feminist art making a difference 2

help with discussion questions 5
July 20, 2021
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July 20, 2021


Background

In 1971, not to be outdone by the big boys of installation art, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro and the feminist project at Cal-Arts commandeered a condemned two story house in Hollywood, CA. Each artist was given a room and a mandate to raise public consciousness of feminist issues.

Feminism was an infant movement in 1971 and it’s members had a lot to be indignant about. Before the social revolution of the late 60s, any woman who didn’t care for the idea of having a litter of kids, then spending the rest of her life as a cook, nanny, dishwasher and a not so happy homemaker was considered “neurotic”, “socially dysfunctional”, “unbalanced”, or worse. That was just one issue. Being trapped in a crappy, low paying job within a culture of pervasive sexual harassment were some others.

Shortly after the show closed the house was bulldozed. A short film and a few photographs are all that remain. Gradually, decades later, the exhibition began to acquire mythic status. Certainly it was the most ambitious, cogent, and politically energized art of it’s day, and there’s been almost nothing like it since. By any measure, this is the art of nightmare, protest and indignation, and nobody who saw the exhibition on opening day would ever forget It.

One might argue that the rigid gender repression that used to define American society has changed for the better in the two generations since Womanhouse was demolished.

Or not.

Assignment

In this Discussion, you will select a Feminist artist who does work that you find powerful and interesting. You will then write a 500-750 word analysis of one of her works. If, during your exploration, you discover a different Feminist artist whose work you would rather write about, you may do so.

Step one:

Find an image of the work of art that you plan to write about and post it in the discussion.

In addition, you may also post a link to a video by or about the artist and their work.

Please do not select images of nudity that might be considered too graphic.

Step two:

  1. Briefly summarize the key ideas in the work of your selected artist. What is she saying through her work?
  2. How does the artist convey her content through her art? Consider her medium and approach.
  3. Did this art work make a difference to you, or to your way of thinking about feminist issues, beyond mere amusement or decoration? Why or why not?

Before you begin:

Please read the overview about the Feminist Art Movement located at this link:

Feminist Art Movement, Artists and Major Works/The Art Story (Links to an external site.)

Thoroughly read and explore the home page until you are familiar with the Feminist Art Movement. Links to pages about Key Artists in this movement are listed below.

Please note: The internet is filled with information, images, and videos by and about these artists. I encourage you to do additional research about the artist you select. Please cite your sources.

Key Artists:

Judy Chicago

Miriam Shapiro

Barbara Kruger

Jenny Holzer

Faith Ringgold

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