How Did the Los Angeles Woman's Building Keep Feminism Alive, 1970-1991?
1. I am deeply indebted to the anonymous reviewer of Women and Social Movements whose comments on my initial proposal helped to clarify my ideas. I have also benefited greatly from Thomas Dublin's careful editorial attention.
3. The story generally credited with popularizing the idea that the movement had ended is Susan Boltin, "Voices from the Post-Feminist Generation," New York Times Magazine, 17 October 1982, pp. 29-31, 103-16. On the seemingly endless pronouncements of feminism's death, see Jennifer L. Pozner, "False Feminist Death Syndrome and Feminist Resurrection," Sojourner 23, no. 12 (August 1998): 1; and Erica Jong, "Ally McBeal and Time Magazine Can't Keep the Good Woman Down," New York Observer, 13 July 1998, 19.
4. Joan Acker, "Different Strategies Are Necessary Now," Monthly Review 53, no. 5 (October 2001): 46-49, available at http://www.monthlyreview.org/1001acker.htm (accessed 7 May 2007); and Hester Eisenstein, "The Broader Picture," Monthly Review 53, no. 5 (October 2001): 49-52, available at http://www.monthlyreview.org/1001eisenstein.htm (accessed 7 May 2007).
5. The most comprehensive history of the 1970s feminist art movement is Norma Broude, Mary D. Garrard, and Judith K. Brodsky, eds., The Power of Feminist Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994). Lucy Lippard has been an active supporter of artists associated with the Woman's Building throughout her career. See From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women's Art (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1976); Get the Message? Activist Essays on Art and Politics (New York: Plume, 1984); and The Pink Glass Swan (New York: New Press, 1995). See also Moira Roth, The Amazing Decade: Women and Performance Art in America, 1970-1980 (New York: Astro Atrz, 1983); Moira Roth, "Toward a History of California Performance: Part I," Arts Magazine 52 (February 1978): 94-103; and Moira Roth, "Toward A History of California Performance: Part Two," Arts Magazine 52 (May 1978): 117. Art historian Arlene Raven, a founder of the Woman's Building, has written extensively about the feminist art movement. See Arlene Raven, Cassandra Langer, and Joanna Ellen Frueh, eds., Feminist Art Criticism (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press,
1981); and Arlene Raven, Art in the Public Interest: New Public Art in the 1980s (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1989).
6. The recent literature on the women's movement is reviewed in Sara M. Evans, "Re-Viewing the Second Wave," Feminist Studies 28, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 259-67. In "Multiracial Feminism: Recasting the Chronology of Second Wave Feminism," Becky Thompson reviews the standard narrative of women's history to explore the ways women of color are excluded. I would argue that the standard narrative also privileges a certain kind of activism that has served to exclude organizations like the Woman's Building. See Becky Thompson, "Multiracial Feminism: Recasting the Chronology of Second Wave Feminism," Feminist Studies 28, no. 2 (2002): 337-55. The excellent work done by Sherna Gluck and her students at California State University, Long Beach, questions the periodization of the women's movement; see Sherna Berger Gluck, "Whose Feminism, Whose History? Reflections on Excavating the History of (the) U.S. Women's Movement(s)," in Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing across Race, Class, and Gender, ed. Nancy A. Naples (New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 38-39. Rosalyn Baxandall has offered some excellent insights into this question. See "Re-Visioning the Women's Liberation Movement's Narrative: Early Second Wave African American Feminists," Feminist Studies 27, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 225-46.
7. On the Redstocking Artists, see The Redstockings, eds., Feminist Revolution (New Paltz, N. Y.: The Redstockings, 1975). The Chicago Women's Liberation Union maintains an excellent Web site that includes information about their graphics collective; see "The Chicago Women's Graphics Collective: An Introduction by Stacy S.," available at http://www.cwluherstory.com/CWLUGallery/Silver.html (accessed 15 March 2006).
8. See Judy Chicago, Through the Flower: My Life as a Woman Artist (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1975).
