Women in Art: Legacy


This module focuses on the legacy inherited from past women; this legacy is evident and threads its way from the Middle Ages until today. Social and political causes and concerns have been at the forefront of this legacy, with women artists all over the globe making strong contributions towards change.

In terms of the media employed by these artists, there is a continuation and evolution of the materials used, such as found objects mixed in with traditional art materials as well as the enormous impact of the digital age for art and global societies in general. Experiences encompassing the rise of the blending of art and design and groundbreaking exhibitions have had expansive influences on the world—particularly from the feminine point of view.

NY Times art critic Holland Cotter stated in a March 7, 2007 article, "One thing is certain: Feminist art, which emerged in the 1960s with the women’s movement, is the formative art of the last four decades…. Without it identity-based art, crafts-derived art, performance art and much political art would not exist in the form it does, if it existed at all. Much of what we call postmodern art has feminist art at its source."


  • legacy--bringing it home
  • diversity of approaches
  • feminist art in the twenty-first century
  • found objects used in art
  • digital age art
  • identity-based art
  • crafts-derived art
  • political art of the twenty-first century
  • "new" femininity


By end of this module, you should able to

  • discuss the legacy that women artists have left for future generations of women
  • articulate the differences between past and current feminist art movements, and art made by women outside of a feminist ideology

The Guerrilla Girls

The Guerilla Girls, a “political group of artists… who highlight the issue of gender and representation through the use of posters, postcards, and performances or events: 'We stand for the conscience of the art world and we feel there is underrepresentation of women and minorities.’”

June Wayne (1918-2011)

June Wayne led the Tamarind Lithography Workshop and was instrumental in helping several artists evolve, such as Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Rufino Tamayo, and Louise Nevelson.

Pae White

Ann Hamilton

Ann Hamilton has created installations, photographs, videos, performances, and objects. One project, "Toothpick Suit," consists of “thousands of layered toothpicks in porcupine fashion along a suit of clothes.” Video is included on her website.

Ellen Gallagher

  • New Museum Exhibit: An exhibition overview of Ellen Gallagher and her work. “The title of the exhibition, ‘Don’t Axe Me,’ evokes her radical approach to image, text, and surface—drawing equally from modernism, mass culture, and social history.”

Rineke Dijkstra

Dijkstra is a contemporary Dutch photographer

Ghada Amer

Brooklyn Museum Exhibition: “Ghada Amer: Love Has No End” features the contemporary woman artist from Egypt.

Judy Pfaff



Political Art: Feminism

The Art Story: Feminist Art


Legacy: Author Whitney Chadwick stated in her book, Women, Art and Society, “history has taught us that what one generation ignores another may cherish.” After viewing our resources, what do you think this statement means?

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