This documentary enhanced the influence of feminism throughout the contemporary art era. With this, I specifically thought that the idea of women having to be categorised as “bad girls” or “good girls” was extremely interesting.
Initially throughout the documentary there was a negative connotation with women having to be “bad.” This was set out for a man’s pleasure and because of that women wanted to display that they did not have to be that. Therefore, they were misrepresented in art and felt the need to standout as independent, strong women. This is when they began creating art out of completely feminine items in exaggerated terms. For instance, the vaginal blood prints on canvas and the woman who put ink in her hair and dragged it across the canvas. Thereby, they were ultimately showing that long hair is a feminine feature as well as the vagina. As the movie progressed and reached its end, there was a huge emphasis on erotic dancing. This exact type of dancing brings forth the contemporary idea that women do not have to use their “usual” aspects of femininity in order to feel powerful. Instead, they were able to portray that through body movement and them themselves feeling good instead of making a man feel good.
Overall, this documentary opened my eyes to the different ways and ideas women try to display their strength through art.
The feminist art movement in the twentieth century opened doors, not only for female artists, but for women across the world. The fight for liberation, equality and freedom is clear from both the Broude and Garrad reading as well as the documentary, Reclaiming the Female Body: Feminist Art in America, which allowed female artists to combat the stigma of what was considered ‘fine art’, and the belief that only men could be great artists and deserved the most praise and recognition. The documentary shed light on the beginnings of the feminist art movement, a movement that I, surprisingly, don’t know that much about, considering growing up after the movement began and being very aware of feminism in general.
The documentary showed the utter pride and determination the artists behind the movement had, and their passion to continue fighting for what they believed in was inspiring as a female artist. What I find the most interesting about the feminist art movement in America, is the shock factor used in many of their works, which adds to the depth of their argument. For example, one artist shown in the documentary used her own used tampons to create beautiful, vibrant prints, while brash in its concept, forces the viewer to be confronted with the reality of what men see as a weakness, bleeding, yet also represents the strength in women and the sheer beauty of something men consider so ‘wrong’.
Not only did the documentary inspire me to push the feminism in my own work but it also left me with a sense of pride in being a woman. I also thought that the idea of maintaining the fight for equality and feminist art, brought on by many of the artists in the documentary, and the need to continue shedding light on feminist art as generations come and go, is incredibly important if not necessary.
The movie Reclaiming the Female Body: Feminist Art In America captured the excitement and innovation of the Feminist Art movement in a way that slides and texts books could never do. I have always had an interest in the Feminist Art movement (and really Feminism in general) and a lot of my personal work draws on the feminist agenda, so I found this movie both interesting and inspiring.
I think that Reclaiming the Female Body: Feminist Art In America showed an interesting element of the feminist perspective regarding the power, the privilege, of voice. By this I mean the women of the Feminist art movement were not only reclaiming the female body, but they were claiming for the first time their own power of opinion. Maybe their opinions were alternative, unwelcome, unconventional, and difficult for a sexist society to receive, but they were voiced opinions none the less. One artist said, “If we don’t hold ourselves up and give us that sort of grandeur and frame ourselves like that, nobody else is going to do it for us.” It seems to me that the Feminist art movement was a time where women began to collectively realize that though their voices may not have been as loud as those of men, but they still had voices. It seems that all of this is about women recognizing and accepting their own value and breaking out of the system where men came first, and finally sayings I matter, my perspective matters, my voice matters. Featured french artist of the feminist movement in the movie said, “I’m going to be interested in myself as little as I am.” This phrase perfectly captures the realization of the movement that despite their lack of societally instilled power, a voice and opinion no matter how ‘small’ is valuable and needs to be heard.