9. In the fall of 1970, the Los Angeles Council of Women Artists formed to protest the absence of women from the Los Angeles County Museum's Art and Technology Show. Some of the women were inspired to organize a cooperative art gallery, called Womanspace. Edith Gross, a member of Womanspace, proposed that the gallery and new art school share a location. The women found a building, the former Chouinard Art School, owned, ironically, by Cal Arts. In December of 1973, when the Woman's Building officially opened to the public, tenants included a cooperative gallery, Grandview 707, that focused on women artists; Sisterhood Bookstore, a feminist bookstore in Los Angeles, which opened a branch at the Building; and three women's theater groups—the L.A. Feminist Theater, the Women's Improvisational Theater, and the Women's Performance Theater. Over the next two years, the National Organization for Women; Womantours, a feminist travel agency; and a coffeehouse all occupied space at the Woman's Building. In 1975, the Woman's Building lost the lease on its original
location at 743 Grandview Street and moved to 1727 North Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. When the second Woman's Building opened, Sisterhood Bookstore and the L.A. Women's Switchboard were the only women's movement groups that maintained space within the new building, although arts organizations such as Olivia Records and the Cannis Gallery initially made the move. Two feminist therapists also had offices in the new building, and later the offices of Chrysalis and Women Against Violence Against Women were located at the Building. However, the remote downtown location, which was often perceived as unsafe, proved less enticing to the non-art tenants, who eventually all vacated the premises.
10. According to Faith Wilding, the Woman's Building received its name when "Nancy Youdelman … found an old book which turned out to be the catalog of the Woman's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893"; By Our Own Hands (Culver City, Calif.: Peace Press, 1977), p. 61. For the history of the 1893 Woman's Building, see Jeanne Madeline Weimann, The Fair Women: The Story of the Woman's Building World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (Chicago, Ill.: Academy Chicago, 1981). For a personal account of the 1893 Woman's Building given by a participant, see Maud Howe Elliot's catalogue Art and Handicraft in the Woman's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (Chicago: Rand, McNally and Co., 1894). For a document project exploring African American women's participation at the Chicago World's Exposition, see Kathryn Kish Sklar and Erin Shaughnessy, "How Did African-American Women Define Their Citizenship at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893?" also available on this Web site.
11. See Laura Meyer, "The Woman's Building and Los Angeles' Leading Role in the Feminist Art Movement," in From Site to Vision: The Woman's Building in Contemporary Culture, ed. Sondra Hale and Terry Wolverton, pp. 71-102, available at http://womansbuilding.org/fromsitetovision/pdfs/Meyer.pdf (accessed 7 May 2007). For an example of an East Coast women's art collective, albeit from a later time period, see Suzanne Lustig, "How and Why Did the Guerrilla Girls Alter the Art World Establishment in New York City 1985-1995?" also available on this Web site.
12. Two exceptions to this generalization are Heresies, a collective of women artists founded in 1977 that published a highly influential journal, and the women involved in the New York Feminist Art Institute, an organization modeled on the Woman's Building, which opened in 1979.
13. See Ellen Willis, "Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism," in The 60's without Apology, ed. Sohnya Sayres, Anders Stephanson, Stanley Aronowitz, and Frederic Jameson, a special issue of Social Text (9/10 [Spring/Summer 1984]: 91-118).
14. "Women's culture" is different than "cultural feminism." Although the latter phrase was used by some members of the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women's movement, I have never found any evidence of a self-labeled cultural feminist from the 1970s. The term was used in the second wave to criticize feminists who were seen as retreating from activism into a "lifestyle" and seems to have originated, according to Alice Echols, in a 1973 article by a member of the Radicalesbians. See Brooke, "The Retreat to Cultural Feminism" in Feminist Revolution, ed. The Redstockings (New York: Random House, 1975), pp. 79-83.
