The F Word

2015, 95 min, Dir. Robert Adanto


Coral Gables Art Cinema Sat, Dec 5, 2015 1:00 PM


Robert Adanto's The F Word explores radical “4th wave” feminist performance through interviews with a new generation of feminist artists who use their bodies as subject matter. Because the female body continues to be politicized and policed, and because these artists delve into the fecund territory of female sexuality, self-objectification, and the female form as a site of resistance, many remain marginalized by the mainstream art world. Brooklyn-based Leah Schrager, well known for her performance practice, Naked Therapy, states, “As soon as you introduce a bit of sexiness or sexuality into an artwork it suddenly becomes questionable. Just because something elicits arousal or shows elements of sexiness does absolutely not make it not art.” While some 4th wave artists, like Ann Hirsch and Kate Durbin, choose to analyze representations of female identity through digital media, others, like the radical, queer, transnational feminist art collective, Go! Push Pops, explore sexuality and gender in pop culture in the digital age. As feminist lecturer Kristen Sollee explains, 4th wavers, unlike their predecessors, “are not afraid to be ‘girly’, (or) to be hyper-feminine, or to wear a mini-skirt, to self-objectify” in the service of challenging patriarchal oppression or sexist ideals.

Director Bio

Robert Adanto made his directorial debut with The Rising Tide (2008), a feature-length documentary exploring the explosive Chinese contemporary art scene. Shot in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in the summer of 2006, The Rising Tide captures the confusion and ambiguity that characterize the new China. “An often surprising and thought-provoking documentary,” wrote WICN’s Mark Lynch, “The rest of us better make an effort to grasp what their work is about, or get out of the way. An “eye-opener” in every sense of the word, if you are an artist, curator or art teacher be sure to catch this film.” Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010),  his second feature, examines the lives and works of Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. Featuring interviews with art luminaries Shirin Neshat and Shadi Ghadirian, Pearls on the Ocean Floor received the Bronze Palm Award for Best Documentary at the the 2011 edition of the Mexican International Film Festival and the Spirit of Independents Award at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. His latest film, City of Memory, premiered at the 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and explores Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the lives of visual artists from New Orleans.  In August the New Orleans Film Society invited Mr. Adanto to screen City of Memory during a special program commemorating the 10th anniversary of the storm that took the lives of over 1800 Americans.

His films have been presented at The Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Museum of Fine Arts Boston;  Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA);  The National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow; Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt; The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler Galleries;  The Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia; The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles;  The Worcester Art Museum, MA; The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami;  The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota; the 2009 Hong Kong International Art Fair;  The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO;  The Royal College of Art in London;  The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; The National Museum of Australia in Canberra; The Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco;  The Orange County Museum of Art, CA;  The Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Art Institute; the Kansas City Art Institute;  Jagiellonian University, Krakow, PL; The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Harvard University; Yale University; Wellesley College; UCLA; USC, the University of Kansas; New York University; and the University of Michigan. Mr. Adanto earned his M.F.A. in Acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and heads the Film & TV Production program at NSU’s University School. 

Panelist Bios

Leah Schrager is an artist who works between the web and NYC. In her work she photographs, appears in, augments, and markets her own image. She’s interested in the line, movement, and biography of the female body. In 2010 she founded a new form of therapy as Sarah White, The Naked Therapist. She co-curated the female-positive exhibition which is featured in the April 2015 issue of Art Forum. She graduated in 2015 with an MFA in Fine Art from Parsons, The New School. Her current project is ONA, her band, with the goal of creating a celebrity as part of an art practice, viewable at

Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based artist and writer whose work deals with popular culture, gender, and digital media. Her recent performances include the New Hive commissioned Cloud 9, an interactive, online performance exploring female artists and money; Hello Selfie, which she performed in Australia with Arts Queensland, in NYC with Transfer Gallery, and in LA with Perform Chinatown; and The Supreme Gentleman, about Elliot Roger, the Isla Vista killer, which she performed for the Yes All Women benefit in Los Angeles. Her recent books include E! Entertainment, about reality TV and women, blurbed by both Heidi Montag and Jerry Saltz, and ABRA, an artists' book and interactive poetry app that iPad app created with Amaranth Borsuk and Ian Hatcher. She has performed at MOCA, the Hammer Museum, and beyong, and she is the co-recipient of an NEA grant. She was recently the 2015 artist-in-residence at the Judith Wright Center for Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia.

Katie Cercone was born 1984 in Santa Rosa, CA and is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, yogi and adjunct faculty at the School of Visual Art. Cercone has shown her hip hop feminist performative video sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, Whitney Museum, Momenta Art, C24 Gallery, Dodge Gallery and Vox Populi. She is co-leader of the queer, transnational feminist collective Go! Push Pops and was a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for the U.S.-Japan Exchange Program in Tokyo.

Narcissister works the intersection of performance, dance, art, and activism. Integrating prior experience as a professional dancer and commercial artist with a long-standing art practice in a range of media including photography, video, and experimental music, she has presented work at The New Museum, PS 1, The Kitchen, Abrons Art Center and many nightclubs, galleries, and alternative spaces. Narcissister was a re-performer of "Luminosity" in The Artist is Present at MoMA. She has also presented work internationally at the Music Biennale Zagreb, Chicks on Speed’s Girl Monster Festival, Festival of Women Ljubljana, at Copenhagen’s first live art festival, the Camp/Anti-Camp festival in Berlin, among others. Her videos have been included in exhibitions and festivals worldwide, including recently on MocaTV. Her video "The Self-Gratifier" won “Best Use of a Sex Toy” at the 2008 Good Vibrations Film Festival; "Vaseline" won the main prize in 2013. Interested in troubling the divide between popular entertainment and experimental art, Narcissister appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2011. In 2013, she was in FORE at The Studio Museum and had her first solo gallery exhibition "Narcissister is You" at envoy enterprises. She was nominated for a Bessie Award for her evening-length piece "Organ Player" which debuted at Abrons Art Center in 2013. Narcissister is a recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital Award, a 2015 Theo Westenberger Grant, and was named a 2015 United States Artists Fellow.