August 8, 2010

Women Artists: Works on Paper

This 44-page brochure/catalogue (it has an ISBN) was in the box of art books and ephemera I found the other day.

It documents a 1975 exhibition of works on paper by women artists at the Brooklyn Museum, organized by Women in the Arts, a national organization of women artists. WIA demonstrated at the Whitney Museum and at MoMA in 1971 and 1972, decrying the lack of representation of women artists in their collections and exhibitions.

Brooklyn Museum staff first met with WIA representatives in 1971, and WIA "continued to request meetings until an exhibition was suggested," says the "History of the Exhibition" blurb.

WIA curated the exhibition, not Brooklyn Museum curators—the museum basically handed over its gallery space; this would just not happen today. WIA devised a system of more than 280 jurors (!!) to select the work: "Each artist who wanted to exhibit was required to ask two other women in the art world to jury her work." That's 1970s feminism for ya.

Also very interesting: the publication includes "statements" about the project by June Blum (who coordinated the exhibition) and Lucy Lippard, Cindy Nemser, and Linda Nochlin.

It's such a fascinating slice of 1970s art-world feminism. (Apologies for the bad photos tho. I might try again.)

I am sorry to say that a lot of the art is terrible (as far as I can tell by the reproductions), but what else can you expect by a show juried by 280 people?

Also, people were still sorting out how to understand and evaluate art by women. It's not surprising that the show and the work is kind of all over the place.

Oddly (or was this normal at the time?) the catalogue concludes with the addresses of all the artists:

You really can't beat primary documents for shedding light on the past (why I love old books).

So, yay for printed matter! And three cheers for people who collect it for forty years and then dump it on the street for me to find!!

My sis

She brought me these beautiful sunflowers for my desk.


And they came in this awesome old-fashionedy paper!

I like the handwritten "say it with flowers" and the variety of bouquets.

I will preserve it, natch.

Around 5:30

It's the best time of day at the beach.

Take down the umbrella. Get out the coffee and chocolate.

Just look at the water for a while.

This restaurant

Probably not Zagat rated?

Sign design

Make the "important" words really big.

The others?—just bung 'em in there.

Q: Who will speak for the flowers?

A: They will speak for themselves.