15. Essentialism usually refers to a belief in some fixed essence of a thing that defines the thing itself. In feminist ideology, essentialism refers to a belief that something fixed throughout history always constitutes the categories of woman and man. Since this something usually derives from women's sexual difference, this essentialism is biological, and the terms "essentialism" and "biological essentialism" are often used interchangeably. Essentialism was a hot topic in feminist theory in the late 1980s and generated many publications. For reassessments of essentialism, see Diana Fuss, Essentially Speaking: Feminism, Nature and Difference (New York: Routledge, 1989); Gayatri Spivak with Elizabeth Grosz, "Criticism, Feminism, and the Institution," in The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, ed. Sarah Harasym (New York: Routledge, 1990), pp. 1-16; Gayatri Spivak, "On the Politics of the Subaltern: Interview with Howard Winant," Socialist Review 3 (1990): 81-97; Teresa de Lauretis, "Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness," Feminist Studies 16 (Spring 1990): 115-50; Teresa de Lauretis, "The Essence of the Triangle or, Taking the Risk of Essentialism Seriously: Feminist Theory in Italy, the U.S., and Britain," Difference (Summer 1989): 3-37; Elizabeth Grosz, "Sexual Difference and the Problem of Essentialism," Inscriptions 5 (1989): 86-101; and Linda Alcoff, "Cultural Feminism versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory," Signs 13, no. 3 (Spring 1988): 405-36. One of the earliest criticisms of essentialism in the feminist art movements was Judith Barry and Sandy Flitterman Lewis, "The Politics of Art-Making," in Arlene Raven, Cassandra L. Langer, and Joanna Frueh, Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1988), p. 89.
16. For an analysis of the Feminist Studio Workshop, see Betty Ann Brown, "Feminist Art Education at the Los Angeles Woman's Building," in Hale and Wolverton, From Site to Vision, pp. 128-45; and Faith Wilding, "The Feminist Art Programs at Fresno and CalArts," in Broude, Garrard, and Brodsky, The Power of Feminist Art, pp. 32-47.
17. Members of the women's movement across the country engaged in similar activities, learning car maintenance, forming women's painting companies and construction firms, and becoming apprentices in male-dominated trades. See, for example, Cathy Cade, "Learning Auto Repair," in Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's Liberation Movement, ed. Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon (New York: Basic Books, 2005), p. 264; Carly Lund, "Women Building Careers in Construction," in Frontline Feminism, 1975-1995: Essays from Sojourner's First 20 Years, ed. Karen Kahn (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books), pp. 91-93; and Susan Eisenberg, "Tradeswomen: An Endangered Species?" in Kahn, Frontline Feminism, pp. 94-96.
18. Not too surprisingly, this idea was held by many male members of the art establishment. More surprising, however, was the "greatness" debate set off when art historian Linda Nochlin published her provocatively titled essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" While Nochlin's article attracted considerable attention, in reality she had simply posed more provocatively a question that earlier feminists had addressed. Virginia Woolf, for example, had pointed to societal barriers to women's quest for independence in the creative world and had explored the limiting stereotypes of femininity. See Linda Nochlin, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" in Woman In Sexist Society: Studies in Power and Powerlessness, ed. Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran (1971; reprint, New York: New American Library, 1972), pp. 480-510.
19. Although these conferences occurred in what is now officially designated women's history month, they were a sort of "last hurrah" at the initial location of the Woman's Building on Grandview before the organization was forced to relocate to Spring Street.
20. The Woman's Building was not without critics. Indeed, the controversy over the Woman's Building no doubt contributed to its notoriety. An ongoing feud existed with a group of feminist artists in New York, most notably Cindy Nemser and Patricia Mainardi, associated with the highly influential Feminist Art Journal, who found the ideas associated with the Woman's Building too limiting for their idea of feminist art. See Patricia Mainardi, "A Feminine Sensibility: Two Views?" Feminist Art Journal 1, no. 1 (April 1972): 4; and "Feminine Sensibility: An Analysis," Feminist Art Journal 1 no. 2 (Fall 1972): 9, as well as Cindy Nemser, "The Women Artists' Movement," Feminist Art Journal 2 no. 4 (Whiter 1973-1974): 8-10. While the mainstream art press paid attention to the Woman's Building, they rarely did so from a positive perspective.
21. On the importance of performance art as a feminist art form, see Jennie Klein, "The Ritual Body as Pedagogical Tool: The Performance Art of the Woman's Building," in Hale and Wolverton, From Site to Vision, pp. 177-214.
22. I have written more extensively on this subject in Michelle Moravec and Sondra Hale, "'At Home' at the Woman's Building (But Who Gets a Room of Her Own?): Women of Color and Community," in Hale and Wolverton, From Site to Vision, pp. 142-72.
23. For a thorough discussion of the white anti-racism movement, see Becky Thompson, A Promise and a Way of Life: White Antiracist Activism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001).
