Sarah Nicole Prickett on Women in Art

I once got a piece of advice from a guy who worked for a bigtime boy’s-club publication in New York. He said: “Don’t write like a girl.” I still don’t know what that means. But it’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten; it made me want to write like me.

I love women writers, from the Brontës to Zadie Smith, without loving them because they are women. Same for film directors and, lately, artists. Women artists–they have it the hardest. You’ll see.

An interview with artist Lynn Hershman, director of the documentary Women Art Revolution, deepened my perturbation with the idea of “female art” and “all-female art shows.” The latter I really hate. Or rather, I hate that they’re necessary at all. But for how much longer?

Sarah Nicole Prickett is the style columnist at Eye Weekly and contributes to FASHION, DazedDigital and more. Her favourite artists paint, like Cecily Brown, or draw, like Aurel Schmidt. Her favourite lipstick is M.A.C’s Russian Red. Follow her @xoxSNP

1. Martha Rosler’s “Semiotics of the Kitchen,” 1975

Like most of her peers in the ’60s and ’70s in America, Rosler was a political artist, not a beautiful one. Maybe she helped pave the way for beauty. Her “Semiotics of the Kitchen” is a seminal work, wry and pointedly bored with a woman’s place in the world (art or otherwise).

2. Stephanie Zacharek on The Virgin Suicides

My sentimental favourite film director is Sofia Coppola. No movie has meant more to me than The Virgin Suicides. It isn’t “art” per se, but it is an adaptation of a novel written by a man (Jeffrey Eugenides) about girlness. Coppola gently controverts that male gaze, making the dreamgirls real, making them breathe and die. Zacharek’s article gets it. Plus, she drops a salient, general point about the “ghettoization” of female art; I agree.

3. How women fare in six art-world institutions

In 2007, to accompany a straight-up excellent Jerry Saltz article titled “Where Are All The Women Artists?,” New York Magazine did a little comparison chart: the percentage of female artists versus male artists at the Venice Biennale, the Whitney, and four more contemporary behemoths. It’s not a little sickening, and since then, not a lot has changed.

4. Syma Tariq on the world’s largest all-female art show

“All-female is not a theme,” I blogged after seeing the recent 28-woman group show, “Bitch Slap,” at Thrush Holmes Empire. There was no unifying element or apparent criteria, besides the fact that all the artists had vaginas; yeah, not good enough. But my super-smart and curatorially talented friend Danielle Forest disagreed: “Sar, all-female art shows are so important!” Here’s why, according to the (in)famous Guerrilla Girls, whose opinions open and close Syma Tariq’s sharp perusal.

5. Feminism: When it’s not dead, it’s naked

Twenty or 30 years ago, a lot of riotous female artists were art-schooled in Chicago; some are in Women Art Revolution, the Hershman doc. That’s why I was happy to stumble across this impassioned rant/response to contemporary “women’s art” by one of their philosophical successors, a blogger named Stephanie. If the title doesn’t make you want to read it, then neither can I.