Monica Ross (England, 1950-2013) was a British artist, academic, and feminist who produced drawings, performances, video and text works, arising from durational processes and sequential acts or events. Her works have been presented in many exhibitions and contexts since the 1970s, when feminism and other movements for social, cultural and political change were formative in shaping her experimental and often collaborative art practice. She was Guest Professor at Institut für Kunst in Kontext, Universität der Künste, Berlin 2004, an AHRB Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle 2001-2004, and led the innovative Critical Fine Art Practice course at Central Saint Martins, London 1990-1998. Ross was co-responsible for collective initiatives such as the seminal Women’s Postal Art Event (Feministo: Representations of the Artist as Housewife, ICA, London, 1977, Kunstlerinnen International 1877-1977, Schloss Charlottenberg, Berlin, 1977) and the touring project Fenix with Kate Walker, Sue Richardson and Suzy Varty.. Both projects made visible the conditions and constraints of the working class female artists and with Fenix (1978-80) making studio practice public by appropriating galleries as workspaces.
In December 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ross performed the first of 60 recitations of Anniversary—an Act of Memory that was performed at sixty venues in the UK and abroad and concluded with the final performance taking place at the Human Rights Council of United Nations in Geneva on 14 June 2013. Three of the last performances were conducted by Andrew Mitchelson as Monica Ross was too ill. She died in Brighton on the day that Act 60 took place in Geneva. She made the 50th edition Anniversary—an Act of Memory for FEM meeting in Girona in 2017. Ross published critical essays and text works such as her artist’s book valentine. A book about her work Monica Ross: Ethical Actions: A Critical Fine Art Practice, edited by Susan Hiller and Suzanne Treister, can be purchased on her web.
Image: Monica Ross performing Anniversary—an Act of Memory in FEM_17 in Girona (Spain). Photographer. Ana Rita Rodrigues