Reading about Miriam Schapiro  at http://www.artnews.com/2015/06/23/miriam-schapiro-pioneering-feminist-artist-dies-at-91/

Love her work!


Reading about Judy Chicago on http://www.theartstory.org/artist-chicago-judy.htm

The Dinner Party (1979)
The Dinner Party is a monumental installation celebrating forgotten achievements in female history. Chicago described it as, “as a reinterpretation of The Last Supper from the point of view of women, who, throughout history, have prepared the meals and set the table.” The central form is a forty-eight-foot triangular table with symbolic places set for thirty-nine “guests of honor”—remarkable women from different stages in Western civilization. Each guest has her own runner, embroidered on one side with her name and on the other with imagery illustrating her achievement. Each place setting includes a glass plate, decorated with a butterfly or floral motif symbolizing of the vulva. By incorporating elements of a contemporary social event with the status and appearance of a banquet, Chicago elevates her guests to the role of heroes, a traditionally male epithet. In essence, Chicago states, the work “takes us on a tour of Western civilization, a tour that bypasses what we have been taught to think of as the main road.” The floor is inscribed with the names of 999 additional women worthy of recognition, while acknowledgment panels on the walls honor the 129 collaborators who worked with Chicago on the piece.

Regarded as an icon of twentieth-century art, The Dinner Party is arguably the most significant and recognized piece of feminist art ever made, notable in its incorporation of collaborative working process, political symbolism, the sheer scale of the media response, and the unprecedented worldwide grassroots movement it prompted in reaction to the work’s condemnation. The piece’s lasting importance lies in its defiance of fine-art tradition by representing a feminine history suppressed by patriarchal society, as well as its celebration of the traditional “feminine” crafts: textile arts (weaving, embroidery, and sewing) and ceramic decoration. Featured in sixteen exhibitions in six different countries, The Dinner Party has now been seen by more than one million viewers.

Ceramic, porcelain, textile, glass – Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum


A quick read of the introduction of Beyond Pleasure, Freud, Lacan, Bathes by Margaret Iversen

Iversen refers to Kant and his argument that “we call something “beautiful” when faculties, both cognitive and sensory, entertain the form of an object in a pleasurable, harmonious free play. “

Iversen seeks to write about art beyond pleasure. She looks at Freud and his thoughts that responses to art are bound up with the “pleasure principle”.

She tries to define pleasure and ponders if it is an absence of unpleasure. Reading the ins and outs of Freud’s psychoanalytic art theory even in a cursory way left me cold. The ego, narcissism and the transformation of the sexual instinct, all too abstract for me.

Interest renews several paragraphs on when Iversen speaks of her reaction to “a specific dominant conception” of “ a likeness that does not refer back to an original and so cannot be called a copy” a “simulacrum”.

Iversen discusses Lacan’s imaginary ideology and reliance on the “ideal” and the “ego”.

Shorter version: Art looks attractive in the renaissance ideal, and people like that.

Modern art has used semiotic strategies to break up the image and critics have used this to “read “the art. No surprises here. Art reflects society back to itself and allegorical renaissance-like images are not sophisticated enough for modern society where most people are literate and many are aware, even subconsciously of semiotics.

I didn’t understand a lot of the theory of Lacan. I agree with the statement that art’s beauty is empty and may be one step away from horror, but in such an awful world what is wrong with an indulgence.

The rest of the introduction to this book was too dense for my limited time and I stopped reading.

I gained some insights though, and ammunition against ‘Ol Ayn Rand and her followers at The Atlas Society.

Iversen, M. (2007). Beyond Pleasure, Freud, Lacan, Bathes. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.




From Instagram on the 27 March 2016. Edgar Degas. A monotype print. it captures movement so well at a time when photography was just beginning c.1877-1880.  It evokes for me the blur of an early photo.