womanhouse : forget remember forget remember …

Laura E Davis Really fascinating book review. This really worries me. I see that children are so encouraged to behave within set gender roles, it’s almost like feminism never happened.

Jessica Fenlon Every generation, it is forgotten. Have you ever had a look at Womanhouse?

Laura E Davis Do you mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Womanhouse

I had not heard of it, but what an incredible project.

linen closet

WOMANHOUSE : linen closet : 1972

Laura E Davis Oh man, there is a documentary about it. I can’t seem to find it anywhere though. boo.

Jessica Fenlon It is erased – like the work itself. The house used for the installation work was torn down in the end; it was slated for destruction, that’s how the artists got access to it to begin with. And there are no images on Wikipedia.

WOMANHOUSE : Lipstick installation in the bathroom : 1972

WOMANHOUSE : Lipstick installation in the bathroom : 1972

In art history, women’s work tends to be erased because it is left out.  The same seems to be true of some gains made by each generation of feminists. Simple human ignorance, each generation is born into it.

WOMANHOUSE : Bridal Staircase : 1972

WOMANHOUSE : Bridal Staircase : 1972

History makes the metaphor. This symbol-set presenting Female-Body-As-House-Inhabited-By-Her-Personhood was physically demolished.  In art historical memory, erased.

I went on an archeological dig through the Internet. I know this content well, having presented and re-presented it to art school peers and students over the years, a treasure of a work never taught to them by others.

WOMANHOUSE : nurturant kitchen : 1972

WOMANHOUSE : nurturant kitchen : 1972

This particular reconstruction is definitely incomplete. Some images I poached from a blog claiming ‘feminist art history perseverence forever!’. This blog ceased publication after four posts, three years ago.

Art is a language of gestures. How a culture tends to the object-relics related to those gestures tells us about the dominant cultural beliefs of that culture … or at least, what the curators of those cultural beliefs want us to think is permitted.

WOMANHOUSE : f.w. seated in her crocheted 'womb room' : 1972

WOMANHOUSE : f.w. seated in her crocheted 'womb room' : 1972

1972 : Womanhouse is the product of tremendous amount of consciousness-raising in a feminist art education setting. I dare you to discover more about this seminal work of art, work that created environmental installation art.

My assignment to you: find the answers to the following questions. No, you can’t use Wikipedia.

Who “taught” this group of young artists? What school housed the program? Where did you find the art historical documentation about it? Which artists created the specific works I’ve included in this post? What other titles were given to these smaller installations, and by whom? How many installations were in the house? How many performance pieces? What now-famous artists saw this work as audience members?

For extra credit : Why do you think a work of art that lays the foundation for an entire genre can be ignored, overlooked, forgotten?