Art and Feminism

The rich diversity of art informed by feminism since the 1960s.

Edited by Helena Reckitt, with a survey by Peggy Phelan


Price: USD$45.00

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About the book
From the 1960s to the millennium, Art and Feminism traces the changing art practices, art historical debates, manifestos, challenges, rediscoveries and reawakenings that characterize the dynamic, continuing dialogue between feminism and contemporary art. Feminism has had a crucial impact on late twentieth-century art, inspiring some of the most pioneering developments in sculpture, painting, performance, photography, film and installation. The art world has been transformed by feminists who at the same time have been among its chief critics. It has redefined the very terms of late twentieth-century art, exposing assumptions about gender, politicizing the link between private and public and stressing the specificity of art marked by gender, race, age and class.

Selected by editor and researcher Helena Reckitt, this collection presents the rich diversity of art informed and shaped by feminism for decades. More than just a comprehensive history, the book juxtaposes works by many artists who are not usually shown or discussed together, revealing new connections between key figures.

Survey Peggy Phelan re-examines the established histories of women's art, opening up new perspectives on the shifting relationship between ideas and ideals of feminism and practices of art.

Works provides an extensive colour plate section with extended captions for every artwork. The diverse range of artists featured includes Sophie Calle, Marlene Dumas, Tracey Emin, Nan Goldin, Rebecca Horn, Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono and Gillian Wearing and many others.

'Too Much' explores the significant role played by women artists in the development of new forms of art during the 1960s, such as Happenings, Fluxus and performance art.
'Personalizing the Political' witnesses the birth of a recognized feminist art movement in the early 1970s, women-only exhibitions and activism.
'Differences' shows the influence of psychoanalytical concepts of sexual difference on feminist artists in the late 1970s.
'Identity Crises' looks at the effect of success and critical debate, of the intersection with racial and post-colonial identities, on feminist art, and its positioning as 'transgressive' during the culture wars of the late 1980s.
'Corporeality' tracks the 1990s' return to the body, to the object and away from theory.
'Femmes de Siècle' is a snapshot of turn-of-the-millennium practice, including investigations of banal situations, liminal spaces; pushing the limits of gender identification in transition; and overall a sense of reflection, re-opening questions of history and the memorial.

Documents includes the key texts of each period. Accessible and comprehensive, it ranges across the whole spectrum of art practice and theory, from the polemics of Germaine Greer and Valerie Solanas to definitions of new artforms by Lucy R Lippard, to Laura Mulvey's influential film theory, to Craig Owens' postmodern criticism, as well as rare original artists' statements and reviews.

In The Press
'Beautifully designed, it is the first fully illustrated, comprehensive survey of key feminist works and texts.' (The Art Newspaper)

'A handsome, meaty book which provides an excellent overview of the influence of feminist theory and politics on four decades of women artists. … wide-ranging, well researched … a significant resource … the curators of the book make startling and informative connections … the sheer heft of lavishly produced images will be indispensable to scholars, critics and artists.' (Art Monthly)

'Immensely important … a valuable resource for students and all others interested in the topic.' (Contemporary)

'Excellent … a superb résumé.' (Time Out)

'Long overdue … an indispensable read for everyone.' (i-D)

'Highlights the richness, complexity and importance of the feminist movement in generating art of every conceivable form and medium.' (The Art Newspaper)

About the author(s)

Helena Reckitt is an independent writer and arts organizer with a long-standing critical research interest in feminist art and theory. A former commissioning editor at Routledge, and head of talks at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Reckitt was Curator at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Georgia 2002–2005. She was co-editor, with Joel Oppenheimer, of Acting on AIDS: Sex, Drugs, and Politics (1998) and curated the exhibition 'Found Wanting' (Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 2000).

Peggy Phelan, a leading feminist theorist of contemporary art and performance, has written extensively on contemporary visual arts and performance from feminist pscyhoanalytic perspectives. Phelan taught in the Department of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University from 1985 to 2002 and is currently the Ann O'Day Maples Chair in the Arts and Professor of Drama and English at Stanford University. She is the auhtor of Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (1993), Mourning Sex (1997) and co-editor of The Ends of Performance (1998). From 1997-99 Phelan was the recipient of a project fellowship from the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundataion's Project on Death in America.

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