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Antoni, Janine  

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 19 January 1964, in Freeport, Bahamas.

Sculptor, performance artist, installation artist, photographer.

Feminism.

Janine Antoni studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986, and the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a master's degree in sculpture in ...

Article

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....

Article

Fusco, Coco  

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 18 June 1960, in New York City.

Performance artist, writer, art historian, curator. Multimedia, video, film, Internet art. Multiculturalism, feminism.

Coco Fusco studied semiotics at Brown University (1982) and received a MA in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University (...

Article

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 ...

Article

Minter, Marilyn  

Monica Majoli

(b Shreveport, LA, 1948).

American painter, photographer, and video artist. Minter received her MFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, in 1972. She produced a series of paintings from the late 1970s that mined the banal quotidian in virtuosic, conceptually driven photorealistic oil paintings featuring affectless expanses of grey linoleum floor as a backdrop for plywood, aluminium foil, and coffee stains in nearly abstract compositions. By 1989 Minter began using her signature imagery of the female body severely cropped, often for erotic effect, either using hardcore pornography as source material or eliciting references to pornographic imagery as a subtext in self-staged photographic shoots. A master of surface and illusion, Minter’s enamel paintings on aluminum belie their photographic source material, created at first hand by Minter and reconfigured in Photoshop from as many as 20 or 30 darkroom negatives. Idiosyncratically, the final layer of sticky enamel paint is finessed by fingertip to obscure brush marks—the fingerprints are revealed on close observation. Insisting on the triumph of the body over its image in this overt indexical trace, Minter restated the tactile nature of painting itself just as she used photography to capture her subject and shock her spectator. The Baroque period is cited as a historical precursor of Minter’s oeuvre, revelling as it does in passion over rationality, shimmering, gilded excess, and monumental compositional undulations reminiscent of flesh itself and its urges. Like painters of the 17th century, Minter also employed a studio of artists who assisted her in creating all facets of her production, a system of making she employed from ...

Article

Partum, Ewa  

Polish, 20th century, female.

Born 1945, in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland.

Feminist activist, photographer, filmmaker.

Performing art, mail art.

Ewa Partum, a pioneer of the feminist discourse under Poland’s communist regime, studied at the State Higher School of Fine Arts, Łódź, and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. It was at the Academy that the artist grew disillusioned with the limitations of paint as a medium. During this period, she acquired a keen interest in linguistics and poetry as art. Subsequently, Partum pursued a life-long quest to develop an alternative artistic language. The artist’s primary tools of artistic expression are performance, filmmaking, and text.

Partum’s most celebrated work Active Poetry (1971), a linguistic action meta-poetry film, was inspired by the text of Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) and public sign typeface used under the Polish communist regime. The performative concept of the work is a form of planned coincidence installation where text from the novel is deconstructed. Letters from words culled from the text are cut out and rendered in a font associated with political oppression. Once liberated from the author’s initial intent, the mound of letters is scattered to the wind in nature. A participatory exercise, the letters are meant to be picked up at random and recontextualised in new words and sentences. In these instances, the artist not only offers her work to the audience but invites them to participate. Throughout the course of her career, the artist has returned to and developed the theme of meta-poetry to question political, institutional, and patriarchal oppression....

Article

Schneemann, Carolee  

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 12 October 1939, in Fox Chase (Pennsylvania); died 6 March 2019, in New Paltz (New York).

Performance artist, assemblage artist, installation artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Feminist Art, Body Art.

Carolee Schneemann received a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, and an MFA from the University of Illinois. She also studied at Columbia University School of Painting and Sculpture, New York; the New School for Social Research, New York; and Universidad de Puebla, Mexico. She taught at the University of Illinois (1961–1962); Dartington College, Totnes, Devon (1972); the Art Institute of Chicago; the Universities of Colorado, Ohio, and California; and the Pratt Institute, New York. Schneemann was artist in residence at Colby College, Waterville, Maine (1968). She was founder-director of Kinetic Theater movement and design workshops in New York (1963–1968), and was a founder member of International-Local Group, New York (...

Article

Sherman, Cindy  

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 19 January 1954 , in Glen Ridge (New Jersey).

Photographer, filmmaker. Figures, portraits.

Neo-Conceptual Art, Appropriation Art (Simulationism), Identity Art (Feminist Art).

In 1972, Cindy Sherman enrolled at the State University of New York at Buffalo, first focusing on painting before discovering the expressive potential in photography. While in college, Sherman began to formulate characters. At first a personal exploration of identity, the characters became the basis of her photographic art. Sherman’s early works were influenced by conceptual and performance artists such as Lynda Benglis and Vito Acconci. To create her photographs, Sherman works alone, acting as model, makeup artist, costume designer, and photographer. Her characters are often suggested to the artist through experimentation with costume, props, and prosthetics that alter and even distort her appearance.

Sherman moved to New York City in 1977 and began work on her first major series. Known as Untitled Film Stills...

Article

Spence, Jo  

British, 20th century, female.

Born 1934, in London; died 1992, in London.

Photographer, activist, educator.

Jo Spence left school at the age of 13 and enrolled in secretarial college. It was her secretarial position at the small commercial photographers Photo Coverage that first ignited her passion for the medium. Spence subsequently completed a training course at Kodak and gained experience through a number of support roles for photographers including Walter Curtin. From humble beginnings she became a highly vocal, radical, and influential figure in photography. Throughout her life Spence was also active as a writer, activist, and educator and preferred to be known as a ‘cultural sniper’. Throughout her career Spence made contributions to a huge range of genres and inspired other artists to rethink the portrayal of sexuality, family, and class through the photographic image.

In 1967, Spence opened her own photographic portrait studio in Hampstead specializing in weddings and family portraits and creating portfolios for professional use. In the early 1970s, Spence became involved with the Children’s Rights Workshop, through which she began to challenge the conventions associated with photographing children in domestic photography. During this time she met photographer Terry Dennett who would become her partner and a long-term collaborator. Together they documented marginalized communities such as the Traveller community living under the Westway Bridge in west London....

Article

Trinh T. Minh-Ha  

Vietnamese, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1952, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Film-maker, writer, composer. Feminism, race, post-colonialism, diaspora.

Trinh T. Minh-ha studied piano and music composition at the National Conservatory of Music and Theater in Saigon and comparative literature at the University of Saigon before migrating to the United States in 1970. She took up further studies in music composition, ethno-musicology, and French literature at the University of Illinois, where she received her M.F.A.s and Ph.D. She also studied at the Wilmington College in Ohio and at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). From 1977 to 1981, she did ethnographic field research in West Africa that led to her first film, Reassemblage, which was shot in Senegal. She has written a number of books, including the seminal Woman, Native, Other in 1989, as well as collaborated with the architect Jean-Paul Bourdier on two books, African Spaces: Designs for Living in Upper Volta...

Article

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 ...