Womanhouse (l972) WomEnhouse (l996) Lee Bontecou
Imagine a space: In l972 we imagined and created Womanhouse, the first female environmental art­p;work, which told stories of women's domestic lives and work. In this house, in a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles, women artists cracked open the door of the private house and invited the world in to take a look.
Imagine a room. Virginia Woolf wrote, "one has only to go into any room in any street for the whole of that extremely complex force of femininity to fly in one's face" (A Room of One's Own).
The walls of my crocheted room in Womanhouse were completely permeable and the whole front was open so that you could be in the room, yet observe perfectly what was going on in the house. (Here the phone rings and my lover calls to make a date for the evening).
Imagine a chamber: Lee Bontecous' dark opening leads to the antechamber; the chamber leading into and out of all the other chambers. It is a liminal space; a permeable zone (like a vagina) between inner and outer, between public and private, between the self and the world. It is the space in which we can choose to put on and cast off various wraps and roles and moods. It is the room of changes, possibilities, mutabilities, expectations. In the antechamber we pause for a moment to contemplate our coming in and our going forth.