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Grebels
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01 May 2012, 2:34 am

There are these days a significant number of female artists, yet obviously the men are still for the most part successful. I think the reasons are rooted deep within the human psyche.

I begin by saying great artists are confrontational people. Cassat and Morrisot had to content themselves with nice family scenes. Gentilelschi was indeed confrontational but how many of her own paintings can you count on more than two hands and just think how badly she was treated.

Now I'll make another bold statement. Men generally speaking have a fear of women which they do not care to admit. That is why women have been oppressed historically. You will appreciate that people who are free to confront issues have power. Now women these days do have more power than ever and routinely confront issues in the daily course of business. However art is another matter. It often deals things of the unconscious. It may bring comfort but also may confront the issues we would rather not know about.

Rather than continue giving my conclusion, perhaps you ladies would care to give us what you see as the role of women in art. Do you want the power of confrontation or that of love and nurture? Quite clearly both are necessary.

Well I've put my big foot in it again and I do appreciate this isn't a comfortable matter for discussion. However, you may not feel comfortable playing second fiddle either. Great artists are not people who feel particularly comfortable with themselves let alone other people.



hyperlexian
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01 May 2012, 3:01 am

speaking as a female artist, i'd say that having a child fundamentally changed my perspective. i no longer wanted to take risks in my life. my life became more... outer. and less... inner. i didn't even have the patience to read fiction anymore (still don't, and my child is nearly 18 ). every waking moment when i was not at my paying job i was slightly distracted by thoughts of my child.

i was also the major breadwinner, so i needed to bring home as much money as possible to support my family properly. i could not really do that if i was an artist. my former husband had some major art projects while he worked part-time or was a stay-at-home dad, and i supported him in those.

in those short periods i was at home with our child i was not able to work on art as i couldn't divide my attention very well and i became depressed when i was in the house too much. i needed to be outside the house, so perhaps it would have been effective if i had worked in a studio, but we could not have afforded to have me stop working so that i could paint in a studio full time.

i remember making the decision to stop trying to make art to the same degree. i was in an introductory art class in University and the Department of Fine Arts was trying to lure me into the BFA program (as was the Department of Religious Studies 8O ). i was enrolled in my second year of Anthropology at the time. i took a year off to decide what to do. i realised that all of these options were too impractical. if i wanted to take proper care of my family i needed a real career. so i switched to Elementary Education.

i guess i became incredibly practical and goal-oriented when i had a child. art became a hobby. i just couldn't devote the time and energy to art when i had a child to think of.

many women have children in their 20s and 30s, when the foundation for creating art is really in an important developmental stage for many people.


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Jacoby
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01 May 2012, 6:32 am

I think hyperlexian makes a good point and that's part of the reason there are less female professionals in general.

As for art specifically, I'm not really tuned in enough to know what the current 'art scene' is like but are there really still more men? Historically, I imagine the reason why there were more male artists were because it just wasn't an avenue open to most women. You'd become an apprentice or go off to some school. A lot of artists back then were pretty fringe characters I believe so it probably wasn't very socially acceptable for women of the time to associate with them. As for now, I'm not so sure. Women's creativity is certainly much more encouraged for what I can see.

I remember MP or someone like that one here lamenting about how the ratio of atheists(at least ones that attend conventions or something of the sort) so heavily skewed male.

Maybe it just comes down to biology. Men in general are more individualist while women are more collectivist and unwilling to upset the natural order of things.



WilliamWDelaney
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01 May 2012, 7:00 am

Women tend to have a more pragmatic mindset than men. Men tend to have more of a preoccupation with abstract ideas. However, this isn't a rule. It's just one of the possible outcomes of having higher or lower limbic levels of certain sex steroids as well as higher or lower populations of certain receptors for the steroids in question. Anyone who wants a cut-and-dried explanation is barking up the wrong tree, and that's just how it is.



TM
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01 May 2012, 7:08 am

Jacoby wrote:

Maybe it just comes down to biology. Men in general are more individualist while women are more collectivist and unwilling to upset the natural order of things.


That makes sense given that we know that most women are more social than most men in many ways. It may or may not be the case with aspie women as they seem more "male" in certain behaviors based on my observation.

It does make sense, if we look at the role of men as hunters and women as the caregivers. Yes, hunting throughout time has been different from place to place but its been everywhere from single hunters to groups of hunters (individual sports vs team sports). Whereas "caregiving" within a tribal community would likely have been a social cooperative based.

The logic dictates that if the women without "social cooperative genes" were less likely to have successful offspring, a majority of women would have these "social cooperative" genes.

I do agree that hunting isn't a purely individual activity and that there are elements of social cooperative behavior and tasks involved in it. However, the "female-centric" tasks throughout human history appear to have been more group.based rather than individual.



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01 May 2012, 7:32 am

I don't quite see the original premise.

Maybe there has never been a female equivalent of Michaelangelo--but, there was only one male equivalent.

The last time that I went to an art fair, I wasn't really paying attention, but there seemed (in retrospect) to have been about as many ladies as gents trying to hawk their creations.

Nearly all artists are going to accept poverty as their lot--unless they've either inherited or married well, or are extraordinarily lucky.

In the USA, at least until Obamacare becomes the law of the land, it is very difficult for an individual to purchase health insurance unless it is provided by an employer as a benefit. Quite a lot of people who don't particularly need the money have jobs just to get the health insurance.

