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Applebroog, Ida  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 1929, in New York.

Painter, draughtswoman. Artists’ books.

Pop Art, Identity Art (Feminist Art).

Ida Applebroog studied at the New York Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lived briefly in California, teaching at the University of California, San Diego, and exhibiting her sculptures locally (as Ida Horowitz). After moving to New York in ...


Chicago, Judy  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 30 July 1939, in Chicago.

Painter, sculptor, installation artist.

Identity Art (Feminist Art).

Judy Chicago studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a BFA in 1962, and at the University of California in Los Angeles, earning an MFA in 1964. She pioneered feminist art in the USA, taking for herself the surname of Chicago as a protest against patriarchal naming practices. She set up the first feminist art programme at Fresno State College in 1970. She also worked in collaboration with Miriam Schapiro. A graduate of the University of California, she lives and works in Belen (New Mexico). She teaches in American universities, and has received many distinctions and awards. Her main themes are feminism and sexuality. She first and foremost sought to bring about in her paintings a specifically 'feminine' artistic vision. Her well-known installation ...


Edelson, Mary Beth  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 1933, in East Chicago, Indiana.

Performance artist, painter, photographer, feminist activist.

WAC (Women’s Action Coalition).

Mary Beth Edelson is a pioneer feminist art practitioner and a socially engaged artist. Along with Carolee Schneeman, Judy Chicago, and Rachel Rosenthal, Edelson is categorised as a ‘first-generation feminist artist’. Art is the conduit of her political convictions. A prolific artist and author, Edelson is known for ritual performative and participatory works, large-scale collage installations and boxed assemblage, murals, photography, sculpture, drawing, and printing.

Edelson attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and graduated in 1955. A defining moment in the artist’s early career occurred during the senior-year student exhibition when faculty members removed her paintings from the show on the grounds that the works were deemed ‘degrading…to ministers and small children [sic]’. As a campus-wide protest grew so did the artist’s conviction to challenge traditional ideas of conventionality and authority....


Jürgenssen, Birgit  

Austrian, 20th century, female.

Born 10 April 1949, in Vienna; died 25 September 2003, in Vienna.

Photographer, painter, graphic artist, curator, teacher.

Feminist, body art, portraiture.

Exposed to art by her parents at a young age, Birgit Jürgenssen sketched modern paintings in her notebooks as a child, recalling later: ‘The way I remember it, I started to draw stories at the age of 8 or 9 … Among my parent’s circle of friends were a few artists and lebenskuenstler. The stories they would tell us about them, about the big Picasso exhibition back then in Paris and a Paul Klee book at home, aroused my curiosity so I tried to draw after absolutely everything I liked thematically.’ After secondary school, Jürgenssen travelled to France where she immersed herself in French literature and theatre, devouring the work of Anton Artaud and the Surrealists. In 1968, she enrolled in the University of Applied Arts in Vienna where she studied graphics with Professor Franz Herberth. Upon graduation in ...


Piper, Adrian Margaret  

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 20 September 1948, in New York.

Draughtswoman, performance artist, installation artist, collage artist.

Conceptual Art, Identity Art (Feminist Art).

Adrian Margaret Piper was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1966. In 1970 she enrolled at the City College, New York, and was awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy at Harvard in ...


Spero, Nancy  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 24 August 1926, in Cleveland.

Painter, draughtsman, collage artist, installation artist. Figures.

Identity Art (Feminist Art).

During the 1950s, Nancy Spero was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she met the painter Leon Golub, whom she later married. In ...


Stevens, May  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 9 June 1924, in Boston.

Painter. Contemporary art, feminism, political art, civil rights. Figures, people, historical subjects, current events.

May Stevens studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1946 and the Art Students League in New York in 1948. She met the artist Rudolf Baranik at the Art Students League and they were married, had a son, and lived together until Baranik’s death in 1998. The couple also shared a studio in New York until 1997 and then relocated to New Mexico in 1998. Shortly after their marriage, Baranik and Stevens went to Paris and Stevens studied at the Academie Julian. In 1960, Stevens earned her Master of Fine Arts equivalency from the New York Department of Education and taught secondary education to support herself and her family while also maintaining her painting career. Stevens also taught part-time at The School of Visual Arts in New York from ...


Tompkins, Betty  

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1945, in Washington, DC.


Feminism, photorealism.

Betty Tompkins grew up in Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Syracuse University in New York and her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Washington State College in Ellensburg, Washington. Tompkins lives and works in New York and Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Heralded as a photorealist painter, Tompkins began her infamous career just after graduate school with the series of works titled Fuck Paintings from 1969 through 1974. In the series, Tompkins sourced imagery from her then-husband’s collection of black-and-white vintage pornography mail ordered from Canada because it was illegal to mail in the United States. The painstakingly airbrushed, photorealist phalluses, vaginas, tongues, and fingers retain their shock value even today. Censored in Paris in 1973 and impounded in Tokyo as pornography in 2005, Tompkins’s paintings provoked ire on all sides, from first-wave feminists who decried their depictions of heteronormative intercourse essentialist and exploitative of the female sex workers who posed for the photos, to conservative viewers who despaired of what they defined as blatant pornography displayed in public....


Vandrey, Léna  

Polish, 20th century, female.

Born 23 April 1941, in Wroclaw.

Painter, sculptor, mixed media, poet.

Art Brut.

Léna Vandrey settled in Provence in 1958, having lived since the end of World War II in Germany. She was part of the feminist movement and her work is, by her own admission, 'intended to imbue women with a sense of their own history'....


Wilke, Hannah  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 7 March 1940, in Butler (New York); died 28 January 1993, in Houston, of cancer.

Sculptor (mixed media), photographer, painter, installation artist, performance artist.

Feminist Art.

Hannah Wilke studied at Tyler School of Fine Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, obtaining a bachelor of science and a bachelor of fine arts degree in ...