Women in Western Art

Discussion Outline for 1960s and 1970s: Art, Civil Rights, and the Women’s Movement

November 3rd, 2009 by anniemchale · No Comments

Discussion Outline for 1960s and 1970s: Art, Civil Rights, and the Women’s Movement
Ann McHale and Melody Ain

I. Introduction: Feminism and Art in the Twentieth Century
a. Summary: Attitudes of women throughout history have come from some of the most celebrated male minds of Western culture. This attitude towards women has continued to shape history and the understanding of gender. The establishment of the female place in art has been a continuous battle. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard introduce the rediscovery of Feminist art history to a new generation of women in this crucial book.

b. Discussion Questions:
What is feminist art?
Is all art created by women feminist art?
Are the unconscious themes of women artists “feminist? Is it possible for a woman to create art, and it not to be feminist? Example: LK

II. Feminism Unbound by Nancy Princental
a. Summary: Nancy Princenthal reviews the exhibition “ WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution”. Since the 1960s when the feminist art movement began to emerge, women have been particularly interested in what makes them different. In this exhibition women go to extreme levels to set themselves apart, all in the name of art. From self mutilation to performance art, women artists take their craft to a new level of self expression. Women artists in this exhibition express the importance of self identity.
b. Discussion Questions:
i. How has the human body become a focus in art? Self mutilation, violence, sexuality….
ii. When does this type of art become to radical? Where is the line drawn?
Is this type art of effective? Who is the audience?
b. List of Images:
i. Caroline Schneemann
1. Interior Scroll
2. 1975
3. New York City ( first performance)
ii. Judy Chicago
1. Red Flag
2. 1971
iii. Judy Chicago
1. The Dinner Party
2. 1979
3. Brooklyn Museum
iv. Anna Gaskell
1. Untitled #35 ( Hide)
2. 1998
Collection of Heather and Tony Podesta, Falls Church, VA
v. Marji Geerlinks
1. Mothers
2. 2000
3. Torch Gallery Amsterdam

vi. Catherine Opie
1. Self Portrait/Nursing
2. 2004
3. Los Angeles
vii. Jenny Sarille
1. Untitled ( Study)
2. 2004
3. New York
Worldwide Women by Eleanor Heartney
Summary: The women’s movement of liberation has explored all areas of the human experience. However, the change in the field of art has lagged far behind in the movement for female liberation. In Eleanor Heartney’s review of “Global Feminism: New Directions in Contemporary Art” she highlights the work of women artists who have made many significant contributions throughout the history of art in this exhibition. She also discusses the problems with the exhibition, and the barriers within the realm of feminism.
Discussion Questions:
i. The experience of women around the world are drastically different. How does this effect their view of feminism?

ii. Why do some feminist artists take on such a aggressive approach to their sexuality?

iii. How do women identify within their culture and race but also as women in their art?

Themes:
Identity
Sexuality
Interpretation of what is Feminism
Violence and Self mutilation in art

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