Portraits of the women who made art history

Whitechapel+Gallery+Guerrilla+Girls+Commission+Is+it+even+worse+in+Europe+(2016)+cGuerilla Girls outside Whitechapel Gallery (2016)

‘The men liked to put me down as the best woman painter. I think I’m one of the best painters.’ — Georgia O’Keeffe

I have decided to write a series of profiles on modern and contemporary women artists called Joan of Art. Each profile will help to shed light on their successes, their failures, the challenges they faced, the peers they worked alongside, and the social context they worked within. I drafted a poetic introduction to the concept several times before I thought screw it, I’ll cut straight to the point of the thing: “Work by women artists makes up only 3–5% of major permanent collections in the U.S. and Europe.”

The series #joanofart aims to create a metaphorical clearing in a metaphorical wood. It will address the question, if a female artist creates art in the wood, and no man is there to hear it, did it really happen? Joan of Art will shine a light on women artists who lurk in the shadows of art history and in doing so, will seek to reshape how we define the rock stars of art history and help to foster a sense of equilibrium that the art world, past and present, so desperately needs.

I can list the stats and talk about the hangover that the art world has long endured from it’s male-centered past for days, but that’s not what my aim is. The profiles do not seek to slam the work of their male colleagues, rather, it will act to remind us all that hey, they were there too. And, they made some really awesome art that has greatly impacted the art of today.

Grab your glasses and make a cup of tea, we’re going to have a blast! The first profile is due to go live next week. I am looking to cover the work of Jo Baer, Eva Hesse, Vivienne Maier, Martha Rosler, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Suzanne Valadon, and more. If you have any suggestions, drop me a line and I will happily explore. ♦

P.S. Thoughts on the series title?!

EDIT: The series title is naff. Will revise. 29/9/2017


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