Today I am sharing a list that was printed in a Huffington Post article on historical women artists. (Image: Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron) The list is comprised of ten women artists who have been part of the curriculum of several of the courses I have taught over the years. These women artists have rarely been included in the traditional art history textbooks. In fact, when I began college in the early 1970s the only woman artist included in the major texts was Georgia O’Keefe. It was the feminist art historians who have worked diligently to change that. Changes can be seen, yet only a few artists mentioned in this article are included and usually it’s only a couple of women artists for each chapter in an art history textbook. That means that there are hundreds of others whose contributions are still overshadowed by the patriarchy. It is important to realize that lists such as these are always exclusory. They also prevent us from seeing the whole picture. Many women artists have been written out of history due to the patriarchal conditions in which they lived. There are still many situations in which works by women artists have been attributed to male artists, even their own fathers, and some are still being rediscovered. There were women artists who destroyed their work, and others were forced to sign the name of others. All of these women artists however have paved the way for those that are making art today. Yesterday, I saw the Pulse of L A exhibition at L.A. Artcore in Little Tokyo organized by the So. California Women’s Caucus for Art. The exhibition offers a wide range of work by women artists working today in So. California. The examples carefully selected by Leslie Cozzi, Hammer Museum curatorial associate, exemplify the diversity of art practices, methods, and sensibilities of our fast paced city by some astonishingly talented artists. I thought that the exquisitely rendered portrait of June Wayne by Merrilyn Duzy was so aptly placed at the entrance in the Pulse of L.A. show (image seen below). It was a loving tribute to a true feminist, woman artist, and trailblazer. Wayne (1918-2011) was a matriarch in the Los Angeles art scene for many years. To the 22 women artists whose work was so harmoniously placed in the gallery, I suggest they give a nod to the women on the Huffington Post’s list and to the others whose talent and determination paved the way for them.
Huffington Post Article: Revolutionary Women Artists of the 15th Through 19th Centuries