“WHY HAVE THERE BEEN NO GREAT WOMEN ARTISTS?”- AN ODE TO THE PAST AND DIOR’S SUCCINT RESPONSE

Feminist art theorist Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” is generally considered the first major work of feminist art history. Not to be taken or answered literally, the question poses a prelude to an entire conversation exploring the institutional and educational systems that govern the visual arts and their limiting factors that simply did not make room for women artists to thrive. The heart of Nochlin’s argument lies in undoing the myth of genius commonly associated with the male artists, and not the female artist.  Indeed, the essay is best understood as an explicit rejection of perceived societal stereotypes (man/woman, black/white, heterosexual/homosexual, cisgender/transgender) and the inherently unequal and wide gulf that they create. Nochlin identified this problem four decades ago, albeit metaphorically and subjectively. It is more important to focus on the point that the conversation she began is still ongoing, and a lot of things still need to change in contemporary culture.

 

“There are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol, any more than there are black American equivalents for the same. If there actually were large numbers of “hidden” great women artists, or if there really should be different standards for women’s art as opposed to men’s — and one can’t have it both ways — then what are feminists fighting for? If women have in fact achieved the same status as men in the arts, then the status quo is fine as it is.

But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and above all, male. The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education.”- Linda Nochlin, 1971.

 

Following the runway launch of the quote-inspired collection on for the ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Dior artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri debuts limited-edition Dior Lady handbags created in collaboration with some of today’s most outstanding female artists. While Nochlin’s argument may still be relevant today, this collection is proof that women are constantly changing the narrative and in the most creative way possible; one fashion statement at a time. The extremely limited pieces will be available from January 2019 with the starting price of  $5000.

 

Mickalene Thomas for Dior

Li Shurui for Dior

 

Haruka Kojin for Dior

 

Polly Apfelbaum for Dior

 

Pae White for Dior

 

Lee Bul for Dior

 

Isabel Cornaro for Dior

 

Olga de Amaral for Dior

 

Burçak Bingöl for Dior

 

Janaina Tschäpe for Dior

Morgane Tschiember for Dior

 

 

Images by Dior and ELLE US.

Abiodun Odusola
abiodunodusola@ymail.com
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