Feminist representations in contemporary art
As awe-inspiring -and indeed, controversial- as Queen Bey and her latest musical offering remain, I decided more constructive and intellectually challenging research was needed into the female condition, today in the form of examining representations of women and feminism in the world of modern art, and wanted to share a few of my findings and musings with y'all.
The next artist I discovered was Nancy Spero, who created an incredible collage work entitled 'Torture of Women'. It is a 125 foot long scroll (!!) with 14 panels, of which a portion is shown below. It combines both text and images, specifically first-person testimonies taken from Amnesty International reports about missing or deceased women, and definitions of torture.
This struck a chord with my current theological research, notably that concerning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a very current issue often considered to constitute violent torture by its critics, victims and onlookers. Additionally, the sheer scale of the work and the effort Spero has put into her work astounded me, the mark of a truly inspirational and hard-working artist.
The debate over sexual representations of the female body in the media rages on, and reached fever pitch in the popular conscience last year with both Miley Cyrus' infamous VMA performance and the release of Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. Rather than shouting across the twittersphere, whether it's to champion Beyonce's lack of thigh-gap, criticise Miley's foam finger or question why Lena Dunham agreed to have Vogue retouch her cover earlier this year, let's engage with sisterhood and the meaning of feminism on a more intellectually rewarding, artistic level.
There is an astounding range of modern art imbued with feminist significance on the market today, and the hard work and originality of these women's offerings provides a counterpoint to the continual stereotypes of feminism, sexuality and gender which are splattered across the media today, and are truly worth exploring further. And if all else fails, go and watch HBO's Girls, because it's just great.