A century and a half ago, Gustave Courbet painted a close-up, spread-eagled view of a woman’s genitals and called it The Origin of the World. It is one sign of the extent to which women artists have taken ownership of such male-created images that no fewer than three major New York museum exhibitions of works by mid- and late-career women artists feature variations on Courbet’s erotic classic. In the past year, both this newspaper and The Economist have reported on the lingering inequities between women’s work and men’s on the art market. That may still be true, but, at least in New York, museums are doing their part—and that may eventually set things straight.
Here’s just about the most exciting news we’ve heard in a long time. The Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organizing an exhibition devoted to writer and curator Lucy Lippard’s involvement in the development of conceptual art in the 1960s and ’70s.
The Brooklyn Museum’s annual Artists Ball gala was held on the fifth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art on the museum’s fourth floor. The lobby was filled with more than a few intimidating presences for the occasion. Gloria Steinem stood a bit hidden behind the press check-in and had a long line of admirers waiting to hold court with her; Marisa Tomei wore a gold chain that read BROOKLYN spelled out in cursive and said that feminist art “touches your soul”; Judy Chicago, the artist behind the Sackler Center’s permanent installation The Dinner Party, wore bright green and pink and stuck out of the crowd.
Today the College Art Association released the winners of its annual awards, and there are some exciting picks. The reliably reclusive David Hammons nabbed the Distinguished Artist Award, Lucy Lippard was named Distinguished Feminist and David Antin was awarded the Frank Jewett Mather Award, which is presented for art criticism.