24. Crises of leadership were rife within the women's movement. As early as 1972, Jo Freeman noted difficulties with feminist ideas about collectivism; see Joreen, "The Tyranny of Structurelessness," in Radical Feminism, ed. Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, and Anita Rapone (1972; reprint, New York: Quadrangle Books, 1973), pp. 285-99. At the Woman's Building, administration was seen as secondary to making art. Only in the late 1970s did the organization bring in a hierarchical leadership structure, in part due to the decreased involvement of the founders, who had served as de facto leaders. Between 1977 and 1981, three women served as executive directors, none staying longer than a period of one year.
25. The causes of decreased enrollment can be traced to the rise of conservatism at this time and the increasingly hostile environment for feminism in general. As the innovative spirit of the 1970s gave way to the "greed is good" ethos of the 1980s, alternative institutions of higher education lost students.
26. Women's movement organizations across the country were bemoaning a similar lack of interest in feminism. Members of the movement in Ohio, for example, asked "Is this apparent 'malaise' at WAC just our problem, or symptomatic of a general 'slow down' in activity in the women's movement at large? Are there actions we can take to turn things around or is it time to think about closing our doors? The question now is not 'How to raise more money,' but 'WHAT ARE WE FUNDRAISING FOR?'" See Nancy Whittier, "Turning It Over: Personnel Change in the Columbus, Ohio, Women's Movement, 1969-1984," in Feminist Organizations: Harvest of the New Women's Movement, ed. Myra Marx Ferre and Patricia Yancey Martin (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 1995), p. 193. The late 1970s saw the demise of several other major Los Angeles feminist institutions: the Westside Women's Center closed in 1977, and Sister and The Lesbian Tide, two Los Angeles publications that enjoyed strong national circulation, had ceased publication by the end of the decade.
27. By 1983, all three original founders had ceased day-to-day involvement with the Woman's Building. Judy Chicago left first in 1975 to pursue The Dinner Party. In 1978, Raven stopped teaching in the FSW, although she remained active in the Woman's Building
until she moved to New York in 1983. After de Bretteville became a professor at Otis Art Institute in 1981, her involvement with the Woman's Building was peripheral.
28. In the mid-1980s, the original description of the Woman's Building as "a public center for women's culture" was dropped from printed materials and replaced with the more benign statement that "for over ten years, the Woman's Building has existed to provide support and opportunities for women artists, as well a presented an amazing wealth and diversity of women's cultural achievements. We have done and continue to do this with the support of hundreds of women and men like yourselves who donate to the Woman's Building through yearly memberships" (emphasis added). Woman's Building Newsletter (Fall 1984), n.p. Over the years, the composition of the Woman's Building Board of Directors reflected this shift toward the mainstream. In 1982 former, FSW students and members of the Women's Graphic Center staff held 64 percent of the seats on the Board of Directors. By 1986 only 18 percent of the membership of the board had a significant history of involvement with the Woman's Building; the other members of the board had been chosen for their influential connections.
29. Feminist businesses emerged from some of the alternative services provided by women's centers across the country. So long as collectives ran these alternative institutions as nonprofit organizations, they remained ideologically consistent with feminism. However, once women began experimenting with for-profit businesses, considerable debate erupted within the feminist community over the relationship of feminism to capitalism. Although radical feminists traced their roots to the New Left, unlike socialist feminists, they substituted a critique of patriarchy for a critique of capitalism. Radical feminists clearly saw capitalism as part of the system of male domination, but they lacked a thorough critique of it. Despite ongoing debate, the New Women's Survival Sourcebook, itself an example of feminist entrepreneurship, revealed an increase in feminist businesses in the mid-1970s. For example, the Sourcebook listed thirty-eight feminist bookstores in seventeen states and over forty feminist presses. Feminists in Detroit founded a feminist credit union, an example followed by women in eight other states; these groups organized the Feminist Economic Network. The Sourcebook also listed feminist restaurants, feminist food cooperatives, and even a feminist hotel. See Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie, eds., New Women's Survival Sourcebook (New York: Knopf, 1975).
30. As early as February 1980, outside financial consultants had warned of tax liability as a potential problem. The Women's Graphic Center clashed with the State Board of Equalization in the mid-1980s over sales taxes. The business also experienced difficulties when the state of California found out that they treated their staff as freelance employees and did not give them sick time or vacation, as required by law for permanent employees.
31. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquired this archive in 2007.
