Women’s History Month; Art and Feminism

Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Barbara Longhi, Fede Galizia, and Artemisia Gentileschi, in a different world these names would be as familiar to us as Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, El Greco, or Caravaggio. These women artists were contemporaries of the male masters we know so well. Social mores of the times limited a woman’s access to the resources and supports available to their male peers. How much have times changed? Do we still need gender based art groups to assist in advancing the careers of women artists?

Young women artists don’t experience sexual inequalities the same way older artists have. Today women are gallery owners, art collectors and museum curators. Are women artists equally represented in prestigious galleries and museums? In  a New York Times article “Where are all the Women?” Jerry Salz discusses how few women artists are on display in places like MoMA. In the fall of 2006, of 399 objects on view, 19 were by women. More recently Kyle Bachan wrote “Where are the Women in the Google’s Art Project?” in the MS. Magazine blog. Her own review of the 17 museums included as of February 2011, she counted only three women artists.


I’ve talked with other women artists about defining “feminism.” Stereotypes still exist that “feminists” are all lesbians or man haters. A broader definition defines feminism as a movement to encourage equal political, economic and social rights and opportunities for all people.

This post is a repost from a June 2011 post I wrote for our WCA Michigan blog.
This coming Monday, March 18, 2013 Ann Arbor Women Artists will be screening the documentary called “Women Art Revolution: Enhancing the image of feminist art.” Lynn Hershman Leeson wrote and directed this film in which women artists talk about how their work was condescended to or ignored. They have also established a website RAW/WAR to archive the artwork of women.

Would love the hear what others think.

About Babs

I'm a narrative sculptor navigating her way through the ever-changing currents in what feels like an art ocean. Whether appreciating the calm rhythm of calls for art and exhibiting, or waiting to catch a big wave of inspiration to take me to the top. I just love being in the water. Formerly a pickle packer, theater major, crisis counselor and occupational therapist with a BA in Communications and a BS in Occupational Therapy, only to discover I've always been an artist. My work grows from a strong connection to people and a passion for discovering the beauty in ordinary things. I sculpt figuratively in clay, utilizing the female form and women’s themes. Frequently my inspiration is drawn from childhood memories and my own short poems. Like each of us as humans every work is uniquely influenced by the past and present and has a narrative.
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3 Responses to Women’s History Month; Art and Feminism

  1. Well spoken Barbara. I think we have work to do yet. This conversation is still alive because we are still asking the question, “Where Are All the Women Artists?”, and the answer isn’t evident. Looking forward to seeing “Women Art Revolution”. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Italian artist Sofonisba Anguissola revisited, and her contemporaries | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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