Women Artists—Still Invisible Today?

A Critical Approach to Strategies of Making Women Artists Visible

  • Lisa Maria Pregitzer Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Keywords: women artists, visibility, Linda Nochlin, canon, biography, influence


When it comes to the representation of women artists either in art historical research, in the media, or in exhibitions, the viewer and reader cannot avoid observing the in- flationary use of the terms visibility and invisibility. Today, many art historians and other cultural workers try to approach the problem of women artists’ invisibility by launching projects, especially exhibitions, which are specifically dedicated to women artists, and which consider themselves to be contributing to raising awareness thereof. Despite these efforts to correct long-abiding imbalances, some ap- proaches of making women artists visible do manage to increase their visibility, yet at the same time cause other kinds of invisibility. For example, there are attempts to make women artists visible by focusing on their biographies while neglecting to analyze their art works; by employing subjective approaches which lack the necessary critical distance; or by seeing the artists through male gendered lenses. I consider it fundamental to draw attention to these problems because, in the end, these biased approaches do not sufficiently contribute to making women artists visible. Rather they perpetuate historical falsifications and gender-specific hierarchies.