Women artists have been pushed to the side for too long. In Linda Nochlin’s seminal work Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? she states: “Assumptions must be questioned and the mythical basis of much so-called “fact” brought to light.” We must learn from the past to build a more inclusive, diverse world. 50 years since the essay was first published, Aesthetica rounds up five digital exhibitions and talks that champion women practitioners – envisioning a brighter future.
“We share a deeply rooted interest in the female story and how our experiences and socio-cultural background influence our sense of self.” Sarah Cooper (b. 1974) and Nina Gorfer (b. 1979) began collaborating in 2006. Their photo-based collages – currently online at Fotografiska, New York – explore the idea of paradise in the age of the new diaspora. Young women who are disconnected from their homeland are photographed like goddesses. Surreal sets and vivid garments transport sitters to new worlds.
Hundred + Heroines brings together a global group of pioneering photographers – offering an incredible account of twentieth century life. Black and white studies of people, architecture and interiors demonstrate an acute mastery of form. Viewed digitally, a feeling of nostalgia washes over the collection – emphasising our renewed awareness of the past. Nancy Sheung’s (1914-1979) poetic portraits – featured above – incorporate architectural elements that frame women living in Hong Kong in the 1960s.
“Too many times, Black female bodies have been sexualised and fetishised. I do not want to tell those stories. Those stories have been told.” Buhlebezwe Siwani works in photography, performance, sculpture and installation – examining spirituality, colonialism and Black womanhood in South Africa. The artist sits down with curator Mariama Attah for a talk with The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Siwani shares the importance of activism and its connection to her practice.
Curator and writer Elizabeth Ferrer joins Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, to celebrate her publication – exploring the history of Latinx image-making in America. The conversation examines some of the movements and artists that have defined the field. Featured above are self-portraits by Christina Fernandez (b. 1965). Famous Mexican photographs of women are obscured by the artist’s portrait – “reenacting what it was like to be these women, photographed by male photographers.”
Covid-19 has changed photography forever. But how has the pandemic impacted women working in the industry? Creative Review editor Eliza Williams, Getty Images’ head of creative insights Rebecca Swift, photographer Chantel King and Studio PI’s founder Sachini Imbuldeniya contemplate the future of image making in this frank discussion. The panel cover diversity and accessibility – offering advice for first time practitioners looking to break into the art world.
Lead image: Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer, Yellow Roseline from the series Between These Folded Walls, Utopia, 2020.
1. Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer, Envious Bodies from the series Between These Folded Walls, Utopia, 2020.
2. Nancy Sheung, The Pigtail, 1966. © Nancy Sheung.
3. Nancy Sheung, Gaze, 1970s. © Nancy Sheung.
4. Buhlebezwe Siwani, ILanga litshonile, 2017. © Buhlebezwe Siwani
5. Christina Fernandez, Untitled Multiple Exposure #4 (Bravo), 1999.
6. Christina Fernandez, Untitled Multiple Exposure #2 (Bravo), 1999.
7. Chantel King, Image from Artist Studios editorial for Flanelle Magazine, 2020.
8. Chantel King, Image from Artist Studios editorial for Flanelle Magazine, 2020.
The 50th anniversary edition of Linda Nochlin’s Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? is available from Thames and Hudson.