Mina Loy’s Trailblazing Feminism Takes Center Stage in World Premiere at MSU

A team of interdisciplinary artists will present a cross-institutional staging of the feminist futuristic poetic dramas of Mina Loy on Thursday, Dec. 7, and Friday, Dec. 8, at the MSU Broad Art Museum and at the University of Michigan-Flint North Bank Dance Studio, respectively. This world premiere is free and open to the public.  

Old photo taken of person standing and looking downward at camera, in black and white.
Mina Loy dressed for the Blindman’s Ball at Webster Hall, New York City, May 25, 1917. (Collection of Roger Conover)

Led by Alison Dobbins, Project Director and Professor of Integrated Performance Media Design in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University, this project is a collaborative effort by a team of women leaders across various artistic disciplines, including Performance Art, English, Literature, Music Composition, and Design, who all share a commitment to multidisciplinary, feminist approaches in both scholarship and creative endeavors.   

“Against the backdrop of contemporary dating apps, my intent is to challenge toxic masculinity stereotypes with a blend of humor, encouraging introspection for those involved,” Dobbins said. “Mina Loy’s lasting influence from the 19th century remains a cornerstone of the 21st-century modernist literature movement, and I find immense pride in employing an interdisciplinary approach to bring her ideas to life.”  

“Mina Loy’s lasting influence from the 19th century remains a cornerstone of the 21st-century modernist literature movement, and I find immense pride in employing an interdisciplinary approach to bring her ideas to life.”  

Alison Dobbins, Project Director and Professor

Loy (1882-1966), who was an artist, poet, playwright, feminist, inventor, and entrepreneur, moved among 20th-century avant-garde circles, including Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism, yet was contained by none.  

After studying art in London, Munich, and Paris, she had paintings exhibited at the prestigious Salon D’Automne. But just as her art career was taking off, she got pregnant, married, and fled to an accepting expatriate community in Florence, Italy. There she befriended experimental artists, writers, and influencers such as Mabel Dodge, Gertrude Stein, Gordon Craig, and the Italian Futurists. Because painting was expensive and difficult with an infant in tow, Loy channeled her creativity into poetry and playwriting.  

Photo collage of nine different people smiling and posing.
The team of interdisciplinary artists who have worked to bring Mina Loy’s poetic dramas to the stage. Top row left to right: Alex Goody, Alexis Bacon, Alyssa Ridder. Middle row left to right: Laura Scuriatti, Janet Haley, Megan Heeres. Bottom row left to right: Alison Dobbins, Suzanne Churchill, Melissa Thompson.

The team, which has joined Dobbins in bringing Loy’s poetic dramas to the stage, includes: 

  • Melissa Thompson, Associate Professor of Performance at the University of Maine-Farmington, who brings her expertise in experimental performance, feminism, and futurism to the performance.   
  • Suzanne Churchill, Professor of English at Davidson College, contributes extensive knowledge of Loy’s career and scholarship.   
  • Alex Goody, Professor of Modern Literature at Oxford Brookes University, explores the intersection of technology and literature.  
  • Laura Scuriatti, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Bard College, connects the project to a broader European network of modernist and avant-garde artists.  
  • Alexis Bacon, Associate Professor of Composition at Michigan State University, reimagines the Futurist noise machine for an experimental soundscape. 
  • Megan Heeres, fiber artist, creates the play settings.  
  • Janet Haley, Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Michigan-Flint, and master magician Bret Beaudry adapt Loy’s work for the stage with their ensemble expertise. 
  • Alyssa Ridder, Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Metropolitan State University of Denver, crafts futurist costumes.  
Photo of interesting art piece. Dull colors and indistinguishable body.
Mina Loy’s “Christ on a Clothesline” cut-paper and mixed media collage (ca. 1955-59)

Performance Times and Locations:  

  • Thursday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., MSU Broad Art Museum  
  • Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., University of Michigan-Flint North Bank Dance Studio 

For more information and to reserve your seat, please visit: https://minaloy.dobbinsa.msu.domains/performances/