High-profile exhibitions on surrealism and abstract expressionism rarely resurrect debates about the validity of Freudian psychoanalytic theory or Clement Greenberg’s rejection of representation. So it might be germane to ask why the current resurgence of institutional, critical and media attention on feminist art has sparked impassioned discussions about the relevance of feminism in today’s allegedly “post-feminist” art world?
The answer is not only because women of all generations remain conflicted about feminism, but because art is arguably the most appropriate medium to represent feminism’s complex history, meaning and purpose. As the best of the recent feminist art survey shows demonstrate, “feminism” is far from a fixed term. Putting aside feminist theory’s distracting obsession with semantics, the term still encompasses too many and too varied ideological factions, political agendas, identities and histories to fit any single definition that is not troublingly essentialist, reductivist or vague.
One proof of gender equality might be that the feminist movement’s history has played out like other revolutions by splintering into a host of militant and mutually antagonistic subgroups. Yet in spite of divisiveness within the active feminism movement, the revolution’s salient principle – that women are intelligent, capable people – has saturated our culture at large to the point of being taken for granted.
Written by Ana Finel Honigman at The Guardian. Continue HERE
Image above: Art work by the Guerilla Girls. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi