Museum Studies Theses


The Body Articulated: Gender Violence and the Performative Turn in Mexico explores the role of performance art in raising awareness for gender-based crimes. My thesis investigates the performative response to gender-based violence in contemporary art in Mexico during the 1970’s and then again in the post-NAFTA era, with the aim of examining the use of the artists body, the voices of women as substitution for the body, and the bodies of others as means of creating a greater awareness to the feminicidal epidemic. Artists like Mónica Mayer and Lorena Wolffer use their body and the voices of woman, as opposed to using more explicit body displays. Artists like Teresa Margolles opt for a more vulgar approach, by using the bodies of the dead and their physical remnants as a medium. Unlike Mayer and Wolffer, Margolles feeds into the shock value of the Mexican tabloids. Her gruesome images underscore a flagrant display of disrespect for human life and feeds into the violence rather than combats it. Throughout my thesis I evaluate various strategies artists have used to address feminicide, pondering what practices work and what practices are more harmful than productive. When discussing gender violence within the context of art, it is important to acknowledge how museums can be complicit, providing spaces for iniquitous artistic approaches. Throughout my thesis I argue there are ethical and unethical ways to use the body and performance in relation to gender-based violence.



Document Type


Level of Degree


Department Name

Museum Studies

First Committee Member

Kency Cornejo

Second Committee Member

Kirsten Pai Buick

Third Committee Member

Loa Traxler


Museum Studies, Museums, Feminist Art, Mexican Art, Performance Art, Feminicide