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Carolee Schneemann performing her piece Interior Scroll

The feminist art movement refers to the efforts and accomplishments of feminists internationally to make art that reflects women's lives and experiences, as well as to change the foundation for the production and reception of contemporary art. It also sought to bring more visibility to women within art history and art practice. Corresponding with general developments within feminism, and often including such self-organizing tactics as the consciousness-raising group, the movement began in the late 1960s and flourished throughout the 1970s as an outgrowth of the so-called second wave of feminism; its effects continue to the present. The nation’s first feminist art education program took place at California State University, Fresno in California in 1970 when fifteen female students and instructor Judy Chicago helped pioneer key strategies of the early feminist art movement, including collaboration, the use of “female technologies” like costume, performance, and video, and early forms of media critique. Judy Chicago, with painter Miriam Schapiro, went on to found the feminist art program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles, whose students created, in 1972, a month-long installation in an empty house, entitled WomanHouse. Simultaneously, women artists in New York also began to come together for meetings and exhibitions. Collective galleries such as A.I.R. in New York and Artemisia in Chicago were formed to provide visibility for art by feminist artists. The strength of the feminist movement allowed for the emergence and visibility of many new types of work by women but also helped facilitate a range of new practices by men.

A small number of mostly American women, among the many thousands associated with feminist art, are artists Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, founders of the first known Feminist Art Program (in Fresno, California), Suzanne Lacy, Faith Wilding, Martha Rosler, Mary Kelly, Kate Millett, Nancy Spero, Faith Ringgold, June Wayne, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Dara Birnbaum, art-world agitators The Guerrilla Girls and critics, historians, and curators Lucy Lippard, Griselda Pollock, Arlene Raven, Catherine de Zegher, and Eleanor Tufts. The Woman's Building, organized by a group of femnist artists, most of whom were or had been associated with the feminist art program at CalArts, was an important center of the Los Angeles feminist artist movement in the 1970s and 1980s in which meetings, workshops, performances, and exhibitions regularly took place. The Women's Interart Center in New York, founded in the 1970s in New York City, is still in operation. The Women's Video Festival was held yearly for a number of years in the early 1970s, also in New York City. Many women artists continue to organize working groups, collectives, and nonprofit galleries in locales around the world.

"Inside the Visible," organized by Belgian curator Catherine de Zegher in 1996 at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, exhibited works by 35 international women artists from the 30s, the 70s, and the 90s and presented a new theoretical interpretation for the art of the twentieth century (Inside the Visible, MIT press). This exhibition subsequently traveled to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Whitechapel Gallery, London;and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. The book Women Artists at the Millennium (Carol Armstrong and de Zegher, MIT Press/October books, 2006) was based on a conference of historians and artists that was held at Princeton University in 2001. Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution, (2007) curated by Connie Butler for Los Angeles' Geffen Center, or Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, a recent, more comprehensive, historical exhibition, examines the international foundations and legacy of feminist art, focusing on the period of 1965–1980, during which the majority of feminist activism and art-making occurred. The exhibition, which also was exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.c, at the PS1 satellite of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City,and at the Vancouver Art Gallery, focused on artists from the United States but also includes the work of a number of women from Central and Eastern Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Inclusion in these shows and books did not suggest that the women have announced an "allegiance" to feminism but only that the work had been deemed important and influential. Feminist artists, particularly those living in Europe, have a significant presence in so-called new media (electronic media and internet-based work).

The Feminist Art Project

The feminist art project (TFAP) was founded by the Institute for Women and Arts at Rutgers University. It is a collaborative national initiative, with six regional groups, that centers on the Feminist Art Movement and women's impact on the visual arts, art history, and art practice from both past and present. It promotes feminist education in the arts, events, and publications through its online website and it works to network and facilitate the development of feminist art programs throughout the United States. It also brings together authors, feminist artists, curators, critics, and teachers from all backgrounds to refocus on and celebrate the accomplishments of the Feminist Art Movement. Its primary goal is to increase the visibility of feminist art and to promote the Feminist Art Project. Party as a result, many universities have created courses dedicated to surveying women's contributions to the art world, and many workshops around the nation have taught and displayed the dynamic elements of feminist art.

See also

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