The authors have chosen significant images of women by both male and female artists from over 3000 years of art, and address the many questions which arise: why has art by women found so little public recognition? Have male artists every succeeded in capturing the prismatic essence of the feminine?
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A thematic overview of women's art that lumps disparate work together in gross categories based on archetype, stereotype, theme, and body part. Although artist Chicago and art historian Lucie-Smith sought to create a book that would delineate the contested terrain between women and art, their collaborative effort only blurs it with clich and generalization. From the opening chapter, which begins with the assertion that goddess imagery has ``seized the imagination of many women and been a continuing source of energy within feminism,'' they celebrate overlooked art based on its suitability to their ideological construct: that male artists, critics, and curators have overlooked and suppressed womens work, which deserves to be seen and addressed. True, but no sustainable argument can emerge from such an a critical approach; all that remains is for the authors to provide a series of examples, which they do. Those examples break down into an unfortunate series of stock types, from the aforementioned goddesses to warrior women, madonnas, whores, martyrs, mothers, and daughters. And everywherestrategically placed throughout the textare images of Chicago's own work. Could she merely be seeking to recontextualize herself in the feminist canon (that of Frieda Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, even Mary Cassatt)? In light of the tremendous scholarship and theoretical insight that have been brought to bear on womens art over the past ten yearsand the riveting arguments about identity politics that have followedthe authors lack of critical sophistication is painful to behold. Even worse, many of the contemporary works pictured are shockingly banalchosen more for their subject matter than their visual, intellectual, or conceptual resonance. Chicago, apparently, is still very much in the grip of essential feminism, and her book suffers for it. As a critical text, Women and Art falls victim to old-style celebratory feminism, lauding without judgment or incisive, original thought. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
This is a curiously interesting hybrid with two running commentaries per page. The central space is reserved for a somewhat traditional art historical text on women artists and images of women in art by British art critic/art historian Lucie-Smith. The rest is filled with the writings of one of the most opinionated and surely the most famous U.S.-based feminist artist, Chicago, creator of The Dinner Party. The collaboration is certainly eye-catching, but, despite 200 beautiful color plates, this is no coffee-table decoration. It seems compiled to capture the attention of any browsing reader of college age and above. Many of the ten chapters might startle the average readerAthey're explicit about gender issues, bodily functions, and other oddities that are now a part of contemporary art. For serious academic libraries with feminist and graduate collections.AMary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción George Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0297825453