Sample lesson for Art + Gender course…
Art and Gender:
Edelson’s Some Living American Artists/Last Supper (1972)
“One of the best-known documents of the women artists’ movement is Some Living American Women Artists. A work of great power and iconographic richness, the work infuses the multiple histories of art and spirituality with the politics of contemporary feminism, simultaneously revealing their interconnection… Using a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, she superimposed photographs of the heads of women artists over those of Christ and his disciples, reserving the position of honor for Georgia O’Keefe whom she regarded as symbolically important as one who had, during her lifetime, attained singular professional status. Her appropriation of a ‘masterpiece’ of Western art became a typical strategy of feminist artists, who wished to expose the ways that the traditions of art have used the image of Woman, without granting real women their place within the profession.”~ Linda S. Aleci
1. Read Linda S. Aleci’s essay, “In a Pig’s Eye: The Offence of Some Living American Women Artists,” as well as Edelson’s own comments in “Direct Access.”
How is, in Edelson’s own words, the piece challenging “the established assumption that, because of their gender women do not have access to the sacred”?
2. Choose one of the following women from Edelson’s piece: Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, Elaine DeKooning, Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois, Alice Neel, Hannah Wilke, Faith Ringgold, Judy Chicago, Yoko Ono, Marta Minujin, Dindga McCannon, or Yayoi Kusoma and prepare a short (3 minutes) presentation introducing this artist, including several samples of her work, and discuss why Edelson might have included your artists as a member of such an impressive group.
3. Unfortunately, many of these “living” American women artists are no longer still with us. Research current living American women artists and make one recommendation for the updated version of Edelson’s piece that we will create as a group project.
Discussion point: How easy was it to find successful, highly visible American women artists to include amongst the still living subjects of Edelson’s piece from 1972?