Great Women Artists by Phaidon Editors
In the mid-1980s, a group of women artists and activists donned Gorilla masks and marched in front of museums and galleries in New York City, protesting the vastly unequal representation of men and women artists in these institutions. They called themselves the Guerrilla Girls and with their confrontational activism, they jumpstarted a process of self-examination and re-visioning of history in the art world, a rediscovery of passed-over and sidelined women artists throughout history, as well as shining the spotlight on the importance and relevance of the work of contemporary women artists. Thirty-five years later, we have still not achieved equal representation or income parity in the visual arts, but much progress has been made, and Great Women Artists (Phaidon, $59.95) is a celebration of this exciting paradigm shift. Included in the book are images of the work of 400 women artists from the past 500 years, along with a paragraph on the history and significance of each one (there is a page on the Guerrilla Girls). These images show the pioneering diversity of art made by women, and prove decisively that women make art which transcends the supposed limitation of femaleness, and that—as the strikethrough in the title suggests— Great Women Artists are simply Great Artists.