Not just anyone can enjoy the prestige of an endorsement from an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, yet a visual artist now exhibiting at Barrett Barrera Projects’ projects+gallery space can boast just that.
More specifically, on her website, Michele Pred, the Swedish-American behind “Freedom Is for Everybody” at projects+gallery, quotes Justice Sonia Sotomayor: “Ms. Pred’s work is an important offering for its relevance to the times.”
Pred’s exhibition runs till Aug. 7 at 4733 McPherson Ave. in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood.
Pred, states a BBP press release on the exhibition, “uses sculpture, assemblage and performance to uncover the cultural and political meaning behind everyday objects, with a concentration on feminist themes such as equal pay, reproductive rights and personal security.”
Margaret Rieckenberg, BBP’s associate curator, briefly explains what inspired the self-styled “cross-disciplinary group of originators” to exhibit Pred’s work.
“This exhibition is the result of an ongoing relationship with Michele Pred and the continuation of our company mission to redefine art experiences and culture,” Rieckenberg relates. After earlier involvements with Pred’s work, she continues, BBP, in 2019, “had the privilege of working with her to erect a billboard in St. Louis that featured an image of one of her modified purses, emblazoned with the message ‘Your Body, Your Business.’
“Barrett Barrera Projects operates from the belief that art is a verb, and ‘Freedom Is for Everybody’ is exemplary of this belief, activating the community and raising a discussion about societal issues that need to be addressed.”
Rieckenberg says the themes Pred tackles are “all significantly interconnected within the complex social experience of women-identifying people.” That said, she continues: “In light of recent threats at the state level to our already-endangered reproductive rights, however, Pred’s artwork and her activism related to that theme seem particularly poignant and compelling at this moment.”
Rieckenberg also touches on the imperiled status of certain societal advances made by and for women in the past half a century or so, as reflected in the context of “Freedom Is for Everybody.”
“It’s admittedly unsettling to witness the lengths to which certain groups will go and have gone recently in trying to halt the advancement of women’s rights,” she states. “Their actions do not discount the reality of the advances made over the past century or the lasting and meaningful impact those steps forward have had on the lives of so many.
“Rather than dwell on whether or not those accomplishments are irrevocable, Pred’s work functions as a call to action to continue fighting for further progress and for the fundamental rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled.”
Barrett Barrera Projects, 4739 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, 314-899-0666, barrettbarrera.com