I feel fortunate to have just seen a screening of Lynn Hershman Leeson's new film at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. It may be awhile until it rounds all the film festivals and is available for wide release.
She has been working on this for forty years. In the meantime, Hershman made the intriguing, Strange Culture, just a few years ago. This retrospective of feminist art explains the invisibility of women in art throughout history and sheds light on the evolution of contemporary women artists in America. She begins by showing the emergence of women in performance art of the late 1960s and beyond and weaves historical film footage and photos with later interviews.
Judy Chicago, Miriam Shapiro, Carol Scheneeman, Hannah Wilke, Anna Mendieta, Marcia Tucker--and so many more are featured, including in-depth interviews and actions by Guerilla Girls. The art activist group formed in the mid-1980s to point the finger at the art world's role in keeping women out. Their efforts sparked changes...The Whitney Museum featured more women than men in their last Biennale exhibition. Marcia Tucker, a curator who got her starts at The Whitney, later created The New Museum, an art space that has always shown a great number of women artists.
This film holds the story of late 20th century women in art that is lacking in the libraries. The art world that has become so much more accessible to women of the last couple decades need to know that this was achieved like the right to vote or reproductive choice--after persistent effort.