Housework. The Gruppo Immagine and the Wages against Housework Campaign
Recent years have seen a surge of interest in the Wages for Housework Campaign. While international in scope, it is generally agreed that several groups associated with this movement drew upon the Marxist strand called operaismo and particularly the way in which operaismo was appropriated by Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James in The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community. My paper will revolve around the Gruppo Immagine, a group of feminist artists who embraced the ideas and struggles of Wages against Housework, establishing a sustained a dialogue with theoreticians and activists such as Dalla Costa and Leopoldina Fortunati. In particular, I will concentrate on the Gruppo Immagine’s agit-prop production and two exhibitions where the group’s feminist beliefs materialised in tapestries and cross-stitch works: the Venice Biennale of 1978 and Mum Has Gone Out (1975).
Jacopo Galimberti is a post-doctoral fellow of the British Academy at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on post-war art in Western Europe and he is currently writing a book about operaismo, autonomia and the visual arts. His articles have appeared in several journals such Art History, The Oxford Art Journal and Grey Room. He is the author of Individuals against Individualism. Western European Art Collectives (1956-1969), Liverpool University Press.
E. C. Feiss is a critic and a third year PhD student in History of Art at UC Berkeley. Her work has appeared in Afterall, Frieze, Radical Philosophy and Texte zur Kunst, amongst other venues.
Image: Mariella Gandini, untitled, 1975