In 1971 the pioneering art historian Linda Nochlin posed the question, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” - opening the door to a wave of Feminist inquiry that has changed the face of art and art history. Within the more narrowly defined history and practice of collage, one can also ask the question, “Why have there been so many great women collagists?” Daughters of the Revolution: Women & Collage brings together thirty-four artists, whose work has helped to re-define this quintessentially Modernist art form.
When Clement Greenberg wrote of the “Pasted Paper Revolution” in his 1958 essay on Cubist collage, it is unlikely that he would or could have conceived of that revolution as being largely fought by women. Employing a wide range of visual and material strategies, each of these artists raises important questions about the unique connection between collage and women’s experience. This generally intimate art form has historically been more accessible to women, who for many years were excluded from a conventional studio practice - collage was the medium that could be done “on the kitchen table”. Collage has important roots in craft traditions dominated by women (e.g. scrapbooks, 19th century Valentines, quilting, decoupage, etc.). The importance of memory and a decidedly preservationist impulse also has particular resonance for women, who are often the keepers of their family histories and mementos. While each of the artists represented here owes much to the achievements of the Feminist movement, their identities as artists reflect a broad spectrum of attitudes and experiences, ranging from deeply political engagement to an expressed ambivalence. Regardless, their unique contributions have opened up a fundamental cultural and aesthetic dialogue, further bridging the gap between art and life.
Daughters of the Revolution: Women & Collage will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue featuring a conversation with artist Melissa Meyer, who in 1978 co-authored the groundbreaking essay "Femmage" with fellow artist Miriam Shapiro.