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Lecture 003 - Feminism and Art History.docx

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Women's Studies
Women's Studies 2158A/B
Sonia Halpern

Lecture 003 – Feminism & Art History September 25, 2012 - Aspects of feminist art history we need to know before we can start doing our work in other classes - Comparing the images in certain subjects by men and women; but need the connection between feminism and art history – what is the role feminism plays in art history? - Five themes/aspects in which feminism and art history intersect Outline 1. Research Into History of Past & Present Women Artists 2. Rediscovery of Works by Women 3. Reinterpretation of works By Women Artists 4. Examining the Imagery of Women by Male Artists 5. Improving the Status & Condition of Present Women Artists - Feminism & art history really came together at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s - 1971 – Article written by scholar named Linda Nochlin, art historian who wrote a ground- breaking article called ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ This article was a revelation to people; suggesting that there really has been great women artists, but society has not perceived them as great. Argues that it wasn’t that women had some inherent inability to become great artists; it’s that society had all of these social constructs that prevented it from happening. In a patriarchal society, these constructs were designed so that women couldn’t become great artists. - Social constructs that place obstacles in front of women to prevent them from becoming great artists: o No access to education or training for art o Pursuing art careers within a domestic structure o Birth control big issue, kept having children o Marriage – women giving up career o Religion – Notion that women should reproduce, be mothers, not encouraged to pursue careers – distraction from what really matters o Cultural Restrictions o Women did not earn their own money; had to rely on male husbands and fathers for money – no financial independence, no freedom o Women weren’t encouraged generally; women had to struggle to gain any independence, confidence a problem because nobody was supporting them in any way - Nochlin’s article took the feminist art community by storm because nobody had thought of it before - Women biologically unable to become artists (pfft.) - Rooted in general sense of sexism (women generally incapable, so women artists incapable, too) 1. Research Into History of Past & Present Women Artists - Harold’s Men Are Killed (Bayeux Tapestry) - 1080 (year) - Battle between the English and the French, Battle of Hastings - Anonymous – assumption that the artist is male - The Syon Cope - A cope was like a cape worn by a church official - Made in England in 1300 - Women primary creators of anything to do with fabric - Anonymous – why did the work say anonymous a lot of the time? - In this case, urban workshops with lots of women creating needlework with one male overseer - Normal practice that when the work was submitted, the only name connected to the work was the name of the overseer - Feminist art historians who understood and published the idea that these workshops were filled with women whose names weren’t being attributed to these works - Joyce Wieland – Confed Spread - 1967 confederation of Canada celebration quilt made of plastic, cloth, and cotton - Wieland was a feminist, wanted to make statement about women and their connection to needleworks – wanted to honour the women of the past who were also connected to this medium (feminist act) 2. Rediscovery of Works bythomen - Frans Hals – 17 c. (1623) - Buffoon playing a loot - Very popular artist in Holland in the 17 c. th - Specialized in genre scenes – a scene of everyday life - Judith Leyster – also specialized in genre scenes - The Merry Couple (1630) – genre scene, this painting was owned by the Louvre in Paris; had it for hundreds of years, then one day they decided that the painting was in desperate need of cleaning. So they took the image to their restoration area and started cleaning it and discovered it wasn’t a Frans Hals painting. (happened in late 19 c.) th o Started a new emphasis on Judith Leyster - Feminist art historians of the 1960s and 1970s started to investigate other works that may have been labelled as male artists but were actually done by women th th - Rodin – French sculptor late 19 c., early 20 c. - Many of Rodi
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