Rachel Lachowitz’s sculpture titled Sarah, a highlighted piece in this film, connects to our previous studies as it is a mockery of Richard Serra’s House of Cards. Lachowitz imitated Serra’s sculpture but instead of using slabs of steel, she used slabs of lipstick. Like Serra’s work, the slabs were all meticulously and precariously balanced together. Elements that are interesting to note include the nature of the medium. Lipstick is fragile in comparison to steel, highlighting the stereotypical differences between men and women in society at the time. Lachowitz commented on her work saying, “if it fell over it would more damage itself than anyone else,” and though this comment was meant in the literal sense, it also reflects the fragility, not of women as a group, but of women’s reputations: how high the standards are for a woman to be perfect and how easily damaged that is, only by oneself.
Overall, I found this movie to be inspiring, especially in our current political state where it can feel like we are taking steps backwards at times. The excitement of all the women artists gathered around the meeting table definitely evoked a sense of pride within me.
The feminist art movement is not really one I’ve ever studied. In 102, you hear about Judy Chicago, her Dinner Party table settings, and the Woman House. It’s never been much more than those two works and a single artist for me. Just reading over the Broude and Garrard introduction, I’m finding out about a lot more of female artists I haven’t heard about before. Going into this, I also expected all the women mentioned to be huge advocates for feminist art. Many seemed very hesitating about the movement actually. In the 1950s through the 60s, it seemed like many of the women just wanted to be accepted as artists more than anything else. Before then, they had simply been known as wives, helpers, or inspiration for male artists.
Because they were women, gender became a huge topic of discussion about their art. Questions that had never been asked before were aimed at these women because, or it seems to me, they were women. Eva Hesse is a great example the introduction gives, when she was asked if her works were gender based at any point. That wasn’t a question to men before. I find it curious of how women were treated differently even in the art world.
In her show Earth Potential, Katja Novitskova pairs together the micros and macros of science. They aren’t quite photographs. The images she used were taken from scientific articles, since she wouldn’t be able to get a good picture of Earth from orbit. These images are between six to eight feet in diameter, blowing up the micro-organisms and shrinking the celestial bodies. By doing this, Novitskova brought these images to a level where we can understand them more, since we can’t see many of these with our naked eyes.
These images work together to show how life can be viewed. Seeing a hydra, a regenerative creature thought to be the key of immortality, placed on top of Venus, the fiery planet lacking life, shows how the idea of life has changed and how we could one day be living on different planets. Earth Potential goes beyond what we know as life here on Earth, taking it to different planets and different ways of creating life, like genetic engineering as mentioned in the article.
“The process is a performance, a back and forth between creation and destruction”
As an artist, I have never considered paper, the medium on which I usually paint on, as the ‘art’. However Hong Hong’s process of intricately layering fibers, of various textures and colours and hand weaving the material into paper, is a stunning representation of art. Her work explores more than just a fixed landscape but instead, an understanding of change in colours and light as well as of the feelings and mood behind a certain setting. She also takes inspiration from “things that might shape a person’s experiences of the land” Hong combines Tibetan and Japanese traditional forms of paper making, however she does so in a contemporary style, in terms of process and scale. Her ‘mobile paper studio’ gives her the freedom to travel and create, taking inspiration from different places, landscapes and cultures. I find her creation vs. destruction process fascinating because I mainly think of art as something created, rarely something that has been destructed. Hong also strays from the traditional use of paper in paper making and incorporates organic materials like leaves and branches (Void, 2016) and even plastic in her next project of yearlong site specific installations, Everlasting Ephemera.
In an article taken from theartnewspaper.com, the author, Gareth Harris, discusses a new exhibition which will bring contemporary works from the Modern Museum of Modern Art in New York City to Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France. With this, Suzanne Pagé, the artistic director of the Foundation Louis Vuitton plans on taking charge of this exhibition and states that she is attempting to use New York City’s influence to add to contemporary Paris and build a bridge between the two cultures. In work with MOMA, the museum is lending the exhibition 200 different works from their current collections and taken from six different key departments of the MOMA. The exhibition is going to include works earliest from the 1930’s and end with works from today’s art world. It is going to include some of the most prominent artists such as Cézanne, Duchamp and Warhol.
