Beyond Frida Kahlo
March 1, 2017 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Can You Name 5 Women Artists? The National Museum of Women in the Arts is issuing the challenge. With female artists representing only 3-5% of artists collected by major museums, the campaign highlights ongoing issue of sexism and gender parity in the art world. Follow all month on Instagram, Twitter, and participating museum feeds.
posted by Miko (109 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Most museums collect art from a time when few women were artists. Now of course this no longer the case. In passing I once had the pleasure of meeting Georgia O'Keefe in person in a museum
posted by Postroad at 12:23 PM on March 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Most museums collect art from a time when few women were artists.

That's not really true. There have always been women artists. They were just marginalized.

Also, many museums, including almost all major museums, collect contemporary artists.
posted by Miko at 12:28 PM on March 1, 2017 [46 favorites]

Shit I'm embarrassed now because Georgia O'Keefe was def. the first woman who popped into my head.

Jenny Holzer
Tamara de Lempica
Cindy Sherman
Dorothea Lange
Julia Moore
um if we're not counting architecture Phoebe Gloeckner?
posted by aspersioncast at 12:30 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Camille Claudelle
Mary Cassatt
Helen Frankenthaler

Those are the three women artists which come to my mind immediately.

For each of those three I bet I could number five men, without trying hard...

On preview -- how did I not think of O'Keefe?
On preview 2 -- How did I not think of Tamara de Lempica?
posted by dancestoblue at 12:30 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Laila Carlsen
Stephanie Schmitt
Anne Bachelier
Agnes Martin
Frida Kahlo
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:31 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Collen Doran
Jill Thompason
Frida Kahlo
Käthe Kollwitz
Artemisia gentileschi

Can't name five black female artists off the top of my headthough, damn it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:31 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Links welcome!

^^ 5 Black women artists who I wouldn't know probably except for that they had works exhibited where I worked:

Kara Walker
Mickalene Thomas
Carrie Mae Weems
Lois Mailou Jones
Edmonia Lewis
posted by Miko at 12:35 PM on March 1, 2017 [7 favorites]

Emily Carr and Maud Lewis are two Canadian visual artists I can think of.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 12:36 PM on March 1, 2017

And more embarrassed because I meant Julia Morgan but wish I'd thought of Carrie May Weems and Kara Walker instead (thanks for the links!).
posted by aspersioncast at 12:36 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nina Chanel Abney has her first monograph museum show right now, and it's amazing.
posted by bendybendy at 12:39 PM on March 1, 2017

Jenny Holzer
Barbara Kruger
Tracey Emin
Nan Goldin
Francesca Woodman
Annie Leibovitz
Diane Arbus
Carrie Mae Weems
Ana Mendieta
Vivian Maier
Marina Abromovitch
posted by listen, lady at 12:40 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

Lee Bontecou.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:42 PM on March 1, 2017 [7 favorites]

I mean I definitely have some work to do!

Meredith Monk!
Carolee Schneermann
Sandy Skoglund
posted by listen, lady at 12:43 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Grandma Moses
posted by briank at 12:43 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lorna Simpson
LaToya Ruby Frazier
posted by jeweled accumulation at 12:44 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Judith Leyster, Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Claude Cahun, Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama!
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:44 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Depressed/embarrassed at how difficult this was for me as well, although I guess its slightly better that my first immediate thought was Judy Chicago.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:45 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

/me pats self on back for coming up with Anne Frankenthaler . . . d'oh!
posted by whuppy at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Louise Bourgeois
Kiki Smith
Lee Krasner
Diana Thater
Viviane Sassen

I'll probably think of more, these are just the bigger ones who popped into my head/have seen shows of recently...
posted by jeweled accumulation at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Louise Bourgeois
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:49 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Collen Doran-from my comic book upbringing and yes, I'm thrilled to be including her along with museum artists.

Jill Thompson-another comic book artist, known for the wonderful Scary Godmother

Frida Kahlo-yeah ok, I didn't go beyond Frida, point taken!

Käthe Kollwitz-personal fave, love, love LOVE her prints, she speaks to me deeply about the horrors of war.

