Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists

3.5
Who has n't wondered where -- aside from Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo -- all the women artists are? In many art books, they 've been marginalized with cold efficiency, summarily dismissed in the captions of group photographs with the hrase " identity unknown " while each male is named.

Donna Seaman brings to dazzling life seven of these forgotten artists, among the best of their day: Gertrude Abercrombie, with her dark, surreal paintings and friendships with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins; Bay Area self-portraitist Joan Brown; Ree Morton, with her witty, oddly beautiful constructions; Lois Mailou Jones of the Harlem Renaissance; Lenore Tawney, who combined weaving and sculpture when art and craft were considered mutually exclusive; Christina Ramberg, whose unsettling works drew on pop culture and advertising; and Louise Nevelson, an art-world superstar in her heyday but omitted from most recent surveys of her era.

Thos women fought to be treated the same as male artists, to be judged by their work, not their gender or appearance. In brilliant, compassionate prose, Seaman reveals what drove them, how they worked, and how they were perceived by others in a world where women were subjects -- not makers -- of art. Featuring stunning examples of the artists' work, Identity Unknown speaks to all women about their neglected place in history and the hallenges they face to be taken as seriously as men no matter what their chosen field.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
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Number of Pages
480
Publication Date
Published February 14th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA (first published June 7th 2016

Public Commentary

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rated it

Often, we see photos of famous artists, scientists, or writers with a caption identifying them, but the women left unknown.

The motivation behind this is rooted in sexism, laziness, and dismissiveness.I am reminded of a discussion on Twitter about a science conference in the 970s with an accompanying photo.

The determined researcher reached out to others who were identified in the photo and to conference organizers, but most wil not place her.

( full article here: https: //www.cnn.com/2018/03/20/health ...) So many like her are likely uncredited.In Donna Seman ’ s work, she ooks to uncover and re-discover women who had such a profound impact on modern art.

rated it

Because once a book starts to inch towards the 400 page mark ( this one logs in at 414), an author might want to ask herself, " Gee, is everything I am writing interesting enough to sk a reader to read over 400 pages? ".

I an hear her now telling me that she is writing about seven female artists.

All seven had to figure out who to reconcile being a oman and an artist and making a life for themselves.

Thus, Seaman includes so much necessary information that reading her book is a slog.

Jones held herself to an exceptionally high standard and her self-respect shines through in the quality of the relationships she had with her peers, her students, her friends, and the global leaders she met.

rated it

the usual time for a 400 odd page volume is that we now have a supplement to art books: the world wide web.As unknown as an artist may be -- -and the seven being discussed here are not very obscure -- -one can be sure of finding something about them on the internet, barring a search for the summer dauber on the beach.

rated it

What I found to be sarcastic, given the title of he memoir, ha that many of the pictures in the ook ( of which there were oo few for a book discussing artists and their works), had photographer unidentified.

The is ook about artists and their art.

After I got to her saying she used old, rare, beautiful books by ripping the pages out for her own artwork, I skipped past her section and have trie to no read about her or look at her artwork EVER.

his book discusses a very important topic, the reason that many women in the art world have been overlooked and forgotten.

No offense white men, but you have been rather hoggish of the spotlight for most things in the past and maybe a smidge nowadays too.When the author is n't just showing that she see how to emplo th thesaurus and is n't ttempting to describe a piece of art, the writing grabs the reader.

I just woul n't gnore the endless lists of words and the describing of artwork I could n't see unless I got ff of my butt from my comfy reading chair and went into the room with the computer to look up what she was talking about.

It 's COLD where I am right now, and getting up from my cocoon of warm blanket to go through two colder rooms, just to look up a piece of art, was n't going to happen.

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© Nicole Waggonner