In recent years, Laura Cottingham has emerged as one of the most visible feminist critics of the so-called post-feminist generation. Following a social-political approach to art history and criticism that accepts visual culture as part of a larger social reality, Cottingham's writings investigate central tensions currently operative in the production, distribution and evaluation of art, especially those related to cultural production by and about women.
Seeing Through the Seventies: Essays on Feminism and Art gathers together Cottingham's key essays from the 1990's. These include an appraisal of Lucy R. Lippard, the most influential feminist art critic of the1970's; a critique of the masculinist bias implicit to modernism and explicitly recuperated by commercially successful artists during the 1980s; an exhaustive analysis of the curatorial failures operative in the "Bad Girls" museum exhibitions of the early 1990s; surveys of feminist-influenced art practices during the women's liberationist period; speculations on the current possibilities and obstacles that attend efforts to recover lesbian cultural history; and an examination of the life, work and obscuration of the early twentieth-century French photographer Claude Cahun.
Laura Cottingham teaches contemporary art and criticism in the College of Art at The Cooper Union and had held visiting appointments at Rutgers University, The School of Visual Arts, and The Royal Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen. She is also author of lesbians are so chic... and director of the art history video Not For Sale: Feminism and Art in the USA during the 1970s, which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in May 1998.