Home Magazine A tribute to the female world

The end of 2018 is almost upon us and just like every year we have shared with you the most interesting events, projects and points of focus connected to the Art World. But before wishing you a wonderful new year and moving our gaze to the future, I would like to dedicate this closing article to modern feminism in the art world... 

A strong army is growing exponentially in every part of the world, and even when it is subjected to blows continues to look forward, rises again, awakens the sleepwalkers and fights against injustice. So I here I can review some of the most important exhibitions of this year dedicated to great women and even explore together the most important stages and protagonists of this social movement. If you are in Florence at any point up until January 20th, don’t miss the opportunity to see the most important retrospective about Marina Abramović "The Cleaner" at Palazzo Strozzi.


Artemisia Gentileschi, Susanna e i vecchioni (1610 circa); olio su tela, 170×119 cm


The origins…

The term “feminism” was coined in the 1800s to indicate the newborn movement that was fighting for the emancipation of women; it was represented by the suffragettes, named after their quest for suffrage, which is the right to vote, and a right that was only extended to the female population in the early 1900s, first in Finland (1905), Great Britain and the United States (1920), and only in Italy and France after the end of the Second World War. We have already spoken about many important female names in the art field from the beginning of the 20th Century, which you can discover reading our articles about Louise Bourgoise or Sonia Delaunay


Donna Ferrato, Garth and Lisa: in the bathroom. 


Feminism was then reinforced through a second wave in 60s America, when women began to expect parity in the workplace, more respect within the home and sexual freedom, for example through the use of the contraceptive pill, introduced in the U.S. in 1961. The major demands, however, concerned divorce and abortion, with U.S. referendums on both in 1974 and 1978 respectively. In 1975 absolute legal equality was ensured between men and women, thanks also to the ever-increasing emancipation of women in the working field. At the Munich Lenbachhaus, Karin Althaus and Sebastian Schneider have curated an exhibition that sheds new light on early European abstraction, dedicated to Hilma af Klint, Georgiana Houghton and Emma Kunz

From the Seventies…

Today, female workers aspire to break down the obstacles that in fact still limit their presence among the uppermost positions of management, in many sectors long considered a male prerrogative. But above all they want to destroy the existing wage gap and break down the barriers that prevent, especially mothers, from re-entering the world of work after maternity, as well as interventions that help to combine work and family, the lack of which precludes career opportunities. As in the '70s and' 80s when the majority of feminists rallied against any form of exploitation of the female body, in the new millennium there is no lack of less radical voices, which does not preclude the idea that sex can be sold by free choice. This period was extremely delicate for many female artists so I would suggest you explore further the work of American artist Joan Jonas, winner of the 2018 Kyoto Prize.


Joan Jonas, Mirror performance III, 1969. Courtesy Galleria Raffaella Cortese


Feminism increasingly resembles a global network, as its core message of sexual equality expands into countries that still live in a marginalised way, even after the battles of the '70s. Recently the first Islamic feminist's lookout and the movement has had to deal with the criticism of black women, disappointed by the issue that while professing universal equality many still often seemed to only prioritise the voices and needs of white women. Looking towards to the east, discover more about the work of Chiaru Shiota.

Latest news with the #MeToo…

The hashtag #MeToo, become a symbol of modern feminism and was coined for the first time by the activist Tarana Burke in 2006 to launch her campaign to help women, especially of colour, who had been victims of sexual harassment or abuse. But in the last two years there have been two moments that have brought widespread attention to this campaign, firstly on the occasion of the Women's March, when women, girls and also many men took to the streets with huge parades scattered around the world to protest against Donald Trump's arrival in the White House, a man seen by many as an image of a certain toxic machismo considered a legacy of the past. The second time, however, was at the time of the Weinstein scandal, when allegations of his harassment of dozens of actresses became a symbol and a watershed moment for many other women aorund the world, the #MeToo campaign giving a voice to women against that kind of man who abuses his position of power in a sexually motivated way. There is a current show in Madrid by Alicia Framis titled "Pabellón de genéro" concieved in response to this topic. 


Alicia Framis, Techo de cristal en Alcalá 31, 2018, performance. Courtesy Sala Alcalá 31, Ma-drid. Photo Guillermo Gumiel


Women in the art field…

In the beginning, it was Artemisia Gentileschi, Italian painter of the Caravaggesque school, who lived during the first half of the 17th Century, who opened the way to the new ideology that not only men could play the role of artists. Evolving over time, the role of women has become increasingly pre-eminent, but above all, it is Art itself which has changed in recent years. The current art scene is very rich in proposals and examples that come from its interpreters, but we can see in detail who are the most famous and well known contemporary painters, photographers and performers. In this regard don't miss the opportunity to discover more about the beautifull universe tell by the artist Sarah Moon during her exhibition at the Armani Silos. 


Gina Pane, Azione sentimentale, 1973. 

From the Renaissance to Impressionism, change has been constant and inevitable. The truly great women artists, those who can be considered real professional artists and who have escaped invisibility include Artemisia Gentileschi, Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Frida Khalo, Letizia Battaglia, Gina Pane, Rebecca Horn, Barbara Kruger, Donna Ferrato, Sophie Calle, Cindy Sherman to name a few. Now at the MART of Rovereto in Italy there is an important exhibition of Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg dedicated to explore, without judgment, the most visceral feelings and overturning stereotypes also about the female world


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the Art World!