A Not So Gentle Reminder to Fight for Our Rights
There is no denying the world's current precarious state of affairs when it comes to the fight for equality between men and women. The Women's March on January 21, 2017 was of course a beacon of hope as it provided an opportunity for individuals to stand together and fight against the opposing forces which continue to epitomize misogyny and inequality. However, when an image of Trump reinstating the global gag rule in front of his all male staff went viral just two days after the march, it could not be more evident that there is still a long way to go.
Thankfully, one could find solace in the well informed exhibition ‘The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s’ at the Photographers' Gallery, London. The show exemplified the strength of art as a political movement, highlighting the ground-breaking practices of forty-eight international female artists who shaped the feminist movement of the 1970s.
Comprising of over 150 major works, loaned from the Verbund Collection, Vienna, each artist exhibited sought to address political issues, confronting patriarchy and sexism in art and society. Loosely organised thematically, the show explored issues surrounding confines of the domestic sphere, the objectification and sexualisation of our bodies, cultural notions of beauty, and stereotypical gender roles.
Whilst including pieces by some of contemporary art's most respected names, such as Cindy Sherman and Vali Export, it also provided the opportunity to learn more about lesser known practitioners, such as Lydia Schoulten. Subsequently, the exhibition offers a diverse range of ironic, provocative, radical and poetic works, which challenge the male dominated world of art and society as a whole.
‘The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s’ successfully informed and reminded its spectators of the extreme efforts that female artists went to. It highlights the harsh realities and constraints women faced within society, it manages to convey hope as it signifies a necessary display of defiant redress, ultimately reasserting the importance to continue doing so in contemporary society.
'The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s' was on view from October 7, 2016 to January 29, 2017, at The Photographers' Gallery, London.