Sunday, December 14, 2008

Artist breaks with tradition of childfree female artists

Neo-Maternalism: Contemporary Artists’ Approach to Motherhood
Ever since the Abstract Expressionists held forth at the Cedar Tavern in the 1950s, the unwritten rule has been that making art is a consuming obsession that leaves no time or space for worldly responsibilities like childrearing. . . . So, why then, closing in on the final years of fertility, with scant investigation or evidence that the outcome would be salutary, did I stop using birth control in 1998 and let fate take its course? My decision was more intellectual than emotional. I reasoned that I was an artist. If I did get pregnant, wouldn’t this primal experience strengthen and inform my work? If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t have any regrets. I rolled the dice, and three months later the pregnancy test was positive.

The iconic mid-century female artists I admire made different choices. Before the feminist movement, ambitious, pragmatic women like Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning rejected motherhood. Louise Nevelson and Grace Hartigan both had children, but ultimately left their upbringing to relatives so that they could turn their undivided attention to making art and tending their vocations.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My guess is that art, like parenting, has been watered down to the point where it no longer requires full attention or expression. It's an industry, and you have the wholesale and the retail, the mass produced and the high end, the cuisine and the fast food.

Where I live, any idiot who can transform something into something else calls itself "artist."

At the local "community arts walk," I have never seen such a bunch of fifth-rate crap in my life.

Oh, I wouldn't SAY that, for the view is EVERYONE is an artist, and to say that, one would have to be a really terrible person.

Yah, great, have fun, but I know I'm not an artist, I have no interest in being an artist, and I'm in awe of people who are what I'd call REAL artists. People with honed, exquisite skill in representing their deeply reflected upon experience.

Not people who crap out artifacts like Frankenmommies crap out babies.

By the way my least favorite kind of art in this thin local arts gruel is the kind where mommy and child sit down and Do Art Together. Then sell their really crappy artifacts as Art Expressing Our Very Special Bond.

Oh puh LEEZE. If you want to commodify your reproduction, at least do something that requires a little effort, rather than being mediocre, and demanding special status for it.