Sunday, March 25, 2012

!WAR: Women Art Revolution

I was just re-reading my post from Feb 14, 2010 about how women artists depict women.  And I just finished watching a movie on Netflix called !WAR, Women Art Revolution.  Here's the official Netflix blurb about it: 

2010,NR,82 minutes
Renowned artist Lynn Hershman-Leeson spent 40 years gathering interviews and news footage for this stunning documentary profiling the feminist art movement, which seeks to empower female artists and improve their access to male-dominated art spaces.
Judy Chicago, Guerrilla Girls, Martha Wilson, Miranda July
Lynn Hershman-Leeson
Documentaries, Historical Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries

As it says, it's a 40 year history of women making art and trying to make it in the white male-dominated world.  It is a fascinating history, and it is still continuing today.  It made me wonder if this attitude is affecting my ability to show and sell my own artwork.  I don't think it's as difficult now as it was in the 1970's and 1980's when these women began their work, but I wonder now if it is an issue for me which I don't even realize.

I know people express to me that they feel shy about having a nude in their house - what will people think if they find they have a painting of a naked person in their living room - or bedroom - or bathroom?  I never quite know what to say about that - after all, I have lots of them and don't have problems with it, even when I had students coming to the house regularly.  I find people are less freaked out than potential customers seem to think they will be.  I know my work is intense, and some people have difficulty with intensity - so be it.  I just figure it'll give them the opportunity to be with their feelings and to take a look at their judgments!

I enjoyed watching the movie and seeing the art those women were creating.  It isn't in the textbooks, and much of it isn't in the museums.  Judy Chicago co-authored a book called Women and Art: Contested Territory.  Even that book, though, isn't all about women creating art - it's primarily about how women are depicted in art - quite a different matter.  So this documentary showed me a lot of work I hadn't been exposed to before.

If you're wanting to know more about the history of women's artwork, this movie is a good place to get at least one part of that history.  Thanks, Lynn Hershman-Leeson!

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