"Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?"

After a couple of months of interviews and trying to wrap my head around the question of why there were no expensive women artists, I read Linda Nochlin's seminal 1972 essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" It was tremendously prescient and helpful; many of the explanations people had given me for why women's art wasn't, in fact, undervalued--or why it shouldn't be selling for more--were identical to the rationales Nochlin laid out--and then demolished--thirty years ago.

When I spoke with Prof. Nochlin, she was much more optimistic, though; from where she sees it, in the art history world--she's a professor at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts, and is co-curating an upcoming show of feminist art at the Brooklyn Museum with Maura Reilly--things have improved dramatically since she wrote "WHTBNGWA?" The number women making and showing art have increased; curators and critics and historians are paying them equal (or requisite) attention; and she never hears her current crops of students qualify a work based on the artist's gender, now it's really about the work.

So you've come a long way, baby, I guess.

"Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" by Linda Nochlin

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: May 4, 2005.

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