Great Women Artists

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Phaidon Editors
300mm x 260 mm

A good selection of 400 artists past and present, accompanied by fabulous short texts. Includes Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama and Cindy Sherman.

Artists are organised alphabetically and in this case it works well.

There is an emphasis on the modern and contemporary, and nearly every artist we wanted to see is represented, including Sherin Neshat, Marisol and Pipolotti Rist. Tracey Emin is represented by a reproduction and a thoughtful text discussing her work Everyone I have ever slept with, explaining the work is more about human intimacy than sexuality and the work includes her grandmother and siblings.

Australia is represented by Tracey Moffatt’s Something More; Patricia Piccinini’s Young Family; Grace Cossington Smith’s Bridge in Curve and Emily Kngwarreye. There could have been more but this is a fine selection.

Chinese artists – who is included in both this book and Luise Guest’s Half the Sky? Xiao Lu’s 1989 work Dialogue is included in both. So are Yin Xiuzhen’s Portable Cities and Cao Fei’s Whose Utopia. Luise commented:

Great to see some Chinese artists represented in a big survey book of this kind. Cao Fei had a solo show at the Pompidou, and Xiao Lu was recently in London for the exhibition of her 1989 ‘Dialogue’ at Tate Modern.

A significant essay discusses women artists and feminist art practice, including the seminal text by Linda Nochlin Why are the no great women artists? The book title references Nochlin’s essay and when this book title is written correctly the word ‘women’ is crossed out, indicating the book is presenting a collection of 400 great artists. Nochlin’s essay is discussed and issues raised are brought up to date.

Refreshing is the glossary – several illustrated pages defining movements and themes in art, including lists of women artists for each movement and illustrated by great women artists’ works.