Portrayal of the Female Figure by American Female and Male Artists from 1900-1950

An exhibition by Sunny Chen ’20, Amanda Ghiloni ’22, Kathryn Kearney ’21, and Adriana Mullin ’21.

Throughout history, artistic movements have been defined primarily by men, but this exhibition explores the depiction of the female figure in art by both women and men. The concept of “the artist” is a gendered construct that institutionalizes masculine authority. Thus, women were powerless, objectified agents of male desire and interpretation in their art. This pattern suggests a gendered power dynamic between men and women that reinforced stereotypes and male dominance. This particular gender dynamic is evident in male artists’ depiction of the female figure. Women in the past have been the ones represented in art and not the artists themselves, leading them to change how they were viewed in order to find a place in the art world.

This exhibition brings awareness to underrepresented female artists and the female form, and it contrasts the depiction of women in works by female and male artists. These works challenge the dominant narrative of male artists using females as the subject of their work. The act of creating art has been gendered male, and the objects of art are gendered female. This exhibition is organized into gendered displays with the outer walls featuring images of women by women and with the inner walls featuring images of women by men. The perspectives of female artists become the focal point of the exhibition to emphasize inclusion, equality, and diversity.

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