Susan Rennie ‘Disrupts Art History’ in SPARC Exhibit

By  | 

Feminist-scholar-photographer Susan Rennie takes issue with world-famous works of art that she believes are improved with a little tweaking, in an exhibit of her work at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice through July 8.

“Subverting the Male Gaze: Susan Rennie Disrupts Art History,” in the Duron Gallery at SPARC, is a project the artist began in 2015, to fix perceived oversights rendered by revered male painters.

“These women are all babes,” Rennie told the opening night crowd on June 17. “I’d like to see what a real woman would look like in some of these pictures. That’s when I started doing the work of putting myself in the image.”

The exhibition includes card-sized copies of the originals mounted alongside Rennie’s artworks, created with the help of her tool of choice–an iPhone, not a paintbrush.

The result, she says, is “reversing the centuries of the male representation of women as objects of their desires and values, shaping my insertions of myself in a way that satirizes and taunts the male gaze.”


In some works she has replaced an image with her own, in others she’s a added a new image to the painting.

For more than 50 years Rennie, who co-authored “The New Woman’s Survival Catalog” (1973), has been shaking the status quo tree. A longtime resident of Venice, CA, Rennie’s passion for photography was ignited in the late 1960s during the Vietnam war. She was a doctoral candidate at Columbia University and began photographing student protests.

Included in ‘Subverting the Male Gaze’ exhibit

When she left academia in 2005 to pursue photographic arts full-time, technology was beginning to change the face of photography and she embraced it, becoming known for her street photography and mobile art.

The exhibition at SPARC is the third in Rennie’s Venice hometown. “I’ve lived in Venice since 1976,” she said. “[SPARC is] a great institution, and to have it here has just been the ultimate for me.”

Rennie said that her “historic, idiosyncratic, eccentric community,” is a “street photographer’s paradise.” The community became the focus of three exhibitions of her work, “The Gates of Venice,” “The Venice Family Dog,” and “Venice Alley Art: Found Abstractions.”

“I have been very lucky, I’ve had a very rich life, and have done many, many things that gave me great pleasure. The best thing is I started photography.”

“Subverting the Male Gaze: Susan Rennie Disrupts Art History,” is on exhibit through July 8 at the Duron Gallery at SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA. Click here for hours and more information.

Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is a nonprofit organization founded by artist Judy Baca, Christina Schlesinger, and filmmaker Donna Deitch. It is a nonprofit organization eligible to receive tax-deductivle donations pursuant to the provisions of section 170© of the IRS code of 1986, 26 U.S.C.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login