Sep 4, 2020 in Art

Feminist Artists

Feminism is a term used to illustrate cultural, political as well as economic movement that aims at instituting women’s legal protection and equal rights. The first art movement for feminist emerged during the anti-war demonstrations and queer rights movement in the early 1960s. The feminism first wave focused primarily on legal issues especially the voting right. However, the second wave commenced in the 1960s and ended late 1980. The wave focused on gender equality, marital rape issues, domestic violence as well as official legal inequalities. This paper will focus on comparing and contrasting the goals, strategies and characteristics of first and second generation feminist artist that include Chicago, Carolee Schneemann, and Kruger respectively.

In the two generations, the feminism movements were led by women and they had no singular style or medium that influenced cultural attitudes as well as transform stereotypes. The feminists in the two generation waves combined diverse aspects from media and movements that comprised of conceptual art, body art as well as video art to present messages about experiences of women as well as the need for equality that is gender based. The two waves of feminist arts created spaces and opportunities that did not exist for the minor artists as well as women thus paving the way for activist arts as well as identity arts. The feminist art such as Chicago, Carolee Schneemann as well as Kruger sought to transform the world through arts. They all focused on linking established art, historical canon arts and social interactions that take place every day.

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Differences were notable among the first generation wave and the second generation wave. To begin with, liberal feminism that was basically the first wave was concerned with issues such as right education, gender equality, the right to work, opportunity equality as well as suffrage of women. For instance, Judy Chicago was the feminist art pioneer in 1970s and led a movement that reflected on the lives of women in a male-dominated canon. Judy called for attention to the role of women as an artist and altered the conditions of production and reception of contemporary arts.  Also, Carolee Schneemann used her body to examine the female sensuality role in connection to the person and political liberation in an attempt to disconnect from oppressive conventions. On contrary to the first wave, the second wave referred to as radical feminism was concerned with issues such as feminine identity, laws based on anti-rape, affirmative action, women discrimination in employment, legislation that focused on harassment of women and cultural as well as media stereotyping. For instance, Barbara Kruger combined tactics to communicate and encourage women to participate in contemporary arts.  In the first generation wave, many thinkers included men since the wave was not anti-male, unlike the second generation where al thinkers were women who were anti-men.

The strategies of the feminist women such as Chicago, Carolee Schneemann and Kruger in first and second generation wave respectively had similarities and differences. Some similarities included the artist seeking to form a dialogue linking the artwork and the viewers through the inclusion of perspectives from diverse women. For instance, the dinner party by Judy Chicago was among the well-known feminist arts that existed and housed in Brooklyn Museum. Also, 'I shop' was by Barbara Kruger depicted a phrase from a magazine placed on the photographic image. Although by then art was not an aesthetic object of admiration, the artist wanted to use it to incite the viewers in questioning the political as well as social landscape therefore inducing a change in gender equality. Moreover, the artists created venues and worked towards changing the policies of institutions so as to promote visibility of women within the world of arts. This was because, before feminism, most exhibition and galleries were not accessible to women based on the gender issues.  The feminist artist employed non-traditional media to seek expansion of fine arts definition so as to incorporate artistic perspective and variety of media.  

The three artists also had differences. For instance, Judy Chicago, who was an American sculptor, a painter as well as a master installation who created works that recognized women achievements or unique women experiences thus inspiring many women. Carolee Schneemann, unlike Chicago, was a video artist as well as America performance artist who incorporated feminist ideas into her writing, arts, lecturing, teaching thus reaffirming her pivotal figure position on the movement of feminism. Moreover, she influenced the art of women history by condemning the male teacher’s negative attitudes and hierarchal system of American gallery. On the other hand, Kluger was an America graphic artist, photographer as well as a designer who was primarily in the second wave of feminist art. She used images as well as text to facilitate communication with the observers and encourage women in interrogating of contemporary circumstances. She also criticized the society, politics, gender as well as culture so as to incite women to take up for a diverse role in the society.

The characteristic of feminist artwork varies according to the artist. The features that appear to all feminist artwork are that the work was to motivate women towards self-realization. However, there were numerous differences in the artwork. For instance, Chicago embraces an artistic media that was basically from women. The art form included needlework, painting, ceramic decoration as well as glass although the male counterparts dismissed the works as craft. According to Lind, Amy, and Stephanie, Chicago's works such as the dinner party assisted in validating the significance of art form based on crafts as well as penetrating through the boundaries that separated the women from their counterpart regarded as high. Schneemann artwork included sexuality as well as sensuality inquiry, with the majority of her work being formal experimentation. Moreover, Schneemann used her body as a medium for her artistic works. Her works also portrayed women as creators as well as active part of creation. Finally, Schneemann work as an artist opposed the traditional representation of women as nude objects that should easily avail to men. Her first performance was in long island at a conference referred to as women here and now. On contrary to the first two feminists, Kluger artwork merged the graphic design slick façade with other phrases so as to attract the attention of the viewers.  Moreover, the language in her artwork was contemporary magazine publication or graphic designs. The aim of Kluger work was to sell an idea to the audience with a meaning to initiate a reconsideration of the viewer’s immediate context. Another characteristic of Kluger's artwork was that the images cut from magazines were set as the background when emblazoning confrontal phrases. Nonetheless, Kluger first design was a print 'Your Body is a Battleground' during a protest against reproductive rights in Washington D.C. The artwork utilized her signature color that is the black, red and white palette thus simplifying her inner struggle of evil and good.

The three feminist artists had goals that they wanted to accomplish. For instance, Chicago primary goal was to seek for representation of women in visual arts since they had been underrepresented traditionally. She, therefore, articulated her vision as an artist, educator as well as organizer. Schneemann goal was to see women liberation from oppressive conventions that were predominant socially and aesthetically. On the centrally to the first two feminist artists, Kluger primary goal was to sell ideas to women so that they are motivated to take part in feminism role in the society.  

In conclusion, the two generation waves influenced women as the first wave focused primarily on legal issues especially the voting right while the second generation wave focused on gender equality, marital rape issues, domestic violence as well as official legal inequalities. Women led the feminism movements and they had no singular style or medium that influenced cultural attitudes as well as transform stereotypes. However, the first generation was not anti-men since it had some men who led the movement unlike in the second generation wave while women were a leader and they were against men since they were living in a male dominating society. Several feminist artists took part in sensitizing women on their role in the society. This was achieved through arts, graphics, videos, live performance as well as needlework, painting, ceramic decoration. Conversely, the feminist artist employed different strategies in influencing women. For instance, the feminist artists used non-traditional media to seek expansion of fine arts definition so as to incorporate artistic perspective and variety of media. Through Chicago, Carolee Schneemann, and Kruger features of artwork, many women were motivated towards self-realization.  However, each feminist artist had distinct goals. For instance, Chicago goal was to represent of women in visual arts; Schneemann goal was to see women liberation from oppressive while Kluger goal was to sell ideas to women so that they are motivated to take part in feminism role in the society.

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