Artemisia Gentileschi-Y'all have probably seen her most famous painting, possibly out of its 17th century context, yet loved it, heh. You'll love how I know of her: in art school, a female teacher purposefully co-opted my "17th Century Northern Italian Artists" class and used it to introduce a lot of female artists, whom she admitted might not be technically good, but damnit, she wanted to broaden the scope of western art, so there she was.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hmm, upon reading the article linked in the FPP under "sexism and gender parity in the art world," which asks you to consider why you chose the artists you chose, I realized I picked Yoko Ono and Yayoi Kusama out of a half-formed impulse to pick artists "like me," which would really be much better served by naming Laura Kina. Also Mequitta Ahuja.
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:51 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

So I'm not an art buff (AT ALL) but I could name 5 male painters alone in 10 seconds. I'll try for 5 female w/o reading comments. For me, it's too easy if I use photographers. I'll challenge myself:

Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe, Camille Claudel ... (long pause) ... Marina Abramovic (counts?) ... ... GRANDMA MOSES.

It was a good exercise, and it's a good challenge and campaign.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:51 PM on March 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

@womensart1 is great
posted by jebs at 12:54 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

Jill Thompson-another comic book artist, known for the wonderful Scary Godmother

Jill Thompson is great. Aside from Scary Godmother and (the even better, imo) Magic Trixie, I'm pretty sure she's illustrated some the Adventure Time comics (though I can't find any reference to it ...)

I can name 10 great female book illustrators off the top of my head (I read a LOT of kids books) ... interesting that I wouldn't think of them as "artists" ... again, good campaign. It made me consider stuff.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:57 PM on March 1, 2017

Ana Fajardo (my wife)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:01 PM on March 1, 2017 [14 favorites]

Oh the always amazing and challenging e.kaplan, aka Mefi member louche mustachio. She's always doing stuff, highly recommend following her social stuff!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

wow, dances_with_sneetches, your wife is awesome!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:07 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Natalia Goncharova.

(Very glad to see someone else thought of Ana Mendieta! I'm still pissed about her murder, after over thirty years.)
posted by languagehat at 1:11 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sofonisba Anguissola
Artimisia Gentileschi
Tamara Lempicka
Emily Carr

All of these are "big league" artists everyone should know as well as Pablo Picasso or Leonardo Da Vinci. I spent seven years in art school and still had to google three of their names.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:13 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Berthe Morisot
Sofonisba Anguissola
Lavinia Fontana
Clara Peeters (who recently was the first woman to have a solo exhibition at El Prado)
Angelica Kauffman
Maria Cosway
posted by sukeban at 1:14 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's also a great three part documentary with Amanda Vickery, The Story of Women and Art (part one / part two/ part three)
posted by sukeban at 1:18 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

My husband and I play a game at museums: "how many artworks does it take to find a woman artist?"

Some museums it's the first room and not that many artworks in. But in far too many of the museums we can't even count anymore, but it's been a Lot of rooms.

Which reminds me that I was embarrassingly old when I found out that Joan Miro wasn't a woman, and remarkably disappointed, because I'd been so excited to see "her" in so many museums.
posted by ldthomps at 1:21 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Tara Donovan is f-ing awesome.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:23 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jay DeFeo, who thrived in the male dominated (so what else is new) Beat scene.

Leonora Carrington, surrealist

Laurie Anderson also does visual art and she's invented instruments & techniques. MacArthur Genius grant winner.

Lynn Hershman Leeson, multimedia, film director, former professor at my alma mater (school pride!)

Little surprised that Maya Lin hasn't come up, her memorial is probably the most famous one I know of.

Eleanor Antin, performance and conceptual art

Not famous (bookart generally doesn't get taken too seriously) but a favorite of mine Dorothy Simpson Krause.

Also props to Jenny Holzer.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 1:25 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

First female artist off to top of my head is Maya Lin, but also I went to art school and did my 3D design year-long project on her work, so.
Jenny Holzer was next, just because I quote her quite a bit.

