- Get cozy with the Guerilla Girls. The Guerilla Girls are an anonymous group of art activists who use humor to point out sexism and racism in the arts. Shoot, I’d never heard of them, but when my eighteen-year-old niece saw a scarf by the Guerilla Girls, she fairly shouted, “Oh, I love the Guerilla Girls. They are so neat!” (Seriously, and I thought I was taking HER to the museum so she would have an educational experience. Give me a break.) http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/01/13/art-activists-guerrilla-girls-take-over-the-twin-cities/
- See nothing, say something. Seriously. If you’re at an art event, and if women artists are MIA (Missing In Action), make a fuss. (All right, be polite about it if you must, but at least make mention of the obvious. “Are there any women here? Helll-oooo???”) In the meantime, take a look at all the cool ways that the Guerilla Girls are drawing attention to how women are underrepresented in the arts: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/artist/Guerrilla+Girls
- Discover a new female artist today. I fell in love with The Call (1961) by Remedios Varo. Varo seems to straddle the real and the surreal with this painting. Varo’s characteristic color palette is fiery orange-gold, a visual reminder that powerful women cannot be ignored. This arresting figure walks past the somber relics of those who refuse to step forward. Her energy is other-worldly, and one can only wonder…where is she going? And what is she planning to do?
- Read a biography of a woman who supported the arts. I just finished The Pope’s Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice della Rovere by Caroline P. Murphy, about Pope Julius II’s illegitimate daughter, the most powerful woman in Rome in her day. When Julius died, Pope Leo X instructed Michelangelo to cease working on Julius’s tomb. Because the artist felt an obligation to Julius’s heirs, he gave Felice the cartoons from his work on the Sistine Chapel. It is thought that these sketches were later developed as frescoes in the Church of the Trinity in Rome.
- Visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. There’s only one museum in the world that’s totally dedicated to our gender, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing a real treat. https://nmwa.org/visit And while you’re there, you can see The Call. I promise that you’ll be amazed at all this museum has to offer.
Do you have a favorite female artist? Who is she? What about her work calls to you?