This important new book examines contemporary art while foregrounding the key role feminism has played in enabling current modes of artmaking, spectatorship and theoretical discourse.
Contemporary Art and Feminism carefully outlines the links between feminist theory and practice of the past four decades of contemporary art and offers a radical re-reading of the contemporary movement. Rather than focus on filling in the gaps of accepted histories by ‘adding’ the ‘missing’ female, queer, First Nations and women artists of colour, the authors seek to revise broader understandings of contemporary practice by providing case studies contextualised in a robust art historical and theoretical basis. Readers are encouraged to see where art ideas come from and evaluate past and present art strategies. What strategies, materials or tropes are less relevant in today’s networked, event-driven art economies? What strategies and themes should we keep hold of, or develop in new ways?
This is a significant and innovative intervention that is ideal for students in courses on contemporary art within fine arts, visual studies, history of art, gender studies and queer studies.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: From the politics of representation to a politics of acts
Chapter 2: Beyond performing identities
Chapter 3: Feminism and the pedagogical turn in art
Chapter 4: Craftivism: a material ethics of care
Chapter 5: Avant Gardening: Western landscape, ecofeminism and First Nations’ care for country
Chapter 6: Feminist worlds: reimagining community and publics
Dr Jacqueline Millner completed studies in law, political science, and visual arts, before specialising in the history and theory of contemporary art as an arts writer and academic. She is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at La Trobe University, Melbourne, where she also lectures on contemporary art theory and history. She was previously Associate Professor of Art History and Theory, University of Sydney. She has published widely on contemporary Australian and international art in key anthologies, journals and catalogues of national and international institutions, and has received prestigious grants and awards for her research including from the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Research Council. Her books include Conceptual Beauty: Perspectives on Australian Contemporary Art (2010), Australian Artists in the Contemporary Museum (with Jennifer Barrett, 2014), Fashionable Art (with Adam Geczy, 2015) and Feminist Perspectives on Art: Contemporary Outtakes (co-edited with Catriona Moore, 2018). She co-convenes the research cluster Contemporary Art and Feminism across La Trobe University and the University of Sydney, and is currently leading the Care Project: Feminism, Art and Ethics in Neo-Liberal Times, a multiple location series of exhibitions and symposia (2019–21).
Dr Catriona Moore has been a Senior Lecturer in Art History & Film Studies at the University of Sydney. She has published widely on feminist art and activism, and more broadly on modern and contemporary women artists. Her research and writing have opened up cross-cultural connections between women artists and explored the visual expression of cultural diversity in modern and contemporary Australian art, within a comparative international framework. She is the author and editor of books central to the development of the feminist history of Australian art, including Indecent Exposures: Twenty Years of Australian Feminist Photography (1991), Dissonance: Feminism and the arts 1970–1990 (1991) and Feminist Perspectives on Art: Contemporary Outtakes (co-edited with Jacqueline Millner, 2018). She co-convenes the research cluster Contemporary Art and Feminism across the University of Sydney and La Trobe University.
"This book is an exciting contribution to the history of contemporary art. Not simply giving an account of ‘feminist art’, Millner and Moore instead interrogate how feminist thinking and practice has impacted, influenced, and changed forever contemporary art. ‘Feminist art’ after all, is not a subsection of the art world, but a name describing how a set of politics has impacted art. That this book, with its internationalism viewed from Australia, decenters the dominant contemporary art world adds to the radical potential in its pages."
- Hilary Robinson, Professor of Feminism, Art, and Theory, Loughborough University, UK
"How refreshing to encounter provocative, grounded research from the flexible periphery of global feminisms operating in culturally complex, postcolonial Australia. Millner and Moore offer erudite, empathetic studies of contemporary art, mostly Australian, which accommodates Western and First Nations cultural perspectives. Practising feminist pedagogy, the authors listen respectfully to artists of many cultural groups and life experiences and discuss artmaking across genres. Guided by feminist politics and ethics, the authors demonstrate the myriad ways material images and performative actions move the imagination of artists and audiences. They affirm the affective, transformative power of feminist art in our turbulent century."
- Marion Arnold, Lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies, Loughborough University, UK
"A much-needed, and exciting study of feminist energies and inspirations in the shaping of contemporary art, intensely sensitive to places, histories and complexities and their entwinement and to the urgencies of our challenged world addressed by wide-ranging creative practices."
- Griselda Pollock, Professor emerita of Social and Critical Histories of Art, University of Leeds, UK
"With a primary focus on Australia, this book updates overall our knowledge of how feminist politics and ethics are implicated in the theory, practice, and radical enjoyment of art today. In their joint effort, Millner and Moore have addressed pedagogy, craftivism, the politics of acts (and not just representation), and the lessons of ecofeminism among other themes that rethink the scope of feminist intervention and interpretation in the arts of the twenty-first century, bringing us closer to a feminist theory of contemporary art. This is an important study that will encourage new ways of feminist engagement among students and researchers."
- Angela Dimitrakaki, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Edinburgh, UK