CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


“The Protest of the Day After (Mother’s Day)”: Artistic activism in resistance to “abducted motherhood” in Mexico

Session 10 Gendered Practices

Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City 


This paper analyzes the historical and art historical context and the aesthetic and political implications of the feminist artwork“The Protest of the Day After”, coordinated by the Mexican visual artist Monica Mayer in April and May of 2012, as a vehicle for understanding the specificity of feminist art and feminism in Mexico, its changes and continuities over the past four decades, and its dialogue with feminism and the gender discourse in other cultural and geographical contexts.  The most visible manifestation of this piece took place in the Zócalo (main square) of Mexico City on the afternoon of May 11, 2012, in a public expression—in the light of the stereotypical representations of maternity on the May 10th holiday of Mother’s Day—that presented a diversity of possibilities and realities regarding motherhood and parenting as experience and institution, and called for the right toself-definition in this respect.  The analysis of the event explores the personal implications and the collective dynamics generated by this project on different levels, taking into account the testimonies of the participants, the commentaries in the press and other media, and the visual, spatial and virtual configurations of the “Protest…”.


Karen Cordero Reiman is an art historian, curator and writer.  She has been a full time professor in the Art History Department of the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City since 1985, in the fields of Modern and Contemporary Art, Theory and Historiography, and Museum Studies. She has also been a part time professor in the graduate program in Art History of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) since 1986, and is a founding member of Curare, a Critical Space for the Arts, an independent research center in Mexico City opened in 1990.  She is the author of numerous publications in her areas of specialization: twentieth and twenty-first century Mexican art, the relationship between the so-called “fine arts” and the so-called “popular arts” in Mexico; the historiography of Mexican art; body, gender and sexual identity in Mexican art; and museological and curatorial discourses in Mexico.  Cordero has also had a continuous participation in museums as curator, advisor and researcher and is a member of the Academic Council of MUMA, a virtual museum of Mexican Women Artists (