Analyzing Femininity in Masculine Society - by Christine Golden

The exploration of women in artistic subcultures representing gritty and often masculinized posturing. From the male dominated society of artists throughout history to the participation of women in the Punk and Grunge eras of recent history; women have shown how being feminine isn’t restricted to traditionally feminine roles. This gallery will analyze women represented or portrayed in a variety of mediums through "edgy" and male-centric subcultures in history.

This painting of Susanna and the Elders depicts the sexual assault of the story as traumatic. The use of extreme contrast from the white of Susanna's skin against the gloomy background makes Susanna's body language the focal point to the painting. As a survivor of sexual assault herself, this painting was a direct response to Artemisia's own emotions behind her attack. The piece was developed as a work representing solidarity of women in the face of patriarchal injustice.
Maria Cosway attended the Royal Academy of Arts in London, an academy started by women despite academies denying or limiting the women who wanted to attend. Although limited to the aristocratic, the Royal Academy of Arts was the catalyst for women being accepted in art schools and accepted as apprentices to other artists.
Elizabeth Thompson, also known as Lady Butler, became on of the most successful female artists who made her fame by portraying military scenes. Most of her work and technique related to her depiction of men in her work is a direct result of her education at the Royal Academy, one of the first academies open to women that allowed them to study the naked male form.
O'Keefe is well known for her paintings of flowers in almost abstract forms. Often these flowers were seen as controversial because they portrayed what people thought to be erotic subtext.
Frida Kahlo turned the idea of what it meant to be feminine on its head. An artist, author, and political activist for the Communist Party, she became a prominent feminist icon. As a women who had a tumultuous health history, and love life, she is most known for her self portraits that gives insight to her emotional and physical pain.
With strong ties to Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti focused on portraying Mexican revolutionary icons from the past in her photography. After moving to Mexico City and establishing a portraiture business, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party in the late 1920's.
Lange is well known for her documentation of The Depression in her artful photography. Instead of past artistic societies who focused on high society and was not inclusive to the poor, she depicted the poverty of the times and the consequences of the Dust Bowl and the Depression on average americans.
Annie Leibovitz is a famous photographer who's works is most identifiable through her photographs of The Rolling Stones. As a staff photographer for the band, she became associated with other celebrities and became known for photographing the rich and famous.
Graciela Iturbide, fascinated by the world of photography at a young age, is a Mexican artist known for her portrayal of Mexican feminism. After sent on an assignment to photograph the women of the town of Juchitán de Zaragoza who were known for their social independence, Iturbide became a huge supporter of the feminist movement in her photography.
Kara Walker's huge exhibition of "A Subtlety" in 2014 was an analysis of the controversial sugar industry in the United States. Her sphinx depicting a black woman made entirely of styrofoam and sugar is a direct statement expressing the violent industry that was built on the backs of black women and children. Kara's work is a great example of intersectionality becoming more represented in modern art history.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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