Art therapy has been used for years on patients who are dealing with trauma in all its forms, whether they are suffering from cancer, struggling to fit into a community that isolates women of a certain age or race, or rebuilding their lives following rape and domestic violence. A lot can be gained from this sort of psychological approach, as it allows patients to express themselves (which, in some cases, they have never done before). This therapy is not only a tool for coping, it's also a source of great and deeply personal art.
Aside from looking at artists who happen to be feminist, or happen to be women, I also want to look at how key events in history have led to the creation of art that inspires support of feminism. One example of this is Votes for Women and the suffragettes and suffragists who wanted to achieve gender equality for the electorate.
It's a complex debate, because not all men had the vote when women began campaigning to be included, and women of color were not included at all in most of these movements. Countries around the world were routinely governed using the political beliefs of rich men, which is clearly something we can relate to today with the Occupy protests fresh in our minds. The 1% not had all of the wealth but they also had the power to change how the country was run. Although we might feel that we have it bad in 2011, we really have made much progress compared to life before electoral democracy in the Western world. I want to highlight some of the key movers and shakers in suffrage activism.
This blog series isn't just about women who produce art—it's also about the women who support and promote it. Like most industries, gender inequality is rife in the art world, but I thought it only fair to find out who is representing us and if there looks to be a shift towards more female directors of galleries and museums.
The Harlem Renaissance was a major cultural movement in the 20th century by black artists from the Harlem neighborhood in New York. Although the precise dates of the Renaissance are vague, the artwork remains strong and powerful to this day. Here are some of the women artists of the era.
Not only is this guest blog about exploring who has made a contribution to feminist art, which movements embrace women and which galleries support it, but also how we all encountered (and continue to encounter) it. When did you first see an artwork that portrayed women in a positive light? What are your must-see images? How would you introduce the topic to someone who only thinks of the "great artists" as men? Let's talk.
Lady Gaga sang that she was as free as her hair, and she has been spotted in a dress that appears to have been made from her leftover wigs. It's certainly a talking point, especially in light of her song lyrics which associate freedom with the choice of how you wear your locks. She's not the first person to use hair as a form of artistic self-expression, as I've found four women who beat her to it. Let's take a look at our hairstory...
The cover art for Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch is world famous. I want to work out why it's so good, and how the original has led to so many great interpretations. Let's meet the legendary torso...
"There is no separation between me and what I photograph," said the artist Nan Goldin. This has never been truer than with the self-portrait that captures her injuries caused by an abusive boyfriend. Domestic violence is never an easy subject to talk about, but this image speaks volumes.
I know I've spent a lot of time on this blog looking at subtle forms of feminist art, but it's only fair to consider the more direct approaches, especially when they're as thought-provoking as Red Is The Colour. Be prepared to embrace menarchy, or menstrual anarchy...
Her artistic career may have been short—she was taking photos for only nine years of her life—but Francesca Woodman left behind over 800 images when she died in 1981. She commands enough attention, 30 years after her death, to merit a retrospective at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, which will move on to the Guggenheim in 2012. What is the lingering hold that she has over art lovers?