Saturday, March 28, 2009

Responses for April 3

Whitney Chadwick, “Feminist Art in North American and Great Britain,” Chapter 12, Women, Art, and Society, 4th ed. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2007), pp. 356-377.

Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Screen 16: no. 3 (1975): 6-18.

Norma Broude, “Miriam Schapiro and ‘Femmage’: Reflections on the Conflict Between Decoration and Abstraction in Twentieth-Century Art,” in Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, eds. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982), pp. 314-329.

Amelia Jones, “The ‘Sexual Politics’ of The Dinner Party: A Critical Context,” in Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History After Postmodernism, eds. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 408-433.

Richard Meyer, “Hard Targets: Male Bodies, Feminist Art, and the Force of Censorship in the 1970s,” in WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, organized by Cornelia Butler (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2007), pp. 362-383.

Faith Wilding, “The Feminist Art Programs at Fresno and CalArts, 1970-75,” in The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact, eds. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994), pp. 32-47.


  1. I just read the femmage article and it was interesting to read about high and low art. I was just thinking about how this concept is applied to modern art. I mean, it seems like we've reached a point where everyone is trying so hard to be new and different, that nothing is off limits, and if argued well, "low" art can be hung in a gallery and be sold for large sums of money. It just seems like being in the right moment, more than how successful the art really is. Or, that's how I see it.

    I also thought the idea of collage being feminine was interesting, and seems to ring true, however disgusted that makes me feel. As we talked about before, all the scrap booking women do is really just many collages. Men don't typically make albums and do things that collect memories. I hope I'm not being, uh, sexist I guess, but it just seems like an example of how men seem to live in the present, and women consider the past before making decisions. If that makes sense? Maybe I'm taking this somewhere else. These articles often make me think about how men and women interact in modern day, and how, if any, difference are apparent from years ago to now.

  2. I got into the second section of the "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" reading; Pleasure in Looking/Fascination with the Human Form.

    The entire piece was informative on how and why humans have been fascinated with looking. I love how Freud comes in again with a child discovering himself in the mirror for the first time. How it gives a person their actual presence in the world.

    There was another part, "the tension between instinctual drives and self-preservation continues to be a dramatic polarisation in terms of pleasure...they have to be attached to an idealisation." This is Freud speaking again. And I am really drawn to this idea. It's intriguing to think that the two opposites are what drives humans to pleasuring themselves, to find pleasure. Instinct, and the desire to not look like a..."caveman"? Yet they have to work together. Not sure where I'm going with it, but it is an interesting concept that I find myself pondering.

  3. for the Wack article: I really enjoyed reading about Anita Steckel's exploits. But I am unclear on the actions of the Feminist Art Program. I don't see how using the cunt ("living breathing organism") as a subject is really very different than the objectification committed by the male artists... I also don't think Nochlin's "Buy Some Bananas" photo is a fair reversal of the 'buy apples' pic. Her version definitely misses the subtle humor of its predecessor. Her version is more like nightmare fuel and will forever taint my thoughts anytime I hear the 'hey mr. banana man' song.

  4. In ready the article on Shapiro and "Femmage" there were two parts that stuck out to me.

    The difference between the high and the low art and the hierarchy of arts "decorative art at the bottom, and the human form at the top. Because we are men!"…a pretty bold statement to me and I like how she said she reveals the powerful meaning for the first time whether than just focusing on not making it decorative she still uses the same material/technique of embroidery and such but makes them have a different meaning.

    I also found interesting the androgynous harmony of her "femmage" work and I'm not sure if I took this right but I saw this as her work being neither feminine nor masculine but a harmony between the two and even though we talked about something similar this just really stuck out how she worded it

    …"a condesation of sensation"…good quote as well

  5. I just started in on the "femmage" article and had to stop at the line "Because we are men!" due to the fact I can not stop laughing so much. I digress though but we're faced with perhaps a another but more evolved argument of the art vs craft movement. We've dealt with this before in the readings around the 17th century and how work women produced were bottom of the tier in art. Decorative pieces such as needlework and jewelry was on the bottom tier and figure painting was the ultimate of "high" art. I was really surprised with the separation of artists, like Kandinsky for example, who pursued both ends of the spectrum but remained to keep them separated. Schapiro brought them together though and let the needlework and sewing just exist as they are and leads me to a question. If we remove the home from the equation and place these items in a gallery, do we remove the stigma of craft from it?

