According to Dr. Lisa Wainwright of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, contemporary artists of the 1960s and 1970s portrayed women as somber fighters with a cause during the heyday of the feminist movement. In the 1990s, that portrayal changed nearly 180-degrees as women were depicted as exceptionally feminine in their sexuality and as no longer feeling the urgency to fight.
On March 27th, Wainwright will discuss her observations during a free visual presentation entitled “Liberated Pink” at 6:30 p.m. in the Barnet Room of the Montgomery Student Center on the campus of Converse College. Her presentation, which will contain adult images, is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and is part of Converse’s celebration of Women’s History Month. It will include works by Portia Munson, Barbara DeGenevieve, Vanessa Beecroft, Lisa Yuskavage and Sally Alatalo. For more information, call (864) 596-9705.
“Pop culture and fine art often mirror society,” explained Wainwright. “During the 1960s and 1970s, women seemed to be fighting just to be able to express their point of view in a corporate world dominated by men, and the art work produced by women reflected this political seriousness.”
The portrayal of women took on a different role in the 1980s as part of a critique of the essentialist notions of the first wave, said Wainwright. The 1990s however ushered in the image of a woman comfortable in her sexuality, and ready to enjoy pleasure. “The 1990s was a decade built around materialism, sexuality and pleasure for everyone, not just women,” she said. “But for women, there seemed to be no more battles to wage or barriers to cross; in many respects we had won the fight, and just like everyone else we wanted to have fun. We went from burning bras to push-up bras.”
Dr. Suzanne Schuweiler-Daab, associate professor of art at Converse, coordinated the Women’s History Month Events at Converse. “I heard about a paper that Lisa presented at the National College Art Conference on this topic that received a lot of positive reaction, and I thought it would be worthwhile to bring her here to present this paper as a tie in with Women’s History Month,” she said. “I know she’s a dynamic speaker and extremely knowledgeable about contemporary art, so I felt that she would be able to raise some interesting and thought provoking issues regarding the depiction of women in society and by women artists.”