32. Journalist Susan Faludi's best-selling book Backlash, which provides perhaps the best-known analysis of the movement, explored conservative attacks on feminism that occurred in the 1980s. While she offered a valuable account of how right-wing think tanks and an uncritical media popularized "myths" of post-feminism, she did not consider the ways in which feminism continued into the 1980s. She was hardly alone in that perspective. Within academic circles, the most cited work on the decline of feminism as a movement is Alice Echols's study of early radical feminism, Daring to be Bad, which concluded that radical feminism—that is, a feminism based on an understanding of gender oppressions—was supplanted by a "cultural feminism" that rested on essentialized notions of gender and led feminists in a retreat from activism and toward an apolitical celebration of women's difference. See Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women (New York: Crown Publisher, 1991); and Alice Echols, Daring to be Bad (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989).
Many scholars have concluded, as I do, that feminists could and did create cultural forms of activism in the 1980s, ranging from music to literature and visual art. See Susan Staggenborg, "Beyond Culture versus Politics: A Case Study of a Local Women's Movement," Gender and Society 15, no. 4 (August 2001): 507-30; Verta Taylor and Leila Rupp, "Women's Culture and Lesbian Feminist Activism: A Reconsideration of Cultural Feminism," Signs 19, no. 1 (Autumn 1993): 32-61; and Verta Taylor, "Social Movement Continuity: The Women's Movement in Abeyance," American Sociological Review 54 (October 1989): 761-75.
33. Amy Farrell's analysis of Ms. magazine reveals many similarities between the two organizations' histories, suggesting that the Woman's Building's history during this period was not unique. See Amy Erdman Farrell, Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).
34. For an interesting recent exploration of this issue among socialist feminists in Boston, see Winifred Breines, The Trouble between Us: An Uneasy History of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
35. The most interesting work on the generational question is Nancy Whittier's careful study of continuity among activists in Columbus, Ohio. Her cogent observations about the movement there are applicable to the Woman's Building; she theorizes that in the cycle of social movements, social movement participants mature after several decades and thus their political goals and activism will mature as well. During these same years, some organizations will persist in the cause and keep core concepts and key participants connected to the movement Both of these trends emerged at the Woman's Building during the 1980s. Nancy Whittier, Feminist Generations: The Persistence of the Radical Women's Movement (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 1995).
36. "Dialogue: Agents for Social Change," Journal of Women's History 14, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 88-156.
37. As Nancy Whittier points out in her discussion of the Women's Action Alliance, there is much we do not know about "organizing at the grassroots level, models of leadership and decision-making, class and race in the women's movement, and changes in feminism over time." Nancy Whittier, "Persistence and Transformation: Gloria Steinem, the Women's Action Alliance, and the Feminist Movement, 1971-1997," Journal of Women's History 14, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 148.
38. Linda Gordon, "Social Movements, Leadership, and Democracy: Toward More Utopian Mistakes," Journal of Women's History 14, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 102-17.
39. Nancy Whittier calls for such an investigation in "Persistence and Transformation," p. 148.
40. Linda Kerber, "'I Was Appalled': The Invisible Antecedents of Second-Wave Feminism," Journal of Women's History 14, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 96.
41. The focus existed from the inception of the women's movement. The Chicago Women's Liberation Union Web site contains links to several of the earliest writings on this topic (see http://www.cwluherstory.com/CWLUArchive/internat.html). Socialist feminists, for example, introduced the celebration of International Women's Day to the movement. The United Nations international conferences on women, which began in 1975 in Mexico, also drew feminists from the United States. Among radical feminists, Charlotte Bunch is probably the best known for her evolution into a global activist. For more about International Women's Day, see Kathryn Kish Sklar and Lauren Kryzak, "What Were the Origins of International Women's Day, 1886-1920?" also available on this Web site.
42. Nancy Whittier points out that in the 1980s, feminists "increasingly defined feminism as encompassing other struggles such as peace, environmental protection, animal rights, humanism, lesbian and gay freedom, socialism, and human rights"; Whittier, Feminist Generations, p. 98.
43. Eileen Boris, "On Grassroots Organizing, Poor Women's Movements, and the Intellectual as Activist," Journal of Women's History 14, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 140-42.
44. For many fine discussions of these issues, see Nancy A. Naples, ed., Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing across Race, Class, and Gender (New York: Routledge, 1998).