Others* in no order:
Tegan White (illustrator)
Audrey Kawasaki (gesso painting on wood)
Victo Ngai (illustrator)
Nomi Chi (tattoo/illustrator/muralist)
Kate Mccguire (sculpture)
Anna Xiin (illustration)
Yee Soo-Kyung (sculpture)
Beth Cavener (sculpture)
Yayoi Kusama (various-painting, textile, 3D installation, etc. She is my granma I love her)

Some thoughts after making this list:
1)Literally no black or latina women, I need to fix this.
2)Some of these I had to google the names, but I knew them right away. (Oh, yes! The Korean artist who does the beautiful bloated kinstugi-like things. What's her name?) To be fair, I've failed nearly every history class I've ever taken and am terrible with names. I feel like this is close enough to knowing a female artist.
3)I know these artists because they're all current, making work right now, and I follow them on social media etc, so I get updates about them. Which is probably why I remember them (see the above about failing history).
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:27 PM on March 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Doing this in my head, it's definitely harder if I exclude photography and more recent mixed media, plus female artists I personally know but are only starting to show up in shows etc.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:30 PM on March 1, 2017

Also Tina Modotti and Lee Miller, more women surrealists including Meret Oppenheim and Remedios Varos. It seems like the 1930s/1940s were a good time for women artists.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 1:31 PM on March 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

It seems like the 1930s/1940s were a good time for women artists.

posted by sukeban at 1:33 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well of course I had to make a list of every name I could remember, and had to cheat and chase up half-remembered names online because my memory's treacherous at the moment.

One of the most depressing things about this was that out of the first seven names I remembered, four had died in childbirth. Eva Gonzalez, Impressionist, Paula Modersohn Becker, Expressionist, Ida Nettleship, married to Augustus John, can't even find her work online. And Amrita Sher-Gil. And then there is Marie Braquemond, Impressionist, whose husband didn't like her to paint and didn't like Impressionism either, so ... she stopped being an artist.

I'm lucky in that when I first started working in the arts there was a determined effort to unearth the names of women artists who have, of course, been making art since humankind first stood up and grunted. So that rediscovery was something I internalised very early on, with the implication that if you don't know the names of any women or minority of any kind working in a given discipline, do some research and you may find what you are looking for. But always remember, active forgetting, and active denial are part of the forces ranged against any group of people who have to fight to be recognised. As if dying in childbirth weren't disadvantage enough.
posted by glasseyes at 1:41 PM on March 1, 2017 [8 favorites]

This is surprisingly long way down into this thread with no mention of Eva Hesse.
posted by The Bellman at 1:53 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

The artists whose work just owns me are all women:

Leonora Carrington*
Dorothea Tanning
Leonor Fini
Remedios Varo
Unica Zurn

(I have some favorite male and nonbinary artists too, but the folks above have a unique place in my heart and head, from which they shall never, ever be dislodged.)

* Special for other Leonora Carrington fans: The centenary of her birth is coming up in a month and a half, and tons of her stuff is being reprinted! Eeeeeee, I'm totally losing my mind!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:56 PM on March 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

Sokari Douglas Camp.
Lubaina Himid, currently showing at Spike Island in Bristol.

Performance: Teresa Margolles
Nic Green (Nic Green is amazing and I've just seen her in A Cock and Bull Story.)

Ana Mendieta. She is a star and a martyr and it is just such a painful thing.
posted by glasseyes at 1:59 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Please permit me to mention my former classmates Sierra Helvey, America Martin, and Fahren Feingold [FB] -- who has a very cool show up currently.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:05 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Louisa Alcott's beloved sister May, made over into Amy in Little Women, was an artist, and what did she do? Die after childbirth.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:06 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Karen Green!!!!
posted by listen, lady at 2:14 PM on March 1, 2017

Mary Cassatt
Louise Bourgeois
Kara Walker
Vanessa Bell
Dozier Bell (no relation to Vanessa)
posted by virago at 2:21 PM on March 1, 2017

Another from the '30s era - Anni Albers
posted by Miko at 2:28 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

ah good leonora carrington already represented.

so many artists i like already called in here! my brain went back to photography and performance art...

nan goldin / caroline schneeman / karen finley / ...can we talk comic book people? dori seda, if so, and posy simmonds

ofc my favorite female artist is marian parry whose bird heads made me who i am today
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 2:28 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have an art degree, did a long module on one of my classes on women in art history, and when given a choice would often pick women artists to write papers on, so this was an interesting challenge for me because I'm also terrible with names. But I was able to visualize the art of five different women artists :) and then come here to see how their names are spelled.

