“Nobody on a very large canvas. Biography: (American/1887-1986)


“Nobody sees a flower really, it is so small –
we haven’t time, and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time.”

She moved to New Mexico after her husband’s death in 1946 and remained
there until her death in 1986.

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The size of the paintings made the flowers look very vaginal, and she
was often asked if she was a feminist, to which she always replied no, but she
is considered a feminist nevertheless because it wasn’t just flowers that she
made look vaginal. For example, her paintings of ice caves in New Mexico also
look vaginal.

Georgia’s most well-known paintings are large paintings of flowers that
often cover an entire canvas with just one blossom. The largest canvas that she
ever painted was twenty-four feet wide (Sky Above Clouds IV, 1965).

An event that drastically effected Georgia’s art occurred when she was
in art class one day. She typically painted everything rather small, and one
day her teacher asked her the reasoning behind this. O’Keefe could not respond,
but instead she created a huge painting as a joke. This carried on into
Georgia’s artwork, and soon she began painting on a very large canvas.

Biography: (American/1887-1986)
Growing up in Wisconsin, she began art classes at a young age and showed a
large amount of talent.

Georgia O’Keeffe
















She is a fantastic example of feminist artist that
moved society, she was a feminist visionary, who instead of fighting woman’s
traditional domestic crafts, embraced it (crafts, embroideries, knit-ting and even
cake decoration) 

In addition to her quilted art pieces, Wieland also
painted, wrote and directed her own movies (The Far Shore), numerous filmic
experiments and was an important figure in the Canadian and American art scene
during the 1970s and 1980s. She died in Toronto in 1998.

Biography: (Canadian/1931-1998)
Wieland pioneered the idea of women working together to create art pieces and
was the first artists to hire quilters to make quilted art pieces. Her
“Reason Over Passion” quilt hung in 24 Sussex Drive, the home of
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau during the 1970s (24 Sussex is the
Canadian equivalent of the White House).

Joyce Wieland













Much of her text questions the viewer about
feminism, classicism, consumerism, and individual autonomy and desire. Kruger’s
work has appeared on billboards, buscards, posters, a public park, a train
station platform in Strasbourg, France, and in other public commissions.

She layers found photographs from existing sources with pithy and
aggressive text that involves the viewer in the struggle for power and control
that her captions speak to. In their trademark black letters against a slash of
red background, some of her instantly recognizable slogans read “I shop
therefore I am,” and “Your body is a battleground.”

Biography: (American/1945) In
1965 Kruger started studies at Syracuse University, New York State, but
transferred in 1966 to the Parsons School of Design in New York City. During
the 1960s and 1970s she worked as a graphic designer for the American fashion
magazine «Mademoiselle». In 1980 she was awarded a PS1 (Project Studio One)
grant. Her artistic style is highly influenced by her career as a graphic designer.

Barbara Kruger








heart of Western art (Nead 1992).
Herein, nudity embodies that narcissistic gaze which permits the Western male
observer to perceive himself as enlightened and cultured—the male painter
likewise experiencing the pleasure of domesticating and converting to high
culture what he considers to be a symbol of raw, passionate, bestial nature.
One such example is Giorgione’s Venus of Dresden (1509), which portrays a naked
woman lying outstretched, sunk in deep sleep and unconscious of the penetrating
gazes of the spectators scrutinising her body. One hand rests on her pudenda in
a gesture possibly suggesting masturbation, her other arm being raised to
accentuate her breasts. Another typical example is Fragonard’s painting The
Bathers (1765), in which a large group of voluptuously naked women are depicted
performing their ablutions in a variety of revealing and unnatural poses
designed to exploit the angles of their bodies: stretched on their backs,
splaying their legs, turning their buttocks to the spectators, and embracing
one another

