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Art Movement in Focus : Feminist Art Movement – An Introduction

Welcome to Art Movement in Focus! In this section, we explore significant art movements in history through a series of articles dedicated to each movement. Here’s looking at Feminist Art.

Feminist Art – An Introduction

The Feminist Art Movement, during the 60s, was born as a response to society with its prevalent perceptions of women. Feminism’s concern wasn’t a bid for equality, as it is often misunderstood. It is about protecting and celebrating the feminine spaces. And it remains about honouring and exploring creativity, further it grew to decode the preconceptions of the ‘male gaze’.

The space of art till the 60s was largely dominated by male artists. However, art history was going to see a massive shift in the next decade. Feminist artists re-scripted roles and content that was hitherto handed out to them. And through this they were able to create opportunities for fellow artists (women) and provide platforms for showcasing and performances.

The post-war years saw activism on various levels. Artists the world over were creating works that were not for viewing pleasure but they were to encourage questions on society and politics, and push the world towards a change, and greater inclusion.

From a 21st century viewpoint, it may come as shock now. But, a male-dominated art world, made of critics and audiences (which too were given into the male gaze) meant a denial of equal representation. These artists rooted in the 60s worked hard to create women artists’ visibility within the market.

“When a woman (creates a nude self-portrait), it is trivialising the aesthetic, but when a man does it, it is part of his heroic domain or domination of subject” – Carolee Schneemann

This meant that they created hard-hitting works that would challenge notions. These works would coerce people into taking note of the change that was underway. They employed alternative methods to achieve the required effects. They used multimedia, video, audio, textiles by means of self-expression. The usage of the non-traditional methods was to also expand the dimensions that they were exploring. Subsequently, they invited a panoramic view of artistic perspectives.

OUR TOP 6 Feminist artists :

The genre grew rapidly and is still ever-expanding, including avant-garde artists like Ana Mendieta, Yoko Ono, Mickalene Thomas, Sherrie Levine who produced record-breaking dialogues that arrested the interest of the world. It was an interest that was not only limited to the art world but extended to writers, musicians, and filmmakers. The core group of artists who pioneered the movement was Mary Beth Edelson, Miriam Schapiro, Judy Chicago, Lynda Benglis, and Carolee Schneemann. There were many others who joined along with the movement, giving it depth and stature over the following decades.

  1. Mary Beth Edelson
  2. Miriam Schapiro
  3. Lynda Benglis
  4. Martha Rosler
  5. Judy Chicago
  6. Carolee Schneemann
  7. Judy Chicago


It is critical to understand that it was not a movement dedicated to female artists and showcasing their talent – but to the related content. It was a representation of the mind and its influencers, a space for the ‘female gaze’ as it were.

Mary Beth Edelson
Some Living American Women Artists

Some Living American Women Artists, 1972, Mary Beth Edelson (1933-2021)
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Miriam Schapiro

Dollhouse, 1972, Miriam Schapiro (1923-2015)
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Lynda Benglis

Now 1973, Lynda Benglis (b. 1941)
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Martha Rosler
 Semiotics of the Kitchen

Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975, Martha Rosler (b.1943)
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Judy Chicago
Dinner Party
1974 -1979

Dinner Party, Judy Chicago (b.1939)
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Carolee Schneemann
Interior Scroll

Interior Scroll 1975 Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939)
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For more such quick introductions and lists regarding Art History, visit Art Movement in Focus.

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