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Singular Women

Writing the Artist

Kristen Frederickson (Editor), Sarah E. Webb (Editor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 278 pages
ISBN: 9780520231658
March 2003
$34.95, £28.00
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.
--Mary Garrard on Artemisia Gentileschi
--Frima Fox Hofrichter on Judith Leyster
--Mary Sheriff on Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun
--Carol Mavor on Clementina Hawarden and Sally Mann
--Gladys-Marie Fry on Harriet Powers
--Anne Higonnet on Mary Cassatt
--Barbara J. Bloemink on Florine Stettheimer
--Gail Levin on Jo Nivison Hopper
--Nancy Gruskin on Eleanor Raymond
--Melanie Herzog on Elizabeth Catlett
--Karen Bearor on Irene Rice Pereira
--Amy Ingrid Schlegel on Nancy Spero
--Kristine Stiles on Carolee Schneemann
Kristen Frederickson is an independent scholar and curator who has taught Art History at Bryn Mawr College, Hunter College, Seton Hall University, the New York Academy of Art, and Christie's Education. She is Director of the Kristen Frederickson Contemporary Art Gallery in New York. Sarah E. Webb's installation and sculptural work is exhibited nationally. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Rochester.
"[A] who’s who of feminist work from the Renaissance to the present. . . . After organizing a panel on feminist art history in 1996, the coeditors spent the next seven years on this volume and ended up such close friends that the two now ‘finish each other’s sentences.’"—Artnews
“Highly recommended.”—B. Waterman-Peters Choice
"An interesting and original collection. A must for all those interested in women artists and the women who have written about them."—Linda Nochlin, author of Representing Women

"Kristen Frederickson and Sarah Webb have provided us with a missing link, a truly feminist art history that connects with the work done in the 1970s and thankfully ignores the 'post-feminist' hiatus. Singular Women is a model for future scholarship on women's art. If only the books it inspires are as rigorous, vigorous, varied, and readable as this one."—Lucy Lippard, author of The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art

"The most provocative, challenging, and intimate writing to appear in feminist art history since Linda Nochlin launched the field with her essay 'Why Are There No Great Women Artists?' Thirty years later there are both great women artists and great women writers. This book assembles some of the best and boldest among them. Not afraid to address the boring, the failed, the neglected, or the masterpiece, Singular Women sets the standard for feminist art history of the twenty-first century."—Peggy Phelan, author of the survey essay in Art and Feminism, ed. Helena Reckitt

"This important volume addresses the vexed question whether the traditional monograph, rightly under suspicion in recent years, can be reinvented to serve feminist art history well. Its excellent--and varied--essays answer with a confident and convincing affirmative, demonstrating how we can talk about women's art practice without abandoning the biographical and social stories that enable and illuminate it."—Janet Wolff, author of Resident Alien: Feminist Cultural Criticism

"Contributes new understandings to the now familiar problems of writing biographies of artists and, in particular, writing about a woman artist. It re-inscribes the woman artist in the discourse while probing—through a variety of approaches—the possibilities for a critical discourse on and appreciation of the woman artist."—Catherine M. Soussloff, author of The Absolute Artist: The Historiography of a Concept

"Demonstrates how women historians have had to develop close relationships (real or imagined) with the artists about whom they write. The reader is allowed to see the desire that constitutes, but is normally hidden within, the writing of history."—Jane Blocker, author of Where Is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity, and Exile

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