One of the central subjects
addressed by the radical feminist discourse in the 1970s was the attitude to
the female body—also a primary concern within feminist art. Many radical
feminist thinkers sought to expose the ways in which men exploit the female
body against women, others choosing to emphasise the uniqueness of the female
body, celebrating and nurturing its singularity and invoking it as a means of
expression and a tool with which to enhance a positive sense of
femininity.  Inspired by these writers,
feminist artists also began to look for alternative ways to represent women.
Here, too, the female body served as a central element. Viewing their use of it
as a direct reflection of the radical feminist perception, these artists
attempted to create a counterresponse to the traditional representation of the
female body in Western art—a negative stereotypical gender bias which had
tendentiously and voyeuristically exploited the female body under the male
gaze. One of the first to analyse the history of Western art from this
perspective was the American scholar John Berger. Examining female and male
representations in art in a volume entitled Ways of Seeing, Berger revealed
what he regarded as the hidden mechanism behind the phenomenon: “Men act and
women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at”
(Berger 1972: 47 original italics). As Berger indicates, the man wields
visual power over the woman—whose passive-object status derives from their
acceptance of the male “view” and thereby effectively accepting an identity
determined by the male Other. This attitude not only governed the way women
view themselves but also the majority of male-female relationship issues.
Female nudity continues to hold a significant place in art even today. In a
catalogue for an exhibition entitled Female Nudes she curated in 2009,
researcher Ktsia Alon provides a contemporary description of the way in which
the female body is represented via a gendered inversion: “Female nudity is
often also an inverted ‘self-portrait’ of the male painter, a method whereby
the reality of the clothed male is exposed via the naked women standing in
front of him. This is an exemplary representation of vulnerability, employed by
gender inversion in order to reinforce itself” (Alon 2009: 3). Up until the
1970s, the expression given to power relations between the sexes by Western art
had been principally male itself. From antiquity through the Renaissance and up
to the modern period, art had unanimously followed this trend, the female nude
lying—literally and iconically—at the

Father as breadwinner and Mother
as housewife living happily with their children in a nice house in the suburbs.
The publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique in 1963 was the
opening shot in a campaign destined to initiate an uprising and demand for
change. In this provocative book, Friedan attempted to articulate what up until
that point had remained virtually unspoken, giving voice to the feelings of
young women of the 1950s and ’60s who, while financially comfortable, felt
repressed. In the opening chapter, famously entitled “The Problem That Has No
Name”, Friedan articulated the solitary, silent agony in which middle-class
housewives lived in the American suburbs: 
The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of
American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a
yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the
United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the
beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter
sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside
her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent
question—”Is this all?” (Friedan 1963: 57) The book was an immediate
best-seller, quickly becoming one of the most significant influences on the
shaping of the worldview of many women—including women artists—across the
United States. A perfect depiction of the “golden cage” in which women were
trapped, it described how they had become victims of a false system of values
which demanded that they find identity and meaning in their lives solely on the
basis of their family.6  The Women’s
Liberation Movement formed an integral part of the social protests and
revolutions America witnessed in the 1960s: the protest against the Vietnam
War, the permissive sexual revolution and emergence of the “flower children”,
and the civil rights movements on behalf of African-Americans,
American-Indians, and the LGBT community. The protest movement against the
repression of women in the preceding decades—in particular their grave
situation during the 1950s—also served as a direct source of inspiration to
generate change.  The second wave of
feminism was characterised by a growing body of theory, politics, and activism,
its declared aims being the exposure of the repression of women by the medical,
governmental, and educational Establishment. Devoting immense activity to
raising individual and public awareness regarding the social and political
status of women, the feminist discourse began to diversify and multiply, coming
to be marked by distinct schools of thought and expression—Marxist feminism,




The second wave of feminism
emerged in Europe and the United States in the mid-1960s, its development
generally being linked to the birth of the Women’s Liberation Movement. Despite
the achievement of many of the latter’s aims, the first half of the twentieth
century witnessed not only a substantial decline in feminist activity but also
a regression in the status of women in society. Notwithstanding these difficult
years, women and feminist organisations continued to be active, even gaining a
measure of political success. Many critics now believe that the reluctant
activism of feminist women between 1920s and 1950s was a strong contributing
factor to the fierce eruption of the 1960s feminist revolution (Rosin 2000:
190-194). The Second World War both prompted and encouraged women—many for the
first time in their lives—to leave their homes and seek wage-paying jobs.5 Across
Europe and throughout the United States, women became an integral component of
the home front—in agricultural, industry, and the munitions industry—as the men
were called up to fight. At the end of the war, the men returning from the
front and expecting to resume their jobs, it was assumed that these women would
similarly “return”—to their “natural” place in the home. In the U.S.A., the
craving for normalcy in the 1950s being based—at least in part—on restoring the
old order, the status of women waned, women again being expected to find their
full contentment in being mothers and housewives. Thus, for example, the
budgets previously designed to establish crèches and kindergartens for working
mothers during the war were reallocated, seriously hindering women from finding
work outside the home. The post-war economic prosperity experienced by North
America further reinforced the image of the bourgeois housewife surrounded by
electric appliances. For the first time in a number of years, the age at which
women married dropped, the birth rate concomitantly rising. The “baby boom”
similarly accentuated the model of the happy nuclear family:

art historians have described pre-feminist women artists as links between
various male-dominated art movements. This reinforces the feminist argument
that women somehow do not fit into the categories of art that were established
for male artists and their work.

asking whether male experience was universal, Feminist Art paved the way for
questioning exclusively white and exclusively heterosexual experience as well.
Feminist Art also sought to rediscover artists. Frida Kahlo had been active in
Modern Art but left out of the defining history of Modernism. Despite being an
artist herself, Lee Krasner, wife of Jackson Pollock, was seen as Pollock’s
support until she was rediscovered.


