In her third chapter of the 2010 textbook Look! The Fundamentals of Art History, Anne D’Alleva argues that when art is examined, it should be seen as a part of society and not just a product of society. By explaining the idea that contextual analysis examines the social, political, spiritual and economic significance she explores the challenge of performing a historical analysis on a piece of art stripped of its original societal and cultural context. D’Alleva’s purpose is to highlight this discourse through examples to provide a better process for interpretation of art. Her audience remains as those exploring art and its impact on culture, namely academically, positioning herself distant from the material exempt when providing examples. The
In 1971, Linda Nochlin issued her article “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? This idea of aesthetic genius, says Nochlin, is fiction. Art is rarely produced entirely by the artist for the idea of personal expression. Few identifiers in contemporary art have been as fraught as the term feminist art. What does it mean, who defines it, and how does it relate to past accomplishments of the feminist movement?
How do the works of Yasumasa Morimura, Julie Rrap and Anne Zahalka challenge conventional ways in which gender has been depicted historically in the visual arts?
In Chapter 3 of his book, “Ways of Seeing”, John Berger argues that in western nude art and present day media, that women are largely shown and treated as objects upon whom power is asserted by men either as figures in the canvas or as spectators. Berger’s purpose is to make readers aware of how the perception of women in the art so that they will recognize the evolution of western cultured art.
Indira Bailey is a PhD student in the Department of Art Education and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies dual degree program at Pennsylvania State University. Bailey’s research interests include the relationship between African-American female artists and feminism. Ms. Bailey received her B.F.A in Illustration from Pratt Institute in New York and a MA in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Kean University in New Jersey. She is the recipient of several Fulbright Fellowships to South Africa, Japan and Morocco. Bailey exhibited her artwork in the New York tri-state area and is currently creating paintings documenting the life of Portobello, Panama from her artist residency.
Judy Chicago (artist, author, feminist and educator) has a career that now spans five decades. In the late 1960s, her inquiry into the history of women began a result of her desire to expose the truth of women’s experiences, both past and present. She still continues on a crusade to change the perception of women from our history, “Women’s history and women’s art need to become part of our cultural and intellectual heritage.” (Chicago, 2011) Through our history women - their struggles, accomplishments and contribution to history, have been overlooked, downplayed and even completely written out of a male dominated society and culture. In anthropologist Sherry Ortner’s 1974 essay “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?” she supports this view, writing “…woman is being identified with—or, if you will, seems to be a symbol of—something that every culture devalues,” (Ortner, 1974) Where Mendieta's work primarily came from a striving to belong and an understanding of where she came from, I feel that Chicago's aim was to find a place for all women, past and present in this world, starting with herself in the art world. Chicago did explore her peronal heritage in later works entitled 'Birth Project' and 'Holocaust Project'.
Since the 19th century and first-wave feminism, to the 21st century and post-modern feminism; women have used art as a method of expression and activism. Art has allowed women everywhere to speak out against political and social inequalities and impact history through an indubitable visual language. Hannah Wilke and Jessica Ledwich are two visual artists – decades apart from each other – that explore and challenge the standards set up against women.
Women are invested in conceptual knowledge in order to avoid being associated with social norms. In the article written by Griselda Pollock, Mary Cassatt: Painter of women and children,” the paintings expressed by Cassatt portray mental stimulation through the female gender. The article analyzes Cassatt’s famous portraits from the late 1800’s, that are drawn to recreate the idea of a “barrier between the spectator and the sitter” (282). One example of this method is, Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, 1876. This oil painting expresses Cassatt’s gratitude towards her intellectual inspirations. The painting also portrays an attentive distinction between the book and Mrs. Duffee. Cassatt uses the colors of blue and white in the woman’s dress and the book she is reading in order to express the importance of both beings. This use of color and style in her paintings presents the idea that Cassatt acknowledged more feminist styles other than intellectualism.
Arlene Raven’s approaches to art criticism were feminist. She discussed a diversity of concerns that included spirituality, sexuality, the representation of women in art, women as art-makers, ethnicity, language called post-feminism, and critics of the art world. In her essay
While Clement Greenberg suggested a narrow vision of modernism emphasizing “forms, flatness, and internal logic,” postmodernism artists refuted Greenberg’s principles which only focused on heterosexual men – through encouraging a wide array of voices to portray a direct message towards the wrongs of the society. In response to the 1970s feminist movement which was dominated by white women, Carrie Mae Weems’ “Kitchen Table Series” and Shirin Neshat’s “Rapture” present a lower class standing of women of color in the society through exhibiting complex identities. Both “Making Museums Moral Again” and “Talking art with Carrie Mae Weems” discuss hypocrisy enrooted in the “reality of museums that are ethically and politically compromised,” and artist
One of the most poignant lines in her essay reads, “The fault, dear brothers, lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education”. Essentially, the lack of great art produced by women is not an issue inherent to the sex, but one created by a society that refused to foster the education of women in the arts to a degree that they could produce great art. She argues that because the question of why there have never been women artists has been presented as a “problem” the issue has become convoluted. Rather than justifying themselves, Nochlin believes women need to focus on changing the societal institutions that re-enforce gender roles as normal and
The works ranged from the humorous to the depressing to the mythical. The artwork was significantly successful in drawing attention to the representation of womanhood, and normalising a process that may women participate in. Chicago’s technique of portraying the truth, is still a relevant technique in today’s modern society for highlighting women’s Hannah Wilke was an advocate for human rights and an integral artist to the 1970s feminist art movement. Wilke explored the stereotyping of women and the roles of women in society through her artwork. She challenged these norms and aimed to expose the objectification of women in pop culture and the media.
Chinese Feminist Art is not only different from traditional Chinese female art as it clearly emphasises on female characteristics, but also distinctive from western feminist art in the way that it embraces Chinese culture to the greatest extent. Unlike Western Feminist Art which is tightly
There is some disparity between the way critics and philosophers like Judith Butler view Cindy Sherman's work and the way that Cindy Sherman speaks of her photographs. It may be the disparity that exists between many modern artists, who often operate on an intuitive level, and the philosopher critics who comment upon them from a theoretical perspective or a pre-established framework. On one level, Cindy Sherman may only be playing "dress-up" (as she herself admits) in her famous History Portraits (1989-90) (Berne, 2003). On another level, however, her "dressing-up" may be indicative of a deeper problem in modern gender identity theory which is the problem of "becoming" woman (Butler, 1994) or, as Judith Butler sees it, the problem of performativity. In the History Portraits, Sherman may certainly be said to be "performing" and perhaps even attempting to "become" the male and female characters she represents in her work. Indeed, it is upon such a premise that philosopher critics and gender theorists find her work so engaging. This paper will examine Cindy Sherman and her History Portraits in relation to Judith Butler's gender theory, the portrayal of the self, and how gender identity has changed throughout the course of modern history. It will examine representations of womanhood from Romantic Idealism to Post-Modernism and will also
Questioning the female psyche can lead to recognizing unconscious thinking, which differs from males. Through historical inquiry, uniqueness of “actions, ideas, and force (give) rise to this phenomenon” (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998, p.136) may reveal more. Weber explored how societies stayed together, but he did not explore issues of art and health. “The study of the future is part of historical inquiry (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998, p.136). Reflecting on the beginning of recorded history, research can better explore and focus on the growth of knowledge and understanding as in the role of media. By exploring the history of feminism, gender roles, structure and power disclose. Probing the female psyche further, the legitimacy of art-based therapies can unfold female’s unconscious thinking about their well-being.