Being able to see women artists represented in museums is sooo important to young artists and scholars. I actually know the name of Audrey Flack because one of her colorful photorealist works is in our campus museum. That's how I developed an appreciation for Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun as well.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:31 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Eva Hesse
Agnes Martin
Vallie Export
Louise Nevelson
Judy Chicago
Marnie Weber
Hilma af Klimt
Marisa Merz
Nancy Rubens
Vija Celmins
posted by nanook at 2:42 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

OMG I just remembered a bunch of indigenous women artists I've had the luck to learn about:

Jamie Okuma
Roxanne Swentzell
Kay Walkingstick
Judith Lowry
Marie Watt
Maria Martinez
Margaret Tafoya
D. Y. Begay

Not to mention countless Native and non-Native women responsible for the vast bulk of pottery, vessels, decorative painted and transferred wares, and textiles in museum collections and elsewhere, made before anyone thought they deserved credit.
posted by Miko at 2:55 PM on March 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

Oh gosh and Wendy Red Star
posted by Miko at 2:56 PM on March 1, 2017

This is a great thread! It makes me realize that though there are one or two areas of art history where I really know about women artists, my knowledge is very weak elsewhere.

I was thinking also: what about working artists instead of fine artists? Or genre painters? My great aunt was a working artist - she supported herself partially through commercial art and also painted watercolor landscapes, one of which is in the Art Institute of Chicago's giant storage rooms somewhere as an example of regional art. A friend's mother does paintings of regional birds (and some characteristically American birds from elsewhere) and that's how she makes her living.

I think a lot of women artists of the medium-term past may be hiding in "genre" art and illustration categories.
posted by Frowner at 2:59 PM on March 1, 2017 [8 favorites]

20 Important African-American Female Artists of the 20th Century

Where My Girls At? 20 Black Female Artists with Solo Exhibitions on View this Fall (Fall of 2015)

Came across these while looking for Jennie C. Jones (I'm another one who remembers the work but not names!)
posted by jeweled accumulation at 3:02 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

Frowner, you make a really good point.

See this recent editorial: Can Only Rich Kids Afford to Work in the Art World?

(this is close to my heart and something I think of every day, as an "artist" who actually needs to support myself.)

Also this Clickhole article that's been making the rounds on my facebook feed because it hits so close to home for so many of us: The Power Of Love: This Woman Gave Up Her Lifelong Dream Of Being A Painter To Marry Someone Who Thinks Art Is Dumb
posted by jeweled accumulation at 3:08 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Helen Frankentaler, Mary Cassett, Judy Chicago came to mind immediately. Then my mind got stuck for a bit trying to recall Lee Kasner's last name. I had to Google "American painter Lee 20th century." I couldn't remember Christo's wife's name even though I vividly remembered her red hair. (It's Jeanne-Claude. I looked it up.) I had a clear vision of the striking black, white and red work of Barbara Kruger, which I've seen in person, but for the life of me I drew a blank. Thanks listing her.

And then there's the perennial favorite, Anonymous.

More names started to come: Imogen Cunningham, Betye Saar and her daughters, Ruth Asawa. Morisset. Lucia Mathew of Northern California' Arts and Crafts movement the furniture shop. The Gees Bend quilters. The pioneering feminists who started the late, lamented Woman's Building in Los Angeles. But boy oh boy -- strike that! -- girl oh girl, the challenge was harder than I expected.
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 3:08 PM on March 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

I thought of the quilters, too! Also the Newcomb Pottery artists.
posted by listen, lady at 3:15 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

All of the best painting right now is being done by female painters. Women are crushing it in the contemporary painting scene. Take a look at:

Nicole Eisenman
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Gina Beavers
Eleanor Ray
Lois Dodd
Kyle Staver
Chantal Joffe
Alice Neel (deceased but has a great show up in NYC right now)
Katherine Bradford
Josephine Halvorson
Maria Lassnig
Catherine Murphy
Angela Dufresne
Hanneline Rogeberg
Jenn Dierdorf
Brandi Twilley
Amy Bennett
Emily Eveleth
Sara Sohn
Katarnia Janeckova
Elise Ansel
Ann Toebbe
posted by Fair White Frogman at 3:34 PM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

Cheating and showing off because I was teaching 2nd wave feminism. Here are some I showed in class just this week.

