Articles

19 Feminist Art Stories for International Women’s Day

In honor of the 19th Amendment, we’ve compiled some of our favorite stories that we hope will inspire you to uplift women everywhere.

Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project started appearing on the streets in New York quickly became a major media sensation around the world. Hyperallergic first wrote about it in September 3, 2013.(photo by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

It’s women’s day every day! Or at least it should be, so we thought we’d plunge into our archive to explore the kick-ass stories that could help you to imagine a world where the feminist goal of equality is a reality.

We’ve compiled a list of 19 — in honor of the US 19th Amendment — of some of our favorite stories that will inform you and, we hope, inspire you to uplift women from all walks of life daily.

  1. An Illustrated Guide to Linda Nochlin’s ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’” by Tiernan Morgan and Lauren Purje (May 23, 2017) — First published in ARTnews in 1971, Nochlin’s essay is considered to be one of the first major works of feminist art history. We illustrated and explained the essay for those who may not be familiar with it.
  2. The Black American Women Who Made Their Own Art World” by Jess Brown Bell (August 7, 2017) — We Wanted a Revolution at the Brooklyn Museum tracked the shape-shifting radicalism of black women artists, authors, filmmakers, dancers, gallerists, and public figures between 1965 and 1985. This review considered many facets of the important exhibition (now on view at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery).
  3. Why Were So Many Women Excluded from the History of Abstract Expressionism?” by Hrag Vartanian (July 25, 2016) — In the fourth episode of the Hyperallergic Podcast, we focused on the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Denver Art Museum and spoke to artists, critics, and art historians who had a front row seat for that formative period of modern art.Related: “Women of Abstract Expressionism Challenges the Canon But Is Only the Beginning” by Yasmeen Siddiqui (August 9, 2016) and “Sexism and the Canon: Three Female Artists Reflect on ‘Women of Abstract Expressionism’” by Kealey Boyd (September 14, 2016)
  4. The Multifarious Feminism of the Whitney Biennial” by Anne Swartz (May 12, 2017) — The writer starts by asking, “Could we consider the 2017 Whitney Biennial a feminist exhibition?”
  5. Miriam Schapiro’s Road to Feminism” by Mira Schor (March 16, 2016) — For early feminists, the only solution was to make the revolution their own way, without help and without precedent, and Miriam Schapiro helped lead the way for many feminists.
  6. The Problem of the Overlooked Female Artist: An Argument for Enlivening a Stale Model of Discussion” by Ashton Cooper (January 10, 2015) — The author discusses two experiences she had at Barnard College in New York that irrevocably shaped the way she understood art history’s inherent power structures, especially regarding the role of female artists.
  7. How We Got Here: Portrait of the Artist as a Queer Feminist” by Clarity Haynes (March 14, 2015) — Queer feminist artists (Chitra Ganesh, Karen Heagle, Rachel Farmer, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, and Leah DeVun) discuss how they see their own community and how they created it.
  8. Crying for Ana Mendieta at the Carl Andre Retrospective” by Marisa Crawford (March 10, 2015) — A first-hand account of “CRYING; A PROTEST” at Dia: Beacon’s Carl Andre retrospective. The guerrilla performance was in honor of Ana Mendieta. RELATED: “Artists Protest Carl Andre Retrospective with Blood Outside of Dia:Chelsea” by Jillian Steinhauer (May 20, 2014)
  9. At Standing Rock, Two Artists Help Women Confront the Trauma of Sexual Violence” by Hrag Vartanian (December 1, 2016) — In this podcast, Hyperallergic speaks to two Native American artists at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota who were tackling the issue of sexual violence in the US, which disproportionately impacts indigenous communities.
  10. Reflections from Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter” by Jillian Steinhauer (September 15, 2016) — Ten artists who took part in the “Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter (#BWAforBLM)” event at the New Museum offer some brief reflections on their collaborative creation — how it came to be and how it felt, what it was and what it meant.
  11. The Feminist Avant-Garde, Now More than Ever” by Thomas Micchelli (May 20, 2017) — Their only solution was to make their revolution their own way, without help and without precedent.
  12. ‘You Can’t Say It Doesn’t Exist’: A Curator on the Art of Latin American Women from 1960 to ’85” by Elisa Wouk Almino (December 5, 2017) — Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, a curator of the Radical Women exhibition at the Hammer Museum, talks about this largely ignored history.
  13. ‘You Have to Get Past the Fear’: Joan Semmel on Painting Her Aging, Nude Body” by Clarity Haynes (May 20, 2017) — A conversation with Semmel, who has created a distinctive body of work largely centered on painted images of her own body.
  14. Celebrating Outstanding Glass Artists Who Happen to Be Women” by Sarah Rose Sharp (January 8, 2018) — Writing about Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists at the Toledo Museum of Art, Sharp says there was little to convince her that “female glass art” occupies a necessarily separate category than “glass art.”
  15. ‘I Like Art by Men Better’: Gender by the Numbers at Art Basel Miami Beach” by Jillian Steinhauer (December 17, 2014) — During Art Basel Miami Beach in 2014, Micol Hebron made a partial tally of gender representation among participating galleries at the fair, and the results were quite bleak.
  16. The Radical Art of Archiving Performance, as Practiced by Martha Wilson” by Alexis Clements (April 8, 2015) — Wilson is an artist best known for her performance and photography works, but she’s also an important archivist of “avant-garde” performance art as part of Franklin Furnace, an arts organization she founded in 1976.
  17. A Bright Neon Uterus Fights for Attention on the Sunset Strip” by Kate Dwyer (February 28, 2018) — In Los Angeles, a nine-foot uterus capped with boxing glove ovaries rotates on a three-story pole outside The Standard hotel.
  18. Feminist Sculptures That Don’t Pull Punches” by Seph Rodney (March 29, 2017) — Zoe Buckman takes issue with the voice of command, teasing out how patriarchal authority permeates our ideas of femininity and the ways we deal with women’s bodies.
  19. Filling in the Gaps: Feminism’s Continued Relevance in the Arts” by Alexis Clements (February 22, 2013) — A report from a symposium organized by the Feminist Art Project as part of that year’s College Art Association Conference. The event considered the continuing legacy of feminism in the arts with particular attention to the idea of creating collective histories and of asserting a history that complicates singular narratives.

And as a BONUS, to remind you how inequality impacts all parts of the art community: “Art by Women Sells for 47.6% Less Than Works by Men, Study Finds” by Benjamin Sutton (December 14, 2017). In a study that included analysis of auction data and experiments with thousands of respondents, researchers found that perception of artists’ gender consistently affects how their work is valued.

comments (0)