This idea of bringing art to Paris that has already been exposed to the New York City area is extremely fascinating to me. I think it is great to share art across countries and to expose different regions to different cultures and movements. At the end of Harris’ article, he explains how France has yet to be exposed to the well-renowned Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans. This is therefore going to bring immediate attention to the exhibition because Pagé is bringing famous works to an area that has never seen them before.
This week Maya Lin, renowned contemporary installation artist, opened a new exhibit at the Pace Gallery titled Ebb and Flow. This exhibit explores the beauty and power of water, an element Maya Lin has shown a fascination with throughout her career. I thought this article was appropriate based on our readings regarding Earth art and contemporary works and, as noted in the interview, because of the current state of record rainfall and hurricane devastation.
The exhibit is an 11 piece project, including both installations and sculptures. Lin uses recycled silver, glass, marbles, steel pins, and marble. The exhibit explores the different elemental phases of water and natural properties. She transforms scientific data findings into visual art.
In the interview, Maya Lin touches on a few main points. Firstly, that this exhibit demonstrates that nature, that water, will continue to change and move with or without human interference. Simultaneously, the focus on the natural, ‘slow time’ magnifies the drastic effect humans have had on the environment. Lin is attracted to ambivalence, the possibility of showing both the stability of natural movement and the instability of climate change. Additionally, Lin strives to remove the drama and fanfare to focus on the bare scientific facts, which to her speak the greatest volumes.
I think this exhibit is interesting because of Lin’s understated way of expressing concrete facts, the scientific findings about terrain or environmental changes, in a relatively small space. I agree that her almost mellow, subtle renditions of water and ice have an intriguing, melancholic property that tosses aside the grandeur and drama of floods and glacial melt, and focuses on bare change itself.
Link to the exhibit:
Link to the interview:
In his Paragraph’s on Conceptual Art Sol Lewitt explains, in his own view, the definition of conceptual art; he outlines the guidelines in form, purpose, and artistic language that he sees as necessary to the product. Lewis explains conceptual art as art where the idea of concept is the most important aspect in the product. The artist must formulate their conceptual idea before creating the physical art. All planning and decisions regarding communication of the idea are made before hand as to free the work from capricious subjectivity or divergence from intention. Ideally, Lewitt describes, conceptual art is not an exploration in psychology or philosophy or emotion, but rather a singular communication of a concept.
I found it interesting that Lewitt said, “it doesn’t really matter if the viewer understands the concepts of the artist by seeing the art” because it seems to contract the entire point of conceptual art. If the point of conceptual art is to convey one point, wouldn’t it be important for the viewers to be able to understand that? This slight contradiction was interesting especially because he emphasized that successful conceptual art should be extremely simple, which made it seem like it would make conceptual art geared towards direction communication of attention and accessibility to viewers.
I think it is important to note that Sol Lewitt did say at the end of the paragraphs that “these ideas are the result of my work as an artist and are subject to change as my experience changes.” This acknowledges the subjectivity and fluidity of art and also shows Lewitt’s awareness of the limitations on his views.
After reading Fineberg’s article about Minimal art and the various artists that contributed to this movement, I found a few aspects of Frank Stella’s work and description of his work extremely intriguing. Something that especially stood out to me was when Stella asked Carl Andre to write his artist’s statement. As stated, “Art excludes the unnecessary. Frank Stella has found it necessary to paint stripes.” With this said, I find Andre’s comment interesting because I have never thought of art in this way. Obviously, one only includes the things they want and even though Stella produces very simple and geometic/linear shapes in his works, it is only what he wanted to include and therefore the viewer should view it that way as well. This concept I feel is more meaningful than concepts in for example Andy Warhol’s art which was discussed in class. In addition to this, Andre states “…Stella’s painting is not symbolic,” meaning that even though the stripes were placed on the flag for a purpose, they are extremely neutral and that in itself tells the viewer a lot about Stella as an artist. Compared to the various other artists mentioned in the article, I specifically liked Stella because of the idea of that “only what can be seen there is there” and thus, forced me to view the flag only as a flag due to this lack of expression but still displaying a meaningful purpose.