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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 23. February 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 10, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6019.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1979). Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 23. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6019

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 23, February 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 10, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6019.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 23
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File Name femin_201109_547av.jpg
Transcript The Breakthrough Review the arts • books • dance • film • music 5, \ \ LIPPARD: Art and Feminism by Charlotte Moser Lucy Lippard is the most influential feminist art critic in the country today, but she got there the hard way. Born in New York City in 1937, she majored in art at Smith College, spent her junior year in Paris, and returned to New York in 1958 to look for an art gallery job. She ended up with a job at the Museum of Modern Art Library as a page and researcher. The first art reviews she wrote were turned down by Hilton Kramer, then editor of Arts Magazine and now critic for the New York Times. She.felt so rejected that she didn't attempt art criticism again for almost six years. At nights in the meantime, she worked on an M. A. from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. In 1962, her first academic piece of art criticism was published in the College Art Journal. In 1964, her son Ethan was born and she began her career as a free-lance art critic. Max Kozloff, editor of the newly formed magazine Artforum, asked her to write reviews of New York shows and later that year, she became critic ior Art International magazine. She began to organize exhibitions and, in 1968, received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on a book on Ad Reinhardt, one of the leading artists of Abstract Expressionism. That same year, Lippard took a trip to Argentina that "radicalized" her. By 1970, she was involved with New York's Art Workers Coalition and had discovered feminism. She helped found the Ad Hoc Women Artists' Committee, the Women's Art Registry and W. E. B. (West East Bag). Today, Lippard occupies a unique and independent position in the hierarchy of the art world. She has never written a regular column but supports herself principally through free-lance writing and lecturing. She is author of several important books on avant garde ideas and artists. In 1976, her collection of art criticism essays, From the Center, was published as the first volume of feminist art criticism. She now lives in New York with her son and artist Charles Simonds. On February 19, Lippard will lecture in Houston at the Rice Media Center, co-sponsored by the Houston chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art and the Breakthrough Foundation. Her lecture is entitled Stones: A Feminist Approach to Ancient Images in Contemporary Art and will discuss art by both men and women with a feminist interpretation. The lecture is free and begins at 8 p.m. The following is taken from a telephone interview with Lippard: CM: When you got going, did you find many obstacles from the male art criticism profession? LL: It's very hard to tell because I was free-lancing. Also art criticism paid so little and there were so few people who wanted to do it that the competition wasn't really very strong. CM: Why do you feel that writing art criticism from a feminist point of view is important? LL: I'm less interested in making history than provoking artists to make history. I go around speaking, bringing issues to the fore, showing artists what women are doing, why they're doing it, what their struggles have been, how they've managed to overcome them. It's the artists who are the models and it's just a matter of getting them out where they are visible, which they weren't before. I'm writing about women because that's what I'm committed to. I might be making more money if I was writing about men, but I'm not trying to make more money. I'm just trying to make a living. CM: You say in your book that you write for women. How is that different, say, than writing for men? LL: I think women's culture is entirely different and women are very different from men. I'm glad when what I write communicates to men because it's important for this stuff to get across to men or nothing is ever going to change. The main difference was when art criticism was objective, so called. I think objectivity is mostly useful as something off there in the distance that one halfway works toward. But I don't believe in its existence when you come right down to it. The most objective criticism is highly subjective. CM: So you think subjective criticism is more accessible to women? LL: I think it's easier for women because we're always being accused of being subjective and so forth, so we're not as ashamed of it as men are. Since we've gotten in closer touch with our own identities, we've realized that subjectivity is not something terrible but something really very valuable that no one else had. CM: What sort of aesthetic guidelines do you use in your art criticism? LL: None. It's absolutely intuitive. It has to do with what I know and what I feel merging at some place that I can't put my finger on. My personality is very much involved in my criticism. CM: Is that an unusual position for a critic to take? LL: Oh, only admitting it, I suppose. The idea of always being objective used to be the criteria in the '60s. In the '70s, in fact, the main trend has been more toward subjectivity with both men and women. CM: Does your perspective come from feminist history? LL:. My perspective comes from the present, which is why I'm a critic and not a historian. But, of course, all that information is back-up and it's lovely to have and it's necessary to have. It strengthens my feelings of the present to see that these things all existed in the past. There are more feminist art historians than there are feminist art critics. CM: You discuss in your book the idea of encouraging women who have started late in their work. Do you have a conflict between wanting to nurture and wanting to maintain whatever standards of quality you establish for yourself? LL: I don't find it that much of a conflict. You want to nurture people you see the quality in, although I don't like to use the word quality because it's been so abused. CM: Do you find a conflict between knowing the artist and writing about the work? LL: Heavens no. I think it's by far the healthiest part of it. I can't imagine avoiding the artist, finding out the actual real source material about the art just because you have some half-assed principle about not knowing the artist. It's ridiculous. We tend to meet people whose work we like. If you like someone's work, you inevitably want to meet them and find out more about the work. God forbid, we should just read criticism about the art. The artists are the ones who know about it. CM: You discussed in your book at great length the moral dilemma you have about being a critic, about being a part of the art establishment hierarchy. Are you still grappling with that? LL: Yes, I'll do that as long as I'm writing criticism, but I make a living and support myself and my son with it. CM: Do you get into many conflicts with artists about that, the power of the artist vs. the power of the critic? LL: It's a basic thing we all know about, but it hasn't been a personal problem for me. I identify very strongly with artists and I think it shows to some extent. Needless to say, there are artists who hate my guts because I don't like their work. CM: Do you have problems with women whose work you don't like? LL: Not really. I don't think anybody is so unrealistic to think that one person can like everything that's done. No artist likes to hear that somebody doesn't like their work. They prefer to think that you don t understand the work, which may be perfectly true, and that's their privilege. . CM: How has feminism influenced art- making in general today? LL: I think feminism has influenced all this '70s art, a lot of diaristic work and a lot of performance work that makes people very vulnerable and so forth. There were men who were in there at the begin: ning too, and a tremendous number of women who have done this kind of work. And there are men who have literally ripped-off women. CM: Do you think the rise of pattern painting has been stimulated by feminism? LL: Several years ago, Lawrence Allo- way named something pattern painting. It's been primarily women who've brought that rich decorative quality to it. Mimi Schapiro, Joyce Kozloff, Amy Gol- din's writing all gave "permission" to bring the decorative into art whereas it had been a pejorative term before. A lot of the decorative comes from traditional women's crafts like Navajo blankets. CM: What do you see happening in women's art today? LL: Luckily, nothing specific. It's never been a style and everything is happening. It's just what women are doing. Fifty-five percent of the population is women. The difference in volume of work produced by women now as compared to 1970 is tremendous. CM: Do you feel it is being well received in terms of getting good coverage and serious attention? LL: That's difficult for all of us because there are few magazines and few critics and the editors do decide what they want written up. I'd like to see things be better but it has improved immensely. Charlotte Moser is the art critic for the Houston Chronicle. February, 1979 23 Houston Breakthrough