I'm sure you're all very familiar with Beatrix Potter and her famous
rabbit creation, Peter. I grew up with the books myself, but never
really appreciated the illustrations fully until I saw many of the
original works at the Smithsonian in a travelling exhibit. The detail
and warmth is unbelievable. The pieces are so small, but you stare and
stare at each little flower and 'paw', marveling at the textures,
gestures and color. Or at least I did. (More after the jump)
With her small, engaging eyes and enchanting disposition, Hello Kitty has cemented herself as a timeless merchandising icon. Her round face brandishes pencils, backpacks, socks, shoes, toasters, bicycles, computers, and everything else under the moon. You maybe very good friends with Hello Kitty, or you may curse the cute sidewalk she skips along.
Familiar as you are with Hello Kitty, have you ever met her mother? Would you know Hello Kitty's queen illustrator if she walked down the street? Would you recognize her illustrations? In fact, do you even know who made Hello Kitty? Well, allow me to introduce you to queen momma of cute Ms. Yuko Shimizu.
It is a ritual of mine to flip through channels on a typical Saturday morning before I go off to work. While my adventures are less frequent these days than when I was eight years old, my curiosity is piqued as it still was. However, in my habits, I've encountered a frightening discovery that has sent a gross feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Great Scotts!" I announce, mouth gaping like a frog. "Where in the lord are all girl-lead toons?"
Read more about gender politics in cartoons after the jump!
While I love art of all kinds, and especially feminist art of all kinds, I can't actually claim to know all that much about the art world. Sure, I like museums and stuff (and the very fact I am using the phrase "museums and stuff" is probably an indicator of my dearth of knowledge on this topic) but when it came time for me to write this post I felt a little out of my league. If you are like me and find yourself a bit of a novice when it comes to feminist art, fear not. The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art has a website that is here to help.
As mentioned in this past Popaganda, I visited the Portland Art Museum this past weekend and completely fell in love with the detailed and often quirky work of Beth Van Hoesen. From red afros to tattooed men to skunks named Fleur, Van Hoesen's work is as whimsically unique as it is grounded in reality.
Over 80 years ago, the first feature-length animated movie was produced, not by a bunch of dudes and their rodent-obsessed leader, but by a German woman named Lotte Reiniger. Reiniger created her own style of animation, called sihouette animation, by taking what she loved about shadow puppet theatre—namely the cut-out puppets and backgrounds—and with her husband as cameraman, adapted them to the screen. Acting as director, animator, paper cutter, writer, and one-woman art department, Reiniger worked on over 70 films.
When I first saw Bethany Hays's work at a student show, it was the work that stood engraved in my mind out of many talented students work. Maybe it was because of the innocent, playfulness that I could relate to as a mom who spends her fair share of time with kids books, or maybe it was the form of the painting–rich colors, light patterns and shapes that teased me. In any case I was hooked.
A commentary on the way women and girls experience violence worldwide, Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women, and Art is an exhibit of work by thirty contemporary artists currently on display at Art Works for Change in Oslo, Norway.
Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Brown at Birdland, photo by Marcel Fleiss
So, the good news, as I see it anyway, according to a recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA),
is that a third of Americans reported making art themselves. We're
making it in the form of music, photography, weaving, sewing, painting,
etc. Hooray! The bad news is that Americans are attending fewer
art-related events put on by professionals, like musical concerts,
plays and dance performances. Audiences are getting older and fewer
(for example at classical and jazz music events).