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#5WOMENARTISTS Tina Girouard

March 26, 2024


Since 2016, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has been asking this question on social media each March during Women's History Month. Using the hashtag #5WomenArtists, the campaign calls attention to the fact that women have not been treated equally in the art world, and today they remain dramatically underrepresented and undervalued in museums, galleries, and auction houses.

Each year, hundreds of cultural organizations and thousands of individuals take to social media to answer the challenge, sparking a global conversation about gender equity in the arts. This year, MOCA has chosen five women artists to join the conversation and highlight the amazing projects on view in the museum. 


Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard

"Making the ordinary extraordinary, the extraordinary ordinary" — Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard was an experimental and performance artist and an integral figure of the 1970s New York scene. Originally from Louisiana, her career can be traced back to the University of Southwest Louisiana, where she befriended saxophone player Richard “Dickie” Landry and become close with a group of musicians. She would later credit this experience with teaching her about the collaborative nature of art.  

Girouard arrived in New York in 1969 and quickly became a part of several art circles that were changing the art world. She was a member of 112 Greene Street, an art space in SoHo opened in 1970 by sculptor Jeffery Lew, his wife Rachel Wood, Alan Saret, and Gordon Matta-Clark. She would go on to cofound the innovative restaurant FOOD, which highlighted food preparation and serving as an art. This was an early experiment in open-concept restaurants, and artists were invited to be guest chefs and participate in this performance art.  

Still from Tina Girouard's performance piece Pinwheel

In those early days, Girouard’s art consisted primarily of live performances. Later in her career, she became part of the Pattern and Decoration movement, which was a post-minimalism movement to combat the male-dominated art world of the time by using traditionally feminine-related materials to create art. After a devastating studio fire in 1978, Girouard and Landry moved back to Louisiana and created a studio near Lafayette. In the 1990s she visited Haiti, became interested in the relation between Haitian religion and her childhood roots in Louisiana, and set up a studio in Port-au- Prince, Haiti. There, Girouard studied alongside Haitian artists and learned to make traditional vodou flags. Together with local artists she wrote a book on the use of sequins in Haitian art.

Tina Girouard's performance piece Pinwheel in the exhibition "A Walk on the Wild Side"

Stencil drawings by Tina Girouard in the exhibition "A Walk on the Wild Side"

Several of Girouard’s works, including Pinwheel, are currently on display at MOCA Jacksonville as part of the exhibition A Walk on the Wild Side: ‘70s New York in the Norman E. Fisher Collection, which is on view through July 17, 2024. The exhibition is presented in connection to MOCA’s 100th anniversary and features other artists like Andy Warhol, Philip Glass, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Robert Mapplethorpe, and more.

Pinwheel was an hour-long performance that took place in 1977 at the New Orleans Museum of Art for the exhibition Five from Louisiana. Curated by Bill Fagaly, the exhibition presented works by Lynda Benglis, Tina Girouard, Richard Landry, Keith Sonnier and Robert Rauschenberg who, although both in Port Arthur, Texas, had adopted Lafayette as his home. Pinwheel, performed by Tina Girouard, Mercedes Deshotel, John Geldersma, and Gerald Murrell, was executed three weeks prior to the opening of the exhibition. The resulting videotape was then shown in the exhibit that also included an environmental sculpture created by Girouard and Ida Kohlmeyer, a copper knot series by Benglis, an audio communication piece by Sonnier, and a large mixed media collage painting by Rauschenberg. Norman Fisher led an enthusiastic expedition from New York to New Orleans on occasion of this exhibition, for a week-long celebration of his close friends.