American Women Artists, 1935-1970: Gender, Culture, and Politics (Hardback) book cover

American Women Artists, 1935-1970

Gender, Culture, and Politics

Edited by Helen Langa, Paula Wisotzki

© 2016 – Routledge

278 pages

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Hardback: 9781472432827
pub: 2016-03-18
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About the Book

Numerous American women artists built successful professional careers in the mid-twentieth century while confronting challenging cultural transitions: shifts in stylistic avant-gardism, harsh political transformations, and changing gender expectations for both women and men. These social and political upheavals provoked complex intellectual and aesthetic tensions. Critical discourses about style and expressive value were also renegotiated, while still privileging masculinist concepts of aesthetic authenticity. In these contexts, women artists developed their careers by adopting innovative approaches to contemporary subjects, techniques, and media. However, while a few women working during these decades have gained significant recognition, many others are still consigned to historical obscurity. The essays in this volume take varied approaches to revising this historical silence. Two focus on evidence of gender biases in several exhibitions and contemporary critical writings; the rest discuss individual artists' complex relationships to mainstream developments, with attention to gender and political biases, cultural innovations, and the influence of racial/ethnic diversity. Several also explore new interpretative directions to open alternative possibilities for evaluating women's aesthetic and formal choices. Through its complex, nuanced approach to issues of gender and female agency, this volume offers valuable and exciting new scholarship in twentieth-century American art history and feminist studies.

Reviews

'This is an important book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.' - Choice

'The book sheds light on the diverse creative strategies women deployed in order to pursue creative careers in a male-dominated field. The essays promise to evoke the diversity of women’s practices and lives while at the same time illuminating shared core concerns (the impact, particularly, of social biases - foremost, gender-based biases).' - Tirza T. Latimer, California College of the Arts, USA

'The essays in this book reveal the creativity, ingenuity, curiosity, resourcefulness and stamina of women who insisted they were legitimate actors in an art world that was less than welcoming. The authors expertly reveal how these women wrestled with the demands of their chosen materials, forms and subject matter, and of their often complicated lives, in order to leave a legacy that continues to inspire scholars and artists today.' - Frances Pohl, Pomona College, USA

'The wonder of this book is the variety of artists considered and the rich range of scholarly voices illuminating them. Together the essays give us two generations of modern American women who persevered in their art making, often without the support of cultural institutions. The stories of their hard work, determination, and unquenchable drive to speak through their images greatly enriches the historical record and gives the reader the pleasures of discovery and new knowledge.' - Wanda M. Corn, Stanford University, USA

Table of Contents

Table of Contents to come.

About the Editors

Helen Langa, Associate Professor of American Art at American University, published Radical Art. Printmaking and the Left in 1930s New York in 2004. Her publications have focused on American prints, cultural democracy, and women/lesbian artists.

Paula Wisotzki is Associate Professor at Loyola University Chicago and a specialist in American Art of the 1930s and 40s. Her recent research and publications are centered on Dorothy Dehner's early career.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART015020
ART / American / General
ART015100
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART037000
ART / Art & Politics
HIS036060
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HIS037070
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HIS058000
HISTORY / Women
SOC010000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory
SOC028000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies