Appreciating Feminist Art

Countless women have laid the groundwork for gender equality by fighting for equal rights and recognition. During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the achievements of these women throughout history. The month of March highlights the continuous battle for gender equality and commemorates the powerful women that have contributed to this narrative. As a young woman with a deep appreciation for art, here are some of my favorite feminist artists that use their craft to empower fellow women:  

  1. 1. Barbara Kruger

    In Barbara Kruger’s work, she reflects the sentiments of many women fighting for gender equality through her strong, bold images. Her artwork is direct and straightforward, criticizing patriarchal society head-on. She overlays monochromatic pictures with white-on-red text, drawing on the stark color contrast to drive home her blunt messages. Her work regularly circulates around the internet, serving as a sempiternal icon of woman empowerment.

  2. 2. Judy Chicago

    During the Feminist Art Movement in the 1970s, Judy Chicago pioneered the recognition of women artists. She pushed social boundaries and founded the first feminist art program, the California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Program, alongside Miriam Schapiro. Her most well-known work is The Dinner Party (1979),  an elaborate triangle display featuring 39 unique place settings for mythical and historically prominent women. The installment also includes the names of 999 women inscribed on the tiles beneath the table, honoring their contributions as well. This display is part of the long-term collection displayed at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art in the Brooklyn Museum.

  3. 3. Miriam Schapiro

    Miriam Schapiro is another prominent figure in the Feminist Art Movement of the 1970s. Along with Judy Chicago, she co-directed the Womanhouse in 1972, an installation featuring the work of 28 women artists. During this time, art galleries run by women featuring women artists were virtually unheard of. Her art often consists of craft and quilt components associated with femininity. View some of her work here.

  4. 4. Guerilla Girls

    The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of female artists founded in 1985. They use profound graphics and statistics to combat both racism and sexism in the art world. Their work and advertisements often feature their signature gorilla masks, their disguise of “mask-culinity”. I personally find their work clever and extremely humorous. The idea of using “guerrilla warfare” under the cover of anonymity allows them to effectively make shocking statements about the current state of gender equality in the art realm. 

These brilliant artists illustrate the long and seemingly never-ending struggle of women throughout history. Their beautiful art continues to inspire numerous women to pursue their dreams regardless of gender and societal norms. I definitely recommend visiting museums and exploring various feminist artworks. These women have greatly influenced my own artistic journey, shaping my perception of both art and social issues.