Women’s Voices in the Art Catalogue

Nobody says Picasso, the male artist.” — Patti Smith.

From time to time, men need to be reminded that we are not the default gender. Women have never been a “niche” demographic in the history of arts, crafts and design. They have just been a niche in the minds of the historians. To ensure that women receive proper representation in the historical catalogue of great art, women’s voices must be heard during the process of its curation.

For instance, when the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston began developing their Women Take the Floor exhibit of extraordinary twentieth century women artists and artisans — many of whom received far less recognition than their male counterparts — they asked local women community leaders to inform interpretation and give feedback on the project. The exhibit runs through November 28, 2021.

"Self Portrait" by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca.1556
“Self Portrait” by Sofonisba Anguissola, ca.1556

Fortunately, educating oneself about the contributions of women creatives isn’t that difficult anymore. One of the advantages of the Internet is that nobody with a voice can truly be silenced. Hotel Designs published several short commentaries from women who (well, yes) design hotels. Bob Vila lists short bios of many women who pioneered the interior design industry.

The importance women’s voices extends even to the urban areas in which so much of the art world congregates. For women to create, display, curate and collect creative works, they need to travel safely and economically between their homes, workplaces, commercial districts and cultural centers. Yet, as ArchDaily discusses, modern cities are designed by men to serve the needs of men, which often results in dangerous and expensive environments for women, the elderly, minorities and other underrepresented groups.

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