Historical Fiction about Women Painters
Chapter 4. The Inseparability of Frida Kahlo’s Life and Art: The Importance of Biography for Feminist Art Criticism
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THE INSEPARABILITY OF FRIDA KAHLO’S LIFE AND ART
The Importance of Biography for Feminist Art Criticism
Many feminist critics and art historians believe that women artists’ biographies must be attended to in order to understand how sex and gender affect their careers. In Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology, Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock emphasize the significance of biological sex for women, namely that in the late nineteenth-century, women artists were represented as different, distinct, and separate on account of their sex alone (44). Analyzing the ideology of women’s art, Parker and Pollock observe how women artists are inevitably penalized and male artists celebrated for their sex (36).
In addition to the biographical dimension of sex, feminist critics consider gender as a social factor that influences women’s art and their careers as artists. For instance, Anne Wagner’s study of Eva Hesse, Lee Krasner, and Georgia O’Keeffe reveals how “gender is an actively determinant factor in the production and reception of art” (4). She examines how the careers of these three women were shaped by their feminine identities, and she interprets their artwork as “symptomatic of their social and historical position as women” (14), arguing that Western “assumptions concerning female identity—including the assumptions of the artists themselves—have inevitably shaped, to their benefit and detriment, the course of their careers and the character of their art” (10). ← 75 | 76 →
Indeed to disregard the significance of...
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