A lot of artists will end up spending their days as very low paid graphic designers in cubicles.

Are we trying to say here that even women can paint, but only men can become great artists? Just like they say that even women can cook, but only men can become greats chefs?



TM
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01 May 2012, 7:44 am

ArrantPariah wrote:

Are we trying to say here that even women can paint, but only men can become great artists? Just like they say that even women can cook, but only men can become greats chefs?


I think what is being alluded to is that women and men have equal capacity for art, but women are less likely to go 100% for their art, just like women are less likely to go 100% in any profession.



Grebels
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01 May 2012, 8:22 am

Very few people can make a living from art, but I do see tremendous talent in the commercial fields. My son with MA (Digital Art) would be fairly peaved if he didn't earn at least 200 pounds a day. But that is all beside the point.

Quote:
Artemisia Gentileschi (July 8, 1593–1652)[1] was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation after Caravaggio - Wiki


She was fortunate enough to be taught by her father. However, she was raped by another teacher, tried to get legal redess but was treated badly. Maybe she got even by painting Susanna and the Elders and Judith Slaying Holofernes. The actual story was more complicated than that. It is clear here she was indeed confrontational.

Cassat and Morrisot lived in a time when women could be artists, but were not expected to paint nudes for example. They were limited in terms of what might be acceptable. Reading how Manet dominated her, it seems much to her distress, practically repainting her show entry. She may not have been from the same mould as Gentileschi.

I live in a relatively small market town in the UK. I can assure you that we do have many more female artists than male. A number women have taken a mature persons art degree, then moved on to an MA. They are mostly married, middle class, with no income problems. For all of that there do seem to be more male artists at the top of the tree.



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01 May 2012, 9:18 am

TM wrote:
ArrantPariah wrote:

Are we trying to say here that even women can paint, but only men can become great artists? Just like they say that even women can cook, but only men can become greats chefs?


I think what is being alluded to is that women and men have equal capacity for art, but women are less likely to go 100% for their art, just like women are less likely to go 100% in any profession.


This one I would like to see some actual evidence for.....as I am pretty sure how much effort one puts into things depends on the person, not the gender. So since this seems like more of a generalization than a fact I'd like to see a source.


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TM
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01 May 2012, 9:38 am

Sweetleaf wrote:
TM wrote:
ArrantPariah wrote:

Are we trying to say here that even women can paint, but only men can become great artists? Just like they say that even women can cook, but only men can become greats chefs?


I think what is being alluded to is that women and men have equal capacity for art, but women are less likely to go 100% for their art, just like women are less likely to go 100% in any profession.


This one I would like to see some actual evidence for.....as I am pretty sure how much effort one puts into things depends on the person, not the gender. So since this seems like more of a generalization than a fact I'd like to see a source.


http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/46/17/37964450.pdf

If you want more sources check just about every single statistic done on hours worked in paid labour between the genders. Unless you include work within the home reported based on estimations, which is completely irrelevant in this discussion. Women as a whole work less than men, period, even counting those women who work just as much or more than men.



Grebels
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01 May 2012, 10:45 am

I said great artists are those who confront issues. Being an artist is not just a matter of working hard, or having a good teacher. There quite obviously are women who are willing to confront issues, but it would seem to more likely be a trait in men.



visagrunt
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01 May 2012, 11:10 am

You have to put some historical context on this.

There could never have been a female Michaelangelo or Leonardo in the context of the European renaissance, because the luxury devoting oneself to one's art was strictly limited to those who had the financial means to support themselves by their art.

Women were not educated in the same manner as men; women were not provided with the same opportunities for training and apprenticeship as men; and women did not own sufficient property of their own to leverage themselves into artistic careers. A woman like Gentileschi is exceptional not only because she was a woman, but because she was in a unique position to receive training, tutelage and patronage.

It is only with liberalism that women in Europe and North America were provided with opportunities to follow independent pursuits. It is no accident that the greatest of women artists only really begin to come to the fore in the 19th century onward.


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01 May 2012, 11:11 am

Who says there weren't/aren't great female artists? Begging the question are we?


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TM
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01 May 2012, 11:25 am

Vexcalibur wrote:
Who says there weren't/aren't great female artists? Begging the question are we?


Strawmanning are we? There are many great female artists, but there are more great male artists that have achieved success, the OP and the rest of us are wondering why and trying to come up with explanations.

Discussing is a lot more fun without these silly rhetorical tools you use to diminish the difficulty of actually having a discussion.



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01 May 2012, 11:41 am

not really, vexcaliber. art has historically been a male pursuit. it's not been until the twentieth century that female artists have come to any prominence at all. yes, there were exceptions, but in general. the reason is quite obvious. art was one area that perpetuated the disempowerment of women through it's representation of them. john berger's ways of seeing gives a lot of perspective on this, if anyone's read it or would be interested to read it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ways_of_Seeing

i suppose a trailblazer might have been margaret macdonald, but even there, mackintosh is the far better known of the two, and there is an opinion that she had far more influence over his work than the other way around, an opinion with which i might well agree.


contemporary art has far greater female representation. especially since the rise of feminism. there are countless well known female artists today and female artists who make a living from it. maybe it depends on what area of art we're talking about?


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