Sylvia Sleigh
Barbara Kruger
Judy Chicago
Cindy Sherman
Carolee Scheeman
Martha Rosler
Lynda Bengalis
Marina Abramovic
Mona Hatoum

Coming soon in my class -

Faith Ringgold
Kara Walker
Mickalene Thomas
Rebecca Belmore

Of course the real challenge is if my students could answer with 5! I hope so.
posted by Cuke at 3:34 PM on March 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Sandy Skoglund
Georgia O'Keefe
Barbara Kruger
Jan Groover
Sally Mann
Gail Elwell
Kathleen Powers
Joyce Tennyson
Nan Goldin
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:42 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Following everyone's lead here and just posting five female artists I love because this is the easiest and best game, and most of these artists (except maybe Kawasaki) don't get the recognition they deserve...

D'holbachie Yoko

Tomomi Kobayashi

Aya Kato

Audrey Kawasaki

Atsuko Tsurumi
posted by byanyothername at 3:47 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Neysa McMein
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:02 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, Shoen Uemura, Françoise Gilot, Marie Laurencin were the first 5 that came to my mind. And Camille Claudel, Frieda Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe. But I don't think I could go much further than that.
posted by misozaki at 4:05 PM on March 1, 2017

Back in the early '90's a friend of mine was involved with a fairly big name women's art group in NYC. They staged a protest on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing large pendulous strap-ons and holding signs saying "if I had one of these my art would be in here." Or some such wording. From my own experience, I keep questioning the boys club world of electronic music. Exclusionary is probably the adjective to use...
posted by njohnson23 at 4:14 PM on March 1, 2017

If you want to get into Surrealists and Dadists and their friends here is a self link with about fifty or so all linking to a bit more about them.
Going further back in time there is more scarcity; one of my favourites is the Dutch golden era artist Claara Peeters who used to include minature self portraits in her still lifes.
posted by adamvasco at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


Here is my favorite picture of her as penance. And by the way - I knew about her Japantown fountains, her sculptures that reside in the free part of the de Young next to the elevator up to the observation deck, and of course the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, but I found out JUST NOW while looking for that first image that the mermaid fountain in Ghirardelli Square is also her work. Mind. Blown.
posted by sunset in snow country at 4:29 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. I've always thought it was pretty neat that some of the most famous portraits of Marie Antoinette were drawn by a woman.
posted by misozaki at 4:34 PM on March 1, 2017

So many great artists listed here already, and I'm looking forward to checking out the ones I don't know. A few of my favorites not yet mentioned: photographers Helen Levitt and Berenice Abbott, early abstractionists Sonia Delauney and Sophie Tauber-Arp, Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell, contemporary painter Elizabeth Peyton.
posted by lisa g at 4:36 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ursula Vernon.
The Callot Soeurs, plus also probably some of their craftswomen.
Mrs. Margaret M. Foster, 1843-1936, who I would not know about if not for Gail Marsh's Early 20th Century Embroidery Techniques. Foster took existing styles, worked through the possibilities, overcomplicated them, let them mutate and grow free and break down. Her Wessex work is not unlike Chuck Close in thread.
posted by clew at 4:37 PM on March 1, 2017

Wanda Koop
Mary Pratt
Daphne Odjig
posted by kneecapped at 4:44 PM on March 1, 2017

Why have there been no great women artists? By Linda Nochlin (PDF link)
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 5:19 PM on March 1, 2017

Someone (or more than one) already said the other four I thought of, but--

Bridget Riley.

(And as I was typing--Niki de Saint Phalle).
posted by dlugoczaj at 5:36 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I only saw one other mention of Berthe Morisot. She is a sublime impressionist.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:40 PM on March 1, 2017

And let's not forget, super cool lady Dadaist: Hannah Höch
posted by nanook at 5:51 PM on March 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Like others here, Kollwitz was the first artist to come to mind. Then again, I grew up with this in my dining room.
posted by fifthrider at 6:18 PM on March 1, 2017

Pipillotti Rist
Francesca Woodman
posted by pxe2000 at 6:22 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

The pioneering feminists who started the late, lamented Woman's Building in Los Angeles

Speaking of: phranc

And let's not forget, super cool lady Dadaist: Hannah Höch

Worth repeating.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:31 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

The potters and quilters reminded me too of the Folly Cove Designers
posted by Miko at 6:32 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Greer Lankton. I could have just spent my entire trip to the Mattress Factory museum in Pittsburgh staring at her last installation piece, It's all about me, not you and finding new details.

