ARTH 381/4 A - Feminism and Art History
Prof. Dominika Nasilowski
At the 1995 Venice Biennale feminist art historian Linda Nochlin commented that 'being a woman and an artist does make a difference, in the same way that nationality, so crucial but so ephemeral in today's transient art world, does. But one might say there are as many differences as there are different women.'
The recognition of women artists has been constantly redefined, renegotiated, and rewritten by historians since Nochlin's landmark essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists" in 1971. In turn, feminism has shaped contemporary approaches to art history, most notably in the consideration of gender and race as constitutive categories in relation to each other. There has also been a backlash proclaiming the obsolescence of feminism. What does it mean to consider sexual difference today? What does a feminist approach to art history entail?
This course will not provide a historical survey of women artists, but instead take a methodological approach to explore these questions. The content will mainly consider theoretical debates on gender, the body, ethnicity, class and sexuality as they inform art practice, exhibitions and criticism from 1971 to 2010. Students can expect to gain an understanding of the diversity of feminist thought, while situating the role of publications and cultural institutions in art.