Monday, May 3, 2010

In conclusion... again

Since I was working on the blog for two different classes, I've sort of had to forgo a clear theme. But, I have kind of tried to stick to one, this being protest art. The gist of the artists that appeal to me are generally protesting against something. I fell like they all have a strong message to say, so I also view them as protesting. I just wanted to say a few words about each artist and why I chose them:

I first started off with the Guerrilla Girls because I loved that they were so strongly rooted in protest art. They have important messages to get out, and they get them out effectively. They have an interesting way of protesting, with the gorilla masks and taking on the names of dead feminist artists, that I think makes them easily recognizable. This way of protesting will also get people to notice them. How can you ignore people outside picketing in gorilla masks?

I chose to do Cindy Sherman next because she's become one of my new favourite artists. I love that she uses herself as the subject in her photography. Her protest, I think, is that of the stereotyping of women. She does this to herself in her artwork to show people how a woman feels when she's put in that position. If you look at the faces of her girls in her photographs, they usually don't look happy. They look sometimes scared, disgusted, etc. I think she does this especially well in her Cosmo Cover Girl photo. This girl is the exact opposite of any woman you'd see on the cover of Cosmo. I think it says a lot about body image as well. She's protesting about so many things, but she's an artist you have to know this about before you see her work. To some, she may seem to be enforcing the stereotypes rather than protesting them.

Louise Bourgeois is another woman who has fast become one of my new favourite artists.I respect her for working as an artist for as long as she has, especially in the areas of sculpture and instillation. I feel like she's protesting against the male artist who are doing the same work as her, since her areas are male dominated. I also feel like she's protesting against domisticity as well. She rejects the idea that women need to be in the household. I see this especially in her Cell and Womanhouse pieces.

Judy Chicago isn't one of my favourite artists, but I think it's hard to talk about feminist/female artists and not mention her. For me, she's clearly protesting against the view of a woman's body. She wants women to embrace their bodies and feel free to express themselves using their body. She wants everything to be out in the open that is usually kept quiet. She really protested against the traditional views of women artists. Without her, I don't think that there would be nearly as many woman artists today.

K├Ąthe Kollowitz is clearly a protest artist as well. She may not really be a feminist artist, but she is an important female artist. She is using a means of creating her art to get it out to the people quickly to protest what she's seeing around her. By using wood cuts and lithographs as a fast means of production. She did this to raise awareness, just like the Guerrilla Girls are doing now. Instead of protesting for the feminist movement, she was protesting for more humanitarian reasons. She was fighting for the people.

I have to say that Frida Kahlo is one of my all time favourite artists. She has an incredible story that influences her artwork so much. I have also always loved surrealism, so of course I'm going to love Kahlo. I feel as though she's protesting pain. Now, that may seem like a stupid think to protest, but that's the feeling I get from her. I see so much strength through her artwork. She doesn't want to show pain, so she'll paint her pain instead of wear it on her face. I see her as promoting strength to women. She's saying stay strong instead of feeling victimized.

I have briefly mentioned Barbara Kruger here, but I do like her work a lot. Her and Jenny Holzer are the most influential protest artists, I feel. Their styles are so similar, and I think that they work well for the public. Holzer's Truisims are curt and to the point. They're clear as day so the average American can figure out easily what she's trying to say. Kruger's graphic style is eye catching and easily recognizable. Here they are obviously protesting for feminist rights, and really, rights for everyone. They have the sort of style that they can post on any public place for people to see, and I like that about them. Their style really works well in today's society.

I chose to include Hannah Hoch because I love the Dada movement. She was a pioneer in the photomontage area of the Dada movement, and one of the only women in who participated in the movement in Berlin. Her pieces have messages in them, but if they arn't translated, they're harder to understand. But I feel that these messages are still a form of protest. Dada itself was a form of protest against art.

I discovered Sue Williams last semester in Contemporary Art. I love that she uses the illustrator style and sayings in her work. She protests against violence against women. She had a history of domestic violence in her life, so she uses much of her history in her artwork, just like Kahlo. And also like Kahlo, I get a sense of empowerment from her work. I like that she uses her own history and things that have been said to her in her artwork. This way I feel like more women can connect with her and take more away from her work since it's so real.

Finally, I chose Kara Walker because I love the simplicity of her work. Who knew a simple silhouette could have so much power? There is so much representation in those black shapes. Here she is clearly protesting against the stereotypes of black people, most notably black women. Her style is simple and effective. Like Sherman, she uses these stereotypes in her artwork for the viewer to deconstruct. The viewer needs to read into what she is saying exactly in order to get the message.

I have really enjoyed working on this blog. I've discovered some artists who will stick with me for a while and learned more about others. These women are so influential not only to the art world, but also to feminist movement. Feminists need women like this to get their messages out in a creative manner. All of these artists have different ways of doing this. Some target the galleries, while others target the public. I think they really show how all women can be different, but still fight for the same cause. Different ways of going about it, but all with the same goal.
I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to these women who have worked so hard!