Why are there no great women artists? The positioning of women artists within fine art and craft.

Conference Presentation


Yates, E. 2018. Why are there no great women artists? The positioning of women artists within fine art and craft.
AuthorsYates, E.
TypeConference Presentation
Abstract

Nochlin‘s 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? highlighted the barriers that women have faced within the world of fine art to be recognised , valued and exhibited. These include socio cultural and socio- economic factors, access to education, space, time and institutional barriers. Dominant discourses around the positioning of women’s work draw upon the status of the artist as ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’, alongside continuing debates in relation to the fine art/ craft divide and the status afforded to each. The dominance of the gendered masculine ideal , encompassing an ‘artist as genius’ stereotype pervades, despite advances in the public face of women’s art. (Korsmeyer 2004) This has led many women (and increasingly men) to seek refuge in the domain of craft as a more fruitful platform for exploring ideas. Women artists have used the visual language of craft to explore political ideas and to disrupt, challenge and parody dominant discourses about what can be considered ‘fine art’ and what it is to be ‘an artist’. This paper will explore these ideas in relation to examples of women’s work in the recent past in fine art and craft and contemporary work. The utilisation of craft by men will also be considered. The paper will conclude with an exploration of what is required to be a successful ‘artist’ in today’s world of self -promotion, online galleries and entrepenurship.

Nochlin‘s 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? highlighted the barriers that women have faced within the world of fine art to be recognised , valued and exhibited. These include socio cultural and socio- economic factors, access to education, space, time and institutional barriers. Dominant discourses around the positioning of women’s work draw upon the status of the artist as ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’, alongside continuing debates in relation to the fine art/ craft divide and the status afforded to each. The dominance of the gendered masculine ideal , encompassing an ‘artist as genius’ stereotype pervades, despite advances in the public face of women’s art. (Korsmeyer 2004) This has led many women (and increasingly men) to seek refuge in the domain of craft as a more fruitful platform for exploring ideas. Women artists have used the visual language of craft to explore political ideas and to disrupt, challenge and parody dominant discourses about what can be considered ‘fine art’ and what it is to be ‘an artist’.
This paper will explore these ideas in relation to examples of women’s work in the recent past in fine art and craft and contemporary work. The utilisation of craft by men will also be considered. The paper will conclude with an exploration of what is required to be a successful ‘artist’ in today’s world of self -promotion, online galleries and entrepenurship.

KeywordsWomen; Fine art; Craft
Year2018
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/622700
hdl:10545/622700
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Open
Publication dates07 Mar 2018
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Deposited26 Apr 2018, 15:33
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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