Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Stop puffing mediocrity!

I've been to various shows over the summer, but so far haven't really felt a driving need to write anything about them.  Perhaps I will, but perhaps I am a bit bored of my own 'critical' voice.  However, I have been reading bits and pieces and I thought that I would share something with you.

It's an extract from Linda Nochlin's 1971 essay, 'Why have there been no great women artists?', well actually it is from an extract of the essay as re-produced in Amelia Jones, 'The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader' (2nd edition, 2010).  Bed time reading it isn't...

Nochlin writes about how there really never could have been any 'great women artists' because of society, culture and history.  The arguments have been made over and over, and even if you've never read them, you will be able to work them out for yourselves...  What I want to share with you is the clarion call at the end of the extract,

"What is important is that women face up to the reality of their history and of their present situation, without making excuses or puffing mediocrity.  Disadvantage may indeed be an excuse; it is not, however, an intellectual position.  Rather, using as a vantage point their situation as underdogs in the realm of grandeur, and outsiders in that of ideology, women can reveal institutional and intellectual weaknesses in general, and, at the same time that they destroy false consciousness, take part in the creation of institutions in which clear thought - and true greatness - are challenges open to anyone, man or woman, courageous enough to take the necessary risk, the leap into the unknown."

Take a deep breath, dear readers and LEAP!