Lecture Notes – Why No Great Female Artists?

My notes from a lecture at IVAM on the topic of female artists.

– “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” a 1971 text by Linda Nochlin, published in ArtNews. Key text questioning traditional narrative of history of art.

– ‘A Room of One’s Own’ by Virgina Woolf. Asked a similar question about why there haven’t been more female writers.  Based on lecture she gave in 1928.

‘Tu tambien puedes caminar’ by Cristina Lucas.  ‘You too can walk’ (2006), a video based on critic quoted in Woolf, that a women writing is like a dog walking on it’s hind legs.

– Horrific sexist quotes still made by artists today such as Georg Baselitz, saying in 2013 and 2015 woman just can’t paint 

– and Thomas Schütte – women can’t sculpt (need to find reference). But his work also questions how female form presented.

– classic paintings often referenced:

Venus de Urbino by Titian in 1538

Venus with Mirror by Velazquez in 1649-51 – also known as the Rokeby Venus. Famously attacked by the suffragette Mary Raleigh Richardson following the death of Emily Pankhurst.

La Gran Odalisca – by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 18 14

Odalisque with Slave by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1839

Olympia by Edouard Manet in 1863

– Dance, particularly ballet, another space where women’s bodies traditionally had to be light, not take up space on floor, contorted into an ‘ideal form’ on pointe shoes etc.

– Loie Fuller, a dancer performing in the 1890s with a radically different aesthetic. Beautiful shapes, like a moving Georgia O’Keefe painting! Incredible, eg. her  Serpentine Dance , as performed by Annabelle Whitford.

– Eleanor Antin – another artist challenging traditional aesthetics of dance. Working in the 1970s.

– On the act of stripping. As a violent act – Yoko Ono, Cut Piece 1965. Many layers – La Ribot – Distinguished Pieces.

– Various female artists have revisted male artists work and reinterpreted them/responded to them, including:

Through the Large Glass – by Hannah Wilke, 1976  , striptease performed within Duchamp’s 1915-1923 piece: ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even’

The Lovers – by Elena del Rivero in 1963  and, ‘Eve’s Game – by Sanja Ivekovic, 2009  both responding to images of Marcel Duchamp playing chess with naked women.

The Turkish Bath by Sylvia Sleigh in 1973 in response to the work of the same name by Ingres in 1862

Guerilla Girls famous poster. Do you have to be naked to get into The Met? In 1985 only 5% of works by women. In 2004 it had got worse, only 3% by female artists.

Desnudo en El Prado by Cristina Lucas in 2011. And various other performances highlighting history of nudes in art

– The art studio, life-drawing classes, etc as a realm that women were excluded from. Not deemed proper for women to see the naked body. Denied the education given to men.

– Many works by women were actually attributed to men. eg Constance Charpentier’s work, attributed to her teacher.  Marietta Robusti’s work attributed to her father Tintoretto

Other artists and works mentioned during the lecture

Suzy Lake – makeup. Esther Ferrer – Intimo y Personal, 1977. Ana Mendieta. Martha Rosler – Hot House or Harem, 1972. Alicia Framis. Linda Noclin – Buy My Bananas, 1972. Alice Neel – Pregnant Maria, 1964. Mary Kelly – Antepartum, 1973. Mary Moser 1700s. Angelika Kaufmann – Earl of Gower’s Family. Thomas Eakin 1885 – life class for women. Alice Barber Stephenson. Mary Beth Edelson – SOme Living American Women Artists Last Supper, 1972 and Death of the Patriarchy, 1976. Eva Lootz. Carlos Pazoz – from a male perspective. Cabello & Carceller – Rebel Without A Cause Casting, 2004. Betty Saar – Liberation of Aunt Jemima. Shigeko Kubota – Vagina Painting, 1965. Monica Sjoo. Lynda Benglis – Latex painting. Joan Semmel – Initimacy Autonomy 1974. Tee Corinne – Colouring Book. Nikki de Saint Phalle.