?  Getting
your picture in the art magazines wearing a gorilla suit.

?  Not having to undergo the
embarrassment of being called a genius.

?  Being included in revised
versions of art history.

?  Having more time to work when
your mate dumps you for someone younger.

?  Not having to choke on those
big cigars or paint in Italian suits.

?  Having the opportunity to
choose between career and motherhood.

?  Seeing your ideas live on in
the work of others.

?  Not being stuck in a tenured
teaching position.

?  Being reassured that whatever
kind of art you make it will be labeled feminine.

?  Knowing your career might pick
up after you’re eighty.

?  Having an escape from the art
world in your 4 free-lance jobs.

?  Not having to be in shows with

?  Working without the pressure of

The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist:

Feminist artists often embraced
alternative materials that were connected to the female gender to create their
work, such as textiles, or other media previously little used by men such as
performance and video, which did not have the same historically male-dominated
precedent that painting and sculpture carried. By expressing themselves through
these non-traditional means, women sought to expand the definition of fine art,
and to incorporate a wider variety of artistic perspectives

Art was a boys club, of which
sects like  hard drinking, womanizing
members of abstract expressionism were glamorized.

Before feminism,  the majority of woman artist were investable
to the public eye. Females were deprived of exhibitions and gallery’s
representations based on the sole fact of their gender.

Feminist art gives strength , the
art gives a voice. The art created opportunities and spaces that previously did
not exist for woman and minority artist, as well as pave the path for the
identity art and activist art for the 1980’s.

Feminist art effects all aspects
of society, the art is not for one person but for a generation of females.

Feminists point out that throughout most of
recorded history males have imposed patriarchal (father-centered) social
systems (in which they have dominated females). Although it is not the goal of
this article to recount the development of feminist theory in full, the history
of feminist art cannot be understood apart from it. Feminist theory must take
into account the circumstances of most women’s lives as mothers, household
workers, and caregivers, in addition to the pervasive misconception that women
are genetically inferior to men. Feminist art notes that significant in the
dominant (meaning especially Western) culture’s patriarchal heritage is the
preponderance of art made by males, and for male audiences, sometimes
transgressing against females. Men have maintained a studio system which has
excluded women from training as artists, a gallery system that has kept them
from exhibiting and selling their work, as well as from being collected by
museums — albeit somewhat less in recent years than before.

Especially since the late 1960s, when the feminist art movement can be
said to have emerged, women have been particularly interested in what makes
them different from males — what makes women artists and their art different
from male artists and their art. This has been most prominent in the United
States, Britain, and Germany, although there are numerous precursors to the
movement, and it has spread to many other cultures since the 1970s.




Consider past material covered
with the class—how have women appeared within the course? As subjects mostly,
as patrons occasionally, and very infrequently as artists, writers, or figures
of power.

Chronologically, “Feminist
Art,” a category of art made by women consciously aligning their art practices
with the politics of the Women’s Rights Movement and feminist theory, emerged in the late 1960s and early
1970s. This means a class on feminism will come quite late in the semester, if
not on the last half of the last day, if at all. A lecture on Feminist Art can
be a good opportunity to reflect on the narrative of art history that has
unfolded over the course, and point toward ways that more advanced courses or
continued study in art history might critically complicate that story.


Supporting cultural production as
a form of activism, feminist artists took politics to the realm of aesthetics
on the basis that art reflects and sustains social formations of gender and
power. They sought an alternative philosophy to that which had established the existing
norms of artistic genius, beauty, and attitudes toward the body, and they
actively demonstrated for greater representation within museums and access to
educational opportunities. Their artwork often leveraged traditionally domestic
practices such as craft techniques or found objects to destabilize traditional
notions of “high” art. Judy Chicago, one of the most well-known proponents of feminist
practice, did much to codify (and, by extension, criticize) the visual language
of “the feminine” (check out her interview with Artsy’s chief curator Christine
Kuan here). Mary Kelly laid bare the labors of the
maternal body in Post-Partum Document, a diaristic chronicle of the
artist’s relationship to her newborn son, vomit, poop and all. Lynn Hershman
Leeson’s “Construction Charts” overlaid diagrams on women’s faces detailing
their potential improvements under plastic surgery, while Barbara Kruger’s
appropriation of mass media images, combined with charged language, openly
critiqued the gendered quality of consumption. In a 1971 essay in ArtNews,
Linda Nochlin asked the question that would shape feminist art history: “Why
Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” The answer, she argued, was not that
women are less capable of greatness than men but that structural inequalities,
including restricted access to artistic training and patronage, precluded
women’s full participation and autonomy as artists. Nochlin’s focus on the
practical logic of talent development, rather than inherent
inferiority/superiority, challenged patriarchal ideology in a manner that
aligned with the then-current aims of feminism.

