This means !WAR

!Women Art Revolution
by Lynn Hershman Leeson
streaming on Netflix
watch it.

Art historians, curators, buyers, makers, watch it. Have you ever wondered what's the big whoopie-do about Judy Chicago anyway, or what makes work "feminist art?". Watch it.  !Women's Art Revolution is a great rundown of women artists who persisted to break in to the art world beginning in the 70's. Powerfully awesome.

The documentary is built on personal experiences of the film maker Lynn Hershman Leeson constructed through interviews she's collected from her peers, women in art, over the last 40 years. This film documents the breakthrough of women in art beginning from a place of outrage, anger and frustration amassed from years of being left out of an ignored within the fine art world. The film discusses an uprising of intellectual attention to art history, critique, art making and attention to women as artists and the work women make.  !Women Art Revolution covers a lot of territory and at the same time admits that it doesn't.

Especially jarring is recognizing that the very circumstances of being female and making artwork makes ones work feminist work. To recognize just how few women are represented in the formal art world is stunning. To make the work as a woman takes astounding courage. Courage to reject the demands to please an audience.  Courage to reverse the gaze and ask the (age old) question, what does art want? That may be a nerdy art theory question - look it up.  I want to sit at the knee of the filmmaker and absorb every drop of anything and everything she would share with me so that I can carry on the good fight.

The world of media is twisted in such a way that we are all led to believe we live in a postfeminist world, our male contemporaries don't see the disparity in representation of male to female in art and would probably go so far as to say that women just aren't applying themselves (I've heard this false logic many times before). At least in the past they were probably aware of the discrimination, now they're just in denial of it.  I've very seriously considered using only my first initial when I author work so that my gender would not instantly dismiss me from being considered. I struggle, asking myself if that is giving in, or beating them at their own game? 

Thank you !WAR, you've given me a much needed loving nudge to keep it up and to not gloss over the deeper intentions of my own art making practice and to keep reminding my young classmates that their work is feminist whether they like it or admit to it or not - and it'd be incredibly powerful if they owned up to that.


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