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There has been involvement of both male and female in the field of art since ancient times to date. The question of women equality has been of interest not only to women but also men and popular culture. Feminism comprises of various ideologies surrounding the political and social framework, of which focuses on creating a well off economy and appreciating the role of women in the society as a common goal. Its major agenda is to establish an environment that favors personal equality of sexes both economically and socially. To examine the impact of feminist in art, is more or less than reviewing the long-forbidden art world of women. For those, outside this world, mostly women, art was considered to be a male dominant sector. In particular, women who produced artwork were found to portray their interest as opposed to their male counterparts that created artwork considered to be a view of the global world.
Impact of Feminism on Art
There were a number of women who devoted a lot in the art industry but were being undermined by the notion that only men can play a crucial role in the creative business and thus were excluded from the art history. 1970s marked the turning point for women identity in art, given that the women from Western culture felt that they can also make it or contribute more in the field of art just like their male counterparts. The all came together and rise against the discrimination that looked down upon women despite their effort, hence, they had to revise the cultural connotation and bring about a positive change in the art production. It was during this period that a group of enthusiastic women artists came together and formed the Feminist Art Movement. Feminist Art Movement refers to the undying efforts and accomplishments of feminist internationally to produce art that could significantly and boldly reflect the true women life. Additionally, the campaign portrayed women experiences, and as well as to change the core foundation for the reception of contemporary art. Thus, the movement aimed to demystify how people`s mind had been trained to see art and to suggest how they can refresh their lenses as they approach art in whatever physical context they see it whether in a museum or in a gallery.
The movement also aimed to bring more visibility to women with artistic capabilities and art practices in correspondence with general development in feminism during the 1970s.With the inception of the movement in the 1970s, its enthusiast members made it capable of flourishing throughout the period as an outgrowth of second-wave feminism.
It is on record that the Feminism Art Movement, was a well efficient and the most influential movement during the post-war period. During this period of the 1970s, was accompanied by an extensive period of civil rights, gay, lesbian movements and protest against the war.
It was during this period that women also took the advantage and fought for equal rights in the establishment of the art world. Therefore, women wanted to create feminist art often in a non-traditional way to help in changing the world to be a better place.
Some of the essential art feminists such as the iconic Judy Chicago had a significant impact on art during the 1970s. Chicago was born in 1939, the times when male identity had dominated in the creative business and no one woman was allowed to pursue any career related to art. Although she had great passion in art, she never secured a chance to attend any institution that offered art skills nor neither did she had a female artist as a role model. The gap between male and female in the art sector is what pushed Chicago as an art lecturer among other Western women to lay a foundation that encourages female students to engage in art culture studies. She led the protest by identifying women who did impressive works in the field of art and addressed why they were excluded from the history of art, such prominent women included Frida Kahlo, Camille Claudel, Artesia Gentileschi, and Sofonisba Anguissola.
To counter this narrative, Judy Chicago collaborated with other women from across states and developed an iconic dinner party artwork that appreciated the significant contribution of female identity to the world culture of art. Thus, through their tireless effort, the magnificent artworks of the eminent female artists have seen been permanently installed in New York for people to view.
Feminism influenced art in the 70s and during the 21st century in several ways. For instance, feminism completely redefined art, what it could achieve, what it could portray, what it could symbolize. Feminism broadens the boundaries of art work in all aspect of life. Feminism led to exploration and incorporation of domestic violence, women way of life in form of art. Yoko an artist, activist, and singer presented an art work where she sat still while her clothes were ripped off. The form of art was meant to protest against the violence of women. With the rise in the fight for equal rights, women artist such as Judy Chicago decided to create a new and separate work studio for women in order to showcase their artwork.
In an effort not to fight the already established art exhibition system that could not showcase women’s art work. Judy, designer Sheila Levrant and art historian Arlene Raven built the Feminist Studio Workshop. The studio was a program meant to run for two years so as to allow feminist artist to showcase their artwork to the world. It worked as an inclusive all space for all women in the community.
Feminism also impacted on the art world on the political front. Women wanted equal rights has their male counterparts to exercise their democratic rights by electing leaders of their choice. It was a personal choice that women felt everybody should participate. The move led to women producing artwork valid at wrestling concepts that transcended to personal level especially those experiences that had the capability to unite different classes of people who felt left out during political times. Feminism also impacted on art in terms of the content created. Feminist artists showed great interest in the depiction of nude figures both male and female.
Thus a number of artists have come up creating more nude paintings of women to symbolize their vulnerability and need for protection. It was also a way of appreciating the women in the society at large.
Feminism also impacted on art in the essence that artwork could be created by both women and men. The push for women for social equality with their male counter parts, was a crucial role in more women involvement in the artwork. With this development, it created a more divergent and different view of artwork as more art was available for the public to consume. Feminism artwork could portray the power, independence, equality, dignity, and identity. It has also led to the rediscovery of the contribution of women as art historians to the discipline itself. Feminism also brought the context of masculinity in art. Emancipation was helpful has most women started being featured in male dominant action films and art performances such as WWR.
It changed the role women played in artwork, programmes, and advertisements. It disbanded the idea that all women should be housewives or sex toys in films to a more accepting character like being the core star in an art film.
In summary, feminism helped in shaping the art world to where it is today. It has created more contemporary art and allowed the society to have a ray of artwork to consume and appreciate. With the inception of women into art as an industry, it has created a new wave of art work. Therefore, feminism has really influenced the look of art in general, in that it continues to portray the actual role of women in the society.
Garrad, Mary D. "Artemisia and Sussana." In Feminist and Art History: Qestioning the Litany, 1982.
Schapiro, Miriam and Melissa Meyer. “Waste not/want not: an inquiry into what women saved
and assembled – femmage” in Stiles and Selz, Theories and documents of contemporary art, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, 173-76
Ukeles, Mierle L. “Maintenance art manifesto’’ in Harrison and Wood, Art in theory 1900-2000, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, 917-19
Wood, Paul. "Inside the whale: an introduction to postmodernist art." Themes in Contemporary Art 4 (2004): 5.
Miriam Schapiro and Melissa Meyer, ‘Waste not/want not: an inquiry into what women saved and assembled – femmage’ in Stiles and Selz, Theories and documents of contemporary art, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, 173-76., 73
Mary DGarrad. "Artemisia and Sussana." In Feminist and Art History: Qestioning the Litany, 1982., 92
Miriam Schapiro and Melissa Meyer, ‘Waste not/want not: an inquiry into what women saved and assembled – femmage’ in Stiles and Selz, Theories and documents of contemporary art, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, 173-76., 75
 Ibid., 75
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, ‘Maintenance art manifesto’ in Harrison and Wood, Art in theory 1900-2000, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, 917-19
Paul Wood. "Inside the whale: an introduction to postmodernist art." Themes in Contemporary Art 4 2004, 5., 4
Miriam Schapiro and Melissa Meyer, ‘Waste not/want not: an inquiry into what women saved and assembled – femmage’ in Stiles and Selz, Theories and documents of contemporary art, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, 173-76
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, ‘Maintenance art manifesto ‘ in Harrison and Wood, Art in theory 1900-2000, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, 917-19., 918
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