by Caroline Bins Intern
Consensus exists among some of the interns here at the Kitchen Sisters, that all it takes to become a great women artist is raw talent, vision, luck and putting in the hours…Right? After all The Kitchen Sisters themselves have been cooking great sound for years with an incredible track record of awards and prizes.
Not so, warns veteran filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson in her latest film. To this day women artists need to fight for recognition in museums and galleries.
Instead of whining about it, Leeson made W.A.R. !Women Art Revolution, a documentary which spans a period of forty years documenting the fight, she and fellow artists fought, to create their own identity in the arts. Hershman Leeson was right at the epicenter of those women artists were challenging art in America.
Starting in her Berkeley living room during the height of the Sixties, multimedia artist filmmaker Hershman Leeson interviewed friends and fellow feminist artists like Judy Chicago and the Guerilla Girls tracking them to galleries to living rooms and at one point even cornering them in a bathroom.
At that time Abstract Expressionist heavyweights were all men. Men also ran galleries museums and schools. They chose who were hung in the pantheon of the arts. And the work of women artists did not rank high on their list.
But this documentary does not merely point out injustice, instead it documents the energy and action of the time. When standing before closed doors, these women showcased their work anywhere they could, even buying their own spaces -no matter how decrepit- to have walls to hang their pieces from.
The film does not stand alone. It is a multi-media experience with different parts:
This archive provides the first-person histories of the pioneering individuals, the videos, transcripts, and biographies on the interviewees and other feminist studies resources.
RAW/WAR: in collaboration with YouTube, this website asks the community to help curate the lost or invisible histories of women in art
!Women Art Revolution – A Secret History: a comic book drawn by the legendary Spain Rodriguez, highlighting the incongruous and irrational episodes in the feminist art movement’s fragmented history.