Couldn't name another trans woman artist off the top of my head though. Now that it's on my mind I think I'll remedy that.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:42 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

A true story from my childhood:

The family was in San Francisco walking along near Union Square when I saw posters advertising an exhibit featuring a brand new-to-me women artist: Joan Miro. I was so excited. "Hey, look! There's a woman artist who is featured in this exhibit! Can we go? Pleeeease?"

My dad told me Joan was actually a guy. I felt so let down. And outraged. My elementary school self knew that it wasn't right for museums to show only men's work. Even now I'm irked at Miro for having such a misleading name.

(Apologies for the typos in my earlier post. I missed the edit window because someone was talking to me.)
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 7:04 PM on March 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Like palmcorder_yajna, the first five to come to mind are all surrealists, With Remedios Varo at the top of the list. I threw in Lempicka since Kahlo was in the headline.

Remedios Varo
Frida Kahlo
Dorothea Tanning
Meret Openheim
Leonora Carrington
Tara Lipinsky

(Edit: had a brain fart, I meant Tamara de Lempicka)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:26 PM on March 1, 2017

A couple of Chinese ones - Pan Yuliang , He Xiangning, and Guan Daosheng all the way back from the Yuan Dynasty.

Do illustrators count? Because I really want to name Virginia Frances Sterrett.
posted by em at 8:12 PM on March 1, 2017

Jenny Holzer
Louise Bourgeois
Guerilla Girls (does that count?)
Yoko Ono
Grandma Moses
Cindy Sherman
posted by unknowncommand at 8:15 PM on March 1, 2017

I could conjure up few names but definitely could conjure up images when confronted with this question today! The first images were Carrie Mae Weems's. Then Mary Cassat's. Then Kara Walker's. Then the names came - big ones like Georgia O'Keefe, Kahlo, Cindy Sherman, Yoko Ono, Barbara Kruger. Then Johanna Went! Why the images before the names?
posted by goofyfoot at 8:32 PM on March 1, 2017

Ruth Duckworth
Kwang Jean Park
Joanne Mattera
Graceann Warn
Indira Johnson
Could keep going all evening ....but have a BFA and am a working fine artist myself so...
posted by leslies at 9:00 PM on March 1, 2017

I cannot wait to look all these fabulous folks up! I've got a big project due on Monday, so I have to restrain myself until it's done, but I'm giddy with anticipation. Giddy, I tell you!

But meanwhile, I do have a few more artists to our rapidly-growing and awesome list:

Judy Baca
Catherine Opie
Miriam Schapiro
Claire Cowie
Kay Sage
Minjeong An
Suad Al-Attar
Noche Crist
Maria Primachenko
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:24 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


I see that we've got Francesca Woodman already, but let's not forget that her mother, Betty Woodman, is a badass too.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:29 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're not familiar with Anne Noggle, she's definitely worth a look. She led an interesting life and had her first photography show in her forties. Some of her work tackles ageism and attitudes toward the sexuality of older women.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:47 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

gego, bernice abbot, alice neel, yoko ono, faith rhingold. right off the top of my head.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:54 PM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

No mention of Janet Fish yet.
A painter's painter.
posted by artdrectr at 1:18 AM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Bev Doolittle

If you're including sculpture, Bathsheba.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 1:24 AM on March 2, 2017

Nina Paley
Marjane Satrapi
Tove Jansson
Ulli Lust
Barbara Yelin
Rutu Modan
Julia Wertz
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 5:08 AM on March 2, 2017

I do not see one of my absolute favourites mentioned: Joan Eardley. Eardley's life was cut short by cancer, but she left behind a truly astounding body of work. This painting - Two Kids - is on show at my local art museum and it hits you like a tonne of bricks every time you see it.

I'm really fond of Norah Neilson Gray - the painting Mother & Child shown in my link - is super-interesting in its graphic details when you see it up close. The figures retreat and the yellow is almost overwhelming.

