It’s the end of 2019 and women still struggle to feel truly equal with men in society. Of course, this depends hugely on the country you live it, your upbringing, your level of income and the worldview that you have, but the question of women and their place in society still remains relevant. But maybe some things have changed. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and take a look at some famous feminist artworks created in the 70s and 80s and see if they still remain relevant in 2019. Spoilers alert – they might.
1. Some Living Women Artists/Last Supper by Mary Beth Edelson
Mary Beth Edelson took the classic Last Supper painting and created a collage, in which she replaced the heads of men with those of women. And not just any woman, but female artists. For example in the middle of the college instead of Jesus we see Georgia O’Keeffe, who is a famous artist known as the mother of American modernism.
2. Semiotics of the Kitchen by Martha Rosler
Semiotics of the Kitchen is a 6-minute video created by Martha Rosler in 1975. In the video, Martha is standing behind a table with lots of kitchen appliances on it. She picks each appliance up and demonstrates how it’s supposed to be used in a rather frank and sometimes violent manner. Martha specifically chose handheld appliances so that they could be seen as extensions of a woman’s hand and herself. She also chose to make a video so that it would be shown on a monitor, a small box, symbolizing a box that women are put in, in the context of societal norms.
3. The Picnic at Giverny by Faith Ringgold
The picnic at Giverny deserves a special place in the world of feminist art because the whole idea was to flip the roles and show that women are much more than just someone to stand behind a good man.
4. The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago
The Dinner Party is probably one of the most well known feminist artworks in the world and it’s still relevant and popular to this day even though it was created in the 70s. It’s a mixed media installation that consists of a triangle made of big tables set for a banquet. The tables are set for 39 famous women (real and fictional/mythical), each celebrating their achievements. On each plate there’s sculpture raising from it, that looks like something in between a flower and a butterfly, each different and unique.
5. Do women have to be naked… ? by Guerrilla Girls
Guerrilla Girls is an anonymous feminist group of activists who aren’t afraid to ask the important questions. They do installations, incredible visual performances, and aren’t above using humour to get their message across. One of the injustices they’ve noticed back in the 80s was the lack of female representation in art, media and Hollywood. And if they are seen in museums or movies, it’s predominantly in the nude. So the question is – do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?
6. Untitled (I shop therefore I am) by Barbara Kruger
This feminist work of art was created in the late 80s and is meant to show how media sees women. Most of the advertisements geared towards women were made by men and the general assumption was that all women want is to shop and acquire materialistic goods and that’s what makes us happy.
7. S.O.S. — Starification Object Series by Hannah Wilke
Hannah Wilke created a series of self-portraits in which she posed topless with pieces of chewing gum shaped to look like female genitals stuck to her face and body. The reason she chose chewing gum was because in her mind it was the perfect medium to represent how women are treated in society – something to be chewed up, thrown out and easily replaced.