A Feminist Study of African American Art in New Orleans: Considerations of Aesthetics, Art History and Art Criticism
By Harriet Walker
Feminist art scholars have exposed the political nature of art world process and the ways gender influences what is meant by art, who are considered artists, what is studied as the history of art, the standards applied to works of art, the meaning art has for viewers, and the way individuals are visually represented (Brand & Korsmeyer, 1995; Broude & Garrard 1982; Duncan, 1982: Parker & Pollock, 1981; Pollock, 1988; Raven, Langer, & Frueh, 1988). Ways of thinking about art also reflect a racially designated position in American society where makers, viewers, and patrons of fine art are expected to be White, and African American artists and their artistic production and meaning have generally been excluded from the dominant cultural dialogue.
‘The position of Black artists, men and women, past and present, in all cultural and class diversity of their communities and countries needs to be documented and analyzed (Pollock, 1988, p. 15). When African American artists are included in the study of art, however, they are often added to the study of “great” artists and fine art that excludes many people who have contributed to American visual culture, and their art is usually considered in relation to accepted universal standards of greatness, ignoring African American social and aesthetic values.
Citation: Walker, Harriet. “A Feminist Study of African American Art in New Orleans: Considerations of Aesthetics, Art History and Art Criticism.” Marilyn Zurmuehlin Working Papers in Art Education 14 (1997): 30-35.