Womans Art Journal

FALL 2006 / WINTER 2007 VOLUME 27, NUMBER 2

On the Cover

Alice Neel, Portrait of Mary D. Garrard

Alice Neel
Mary D. Garrard (1977)
oil on canvas, 33 1/4" x 29 1/4".
Private collection.


HOME

ABOUT THE JOURNAL

CONTACT US

SUBSCRIBE

GUIDELINES

PREVIOUS ISSUE

PARALLEL PERSPECTIVES

By Joan Marter and Margaret Barlow

 

PORTRAITS, ISSUES, AND INSIGHTS

ALICE NEEL AND ME

By Mary D. Garrard

ALICE NEEL’S WOMEN FROM THE 1970S: BACKLASH TO FAST FORWARD

By Pamela Allara

ALICE NEEL AS AN ABSTRACT PAINTER

By Mira Schor

REVISITING WOMANHOUSE: WELCOME TO THE (DECONSTRUCTED) DOLLHOUSE

By Temma Balducci

NANCY SPERO’S MUSEUM INCURSIONS: ISIS ON THE THRESHOLD

By Deborah Frizzell

REVIEWS

Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History after Postmodernism

EDITED BY NORMA BROUDE AND MARY D. GARRARD

Reviewed by Ute L. Tellini

 

The Lost Tapestries of the City of Ladies: Christine De Pizan’s Renaissance Legacy

BY SUSAN GROAG BELL

Reviewed by Laura Rinaldi Dufresne

 

Intrepid Women: Victorian Artists Travel

EDITED BY JORDANA POMEROY

Reviewed by Alicia Craig Faxon

 

Eve’s Daughter/Modern Woman: A Mural by Mary Cassatt

BY SALLY WEBSTER

Reviewed by Caroline I. Harris

 

Off the Pedestal: New Women in the Art of Homer, Chase, and Sargent

EDITED BY HOLLY PYNE CONNOR

Reviewed by Donna Gustafson

 

Framing Women

EDITED BY SANDRA CARROLL, BIRGIT PRETZSCH AND PETER WAGNER

Reviewed by Melissa Percival

 

Georgia O’Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonné

BY BARBARA BUHLER LYNES

Reviewed by Sascha Scott

 

Women Potters, Transforming Traditions

BY MOIRA VINCENTELLI

Rustic Cubism, Anne Dangar and the Art Colony at Moly-Sabata

BY BRUCE ADAMS

Magdalene Odundo

EDITED BY ANTHONY SLAYTER-RALPH

Reviewed by Pamela H. Simpson

 

Wild Girls—Paris, Sappho & Art: The Lives & Loves of Natalie Barney & Romaine Brooks

BY DIANA SOUHAMI

Reviewed by Cassandra Langer

 

My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator

BY KATHARINE KUH

Reviewed by Karen Bearor

 

Tina Modotti & Edward Weston: The Mexico Years

BY SARAH M. LOWE

Tina Modotti

BY MARGARET HOOKS

Reviewed by Robin Rice

 

Between Union and Liberation: Women Artists in South Africa 1910-1994

EDITED BY MARION ARNOLD AND BRENDA SCHMAHMANN

Reviewed by Elizabeth Rankin

 

Dialogues: Women Artists From Ireland

BY KATY DEEPWELL

Reviewed by Patricia Briggs


Parallel Perspectives


While planning this Fall/Winter issue, we were aware that this is a special moment for commemorating the history of the feminist art movement. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the groundbreaking exhibition “Women Artists 1550-1950,” co-curated by Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin. Also Douglass College at Rutgers University is celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of its Women Artists Series, which created early solo exhibition opportunities for women artists. Next March, The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which will house a permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, opens at the Brooklyn Museum with “Global Feminisms,” an international exhibition of contemporary women artists. Among other museum offerings across the country will be the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles’s “Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution.” With this issue, we intend to contribute to this celebration of feminist art.

Mary Garrard is one of the outstanding scholars who helped bring feminist methodologies to art history. In addition to her groundbreaking books on Renaissance and Baroque topics, she and Norma Broude have assembled several anthologies of feminist scholarship, the latest of which, Reclaiming Female Agency, “focuses on women who have exercised agency as artists, patrons, viewers, and tastemakers,” writes reviewer Ute Tellini. In a more unusual role––as a portrait subject––Garrard graces our cover, as an accompaniment to her fascinating account of having Alice Neel paint her portrait. Acluster of articles on Neel also features essays by Pamela Allara, who argues that “Neel was more radical in questioning … ‘what is a woman’ than many feminists in the early 1970s,” and Mira Schor, who documents her belief that Neel “is a great abstract painter!” The articles are based on presentations last year for a Neel symposium at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Neel “lived by her feminism,” writes Garrard, “by her insistent nose-thumbing of convention and her outlandish defiance of rules for women.”

