“What is important is that women face up to the reality of their history and of their present situation, without making excuses or puffing mediocrity. Disadvantage may indeed be an excuse; it is not, however, an intellectual position. Rather, using as a vantage point their situation as underdogs in the realm of grandeur, and outsiders in that of ideology, women can reveal institutional and intellectual weaknesses in general, and, at the same time that they destroy false consciousness, take part in the creation of institutions in which clear thought–and true greatness–are challenges open to anyone, man or woman, courageous enough to take the necessary risk, the leap into the unknown.” - Linda Nochlin, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists
Bunny bunny foot foot! March, Women’s History Month, has come to a close. Everyday for the month of March I shared a brief summary of a woman artist past or present on my Instagram account. Before March, I had only a weak connection to a few well known artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Mary Cassatt. Now, my knowledge of the art world has expanded to include to so many more women, and I am excited to continue expanding my vision.
These are the women who now accompany me in my studio thanks to Women’s History Month.
Corita Kent (1918–1986)
Sally Mann (b. 1951)
Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625)
Annie Leibovitz (b. 1949)
Kara Walker (b. 1969)
Rebecca Morris (b. 1969)
The Guerilla Girls
Jay DeFeo (1929-1989)
Elisabet Ney (1833-1907)
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653)
Alma Thomas (1891-1978)
Mary Heilmann (b. 1940)
Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010)
Judy Chicago (b. 1939)
Amy Sherald (b. 1973)
Mary Swanzy (1882-1978)
Agnes Martin (1912-2004)
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899)
Julie Mehretu (b. 1970)
Hilma af Klint (1862-1944)
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898-1944)
Mary Beth Edelson (b. 1933)
Paula Modersohn Becker (1876-1907)
Anni Albers (1899-1994)
Shara Hughes (b. 1981)
Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989)
Susan O’Malley (1976-2015)
Dorothy Hood (1918-2000)
If you don’t recognize any of these names, look them up! I enjoyed learning about each and every one of them. By sharing these artists, I did not mean to imply that their artwork was/is better than that of their male contemporaries. Rather, I wanted to recognize and celebrate them (also I really enjoyed some of their artwork). They were/are women who created art consistently and courageously, and they did that without society’s institutions supporting them. Perhaps I making them out to be martyrs.
While reading Linda Nochlin’s essay Why Have There Been Been No Great Women Artists?, I was confronted by the somewhat gross realization of why I had initially became interested in pursuing art… I wanted to be seen as a genius…and a martyr. That makes me uncomfortable to think about. The myth of the “Artistic Genius” has a striking resemblance to Christian martyrdom. Think of Vincent Van Gogh. He created beautiful, mystical and emotional artworks while suffering from mental illness and seizures. It’s an intoxicating and romantic narrative. I idolized it.
That’s probably worth exploring later on. For now, this will do.
Did you recognize any/all of these artists? Who is your favorite?
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Dominic Smith
Walk Through Walls: A Memoir , Marina Abramovic
Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?, Linda Nochlin
Broad Strokes, Bridget Quinn
Currently listening to:
The Perils of Following Your Career Passion, WorkLife with Adam Grant
Fabergé Eggs, The Art History Babes
A Museum Hires a Full-time Therapist, Hyperallergic