Through the Glass Ceiling
Contemporary Female Masters at Jim Kempner Fine Art
In 1971 feminist art historian Linda Nochlin published the essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” to call out the art world on the lack of balance keeping female artists from achieving on a par with male peers. Times have changed, and we’re a long way from that boy’s club environment. That said, the gender gap persists: since 2000, although fifty-one percent of working artists are women, only twenty-eight percent have had solo museum shows; and in a 2015 survey of leading contemporary galleries in Manhattan, only about twenty-five percent represent equal numbers of women and men (the majority show about thirty percent women or less).
Is the “F” word (female, feminist) a bad word? Some women artists don’t want the label. When Linda Nochlin asked Georgia O’Keeffe to take part in an all-women exhibition, she declined because she wanted to be seen solely as “one of the best painters.” But who could forget that O’Keeffe is female? She’s a female modern master. It doesn’t make her less-than, it’s just a part of her work.
The women featured in the “Contemporary Masters” exhibition at Jim Kempner Fine Art present an impressive range of work from contemporary female masters. This group includes some of the best artists working today. Each of them are pushing the boundaries of their medium, upending expectations and creating the kind of work that brings new perspective to how we look at art. These are women achieving against the odds, but above all, they’re women making great art. We’ve selected images of their work for PROVOKR members to enjoy, above and below.