1.30.2007

Guerilla Girls, Take a Bow!



So this is where my inner art history geek comes out. An article has just been published in the New York Times by leading critic Holland Cotter on the subject of feminist art, which has finally, it seems, begun to infiltrate the big museums that have resisted women artists for so long.

Cotter writes that "such long-withheld recognition has been awaited with a mixture of resignation and impatient resentment. Everyone knows that our big museums are our most conservative cultural institutions. And feminism, routinely mocked by the public media for 35 years as indissolubly linked with radicalism and bad art, has been a hard sell."

As psyched as I am that women artists are becoming increasingly prominent in the art world, it becomes more and more apparent to me that putting together exhibitions, however well-intended, of solely women artists (such as Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris's watershed 1976 exhibition, Women Artists, 1550 to 1950 at LACMA) serves only to pushed them further into their own niche. You see this with outsider art as well. It becomes regarded as separate from the mainstream...still marked by Otherness. Is that really what Nochlin and Harris wanted?

Not that the mainstream is always right. I much appreciated Cotter's comment that one issue that was barely addressed "was the reality that the canonization of feminist art by museums would probably suppress everything that had made the art radical."

We have a long ways to go towards reforming the canon, but it's clear that something has to be done.

Still, this is definitely a big step forward and I commend Holland Cotter for his great article.

By the way, if you're curious about the Guerilla Girls who are/were one rocking set of ladies, check out their Wikipedia in the previous link and their website.

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