Don’t Shut Up: Video Series

Through interruptions, censure, violence and threatening behavior — both in person and online — women are silenced every day. Don’t Shut Up presents the work of 47 woman artists from across the US and Canada who are working to challenge and disrupt the status quo through their ongoing artistic practice. The mission of this exhibition is to provide a platform for those voices, to create awareness, and to try to ensure that they are heard, valued and implemented.

Don’t Shut Up 2021, guest curated by Susan Grabel and Stefany Benson, is scheduled to open at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art at Snug Harbor in August 2021.  This video series explores the work and process of select artists from Don’t Shut Up in an effort to familiarize viewers with the layered, diverse perspectives and themes of the exhibit.

Zhen Guo is a Chinese-American artist and curator born in China, graduated from Shandong Art School in 1976 and from the China Academy of Art 1982. Guo was one of the earliest explorers of art after the reform of China. She studied at San Francisco Art College in 1986 and was a visiting scholar at the School of Art of York University, Canada 1987. She established the Zhen Guo Art Studio in New York in 1988. Guo has participated in many international art exhibitions and is committed to the research and exploration of international contemporary women’s art. She organized the Existence International Women’s Art Exhibition, Changsha, China, the Please Touch: Body Boundaries exhibition at the Mana Contemporary of Art in the United States, and South Korea’s Jeonbuk Museum of Art Asian Women Artists exhibition.

Virginia Maksymowicz, born 1952 in NYC, is a sculptor living in Philadelphia. She received a BA in Fine Arts from Brooklyn College, CUNY and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Maksymowicz has exhibited her work at Franklin Furnace, Alternative Museum, Elizabeth Foundation, Grey Gallery, and the Michener, Woodmere and Delaware Museums, and in galleries throughout the U.S. and abroad. She was a recipient of an NEA fellowship in sculpture and her artwork has been reviewed in Sculpture Magazine, The New York Times, New York Newsday, The New Art Examiner and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her series, The History of Art, appears on the cover of The Female Body (University of Michigan) and she was recently featured in Amtrak’s national magazine. She has thrice been a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, an artist-in-residence at the Powel House Museum, Philadelphia, and a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. Website:

Clarissa Sligh works with text, photography, artist’s books, and installations. In 1955, when she was just 15, Sligh’s personal life intersected with national history when she became the lead plaintiff in a school desegregation case in Virginia. From that moment forward, her explorations of race, identity, history, and memory – first in math/science working for NASA, later in business, and finally, in the arts – has taken into account difference, transformation, and complication.

This project was inspired by a month of art and activism, called Don’t Shut Up, presented by FIG (Feminist Image Group) in San Diego, California in 2017.

Don’t Shut Up 2021 is made possible through generous support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This project is made possible in part by a DCA Art Fund grant from Staten Island Arts, with public support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

The Don’t Shut Up video series is additionally sponsored by a Humanities New York Vision/Action Grant. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Snug Harbor arts programming is made possible through generous support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, HumanitiesNY, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.