Other favourites:
Broncia Koller-Pinnel
Karin Larsson
Barbara Kruger
posted by kariebookish at 5:21 AM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Rosa Bonheur
Angelika Kauffmann
Elisabeth Vigeé Le Brun
Mary Cassatt
Artemisia Gentileschi
posted by Princess Leopoldine Grassalkovich nee Esterhazy at 6:03 AM on March 2, 2017

Margaret Keane... Should have been an obvious one with the portrayal of her life in Big Eyes recently.
posted by e1c at 6:35 AM on March 2, 2017

I'm lucky to actually know and be friends with at least 5 women artists...
Erika Wanenmacher
Eve Laramee
Iva O'Connor
Shilo Jenz
C.K. Baker
posted by judson at 6:39 AM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

> Back in the early '90's a friend of mine was involved with a fairly big name women's art group in NYC. They staged a protest on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing large pendulous strap-ons and holding signs saying "if I had one of these my art would be in here."

Which reminds me: Guerrilla Girls!
posted by languagehat at 7:41 AM on March 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm lucky to actually know and be friends with at least 5 women artists...

Oh, please let me add one of my BFFs, Ana Fernandez.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:57 AM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is wonderful, if you ever have the chance to visit. When I was there, I first took sneaky photos of the information cards next to pieces I really liked, until I read that the museum welcomes people to take flash-free photos and share them online. My photos aren't great, so I'll post links to my picks from my visit:

- Alice Bailly, Self-Portrait, 1917
- Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Portrait of Princess Belozersky, 1798
- Loïs Mailou Jones, Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1949
- Remedios Varo, La llamada (The Call), 1961
- Janaina Tschäpe, 100 Little Deaths, 1996-2002 (NMWA blog)
- Marguerite Gérard, Prelude to a Concert, ca. 1810
- Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of a Woman (Presumed Portrait of the Marquise de Lafayette), 1793–94
- Cecilia Beaux, Ethel Page (Mrs. James Large), 1884
- Kiki Kogelnik, Superwoman, 1973
- Sharon Core, Single Rose, 1997 -paired with-
- Clara Peeters, A still life of lilies, roses, iris, pansies, columbine, love-in-a-mist, larkspur and other flowers in a glass vase on a table top, flanked by a rose and a carnation, ca. 1610
- Rachel Ruysch, Roses, Convolvulus, Poppies and Other Flowers in an Urn on a Stone Ledge, ca. 1680s
- Julie Roberts, Father of Evolution: The Old Study of Charles Darwin, 1998
- Sarah Morris, Kennedy Center (Capital), 2001 [same style as Holiday Inn (Capitol), in the linked article]
- Louise Nevelson, White Column (from Dawn’s Wedding Feast), 1959
- Chakaia Booker, Acid Rain, 2001
- Judy Chicago, Pasadena Lifesavers Red #5, 1970
- Janet Forrester Ngala, Milky Way Dreaming, 1998 (similar painting with the same title)

I'll stop for now, with one final link to another (retired) NMWA web feature: Clara, a database of women artists. This database includes some artists, such as Sarah Morris, who aren't yet featured on the current NMWA website, which is how I stumbled across it in the first place.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Barbara Hepworth hasn't had a look-in here so far
posted by marvin at 1:12 PM on March 2, 2017

I keep thinking about this woman I went to undergrad with.

We worked together at the visual resource library in the School of Fine Arts at UC Irvine in the early 90s. Her name was Yedhira (I think that's spelled right), and she was a powerhouse of a ceramicist. I remember her stuff having this goofy-but-insistent edge of body horror to it: She was kind of like a more abstract and more technically-engaged Dori Seda, though I wouldn't have known enough to make the comparison then. And as individual objects, her pieces had a wondrous and tangible magnetism. There was something about them that made you want to pick them up and feel them, stick your fingers in them, and then slip them into your pocket and take them home.

The body horror and genital imagery in her work (which she owned, 100%-- it was not an unconscious subtext) was kind of stunning, coming from her, because outside the studio she was a bluntly sunny, earnest, and disarmingly wholesome human being. She also had an incredible work ethic. She was always on time, she was always on-task, her grades, if I recall correctly, were stellar, and unlike my other literary and artsy undergrad friends, she seemed absolutely unhindered by self-doubt, indecision, or any of the other creative befuddlements that the rest of us allowed to plague our lives.

