Review by Choice Review
Another welcome compilation from St. James Press, this volume represents the continuing effort to compile lists of women artists and to document their exhibitions and the locations of their works. Lucy Lippard's preface offers a concise history of art by women, outlining key events and struggles encountered along the way. The book covers 350 women artists, mostly US painters and sculptors. Entries are helpfully indexed by nationality and medium and include photographers, performance and video artists, ceramicists, filmmakers, textile artists, and weavers from countries in Latin America and western and eastern Europe. Like similar volumes published by St. James, entries consist of basic biographical information, lists of individual and selected group exhibitions, public collections, publications by and about the artists, and a signed essay by an expert in the field. There are also 220 portraits and works reproduced in black and white. This volume is not comprehensive, but as Lippard points out, it is "good news . . . [that] today there are too many for one compendium alone." Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. C. Erbolato-Ramsey; Brigham Young University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
A cursory look in nearly any art dictionary or encyclopedia will reveal that the majority of artists covered are male, interspersed with a small number of female artists such as Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Dorothea Lange. Although the 1970s and 1980s saw the beginning of increased recognition of women artists, they still do not receive the widespread public awareness that their male counterparts enjoy. This book is an effort to increase awareness of a broad range of women artists, including fiber artists, printmakers, multimedia artists, and performance artists, in addition to photographers, painters, and sculptors. Contemporary is defined as twentieth century, and the list of entrants ranges chronologically from Mary Cassatt (1844^-1926) to video artist Sadie Benning (b. 1973). A brief biographical sketch, a list of individual exhibitions, a selected list of group exhibitions, a list of public collections that include work by the artist, selected bibliographies by and about the artist, and a short critical essay by a specialist in the artist's field are included in each of the 350 entries. Permanent public installations are also listed where appropriate. The text is accompanied by more than 220 photographs of the artists and their works. The book is arranged alphabetically by artist and has a helpful index of the artists by their nationality (nearly 200 are American) and by the medium in which they work. The one shortcoming of this resource is that it does not include an overall critical assessment that ties the artists together or that examines the issues they explore in their art. Patrons or students looking for broad analysis of trends in women's art would be better served by the Dictionary of Women Artists [RBB F 15 98], edited by Delia Gaze. However, a number of the artists included in the St. James volume, such as Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin, and Cindy Sherman, are omitted from Gaze's work. With well-written text, up-to-date exhibition information, and black-and-white illustrations of good quality, this will be a useful work for libraries where interest in contemporary women's art is high, as well as for libraries with large art collections. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Contemporary Women Artists examines the lives and works of over 350 of "the world's most prominent and influential" contemporary women artists. Entries often begin with a photo of the artist, then offer condensed facts about her birth, schooling, lifestyle, art career, and awards. Lists of solo shows and publications provide especially useful guideposts to the careers. When available, a short artist's statement concludes the introductory material, and an up-to-date, critical assessment concludes every entry. The husband-and-wife coeditors, who have put together encyclopedias on numerous subjects, have guided their 110 contributors well in providing judicious and restrained commentary. How they went about selecting artists for inclusion is more problematicÄno real explanation is provided, and parameters seem hard to define. Should "contemporary" be taken to mean 20th century, post-World War II, or post-1960? As the preponderance of entries are truly contemporary, why are Georgia O'Keeffe and Mary Cassatt included? In any case, this is a wonderful, stimulating, and surprisingly well-written volume. Highly recommended for the reference collections as an adjunct to the Dictionary of Women Artist (LJ 12/97), an LJ best-reference source covering women born before 1950. Henkes's much narrower book is visually arrestingÄthe artworks are insightful, poignant, striking, and original. He discusses 33 meritorious Hispanic/ Chicana artists, from Juana Alicia to Bernadette Vigil (none of whom are to be found in Contemporary Women Artists). Henkes is experienced in art commentary, having produced at least five other reference titles on American art and artists in the last nine years, yet his style remains halting and unpolished. His preference for sacred art leads to writing that sometimes sounds more like homilies in Christian Dogma than objective art criticism, and he detects the sacred at least as an undercurrent in perhaps too many examples, even when the artist works with modernist abstractions. Still, art collections with a special interest in Hispanic or women's studies will appreciate this unique reference.ÄMary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.