  6. Reading the "Femmage" piece, I agree with Katie that the opening quote by Le Corbusier and Ozenfant is amusing, especially how it seems to suggest that women aren't of the human form. The article in general does bring back the concept of art vs. craft, or also "low" art vs. "high" art. It seemed interesting that when Matisse and Kandinsky approached what was "low" or "non-masculine" art, they were clear to distinct theirs as "high" art simply because they feel they added meaning to it. I can't really understand in general how this can be seen as low art to begin with. Simply because it was "meant" for women and housewives? These mediums could definitely be explored more in art forms even today.

  7. I was interested in this person's response to the Nochlin photo. I think that your reaction to the photo is what she was trying to illustrate- that there is a double standard. Peoples reactions to the nude male body are just different than a woman's, and because of that, even if she had a guy that was similarly aesthetically appealing as the woman with her apples, (I agree that guy was kind of scary looking) most people wouldn't be able to get past the penis.
    What I found particularly interesting was the idea of female artists trying to express their desires for the male body without just objectfying them as women had always been. Not stooping to that level so to speak. I thought about how hard that would be. It makes me think of my own art, because as a photographer, I have yet to make any nude photos. I would like to sometime, and this class has given me a lot to think about for when i do it. I'm personally not interested in taking pics of men nude, I prefer women, but how do I do that without objectification? Is it my intent, or does my intent matter when I won't be there to explain that any way. Will it be labled objectifying by people who don't get my message? Is it different because I am a woman? Anyway these are just some things that I was thinking about throughout the semester...

    "I also don't think Nochlin's "Buy Some Bananas" photo is a fair reversal of the 'buy apples' pic. Her version definitely misses the subtle humor of its predecessor. Her version is more like nightmare fuel and will forever taint my thoughts anytime I hear the 'hey mr. banana man' song."

  8. ok the quote was supposed to be at the top of the post. Not sure how it got put down at the bottom.

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  10. Things from the reading that caught my eye the most:
    From the textbook I enjoyed the North America and Great Britain comparison. In how Britain seemed to be so much more open with sexuality being in the media or even talking about sex(through imagery) at the time then we were. For instance I can't stand the world "Cunt" and they had a whole movement called "Cunt Art"

    I've also since the show "the girls next door" has been on T.V. have had a fascination with Hugh Hefner. In how his life style is so bazaar. Then to read about how in 1971, Margaret Harrison's drawings of him titled "Bunny girl" and "Bunny boy" this show was closed down by police because it was considered Offensive. Adding to the idea that it's ok to have this stuff behind closed door but not out in the open at a feminist show. She was also the first British feminist to have a show in London at the Woodstock Gallery.

    "The Dinner Party" was also interesting to me and I can't wait to talk about it tomorrow and hopefully see better detailed images then what the book gave us. To add to this idea of high and low and "avant-garde" and "Kitsch" for the high art realm.

    Can wait to discus!

  11. I agree with Shell in regards that in ther eading of "femmage" the comment that "because we are men " decoratiive art is considered lower than human form. It strikes me odd because was it not Kaninsky himself creating sketches for a dress design? Kandinsky? Of all MEN?! It's just increasingly frustrating that it seems like women can never get the upper hand of the stick...ever.

  12. Wack! Kind of hit home for me - being married to a female artist whose art sometimes features penises and phallic forms (coincidentally, often fragmented penises). I’m subject to a barrage of dumb questions by people who feel awkward, uneasy or possibly offended by the “unorthodox” display. The penises are definitely the 800 lb gorillas in the room. The gallery openings are always fun. I can see it’s a strange experience for people when they are exposed to these forms. I still don’t know how to act when people seek me out and ask all of these asinine questions or make tactless comments. They look down at the sculpture and then at my crotch and then at me; raise their eyebrows saying things like “Hubba, hubba” or “Grrrrrrrow”. At first it really angered me, not so much for my own vanity but because I viewed it as a slight on my wife’s work. This reaction is unfortunately is the norm for a lot of people. I feel embarrassed for them. They just don’t know what to make of what they’re looking at, so their awkwardness is manifested in the form of incessant dumb comments and questions. Very common! I got pretty good with the responses. The most frequent question was, “So, did you model for that one?” My favorite retort, so long as they were pointing at one of the bigger examples was…”MODEL FOR IT? THAT’S FROM A MOLD!” That usually shuts them up.