Feminism and the Art of the Seventies

Essay by KristenphotoUniversity, Master'sA, November 2006

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Morris and Schneemann's work entitled 'Site', recreates Manet's Olympia and

forces the viewer to literally think outside the box or the traditional function of art as an object. This performance takes painting and interprets it into a new art form that encompasses theater, sculpture, and dance. I believe that this work serves to produce an awareness of the male gaze, where Schneemann's works "Eye Body" and "Meat Joy" challenges the male gaze by engaging in activity that defies the traditional ideas of femininity.

I find that Eleanor Antin's work Carving: A Traditional Sculpture complicates fundamental ideas in the feminist movement by dieting to transform her body into a more ideal female form. Dara Birnbaum's video installation piece Technology/ Transformation: Wonder Woman is a comical satire on the idea of women's equality. Kathy Akers writings explore the vulnerability and empowerment of the feminist movement. Martha Rosler's work Vital Statistics of a Citizen Simply Obtained takes a clinical approach to the body and raises questions about female body image in society.

Judy Chicago used performance art to channel her anger at society's stereotypes of women into a creative outlet.

In the article there is considerable emphasis on the disproportionate number of men to woman that have been recognized in the art world. The number of women artist acknowledged in galleries, museums, and critical writings of art are minuscule in comparison to how many females are working artist with a higher education. Schneemann states "I was permitted to be an image...but not an image maker creating her own self image." The idea that women are the subject of art intended to be gazed upon and not to produce work themselves embodies what the feminist art movement intended to change.

Does the feminist art movement raise awareness to feminine issues such as the...