Contributions Of A Feminist Art Criticism By Arlene Raven Analysis

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In the section, Words of Honor: Contributions of a Feminist Art Critic, Arlene Raven outlines the events in her life that have led her to be an art critic for artists who were not as “bankable” as other artists. In this excerpt, she discusses how her experiences of being raped exposed her to a cruel reality about the oppression women faced despite equal education acquirement. Consequently, she increasingly got more involved in the feminist/political work, creating iconic associations like the Women’s Building. Motivated by the explosion of the feminist movement in America, she created this institution to encourage activities in creating expressive bodies of art. It also called for the protest against major institutions that tends to exclude…show more content…
She would often discuss a broad idea of the works she is critiquing, and all of them have either an impartial or positive criticism. Some people do not possess a profound art history knowledge, so she provides brief information and commendable aspect of a work to allow the audience a chance to interpret an art in their own tentative way. She also assumes that the public who views art has some level of basic educational background in literature, so she attempts to associate some works with a more recognizable example to incite a familiarity. Raven would cite famous literary authors to accomplish this idea, furthering connecting them the idea behind the aspect of a particular piece. For example, in the appropriation work of Julia P. Herzberg, Cataline Parra in Retrospect, she noted the idea behind communication over design. She specifically takes the obvious consideration of the stitching element and photo collages to briefly explain the history and concept of the work being presented, “Emily Dickinson, an accomplished seamstress, thought of the stich as a healing bridge and sewing as a strategy for mending fragmentation” (source). Another example would be her usage of Plato in her critique of Flack’s, Pantheon of Female Deities. She momentarily discusses how Plato claims to be born from a virgin, and would often refer to Athena as his symbol and site of his philosophy (source). Likewise, for the audience with Christian backgrounds, they can relate this idea of virgin born to the birth of Jesus. Basically, this statement gives a larger idea of the kind of prejudice people had of women, and why she finds Flack’s work commendable. One more example of Raven using famous distinguished individuals is Sandy Skoglund’s installation. She mentions Henry David Thoreau’s describing a Walden pond as “the light blue of watered silks and cold
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