THE POWER OF FEMINIST ART

THE AMERICAN MOVEMENT OF THE 1970S, HISTORY AND IMPACT

Dead white male George Santayana finds himself quoted more than once in this comprehensive record of feminist art and politics since the '70s. Painfully aware that feminism as an idea has arisen periodically since the Middle Ages but has until now never managed to last for more than a generation, the authors hope that, armed with a knowledge of feminist ``herstory,'' future artists will expand on rather than repeat the work of their predecessors. Representing a wide spectrum of feminist artists and thinkers, the 18 contributors to this impressive historical reference book include prominent women such as art historians Linda Nochlin and Arlene Raven and painter Miriam Schapiro. The book, edited by Broude and Garrard (both Art History/American Univ.), covers both art and politics, discussing such internationally famous projects as the CalArts student installation Womanhouse, as well as the contemporary activist groups WAC (the Women's Action Coalition) and the Guerrilla Girls. The authors analyze art ranging from Judy Chicago's ``central core'' imagery to lesbian performance pieces, ``great goddess'' imagery, and the pattern and decoration movement. (Le Corbusier once stated, ``There is a hierarchy in the arts: decorative art at the bottom, human form at the top. Because we are men.'') While the work represented here varies greatly in content and quality, all of it stems from what the artists often describe as ``coming to consciousness'' about their oppressed condition. For some artists this seems to have been a powerful, almost ``born again'' experience; for others it was a gradual reorientation of perspective. As this book makes clear, the collective impact of feminist thought on contemporary society has also been significant- -in the early '70s, young art historians studying past women artists discovered that slides of their work did not even exist. However, discrimination still exists: As the Guerrilla Girls' posters reproduced here show, despite a roughly equal gender mix in art schools over the past 20 years, most major galleries still show mostly men. Essential reading for any woman in the arts. (245 illustrations, 118 in color)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8109-3732-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1994

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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