How Do We See Ourselves?

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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 […]

Sex and Suffering: The Tragic Life of the Japanese Courtesan

In a detail from Utagawa Toyokuni’s hanging scroll, “Courtesan in Her Boudoir,” a woman puts herself back together after having sex. (From the John C. Weber Collection, image © John Bigelow Taylor)

This article is excerpted with permission from Collectors Weekly It’s difficult to get a window into the world of Edo-Period Japanese prostitutes without the gauzy romantic filter of the male gaze. The artworks in the new San Francisco Asian Art Museum exhibition, “Seduction: Japan’s Floating World,” were made by men for men, the patrons of the Yoshiwara […]

Where Are All the Women in Ai Weiwei’s New Exhibition?

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When I walked into the New Industries Building where the Ai Weiwei @Large exhibit is housed on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, I was greeted by a giant Chinese dragon. Suspended from the ceiling, it snaked through the prison’s old work space, where model prisoners were once allowed to sew uniforms or do […]

Barbara Nessim: Five Feminist Decades of Art

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Of  the crop of stellar illustrators America produced during the culture-rocking early 1960s, few have been more notable, enduring and, I would say, magnificent than Barbara Nessim, whose work–though often commissioned for magazines, posters and ads–can as easily be considered art with a capital A. But Nessim,  a woman from the Bronx whose talent burst […]

Artist Who Objectifies Women Declares Himself a Feminist

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British artist Allen Jones seems to be going all-in on his Halloween costume this year. In an interview with The Guardian today, Jones—known for his sculptures of semi-dressed women in bondage gear, contorted to look like household objects—has declared himself a feminist. That’s got to be his Halloween costume, right? RIGHT?? Appears not. Jones, a […]

Free the Japanese 3D Vagina Artist!

Angry Old Men

Megumi Igarashi, the Japanese artist who goes by the name Rokudenashiko (“good-for-nothing girl” or “n’er-do-well kid”) was arrested this week by Tokyo police for allegedly violating Japanese obscenity laws. Her crime? Distributing imaging data of her own vagina—data which could potentially be used by a 3D printer to reproduce a model of her genitals. A […]

Consuming Sugar: Kara Walker’s Marvelous Sugar Baby

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Sugar has been one of the world’s most desired commodities since the 19th century, when it went from being a luxury item to a product of mass consumption. The demand for sugar fueled the trade in human beings to cultivate it. Abolitionists, especially English protofeminists, deployed the term “blood sugar” to try to curb the […]

A Feminist Sculptor’s Stunning Memorial to 9/11

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Why are her eyes closed? Why are her palms turned inward? The figure seems to possess superhuman power, stopping the jet-bombs with her hands. But this sculpture is not a cartoon fantasy; it is a memorial that invites contemplation and fills the viewer with comfort, remembrance and inspiration. Perhaps her eyes are closed in prayer, […]

Let Them Eat Cake

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On first sight, it’s pretty clear why Afro-Swedish male artist Makode Linde‘s performance art piece “Painful Cake,” which premiered at Sweden’s Moderna Museet for World Art Day last week, struck many people as just plain wrong. The performance featured a black-iced cake in a caricature of an African woman’s torso, complete with protuberant breasts and […]

Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze

Man As Object Laura Hartford

“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at,” art critic John Berger famously observed. Now some feminist artists are turning the tables in a new exhibit, Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze: With a gallery filled with men stripped naked this body of work exposes women’s cheeky, provocative […]