Readings for April 9th

Posted: April 4, 2018 in Readings

These are for Monday. As I said in class today, I only plan to discuss Linda Nochlin. While I’ve taught Laura Mulvey in the past, I decided not to assigning her formally this semester. Still, do feel free to read her and ask questions if you like.

Good luck with this next assignment. See you soon!


Linda Nochlin
(b. 1931)
“Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (1971)


Laura Mulvey
(b. 1941)
“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975)


  1. Ivan Lee says:

    On the topic of Picasso that we had in class, what I wanted to mention but don’t believe I articulated perfectly is that if you go to these museums dedicated to Picasso, including his early years, you will see all of his paintings and drawings which won multiple competitions, but you’ll also see the fine print in the information boxes that describe how his family discovered his talent for art and signed him up to have lessons with the greatest teachers of the time to develop his skills. Many of these competitions are actually ones that Picasso’s parents pushed him to enter and even helped a bit in the development process of the prize winning piece – a genius created through circumstance.

    • Your comment was understood and appreciated. The backstory to Picasso’s ‘greatness’ is certainly illuminating. It doesn’t detract from his natural abilities and endeavor. But it does show what an enormous difference institutional support (of various sort) makes on a young artist. The goes, as I tried to suggest, for fields other than art. Privilege does work wonders. But it would be fascinating to see what might result from promoting equal opportunity and egalitarian public institutions.

  2. Andrew Mangold says:

    We mentioned in class the idea that women don’t have any common styles or forms that identify them; or at least features exclusive to a feminine artist. This got me wondering that if we were to remove the name of the creator from every piece of art, would we find more female art among the greats? But, I quickly answered that by thinking that the circumstance of which the art was created in, is crucial in making it art. Thus, without some context or other ways to place the object; we lose some value to the art. She also mentions how female artists are more like their time period than their fellow women, which is so absurdly obvious that I felt dumb having realized that I noted that as a ‘good point’. However, I truly do enjoy her writing because it is these obvious points that make the reader realize we shouldn’t care about women not being among the greats. She also references that if women and blacks haven’t been recognized, then it is our entire obsession with greatness that is to blame. Unfortunately, the misconceptions she addresses are far too interior to the modern societal upholding of the white man to be removed quickly.

    • I’m glad to read these remarks. Nochlin, some might argue, is detracting from the ‘greatness’ of art. That is most likely true. But to eliminate the category of greatness does not necessarily make art (and analogous endeavors) less. In fact, a more social and contextual view may in fact add more to our appreciation of human achievement.

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