Reclaiming the Gaze
Betty Friedan is credited with igniting the Second Wave of Feminism in 1963 with her bestselling book, The Feminine Mystique. In it, she articulated the loss of identity experienced by many women who were traditionally only valued in their roles as nurtures of home and children. Friedan called for women to throw out their pots and pans in favor of fulfilling careers in the public realm in order to create their own identities and sense of worth - and many women met the challenge.
The Feminine Mystique 50 Years Later












Abstract Expressionism = term used to describe a wide variety of work produced in New York between 1940 and 1960
  • As the name suggests, the style combines two important strains of modern art:
  • Abstraction - emphasized a non-representational, formalist approach to the picture plane
  • Expressionism - sought emotional responses from both the artist and the viewer
Formalism = the concept that a work's artistic value is entirely determined by its form - the way it is made, its purely visual aspects and its medium.  Formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape and texture rather than realism, context and content.
Lee Krasner, Cornucopia, 1958.











The Abstract Expressionists worked intuitively
City Landscape
automatism = technique whereby the usual intellectual control of the artist over the brush is foregone.  The artist's aim is to allow the subconscious to create the artwork without rational reference.
  • Resulting in highly personal marks generated by the subconscious
  • As if the artist were delving deeply into their psyche and spilling their inner beings onto the canvas

Joan Mitchell, City Landscape, 1955.











Images Surfacing


Highest praise given to Krasner by Hofmann: "this painting is so good you'd never know it was done by a woman."
Image Surfacing sold at auction in 2004 for $153,000
In 2006, a work by Pollock from the same period was purchased privately for $140 million, making it the most expensive work of art at the time
Lee Krasner, Image Surfacing, c. 1945.
Hans Hofmann, Bachanale, 1946.











Life Magasin 8/8/1949

“The problem with Abstract Expressionism, then and now, is that it had been perceived as a peculiarly male phenomenon.  The standard image of the Abstract Expressionist painter – exemplified by Jackson Pollock – is a hard-drinking, chain-smoking, angst-ridden man hanging out with his cronies at the Cedar Bar or savagely flinging paint at an enormous canvas.” - Nancy  Heller
August 8, 1949 issue of Life Magazine











Pollock and Krasner in the studio

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in the studio, 1949.











Lee Krasner, Shattered Color, 1947.
Lee Krasner, Birth, 1956.











Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957. 7 3/4' X 17'.











Mountains and Sea

Helen Frankenthaler, Mountains and Sea, 1952. 7' 2" X 9' 8".











Krasner, Pollock, Greenberg & Frankenthaler

Pollock, Greenberg, unidentified boy, Frankenthaler & Krasner
Helen Frankenthaler was the "Only woman painter of the period who has
consistently dismissed gender as an issue." - Whitney Chadwick











Hudson River Landscape
Looking North
David Smith, Hudson River Landscape, 1951.
Dorothy Dehner, Looking North, 1964.











Woman I


Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1950-1952.
Elaine De Kooning, John F. Kennedy, 1963.


"Elaine de Kooning's comparatively meager institutional recognition as an artist can be attributed to her conscious flouting of the AbEx framework. External factors like her marriage to Willem de Kooning and her role as an Art News critic exacerbated the lack of recognition as an artist, and her adherence to portraiture certainly entailed artistic isolation at that time. From today's point of view, her series of sitting, faceless men seems particularly successful in that it shows the tension between recognition and misrecognition of those portrayed: The more she attempted to represent her male sitters, the more "empty" their faces became. For Willem de Kooning, though, portraits were nothing more than 'pictures that girls made.'" - June Underwood










A Bar at the Folies-Bergere
Margaret Evans Pregnant
Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1881 - 1882.
Alice Neel, Margaret Evans Pregnant, 1978.
T.I., Whatever You Like, 2008.












Pregnant Maria

Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863.
Alice Neel, Pregnant Woman, 1971.











Alice Neel, Nude Self-Portrait, 1980.











Linda Nochlin and Daisy

"The place where I had freedom most was when I painted. I was completely and utterly myself." - Alice Neel


Alice Neel, Linda Nochlin and Daisy, 1973.











Shooting Picture

De Saint Phalle making a shooting painting

Niki de Saint Phalle, Shooting Picture, 1961.
Niki de Saint Phalle creating a shooting picture












Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Utvedt, Hon, 1966.











Rob Zombie's appropriation of de Saint Phalle's Hon, 2013.











The Empress
Niki de Saint Phalle, Nana, c. 1965.
Niki de Saint Phalle, The Empress from the Tarot Garden, 1978 - 1998.











Yayoi Kusama, Anatomic Explosion, Wall Street, 1968.











Silver Shoes

Yayoi Kusama, Silver Shoes, 1976.











Infinity Mirror

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror, 1965.


"If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago." - Yayoi Kusama










Yayoi Kusama: Self Obliteration on











Vacuuming Pop Art

Martha Rosler, Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: A Woman with Vacuum (Vacuuming Pop Art), 1966 - 1972.











Accession iii

Hang Up
Eva Hesse, Accession III, 1967.
Eva Hesse, Hang Up, 1965 - 1966.



















Rope Piece

Eva Hesse, Untitled (Rope Piece), 1966.