UC Press has a long legacy of publishing groundbreaking books on women artists throughout history, including our updated edition of The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa; Consuming Stories, a provocative examination of Kara Walker newly released in paperback; and the forthcoming Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language. The titles spotlighted here, all authored by women, showcase the collective impact of women artists in California and beyond.
Parallels and Intersections
edited by Diana Burgess Fuller and Daniela Salvioni
Art/Women/California 1950-2000: Parallels and Intersections is an unprecedented examination of the impact that specific women artists, working in California in the second half of the twentieth century, have had on broadening the definition of art. Twenty preeminent scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds investigate how the vast sociopolitical changes of the post-World War II era affected these women and how the ensuing events influenced the art that they produced. This book outlines the role these pivotal artists and their work played in reshaping the California cultural profile into what it is today.
Writing the Artist
edited by Kristen Frederickson and Sarah E. Webb
In this groundbreaking volume, contemporary art historians—all of them women—probe the dilemmas and complexities of writing about the woman artist, past and present. Singular Women proposes a new feminist investigation of the history of art by considering how a historian’s theoretical approach affects the way in which research progresses and stories are told. These thirteen essays on specific artists, from the Renaissance to the present day, address their work and history to examine how each has been inserted into or left out of the history of art. The authors go beyond an analysis of the past to propose new strategies for considering the contributions of women to the visual arts, strategies that take into account the idiosyncratic, personal, and limited rhetoric that confines all writers.
Women Building History
Public Art at the 1893 Columbian Exposition
by Wanda M. Corn
This handsomely illustrated book is a welcome addition to the history of women during America’s Gilded Age. Wanda M. Corn takes as her topic the grand neo-classical Woman’s Building at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, a structure celebrating modern woman’s progress in education, arts, and sciences. Looking closely at the paintings and sculptures women artists made to decorate the structure, including the murals by Mary Cassatt and Mary MacMonnies, Corn uncovers an unspoken but consensual program to visualize a history of the female sex and promote an expansion of modern woman’s opportunities. Beautifully written, with informative sidebars by Annelise K. Madsen and artist biographies by Charlene G. Garfinkle, this volume illuminates the originality of the public images female artists created in 1893 and inserts them into the complex discourse of fin de siècle woman’s politics. The Woman’s Building offered female artists an unprecedented opportunity to create public art and imagine an historical narrative that put women rather than men at its center.
We Weren’t Modern Enough
Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism
by Marsha Meskimmon
Marsha Meskimmon furnishes a fresh perspective on the art of women in the Weimar Republic and in the process reclaims the lost history of a number of artists who have not received adequate attention—not only because they were women but also because they continued to align themselves with the modes of realistic representation the Expressionists regarded as reactionary. Reconsidering the traditional definitions of German modernism and its central issues of race politics, eugenics, and the city, Meskimmon explores the structures that marginalized the work of little known artists such as Lotte Laserstein, Jeanne Mammen, Gerta Overbeck and Grete Jurgens. She shows how these women’s personal and professional experiences in the 1920s and 1930s relate to the visual imagery produced at that time.
Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945
by Patricia Trenton
Independent Spirits brings to vivid life the West as seen through the eyes of women painters from 1890 to the end of World War II. Expert scholars and curators identify long-lost talent and reveal how these women were formidable cultural innovators as well as agitators for the rights of artists and women during a period of extraordinary development.
Abundantly illustrated, with over one-hundred color plates, this book is a rich compendium of Western art by women, including those of Native American, African, Mexican, and Asian descent. The essays examine the many economic, social, and political forces that shaped this art over years of pivotal change. The West’s dynamic growth altered the role of women, often allowing new avenues of opportunity within the prevailing Anglo culture. At the same time, boundaries of femininity were pushed earlier and further than in other parts of the country.
Women, Art, and Sex in the 1960s
by Rachel Middleman
In the 1960s, the fascination with erotic art generated a wave of exhibitions and critical discussion on sexual freedom, visual pleasure, and the nude in contemporary art. Radical Eroticism examines the importance of women’s contributions in fundamentally reconfiguring representations of sexuality across several areas of advanced art—performance, pop, postminimalism, and beyond. This study shows that erotic art made by women was integral to the profound changes that took place in American art during the sixties, from the crumbling of modernist aesthetics and the expanding field of art practice to the emergence of the feminist art movement. Artists Carolee Schneemann, Martha Edelheit, Marjorie Strider, Hannah Wilke, and Anita Steckel created works that exemplify these innovative approaches to the erotic, exploring female sexual subjectivities and destabilizing assumptions about gender.
How Women Made the West
by Virginia Scharff and Carolyn Brucken
The storybook history of the American West is a male-dominated narrative of drifters, dreamers, hucksters, and heroes—a tale that relegates women, assuming they appear at all, to the distant background. Home Lands: How Women Made the West upends this view to remember the West as a place of homes and habitations brought into being by the women who lived there. Virginia Scharff and Carolyn Brucken consider history’s long span as they explore the ways in which women encountered and transformed three different archetypal Western landscapes: the Rio Arriba of northern New Mexico, the Front Range of Colorado, and the Puget Sound waterscape. This beautiful book, companion volume to the Autry National Center’s pathbreaking exhibit, is a brilliant aggregate of women’s history, the history of the American West, and studies in material culture. While linking each of these places’ peoples to one another over hundreds, even thousands, of years, Home Lands vividly reimagines the West as a setting in which home has been created out of differing notions of dwelling and family and differing concepts of property, community, and history.