Reinventing Pygmalion: Tracey Emin’s “Rocky” Marriage

The British artist Tracey Emin is famous for uncompromising displays of female vulnerability in the most fleshly and confessional of forms. From the dirty underwear and tampons of her 1998 “My Bed” installation to the visceral sexuality of her autobiographical paintings, Emin’s work is filtered through a desirous—and often distressed—mortal body defined by a raging […]

There’s an Empowering Message Behind This Room Full of Dick Pics

Dicks, dicks and more dicks. These days it seems no matter where you turn, dicks of all sorts—whether in the flesh or artistically rendered—are popping up everywhere, from primetime TV to popular music to the U.S. presidential election. Thanks to the internet, the ubiquity of dicks has only increased, with penises proliferating on pornographic websites and social media platforms. And […]

Painting the Naked Female Gaze

Rose Freymuth-Frazier is no stranger to criticism. Recently, the 37-year-old figurative realist painter received an incensed email from an older man, asking why she insisted on creating such “grotesque” paintings. “He was a fan of my ‘other’ work,” Freymuth-Frazier says, “but he just couldn’t understand who I was so angry at. Was it my parents? […]

Taking Away Her Voice, Taking Away Her Choice

Right after I wrote a story about photos my grandpa had taken in the 1950s of a woman’s uterus after a botched abortion, I started working on a painting. I am what some might call a “hobby” painter. I was one of those teenagers who spent a majority of high school in the art room, but promptly […]

Inside the Secret Life of Lesbian Feminist Artist Romaine Brooks

Did you catch the Guerrilla Girls on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? They giggled a lot, but these girls are serious—and have been serious for 30 years—about righting a multitude of wrongs against women artists. The Guerrilla Girls each have a secret identity named for a woman artist: Frida Kahlo, Romaine Brooks, Georgia O’Keeffe and Emily […]

British Painter Jenny Saville Responds to the Old (Male) Masters

Two parallel exhibitions are currently on view at the University of Oxford’s venerable Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice brings together masterpieces from the 16th to 18th century by some of the greatest early-modern Venetian artists, such as Titian, Tiepolo and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. Running alongside this is a […]

These Works of Art Will Make You Feel Feminist as F*ck

Women artists have long been kept out of art history textbooks and classrooms. Though the first-ever artist is said to be a woman who traced her lover’s silhouette on a wall, women have been underrepresented, if not outright maligned, by historians. But women have made remarkable contributions, and continue—despite resistance—to create work that reflects their realities. […]

Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: August

Ms. August Downstream in August, down the heron flew, straight through the secret bower where we stay in ferny waterfalls, safe from the day, forgotten as her words, a fonds perdu. A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically collections of nude or […]

Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: April

  Ms. April When April weeps, the tears drip on her toes, the water rises in the jade-stone lake, a blue jay shakes the red-bud blooms awake, in rainy light, the green grass rosy glows. A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically […]

How Do We See Ourselves?

I take black-and-white photos of women and then ask them to write, in their own words, how they feel about the way they look in the photo. The woman’s photo and her words become one piece that stands on its own, with no editing and filtering. The viewer, first attracted to the photo, is then […]