45. For works about women of color and the women's movement, see Benita Roth, Separate Roads to Feminism: Black, Chicana, and White Feminist Movements in America's Second Wave (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Jennifer Nelson, Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2003); and Kimberly Springer, Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980 (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005).
46. Martha Ackelsberg, "Frances Fox Piven and the National Congress of Neighborhood Women: Grassroots Organizing," Journal of Women's History 14, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 143-47.
47. Kerber, "I Was Appalled," p. 98.
48. On discussion of the waves metaphor, see WMST-L, '"Waves' of Feminism," available at http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/jane1.html; and '"Waves' of Feminism, II," available at http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/wavemore.html (accessed 11 May 2007).
49. Since the mid-1990s, art historians have been paying increasing attention to the 1970s feminist art movement. In 1995, Norma Broude, Mary D. Garrard, and Judith K. Brodsky published the Power of Feminist Art. The remounting of The Dinner Party in 1997 at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as part of the exhibition Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago's Dinner Party in Feminist Art History and the accompanying catalogue of the same name sparked more interest. More recently, anthologies reprinting works from the feminist art movement have appeared; see Peggy Phelan and Helena Recklitt, Art and Feminism (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2001); Hilary Robinson, Feminism-Art-Theory: An Anthology 1968-2000 (London: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2001); and Amelia Jones, ed., The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader (London: Routledge, 2003). The two major journals in women's studies recently devoted special issues to the subject of feminist art activism (the Spring 2006 issue of Signs and the Spring 2007 issue of NWSA Journal). See also memoirs of students from the feminist art programs: Mira Schor, Wet: On Painting, Feminism, and Art Culture (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997); Terry Wolverton, Insurgent Muse: Life and Art at the Woman's Building
(San Francisco, Calif.: City Lights, 2002); and publications of Faith Wilding, available on her Web site at http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/fwild/faithwilding (accessed 9 May 2007).
50. In particular, see "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution," available at http://www.moca.org/wack (accessed 9 May 2007); and Feminist Art: A Reassessment, M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online #4, available at http://writing.upenn.edu/pepc/meaning/04/forum.html (accessed 9 May 2007).
51. In recent years conferences have taken place at both Cal Arts (1998) and Cal State Fresno (2001), initiated by female art students who want to know more about the feminist programs of the 1970s that existed on their campuses and have now faded into a shadowy history. For an interesting account of the Cal Arts groups, see Kaucyila Brooke, "She Does Not See What She Does Not Know," X-TRA 6, no. 3 (Spring 2004), available at http://www.x-traonline.org/past_articles.php?articleID=152 (accessed 7 May 2007). Karen LeCocq has written about the symposium at Fresno; see "Reflections on the 2001 Feminist Art Symposium," available at http://www.artwomen.org/lecocq/index.htm (accessed 9 May 2007).
52. Although separatism in the context of the women's movement has come to be almost synonymous with lesbian separatism, the original debates over separatism occurred around the issue of women of the New Left separating from their male counterparts in the movement. For an overview, see Barbara Ryan, "Ideological Purity and Feminism: The U.S. Women's Movement from 1966 to 1975," Gender and Society 3, no. 2 (June 1989): 239-57. A fascinating exploration of the issue in the nineteenth-century women's movement is found in Estelle Freedman, "Separatism as Strategy: Female Institution Building and American Feminism, 1870-1930," Feminist Studies 5, no. 3 (Autumn 1979): 512-29.
53. For more information about the influence of de Bretteville as a designer, see Liz McQuiston, Women in Design: A Contemporary View (New York: Rizzoli, 1988), pp. 20-22; and McQuiston, Graphic Agitation: Social and Political Graphics since the Sixties (London: Phaidon Press, 1993).
54. Sheila de Bretteville, interview with Michelle Moravec, Los Angeles, California, 12 August 1992.
55. Although the Smithsonian mounted the exhibition American Pieced Quilts in 1972, Patricia Mainardi was the first to offer a thorough analysis of quilts from a feminist perspective. See Pat Mainardi, "Quilts: The Great American Art," Feminist Art Journal (Winter 1973): 1, 18-23. Charlotte Robinson, ed., The Artist and the Quilt (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983) includes many of the most influential feminist rehabilitations of the quilt.
