Moco’s vision for 2020 is to empower and celebrate female artists and their talent! 8 March is the Women's March on Amsterdam - don't just stand there, JOIN!
Mama Cash (1983) is the international fund for feminist activism and they've organized the Mama Cash Feminist Festival at Stedelijk Museum! The program includes performances, artist talks, and inspiring workshops to diversely express support for women, girls, trans, intersex people, and female artists who are fighting for their rights. Social change starts with women and girls, which is why we must praise contemporary female artists and the ones that came before.
EVERYONE should know #5WomenArtists! We must honor this fierce, feminine legacy and pay respect to 20 Female Artists - out of hundreds of thousands in honor of #InternationalWomensDay and #WomensHistoryMonth!
1. Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907 – 1954)
Not only famous for challenging gender norms. But also, having a folk art style that reflected the differences in womanhood. She furthermore explored subjects like identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, and race. Interestingly, she's been called a realist and a surrealist. However, the female artist has written: I paint my own reality.
2. Judy Chicago (American, 1939 – )
Judy Chicago started the first-ever feminist art program. On top of that, she's known for her works that relate to birth and creation. She makes it a point to above all, celebrate women by honoring their achievements. To this day, Chicago remains one of the most important female artists.
3. Annie Leibovitz (American, 1949 – )
Annie Leibovitz is considered to be one of the greatest portrait photographers of our generation. As a result of her drive and determination, she has overcome monumental challenges in both her private and professional life. Notably, her famous line of subjects includes John Lennon and Yoko Ono, a pregnant and naked Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg in a bath of milk, even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Actually, the list is longer than the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
4. Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, 1929 – )
Yayoi Kusama is perhaps the most successful of all living female artists. Though she spent most of her childhood outdoors, experiencing hallucinations, she has since become a legend. Flashes of light and dense fields of dots eventually inspired her signature subjects, in particular, the polka dot. The contemporary artist has voluntarily committed to living and working inside a psychiatric hospital – proving that there is no limit to creativity.
5. Marina Abramović (Serbian, 1946 – )
Performance artist and art filmmaker, Marina Abramovic is known for using her body as the subject and vehicle to drive her works' messages. The contemporary female artist pushes mental and physical boundaries, exploring the relationship between performer and audience. From a young age - growing up in a politically-minded and creatively encouraging household - Abramovic has remarked, “I understood…that I could make art with everything…and the most important [thing] is the concept.”
6. Cindy Sherman (American, 1954 – )
Cindy Sherman is the highest-paid photographer of the decade because she is a gamechanger. Her self-portrait, photographic series, Film Stills (1977-80) saw the artist ironically dress up as female clichés and stereotypes. “To me, it was a way to make the best out of what I liked to do privately, which was to dress up.” At the same time, it also established her reputation as a modern female artist. Unsurprisingly, Sherman continues to confront traditional standards of beauty, and the rest is herstory.
7. Studio Irma (Dutch, 1980 – )
The Contemporary Dutch Artist is both a woman in tech and a woman in art. Studio Irma (Irma de Vries) unites art and technology - augmented reality, videomapping, painting, computer animation, and digital techniques. Reflecting Forward by Studio Irma debuts at Moco in Amsterdam, finally! Moreover, it should be noted that the immersive digital art installation is the first of its kind. Above all, the exhibition communicates the importance of Connectivism in art and life.
8. Tracey Emin (British, 1963 – )
A prominent member of the Young British Artists (YBA), Emin uses a wide range of materials to realize her autobiographically charged artworks. In detail, Tracey Emin uses her platform to speak loudly on topics about public humiliation, sexism, botched abortions, unreported rape, alcoholism, promiscuity, sex, and love.
9. Shirin Neshat (Iranian, 1957 – )
Film director, activist, and artist. Shirin Neshat uses art to confront and reflect on political issues. Since moving to the US at 17, she involves themes of displacement in her work, simultaneously giving a voice to other female artists who share a similar story. In other words, she explores differences in eastern and western cultures.
10. Barbara Kruger (American, 1945 – )
Barbara Kruger is a conceptual artist. Her legacy is visually defined by graphic powerplay. In summary, black and white photos with red-highlighted text boldly critique our male-dominated society. However, it was this signature style that has furthermore inspired contemporary fashion. Namely, the cult streetwear label Supreme and its logo.
11. Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887 – 1986)
Monumental, still-life paintings of flowers that resemble female genitalia. This is not the only reason O'Keeffe is an unforgettable female artist. Her peaceful desert landscapes of New Mexico further give shape to her iconic artistry. What's more, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was the first museum dedicated to a single female artist in the US.
*In 2014, she set the auction record for female artists: $44.4 million.
12. Louise Bourgeois (French-American, 1911 – 2010)
Originally, the female artist was linked to Surrealism. However, in 1938 she moved from Paris to New York and focused on making sculptures that rejected any style. Besides her iconic spider sculpture, she created an homage to her long-term male assistant in Arch of Hysteria. The work underlines the fragility of the human body as it hangs and spins.
13. Prune Nourry (French, 1985 – )
Beyond being bold and brave, Prune Nourry uses performance, photography, video, and sculpture to deal with gender politics. In 2018, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. In response, Nourry filmed and documented her treatment. As a result, Serendipity is an intimate portrait of the artist that captures the unexpected relationship between art and illness.
14. Maya Hayuk (American, 1969 – )
Maya Hayuk paints large-scale murals of bold geometric patterns. In addition to her personal pursuit of the psychedelic experience, she is inspired by mandalas, chandeliers, and the environment. Hence, her bright compositions live around the world and radiate with life, further expressing the harmony of color and form. [Photo credit: Lauren Silberman]
15. Kara Walker (American, 1969 – )
Kara Walker creates immersive works of art that regularly use themes of African American racial identity. Notably, she uses a projector to cast viewers' shadows within the work. As a result, the audience becomes subject to her scenes of slavery and conflict.
“I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fiction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.”
16. Jenny Holzer (American, 1950 – )
One of the few female artists to win the Golden Lion Award (Venice Biennale). Originally, Holzer wanted to become an abstract painter. However, after a long University reading list, she then summarized each book with thought-provoking, conceptual one-liners, otherwise known as Truisms. Here are some of our favorites:
EVERYONE’S WORK IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT
PAIN CAN BE A VERY POSITIVE THING
YOU MUST REMEMBER YOU HAVE FREEDOM OF CHOICE
17. Wangechi Mutu (Kenyan, 1972 – )
The artist uses female forms to explore concepts of femininity and sexuality. Next, questioning self-image, gender constructs, cultural trauma, and environmental destruction related to women, in great detail.
Females carry the marks, language, and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.
18. Juno Calypso (British, 1989 – )
The surreal comes to life in contemporary photographs by female artist Juno Calypso. In order to illustrate concepts of hyper-femininity, she uses an alter ego, Joyce. In this case, ultra-fem, highly-stylized pictures present a strange depiction of women to the viewer.
19. Jennifer Guidi (American, 1972 – )
To no surprise, this SoCal native uses mostly sand to create her art! Before applying to canvas, she mixes it with colored pigments and acrylic polymers. Then in a ritualistic manner, she makes markings repeatedly. In the end, soothing mandala-like, mixed-media paintings hypnotize viewers and collectors.
20. Hilma af Klint (Swedish, 1862 – 1944)
Interestingly, this artist uses spirit-guided paintings composed of diagrams, shapes, and colors to turn audiences into believers. Hilma af Klint is widely hailed the true inventor of abstract painting. However, that recognition only came after her death. In fact, her revolutionary work predates the abstractions by Kandinsky.