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Blog #5

What a person is going to be accepted as, whether they have a place in the art world and what their identity will be is determined as, is often dependent on their gender, race, sexuality, and class. The “criteria�, I use quotes because there never truly seem to be a set standard, differs throughout societies and cultures. But to confuse things further the culture or society one’s work comes from can also be a determinant of if it is art or not. This idea is illustrated by Alice Walker with the quilt that was created by an anonymous black woman from a different time a culture; a quilt is not often thought of as fine art that lands in a museum.

This brings me to my next thoughts, how is art classified as woman’s art, feminist art, black art, etc? I have always believed that the artist created these titles, but I have recently learned that Georgia O’Keefe, who is often called a feminist artist, spent her life denying this. Now, I understand this issue of when a woman seems to continuously create art that looks vaginal it may be perceived as feminist. Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party is a good example of feminist art with the repeated vaginal imagery, but should the artist decide what their art is about. If Georgia O’Keefe claims her work is solely about flowers, then should we the audience and the critics respect that and leave their misgivings behind?

This tells me that although it may be the artists creating the work it is that critiques and art museums creating the image of the artist and doing this by using their identities, such as female, lesbian, or black, to categorize their art. If this is true then their identities have a lot to do with who gets to be an artist in certain cultures, stereotypes seem to be placed on an artist by use of their identities. Their identities (and the stereotypes that go with them) as well as their art need to “fit in� or have a compliant place within a society, or else there doesn’t seem to be a place for them. Back to Georgia O’Keefe, would she have been so well known had it not been for the fact that she was being portrayed as a feminist artist? Would people have been so interested in her flowers had they not believed there was further meaning behind them? In her case, although she has been given a stereotype she claimed to be false, she was probably helped because of it.