In the beginning, there was Womanhouse, and Temma Balducci describes ways in which this revolutionary 1972 California project “helped lay the groundwork for the exploration of gender construction through parody and exaggeration that continues to be important for feminist art.” Change was in the air on the East Coast as well, thanks to artist-activists like Nancy Spero, and according to Deborah Frizzell, the archetypal images in Spero’s 2003 Hymn to Isis project continue themes that the artist originated in the early 1970s. She describes how Spero “mined the full range of power relations as depicted in centuries of patriarchal representations of women set against a foreground of transformed, ancient matriarchal symbols.”

Many names reappear throughout this issue chronicling the numerous interconnections among feminist artists and scholars. Mentioned often is the prolific and influential art historian Arlene Raven, whose death at age 62 in early August saddened several generations of feminists who relied on her incisive critical writings and passionate support for the causes of women artists.

Our large crop of reviews reflects the wide range of recent publications that confirm feminist thinking is no recent invention. Six hundred years ago, Christine de Pizan was celebrating the accomplishments of women in her City of Ladies, and reviewer Laura Dufresne Rinaldi calls Susan Groag Bell’s account of her search for remnants of the tapestries based on that 1405 book “as exciting as a good mystery novel.”

Jordana Pomeroy’s Intrepid Women: Victorian Women Travel describes how nineteenth-century women writers and artists “overturned stereotypes of timidity, domesticity and limited opportunities for their sex,” writes reviewer Alicia Craig Faxon. These adventurers exemplified the spirit of the New Woman, whose image as recorded by leading male artists is the subject of an exhibition and catalogue prepared by Holly Pyne Connor and reviewed here by Donna Gustafson. Reviewer Caroline Harris observes that Sally Webster, in her book on Mary Cassatt’s Modern Woman mural for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, points out how the artist—not known for her feminist views—apparently comments on women’s education by subverting the traditional story of Eve’s temptation to portray the generous sharing of knowledge among women. The shifting ways in which women are defined, or “framed,” in particular during two radically different periods—the Enlightenment and Postmodernist—are discussed by Melissa Perival in her review of Framing Women, a collection of essays.

The recent Georgia O’Keeffe catalogue raisonné, prepared by Barbara Buhler Lynes, is notable for maintaining its focus on the art, rather than the life, of this American legend, writes reviewer Sascha Scott. In looking back on her own interesting life in My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator, Katharine Kuh “enlists the reader as a watercooler confidant” as she details her experiences with famous artists and “breathes life into our mental images of them,” writes reviewer Karen Bearor. Diana Souhami’s account of the decidedly “Wild Girls” on the other side of the Atlantic that gathered in Paris around Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks during the interwar years is reviewed by Cassandra Langer.

Pamela Simpson looks at three books on women pottery makers that could not be more diverse: Moira Vincentelli’s world tour of women potters; Bruce Adams’s monumental study of Cubist ceramic artist Anne Dangar; and Anthony Slayter-Ralph’s monograph featuring the sensational contemporary work of Magdalene Odundo. The brief but brilliant career of the photographer Tina Modotti is illuminated in two volumes reviewed by Robin Rice.

Two surveys round out the reviews. Elizabeth Rankin discusses Between Union and Liberation: Women in South Africa 1910-1994, a collection of essays edited by Marion Arnold and Brenda Schmahmann from a postmodern, postapartheid perspective. Finally, Patricia Briggs reviews Dialogues: Women Artists from Ireland, in which Katy Deepwell records and illustrates her in-depth interviews with sixteen artists whose progressive work in the 1990s broke with the traditional “romantic stereotypes of Irishness.”

We have been encouraged by your reception of the “new” Woman’s Art Journal, and we extend our thanks to our authors, reviewers and subscribers for your continued support.

Joan Marter and Margaret Barlow



About Woman's Art Journal

Published semiannually—May and November—since 1980, Woman's Art Journal continues to represent the interests of women and art worldwide. Our articles and reviews cover all areas of women in the visual arts, from antiquity to the present day. Each issue presents current research on a variety of topics, featuring "portraits" of women artists, "issues and insights," and discerning reviews of recent books and exhibition catalogues. Each article is well researched and clearly written. Our authors are international scholars in their fields. A typical 60-page issue contains 20-25 color plates and 25-35 black-and-white illustrations.

WAJ is indexed on all major art indexes and bibliographies, and is used as a supplementary text in many university courses on women and art. The journal is found in university and major libraries worldwide and in selected museum bookshops, including the Metropolitan (New York), Philadelphia, and Nelson-Atkins (Kansas City), and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.). The full text is also available in the electronic versions of the Art Index and through JSTOR’s Arts & Sciences III Collection.

To request Advertising Rates, contact WAJ by email.

Contact

waj@womansartjournal.org

WAJ is available by subscription.