Power of Feminism in Art
Art can be a powerful but underappreciated medium used to spread awareness and messages about various issues. More recently, artists reflect on the state of the world and controversial social issues in the art to express their personal feelings or simply to record history. Some female artists have made names for themselves by protesting the state of gender equality in the world. However, the genre of feminism in art tells a much deeper story than just the works these women produce.
The Guerrilla Girls
A unique group of feminists who banded together in 1985 is the Guerrilla Girls (NMWA). The group named itself so because the members wear gorilla masks to remain anonymous in public. Additionally, the group members use pseudonyms of historical female artists to further their anonymity. Walls and various structures throughout Manhattan served as the first gallery for the Guerrilla Girls. They posted posters that contained images and facts about the discrimination women faced in the art galleries and museums around the city. Some of their targets for commentary include Hollywood, censorship, corruption, and women’s rights. Continuing to battle sexism and racism, the Guerrilla Girls are still an active group and have successfully brought attention to many global issues but have not yet received the recognition and support they deserve.
Female Pioneers of Art
Looking at individual female artists, Hannah Höch is a notable example of a pioneer. Höch led Dadaism and Photomontage’s movements while challenging gender roles and societal constructs of identity (Halifax). Many of her collages explore the evolution of culture in Germany during the World War I and World War II eras, often from a unique feminist perspective. Höch is a powerful female in the art community because of her leadership role in two art genres and her progressive approach to social commentary.
Another pioneer with a different approach and purpose to her work is Yayoi Kusama. She is a contemporary artist who solidified her lifelong passion after traveling to New York and achieving great success with her exhibitions there (Whitney). After she received fame from her time in the United States, she returned to her birth country, Japan, to further her experimentation with her bold art pieces. Kusama is well-known for her intense installations that feature anything from bright polka dots to dark paintings.
The Future of Feminist Art
While historical female artists made statements by exploring the different mediums of art and messages that could be carried through art, the future of female artists might see bolder messages of gender equality such as depictions of the female anatomy in order to teach the public about discrimination women face by just having female bodies. Another reason for bolder messages in the future of art made my feminists normalize women. Currently, gender inequalities can be found anywhere from the family to the office, and by accepting art into society, specifically, art created by females, these inequalities can begin to level.
In general, art is a useful way to express the things that society does not want to acknowledge. The only problem is that female artists are more rarely acknowledged, but by giving recognition to female artists, society would be able to face the feminist messages in their art. Many important social issues fall into the feminist category: gender inequality, sexual assault, and sexual health. While it has historically been tabooed to publicly discuss these topics, it is important to educate the public. Without the understanding and support of the general public, there cannot be change. As society continues to become more progressive and open about such topics, there is hope that female artists will serve as resources and leaders.