Art is one of the most powerful forms of expression. Through art, we are able to say so much without a single word. A painting or photo has the power to make us feel something. There are no ends to the way art effects us, which is why I am choosing to write about art and feminism this week.
In the 60’s when the civil rights movement was in full swing, feminists began to seek new ways to spread their message and make their voices heard. Before then, women were often denied exhibition for their art, just because of their gender. This led them to become innovators, sometimes creating their own venues to display their works. The goal of the artists was to emerge in the art world with a fresh perspective: the woman’s perspective. The art expressed the struggles of women and the need for equality. The artists wanted people to see their work and question the oppressive social and political environments they were living in.
These artists weren’t just any artists though! They often incorporated unconventional materials and live performance in their art. This fact also helped distinguish them from previously established male artists, who mainly stuck to painting, sketches, or sculptures.
One of the most famous (and most interesting) feminist art pieces is “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago. It depicts a large dinner table (Yes, an actual table, not just a painting of a table!). At the table are places for thirty-nine notable women from history and mythology. On the dinner plates are ornate butterfly and vulva-inspired designs. There are also the names of 999 other women painted on the tiles below the triangular table. This piece was part of a movement to re-discover women role models throughout history. Here is a photo of it:
Many of the great feminist art pieces were created in the 70’s. For instance, “Anatomy of a Kimono” by Miriam Schapiro. The multi-media piece utilizes the patterns on kimonos, pieces of fabric, embroidery, painting, and handkerchiefs to emphasize women’s connection to these materials and processes.
While the feminist art movement began in the second wave, it still continues into modern times. With the current political and social situations, feminist art is back in the limelight. Just think about all of the different art displayed on signs during the Women’s March. Those were all artistic expressions of feminism! I really enjoy working with different medias in art and I think it might be really interesting to create a feminist art piece. If I do, I shall post it in the comments below and I invite all of you to create a piece as well if you’d like! I think it might be really fun to create a visual representation of what feminism means to me personally.
If you’d like to read more about Feminist art, I recommend the website below. I found it very interesting and useful for my post.