Tonight I’m heading to SAM to see the new exhibit,
Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris is a landmark exhibition of more than 130 works of art made by 75 women artists from 1907 to 2007. This survey of daring painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and installation by pioneering women artists offers a fresh perspective on a history of modern and contemporary art. With humor, disdain, sensuality and ambiguity, these women represent the major movements in modern art—from abstraction to contemporary concerns.
The timing of show that I’ve been involved with, “Who Does She Think She Is” was no coincidence. There are exhibits and shows throughout the Seattle celebrating women in art. So much so that it almost begs the question, do we really need to focus on, or separate out, women artists? This discussion came up at the artist’s talk a couple of weeks ago hosted by Ellen Hochberg in conjunction with “Who Does She Think She Is”. The consensus was, yes. Sort of.
Yes, because the work of female artists is still undervalued compared to their male counterparts. Yes, because often the work of female artists, particularly textile artists (such as myself) is relegated to the world of craft whereas male textile artists are rarely, if ever, grouped in that category. Yes, because being grouped in a minority allows broader access to the work of that minority’s artists.
No, because we’d never hold an exhibit celebrating the work of Male artists. No, because we shouldn’t need to be fighting for equality in the galleries.
But as we’ve seen in the current presidential race, it seems that the fight for women’s equality can hit an onslaught of negativity that we’d thought we’d already overcome. It reignites a passion in feminists, both women and men. And passion makes for good art. No, it makes for great art.