Plus, everyone liked her. You couldn't help it: She had this raw, genuine, and forceful pleasantness about her that could not be denied, and could not be resisted. Your only choices were to accept it graciously and allow yourself to experience the ensuing dose of contact-cheer, or to just sort of bend in the direction of its momentum. Yedhira's niceness was like a gale-strength wind: If you stood against it, it could, and would, knock you right on your ass.

So I always figured that Yedhira would take over the globe: That in thirty years, Yedhira's unique vocabulary of shapes, colors, and textures would find their way into homes and businesses all over the commercialized world. We'd eat meals by the light of botanical-yet-meaty, Yedhira-designed labia-lamps; we'd get to our silverware by tugging on colorful and titilatingly bumpy, Yedhira-inspired, triple-crypto-penis drawer pulls; and in the courtyards of banks and law firms, blobby-yet-graceful twists of original, Yedhira-cast concrete would gush out arcs of water from a thousand gently torqued, bronze nipples, cutting misty rainbows from shafts of summer sun.

And frankly, I was looking forward to it. Because maybe if we were spending our everyday lives seeing and handling representations of the fleshy, knobby, ripply, curvy, protruberent, blobby, and uneven reality of human corporeal being; and maybe if we got to experience those things, regularly and publicly, as being pretty, funny, loveable, and good to touch, the way Yedhira seemed to experience them, then maybe it would help us to be more accepting and kinder to ourselves, and to thereby become kinder and more accepting of others. Maybe a few more of us might even develop the ability to summon up some of that gale-force cheer.

I know that Yedhira was planning to get married as soon as she graduated. Her fiance was religious, and she was converting for him, but she said that he knew all about her vision and her ambitions; that he'd seen all her work; and that he was totally on board with everything. I also seem to recall that both of them wanted lots of kids, and I while I do know what that, historically, has tended to do to women's artistic careers, I always figured that things would work out differently for Yedhira, because whatever offspring that woman had would have no choice but to form up into an efficient, joyful, bright-eyed squadron of studio assistants. They'd triumphantly wheel their home-built Raku kiln into class for third grade show-and-tell; their dolls and pets would all have vast collections of beautiful-but-wholly-impractical, homemade lusterware accessories; and on weekday mornings, they would all whine to Yedhira that of course there was time to mix just one more batch of cobalt glaze before the schoolbus came.

But whatever happened to Yedhira, it wasn't most of that, because I can't find her or her work anywhere. I go looking for her online at least a few times a year. (It doesn't help that I don't know her married name.) I want to know where she is, and what she's doing, and whether there's any chance that I can commission some art from her. My house, and my world, need to have her work in them, where I can see it, and touch it, and stick my fingers in it.

Without that, things seem very wrong.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:22 PM on March 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

The first five that come to mind before actually reading the linked articles (not necessarily my five favorites):

Eva Hesse
Agnes Martin
Valie Export
Helen Frankenthaler
Dorothea Lange
posted by klausness at 1:15 PM on March 3, 2017

Florine Stettheimer
Rachel Whiteread
Sarah Lucas
Natalie Frank (her website)
Sophie Calle (Oulipo art!)
Nancy Graves

Great thread; I hope people are still adding to it when it closes.
posted by languagehat at 2:55 PM on March 3, 2017

Some more Russians:

Tatyana Apraksina
Irina Baldina
Marie Bashkirtseff (dead at 25)
Katerina Belkina
Aleksandra Ekster
Elena Guro (also a writer)
Sofia Kuvshinnikova (knew Chekhov, who wrote a story based on her)
Vera Mukhina (famous for Worker and Kolkhoz Woman)
Yelena Polenova (gorgeous children's book illustrations)
Lyubov Popova
Olga Rozanova
Antonina Rzhevskaya
Marianne von Werefkin ("Her progress was dealt a setback by a hunting accident in 1888 in which she accidentally shot her right hand")
posted by languagehat at 3:23 PM on March 3, 2017

And since the theme is the invisibility of women artists, I was surprised to discover Agnes Martin just a few years ago. I thought I was pretty familiar with the major figures in minimalism and abstract expressionism, but I had somehow never run into Martin's work until recently.
posted by klausness at 4:16 PM on March 3, 2017

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