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Title: Working together, working apart : feminism, art, and collaboration in Britain and the United States, 1970-81
Author: Tobin, Amy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 4288
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis offers a feminist reading of women’s art in Britain and North America in the 1970s. Through archival research and interviews, I trace and elaborate the social and political context for a range of art-making practices. Prompted by the organisational ideals of the Women’s Liberation Movement, specifically decentralisation and anti-hierarchy, I focus on collaborations between women across four chapters populated by a number of case studies. With reference to the work of theorists and philosophers, including Juliet Mitchell, Hannah Arendt, and bell hooks, I analyse the ambivalences that can accompany working together, and the transformations that can arise from coming apart. In Chapter One, I look at how artists were influenced by the form of feminist consciousness raising sessions, both in their own activism and in their artworks. From the Rip-Off File (1973) to What is Feminist Art? (1977) along with work by Hannah Wilke and Howardena Pindell, I examine how feminist artists created a space for women’s art that was itself tested by dissensus and critique. Chapter Two focuses on collaboration at a distance, through the International Dinner Party by Suzanne Lacy and Linda Preuss (1979), the Women’s Postal Art Event (1975-7), and the work made by Cecilia Vicuña while in exile in London from her native Chile post-1973. In Chapter Three I examine how artists used the home as a site for political work within the context of feminist pedagogy in California, squatting in London, and racialized gentrification in New York. Chapter Four looks at feminist exhibition-making, specifically Issue: Social Strategies by Women Artists organized Lucy R. Lippard in 1980 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London. I examine the difficult relationship between socialist feminist politics and working-class women artists. My conclusion reflects on work of historical research in the context of recent feminist exhibitions and activism.
Supervisor: Applin, Jo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available