Disrupting the Narrative
"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” - Gloria Steinem
How were artists identifying as women included/excluded from art history? What prompted artists to begin to use the experience of gender as a catalyst for making art? How were works considering gender received in the 1970s?
Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, Judith Setting, 1974 - 1979.











Feminists protest 1968 Miss America Pageant











Key events that launched the Feminist art movement

Whitney Protestors

1969 Whitney Annual (now a biennial) included 8 women out of 143 artists
1970 Survey reveals that 50% of practicing American artists are women while only 18% of New York's commercial galleries show the work of women artists
Judy Chicago founds the first feminist studio art course at Fresno State University
Los Angeles Council of Women Artists protested exclusion of women artists in LACMA show Art and Technology
1971 Feminist Art Program at California Institute of the Arts
Linda Nochlin's "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists" published
1972 LACMA exhibit - Four Los Angeles Artists presents the work of four women
Womanhouse - first feminist exhibition
Congress passes Equal Rights Amendment; by 1982 had only been ratified by 35 states (three short); has been reintroduced into every session of Congress since
Ann Arien & Lucy Lippard protesting in front of the Whitney Museum of Art, September 1970, demanding 50% representation of women and non-white artists in the Whitney Annual, 1970.
1973 Supreme Court legalizes abortion, Roe v. Wade
US withdraws troops from Vietnam
Oil crisis
1974 President Nixon resigns in aftermath of Watergate scandal
1975 Franco dies and Democracy returns to Spain
1976 LACMA exhibit - Women Artists: 1550 - 1950
1978 First "test tube baby" born in U.K.











A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1967-1971.
"Artists protest at the opening of the 1981 "Art in Los Angeles: Seventeen Artists in the Sixties" exhibition at LACMA. Upset by its focus on white male artists associated with the Ferus Gallery scene, about 100 local artists showed up in masks bearing the face of the exhibition's curator, Maurice Tuchman, and calling for his resignation. Christopher Knight wrote, 'After a decade of neglect of contemporary art in general and L.A. art in particular, for LACMA to re-emerge into the field with an exhibition of artists whose rise to prominence was benignly assisted by common racist and sexist attitudes (especially when racism and sexism were highly visible concerns of the Los Angeles art community in the intervening decade) serves to reopen old wounds rather than celebrate an artistic heritage.' (Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, August 19, 1981)." – Catherine Wagley in East of Borneo











Sylvia Sleigh, The Turkish Bath, 1973.










Betye Saar, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972.











Linda Nochlin and Daisy

Concerns of Second Wave Feminism:
  • Gain full social and economic equality
  • Reveal and question society's definition of women's roles
  • Use collaboration to undermined the authority of patriarchy
  • Examine the natural processes of the body that have
    long been disregarded by western culture
  • To express (finally) the woman's identity
  • "The personal is political"
Alice Neel, Linda Nochlin and Daisy, 1973.











*Cut Piece

First version for single performer:

Performer sits on stage with a pair of scissors in front of him. It is announced that members of the audience may come on stage one at a time to cut a small piece of the performer's clothing to take with them.

Performer remains motionless throughout the piece. Piece ends at the performer's option.

Second version for audience: It is announced that members of the audience may cut each others clothing.

* The audience may cut as long as they wish





















“I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.” - Marina Abramovic
Abramovic recalls the performance
Marina Abramovic, Rhythm 0, 1974.











Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Relation Work, 1979.
Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Rest/Energy, 1980.