Considering most major male artists had female muses, the concept of the male gaze in art is predominant. Muse art often carries erotic undertones as men portray their lovers through their work.
But what about female artists? Let’s explore the flip side of the coin, and how feminist art portrays women differently. Read on to learn more about the feminist art movement with our selection of insurgent artists!
1. Francesca Woodman (1958-1981)
Francesca Woodman was an American Photographer known for her poetic, black and white work.
Her work is a mix of self-portraits and photographs of other women. Although some of her art has a sensual quality to it, it feels devoid of the male gaze. Instead, women are portrayed in a dream-like, disturbing and melancholic fashion.
2. Eva Hesse (1936 – 1970)
Eva Hesse was a German-born American sculptor known for her post-minimalist works of art. She showed it was possible to be recognized as a female artist in a male-dominated field. Hesse explored sexuality in her art in a different way than men’s traditional art muses. Sexuality can be seen as absurd, rather than sensual.
3. Cindy Sherman (born 1954)
Cindy Sherman is an American artist who is known for her self-portraits (photography).She enjoyed playing with the concept of female stereotypes in her art. Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits appropriated the male gaze in art. Sherman accomplished this by playing both the role of the male photographer and of the art muse in her work.
4. Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010)
Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist that worked with various mediums. She explored the patriarchy and motherhood as topics in her art. A lot of her work shows women as subjects, rather than objects. Women are not reduced to sensual art muses, but instead take on a more active role in her art.
5. Claude Cahun (1894 – 1954)
Claude Cahun was a French photographer, sculptor and writer. Cahun explored the themes of sexuality and gender in their art by presenting in their work as gender non-conforming. In that way, they challenged the traditional male gaze in art and pushed the audience to rethink their preconceived notions of gender.
These women paved the way for others to challenge the traditional male gaze in art. They are examples of how art can have a profound, powerful message and impact. At the Palbric Art Foundation, we also believe in using art to change the world. Learn more about Palbric and our mission here!