56. Although this map might have served to reinforce the notion that rape occurred only in certain areas of a city or to reify racist myths about rape by showing that attacks occurred in predominantly racially homogeneous neighborhoods, I have found no evidence that the map highlighted certain areas of the city over others.
57. For a larger discussion of the anti-rape movement in Los Angeles, see Nancy Matthews, Confronting Rape: The Feminist Anti-Rape Movement and the State (New York: Routledge, 1994). An interesting discussion of Lacy's relationship to the larger feminist anti-rape movement appears in Vivien Green Fryd, "Suzanne Lacy's Three Weeks in May: Feminist Activist Performance Art as 'Expanded Public Pedagogy,'" NWSA Journal 19, no. 1 (2007): 23-38.
58. Arlene Raven, interview with Cheri Gaulke, New York, 19 September 1992, Woman's Building Oral History Project.
59. For more about the Lesbian Art Project, see Wolverton, Insurgent Muse, pp. 57-95.
60. Labowitz and Lacy were not the first feminists to utilize the image of the mourner, nor would they be the last. It is interesting to juxtapose their use with one from a decade earlier. In January 1968, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, a mainstream women's peace group, organized a march in Washington to protest the war in Vietnam. Radical feminists wanted to participate in the protest but disliked the way it drew on the traditional female stereotype of the woman as mourner during war. Rather than seeking to recast this image, they decided instead to bury her in what they called a "Burial of Traditional Womanhood." This dramatic action also took the form of a funeral procession; in this protest, feminists themselves "killed" a dummy that represented stereotypes of femininity. To reinforce their point, the protesters also developed slogans such as "Don't
cry: Resist." See Shulamith Firestone, "The Jeanette Rankin Brigade: Woman Power? A Summary of Our Involvement," in New York Radical Women, Notes from the First Year (New York: The New York Radical Women, 1968), available at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/notes/#rankin (accessed 10 May 2007). See also Kathie Amatniek, "Funeral Oration for the Burial of Traditional Womanhood," available at http://www.feministezine.com/feminist/modern/Traditional-Womanhood.html (accessed 15 July 2007).
61. "Feminists Hold Strangling Victims Rites," Los Angeles Times, 14 December 1977, E8.
62. See Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy, "Evolution of a Feminist Media Strategy," Heresies 2, no. 2 (Summer 1977): 76; Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy, "In Mourning and In Rage," Frontiers 3, no. 1 (1978): 52-55; Suzanne Lacy, "Mass Media: Popular Culture and Fine Art: Images of Violence against Women," in Social Works, ed. Nancy Buchanan (Los Angeles: Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, 1979); Suzanne Lacy, "Two Approaches to Feminist Media Usage," Proceedings for the Caucus for Art and Marxism (January 1979): 2-5; and Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz, "Feminist Artists: Developing a Media Strategy for the Movement," in Fight Back, ed. Frederique Delacoste and Felice Newman (Minneapolis, Minn.: Cleis Press, 1981), pp. 266-72.
63. Sharon Sidell-Selick, "The Evolution of Organizational Meaning: A Case Study of Myths in Transition" (Ph.D. diss., The Wright Institute, 1985).
64. The Waitresses were not the only ones to use the image of the waitress to explore women's changing roles. The 1974 Academy Award-winning film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore used the role of the waitress to examine the emerging women's movement. In 1976, a sitcom based on the movie, Alice, became a hit television show.
65. On the use of the goddess in feminist art, see Gloria Feman Orenstein, "Recovering Her Story: Feminist Artists Reclaim the Great Goddess," in Broude, Garrard, and Brodsky, The Power of Feminist Art, pp. 174-89.
66. The Waitress Goddess Diana can be seen as the flip side of the Wonder Woman archetype the group had used earlier (Diana is the name of the Wonder Woman comic book character in her "non-superheroine" persona).
67. The Waitresses, publicity materials, ca. 1979, author's personal collection.
68. The myth of the Amazon was particularly attractive to lesbian feminists, who emphasized the exclusion of men from Amazonian communities. The word appears in the title of many lesbian feminist publications from the 1970s. For an extended analysis, see Batya Weinbaum, Islands of Women and Amazons: Representations and Realities (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000). The image of the Amazon continues to be used by feminists today, as in Mary Daly's Amazon Grace: Re-Calling the Courage to Sin Big (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).
