Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Feminist Artists of the Twentieth Century

Some time ago, I featured artist self-portraits. One reader commented that most were men. With the exception of Frieda Kahlo, that was true. Now, to balance that act out is this link to Feminist Artists of the 20th Century.


Now, which of this group is most to your artistic taste??



Rae Pater said...

What disturbing images!

Although I can see the artistic merit in the expression of all of these women, for my own taste I would choose first, Georgia O'keefe, because I like art to be beautiful and skillful as well as having something to say. Second I would choose Frida Kahlo, because she incorporates these qualities, even though I find her art very demanding of me. Her paintings are so raw, it's impossible not to engage fully with them.

J.B. Rowell said...

Sorry Pris - I think I was that "one reader" and I was responding to the artistic market which has historically been geared toward men - not you! I enjoyed your link - and agree with Rae - very disturbing. But I always enjoy Freida - the colors - the challenge - also Georgia O'Keefe. Of course. What strikes me is the anger and very base qualities of the art - I guess women have alot to be angry about?

Pris said...

Yes, Frida Kahlo remains one of my favorites, too. The webmaster of this site clearly chose the harsher artists for this listing. There were many good female artists in that period that he probably wouldn't call feminist. I'm not even clear why he called the last artist who was into cannibalism a faminist. Next time I do a search I'm going to look for some more gentle artists. I have several good contemporary female artists on my website, but they're not famous.

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

hey, too many women! (just kiding!)

Pris said...

Oh I knew you weren't referring to me. Even though there are many women in the arts, men still do dominate. I hope that becomes more equal over time.

And Andrew..always a wise guy in the group lol

J.B. Rowell said...

Okay good - I was afraid I offended - what are women to do to equalize? Probably the fastest route is for women to sensationalize and capitalize - like canibalism - is that art?

Pris said...

I wish I knew. When I first started working in my own field, I was the only female psychologist in the entire Hawaii chain of island the year I worked there and one of two women psychologists in the state of Rhode Island the two years as I was there. Gradually that's increased, simply as more women are determined to 'take their place' in certain fields. I imagine it'll be slow in every field, including art. As for things like the Presidency, we all already know that an Afro American man will be President before a woman. I mean, we have PMS and menopause clouding our decisons lol

J.B. Rowell said...

You're a pioneer Pris! And as for the first female president, it will be a post-menopausal woman when it finally happens anyway - someone 65+ - which is fine. Are we being totally feminist tonight what? :)

Lyle Daggett said...

Hi, Pris-- of the selection at the site you linked to, I like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe the best, though that may just be because I'm the most familiar with them. I agree with a couple of the other commenters that Kahlo's work can be demanding to look at -- it's pretty hard to look at her paintings passively -- though that's one of the things I like about them.

Probably my favorite artist overall (can't remember if I may have said something about her here before, so pardon if I'm repeating) is Kathe Kollwitz. (Should be an umlaut over the "a" in Kathe.) She mostly worked in pencil and charcoal, occasionally other mediums. One of here self-portraits is here.

A good way to find a good sampling of work by an artist online is to google the artist's name, but search by Images instead of Web. When I did that with Kollwitz it brought up several google hit pages of images (some were duplicates etc.).

Coloratura said...

meh... I'm not into feminist art much, although I do love Frida, and I think Barbara Kruger's work is quite powerful ( probably because she talks about a lot more than feminism.)

I personally feel that the feminist movement, while it certainly needed to happen, did a lot of damage as well. Men are really screwed up because of it, and some women too...

I guess in general, and not to single out the feminists, I prefer art that speaks to a greater humanity, not specific causes. It's more universal, and therefore (to me), more relevant. I think relevance is very important in art. If you cannot make them feel, you haven't done anything.

Enough of my opinions though... Happy New Year!

Pris said...

We need a Margeret Thatcher here, heh?

I like her work, too. When I searched, I went for the term 'top female artists' to see what google would bring me and went with that page since few others had a number of artists on one page and I thought the choices were both disturbing, interesting and sometimes puzzling (the last artist in the group).

At the time feminism was so radical (the 'must look ugly, must not shave pits, etc), I was doing things with my career that would've been called 'feminist' but I would never give myself that label. I couldn't identify with women who screamed at men for opening a door, for christ's sake. I mean, I opened doors for men sometimes and sometimes they opened for me. Personally, I've always admired the women who got us the vote during the time of suffurage. They went through unspeakable humiliations yet were steadfast and didn't lose their dignity in the process.

While I didn't like the methods the early feminists used, it did serve the purpose (well, I hope) of opening women's eyes that many more choices are open to them than previously seen. I don't think feminism has to be anti-men at all. I love men. It really has to be about learning how to cope in what used to be a man's world and do it well. When I worked at the V.A., I was the only woman in a '21' man department. I never made it a point to emphasize that. I just did my job and did it well. I admit, I knew they were watching me more closely than they did new males hired in (and I found out later that I was hired at around six thouand less than the start up salary for a THAT made me mad). At the end of the year, however, my boss put me up for a commendation award for the treatment unit program I'd designed and my work in general on the unit and consulting to others. Only one award could be recommended by each department head and had to be backed up by a letter from the social worker, psychiatrist, head nurse, and one other psychologist who knew your work. I got it. A raise came with it that, plus the yearly raise, finally brought me up to where my male colleagues were. But my point is that I didn't do it by being strident or screaming about the money. I did it by proving that I could do what a well-prepared man in my job could do.

I didn't mean to go on, but things were so different in the late sixties and seventies in the work place as I'm sure all of you know. We had to cope in the way that worked best for us.

Michelle e o said...

I like Jennifer Linton. I'm a proud member of the Guerilla Girls but I can't reveal my identity. This message will self detonate in 10 seconds.

Ellen M Johns said...

Just spotted this Pris. I looked at all of the art. What an interesting session that was!!!

If I had to choose just one that appealed to me, it would be...

Barbara Kruger - You Are Not Yourself - 1984

Pris said...

Hi Ellen
I like that one, too. It is an interesting site!