First-wave feminism won political
suffrage for women in the early 20th century; yet, impasses to full political
participation, as well as systemic political and socioeconomic inequality,
remained. Inspired by the Civil Rights movement, feminist leaders in the 1960s
and ’70s took critical aim at both systems and institutions that sustained
gender inequality. Championing the phrase “the personal is political,” notable
feminist voices of this so-called second wave of feminism like Betty Friedan (The
Feminine Mystique, 1962) and journalist Gloria Steinem (who founded Ms.
magazine in 1972) called for equality in the workplace and at home. The
soon-to-be global movement succeeded in achieving longstanding societal and
political changes, and feminist art developed as one cultural branch of
second-wave feminism.


How, then, do we begin to
delineate a constantly expanding term? Given the ongoing efforts of subsequent
generations of activists, thinkers, writers, artists, politicians, mothers, and
sisters (as well as a long list of unsung heroes and heroines in the practice
of everyday life) to re-define what it means to be a feminist, it may seem a fool’s
errand—or an exercise in hubris—to align it with a taxonomy such as The Art
Genome Project. But to be discoverable online, art needs classification, and
thus a working definition. What follows is an exploration of the shades of
meaning and the varying visions behind the term Feminist Art, as it was understood in the 1960s and ’70s, and as it
is evolving today. As such, it will requires further critical assessment and
revision as historical developments inform our understanding of this practice.

Feminism in the 21st century
bears a broader, deeper, and more diverse range of voices and interests than
ever before. Its agenda and definition remain unclear for many reasons,
including philosophical contradictions, conflicting generational interests, and
varied relationships to the legacies of the second-wave feminism of the 1960s
and ’70s. Big-ticket goals like social, political, and economic equality, as
well as women’s legal control over their own bodies, still unify the feminism
of now and then. But if feminists in the 1960s and ’70s rejected the paradigm
of beauty as inherently at odds with the pursuit of intellectual equality,
contemporary feminist art embraces beauty and brains, finding agency in the option
to have both. Moreover, it reflects a more globally informed and multicultural
perspective that seeks to account for differences in race, nationality, and

Art critics also played a large
role in the 1970s Feminist art movement by calling attention to the fact that
women artists had been completely omitted from the canon of Western art. They
were important advocates who sought to rewrite male-established criteria of art
criticism and aesthetics. In 1971, ARTnews published critic Linda
Nochlin’s provocatively titled an essay, “Why Have There Been No Great
Women Artists?” The essay critically examined the category of
“greatness” (as it had largely been defined in male-dominated terms)
and initiated the Feminist revision of art history that led to the inclusion of
more women artists in art history books. In 1973, England’s art critics Rozsika
Parker and Griselda Pollock founded the Women’s Art History Collective to
further address the omission of women from the Western art historical canon. In
1976, Nochlin and fellow art historian Ann Sutherland Harris organized the
first international female-only exhibition “Women Artists: 1550-1950”
to familiarize the public with 400 years worth of work that had gone largely

In New York City, In that time
which had a highly respected  established
gallery and museum system, women artists were largely concerned with equal
representation in art institutions.in this time was a male dominated exhibition
spaces,  They formed a variety of women’s
art organizations, like the Art Worker’s Coalition, Women Artists in Revolution
(WAR) and the AIR Gallery, they opened this space  to unmistakably address Feminist artists’
rights and issues in the art community, which is what they needed at this time,
nowhere was allowing woman to show case their work. These organizations
protested museums like The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney, which compared
to the amount of men that was exhibited their work.  Woman however was at a very few percentage.
women artists at the time,  Protests of
the Whitney Annual led to a rise in the number of women artists presented, from
ten percent in 1969 to twenty-three percent in 1970.


Feminist art construction began in
the late 1960s, during the “second-wave” of feminism in the United
States and England, but remained by a long history of feminist activism. The
“first wave” of feminism began in the mid-nineteenth century with the
women’s suffrage movements and continued until women received the right to
vote, in 1920. No feminist art was produced during this early period. women’s
concern about their role in society remained, they were not giving up easily.

Feminist art movement began in the
late 60’s, a movement with the female future in mind, female artist fighting to
rewrite a misleadingly male- dominated art history as well as change the
contemporary world around them though their art..


What are the effects of feminist art
on society?

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