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Art Tales Book Club | Why have there been no great women artists? By Linda Nochlin

Saturday, August 26, 2023

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

There are many ways to look, interpret, and tell the story of art. This book club will adventure through the fiction and nonfiction of books, journals, and articles alike! Join us this month in celebration Women’s Equality Day on August 26th with the essay that is now recognized as the first major work of feminist art theory―published together with author Linda Nochlin’s reflections three decades later.

Print copies of Linda Nochlin’s Why have there been no great women artists? are available at the Floyd County Library Upper Customer Service Desk. Both essays are available at Carnegie Center for Art and History.


Many scholars have called Linda Nochlin’s seminal essay on women artists the first real attempt at a feminist history of art. In her revolutionary essay, Nochlin refused to answer the question of why there had been no “great women artists” on its own corrupted terms, and instead, she dismantled the very concept of greatness, unraveling the basic assumptions that created the male-centric genius in art.

With unparalleled insight and wit, Nochlin questioned the acceptance of a white male viewpoint in art history. And future freedom, as she saw it, requires women to leap into the unknown and risk demolishing the art world’s institutions in order to rebuild them anew. In this stand-alone anniversary edition, Nochlin’s essay is published alongside its reappraisal, “Thirty Years After.” Written in an era of thriving feminist theory, as well as queer theory, race, and postcolonial studies, “Thirty Years After” is a striking reflection on the emergence of a whole new canon. With reference to Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, and many more, Nochlin diagnoses the state of women and art with unmatched precision and verve. “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” has become a slogan and rallying cry that resonates across culture and society. In the 2020s, Nochlin’s message could not be more urgent: as she put it in 2015, “There is still a long way to go.”


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