69. The debate and resolution are discussed in Suzanne Lacy, "Battle of New Orleans," High Performance 3, nos. 2 and 4 (Fall and Winter 1980): 3-8.
70. For an extended analysis of the art in this show, see Margo Hobbs Thompson, '"Dear Sisters': The Visible Lesbian in Community Arts Journals," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 12, no. 3 (2006): 405-23; and Sarah L. Stifler, "Slippery When Wet: Visibility Politics and Lesbian Art in Los Angeles, 1970-2000" (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 2001).
71. Wolverton was inspired by an essay written by Elly Bulkin, later reprinted as "Racism and Writing: Some Implications for White Lesbian Critics," in Elly Bulkin, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and Barbara Smith, Yours In Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Firebrand Books, 1984). Originally published in Sinister Wisdom 13 (Spring 1980): 3-22. Wolverton has written about these efforts in Wolverton, Insurgent Muse.
72. Linda Nishio, "Cheap Talk (Great Wall Series)," High Performance 3, no. 1 (Spring 1980): 52.
73. Linda Nishio, "Cheap Talk (Great Wall Series)," High Performance 3, nos. 3/4 (Fall/Winter 1980): 86-87.
74. Nancy Angelo, interview with Michelle Moravec, Venice, California, 2 October 1992, Woman's Building Oral History Project.
75. The New York Redstockings printed the first pin in 1970 and the slogan gave name to the first mass-market anthology of writings from the women's liberation movement. See Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement (New York: Vintage Books, 1970).
76. Jerri Allyn, interview with Cheri Gaulke, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 14 August 1992, Woman's Building Oral History Project.
77. Another critique of Reagan-era defense policies published in the same year this performance was given is Robert Scheer, With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War (New York: Random House, 1982). Scheer's book began as a lengthy piece in the New Yorker magazine.
78. In the third phase of End of the Rainbow, the artwork by North American and European artists was exhibited with documentation of SOS performances and installations.
79. Because of extremely uneven source material, no effort has been made to quantify the number of events by or about women of color at the Woman's Building. A decline in such activities occurred in 1981-1982 due to crises within the organization, but women of color were included as the Woman's Building slowly resumed more activities. In 1982, Aleida Rodriguez led a workshop for Latinas at the Woman's Building that resulted in the publication of Manteniendo El Esperitu, a book of writings by the participants. In 1982, noted African American author June Jordon had a reading at the Woman's
Building. In 1981 and 1983, Linda Vallejo led workshops for Latinas at the Woman's Building. In 1983 and 1984 Mitsuye Yamada taught workshops. The exhibition 1984 included several women of color. A major exhibition of Korean women artists took place in 1984. In 1985 the Building organized The Spirit of Black Women, an event at which authors read their work. In 1985, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo was screened.
80. This exhibition, curated by Josine Ianco-Starrels, Candace Lee, and Samella Lewis, ran from 6 July through 5 August 1979 and included artists Yoshiko Kani Baker, Elizabeth Catlett, Li Chen, Patricia Murillo, Rochelle Nicholas, Mildred Thompson, Linda Vallejo, and Takao Yamagushi.
81. Latina artists included in Cross Pollination were Patssi Valdez, Sylvia H. Delgado, Linda Vallejo, Linda Lopez, and Diane Gamboa, Asian American artists who contributed posters included May Sun and Carol Chen, both Chinese American artists; and Mari Umekubo and Linda Nishio, both Japanese American artists. African American artists who participated were Nelvatha Dunbarm and Michelle T. Clinton, an African American writer and artist who collaborated on a poster with Cyndi Kahn, a Jewish artist. Several artists raised in countries outside the United States also participated, including Elfie Wilkins-Nacht, who was born in Italy and raised in Switzerland; Amani Fliers, who was born in Indonesia and raised in the Netherlands; and Hyunsook Cho, a Korean artist. European American women from various regions of the United States such as Susan E. King, Patricia Gaines, and Janau Noerdlinger, who identified as southerners, and Mary Burns Gornenthal, a midwesterner, also participated. Robin Price contributed a poster about lesbianism, Anne Finger explored the issue of disability, and Suzan Ocona discussed her experiences with homelessness.
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