Five Women Artists

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Five Women Artists

"Can you name five women artists?" That question recently appeared on posters throughout the city in a campaign sponsored by the National Museum of Women In the Arts. [For the record, I could name ten offhand; after that, my knowledge of women artists is decidedly spotty.] Art historians and anthropologists agree that for as long as art has existed, it's been created by women (although often credited to men). It's past time to shine the spotlight on these remarkable painters and sculptors. 

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel
This collective biography covers the careers of five influential abstract expressionists: Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan and Joan Mitchell. Although these artists are recognized and respected in modern times, when they were active in the mid-twentieth century, their work was mostly ignored while the men of the movement, including William de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock were celebrated as groundbreaking visionaries. In this book, the author remedies the shortsightedness of the past, painting the whole picture of one of the most stunning American artistic movements.

Women Artists of the Harlem Renaissance by Amy H. Kirschke
This volume profiles the work of multiple black women artists who faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles due to both race and sex while working in New York during the 1920's, including relatively well known figures (such as Lois Maillou Jones and Elizabeth Catlett) as well as less often recognized painters, sculptors and graphic artists. 

The Reckoning by Eleanor Heartney
Focusing on the work of women artists born since 1960, this book is divided into four sections. "Bad Girls" deals with artists whose work focuses on the subjects of gender and race; "History Lessons" is about artists whose  self-reflection reveals a historical approach; "Spellbound" focuses on the art of fantasy, dreams, and the surreal; and "Domestic Disturbances" deals with artists tackling the challenges of balancing creativity, home and family.

Broad Strokes by Bridget Quinn
As an undergraduate art history major assigned to read a well known text in the field, the author asked her instructor why so few women were included in the book. He replied that the current edition of the book contained woman artists, a step forward from previous editions. Seizing the opportunity to correct a past mistake, the author has penned an impressive volume highlighting the art of sixteen women artists, dating from the sixteenth century to contemporary times. Richly illustrated with color reproductions, this volume will appeal to readers' eyes as well as their sense of justice, correcting oversights of art historians from earlier generations. 

Creating Their Own Image by Lisa Farrington
In this volume, the author profiles the work of black American women artists from before the Civil War through contemporary times. The author includes quilting, weaving and other fabric arts in this survey -- in addition to more conventional art forms such as paintings and sculpture -- in this book that is comprehensive in scope and lavishly illustrated with photographs.
 
Museum of Their Own by Wilhelmina Cole Holliday
This book tells the story of The National Museum of Women in the Arts, from its inception to its opening. The author, the founder of the museum, describes her early adventures into the world of art collecting during a time when art works by women were significantly undervalued -- a lucky break for her, as building a collection of comparable quality featuring pieces by men of equal (or less) talent (but higher stature) would have been prohibitively expensive.
 
Drawn to Purpose by Martha H. Kennedy
Written to accompany an exhibit at the Library of Congress, this book is an exploration of the work of women cartoonists and illustrators. Spanning the years 1880-2014, the author outlines the evolution of illustration by women artists from post Civil War America to contemporary times. Noting that women were often encouraged to draw babies, children and animals, Kennedy concludes that a significant number of women chose to ignore this advice, focusing instead on political affairs and social commentary.