Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

Faith Wilding papers (Ms.2019.007)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Biographical / Historical

Faith Wilding was born in 1943 in Paraguay and emigrated to the United States in 1961. She holds a degree in English from the University of Iowa. In 1969 she began her graduate studies and then received her Master of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts. She was married to Everett Frost, an English professor. Wilding and her husband were anti-war activists and members of the Students for a Democratic Society. While in Fresno, Wilding and her friend Suzanne Lacy became activists for the feminist movement.

Wilding became a teaching assistant in the Feminist Art Program that Judy Chicago founded at California State University, Fresno, in 1970. While there, she participated in the month-long, ground-breaking feminist exhibition Womanhouse, held in an empty house in Los Angeles in 1972. For Womanhouse, she made Crocheted Environment which she originally called Womb Room (1972) as well as the performance work Waiting.

Wilding wrote about the Feminist art movement in her book By Our Own Hands (Los Angeles, 1976). She has worked in various media including art, video, installations, and performances. Her work has been exhibited in North America, Europe and Asia, including at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Drawing Center, all in New York City; in Los Angeles at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum; the Riverside Art Museum; documenta X, Kassel; Ars Electronica Center, Linz; The Next Five Minutes Festival, Amsterdam; and Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. Her audio work has been commissioned and broadcast by RIAS Berlin; WDR Cologne; and National Public Radio. In 1998, Wilding co-founded with artist Hyla Willis, subRosa, a cyberfeminist organization. The manifesto for subRosa states: "subRosa is a reproducible cyberfeminist cell of cultural researchers committed to combining art, activism, and politics to explore and critique the effects of the intersections of the new information and biotechnologies on women's bodies, lives, and work… Let a million subRosas bloom!"

Wilding taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago throughout her career. She has worked as a Research Fellow at the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, and a faculty member of the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art Program at Vermont College, Norwich University. She has received several grants and awards in art, including a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship.

In addition to her fine art work, Faith Wilding has served as a Pembroke Center Visiting Scholar at Brown University since 2011. She participates annually in the Pembroke Seminar where her scholarship focuses on feminist theory. In 2014, threewalls, a non-profit art gallery in Chicago, held the first retrospective of Wilding's work titled "Fearful Symmetries" that featured artwork spanning 40 years. In 2019, Fearful Symmetreies as a book. Wilding lives in Providence, Rhode Island but travels often to Los Angeles and internationally for exhibitions.

[Bio note derived from Wikipedia.]