Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Communication Design
Dr. M. Tray Ridlen
Linda Nochlin’s seminal 1971 essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” was at the fore of the great battle cries of many feminist scholars that drew attention to the limitation’s that female artist’s face in the art world. Women have systematically been left out of the art historical narrative while their male counterparts remain at the forefront.
There are many women that are very prominently represented in museums. They are largely nude and have been represented by male artists. While I do not argue that nudity in paintings should not exist, I do insist that museum goers become more aware of what these sexualized bodies represent—gendered power. It is the male gaze that controls the narrative, which is, that women are not equal contributors in society. Their agency is reduced to erotic or supporting objects. If female artists were represented equally to men, this would not be a problem. Contrary to popular exhibitions and literature promoted by these institutions, women have made equally significant contributions to art and culture which will be illuminated in this research.