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2023-06-06 09:21:54

50 Feminist Art Manifestos, is a book written and edited by Katy Deepwell. Published by KT press, 2022.

to remember our old

Isabella Garnelo

What is a manifesto? What is declared in these feminist manifestos? These are the questions with which Katy Deepwell introduces us to this small, albeit substantial, fifty-page manual for travelers in contemporary artistic territory; a definitive version of the ambitious project that the historian and editor had begun in 2014, with the publication of the book in epub Feminist Art Manifestos: An Anthology. Both publications are in turn the result of a first compilation of feminist manifestos made for n.paradoxathe international feminist magazine directed by the author, as part of the online work materials within the Seminar I organized at the ICA in 2011. The fundamental reason for leaving these documents open, Deepwell tells us, was the conviction of the political importance of reading them collectively and aloud.

Reading these documents aloud can be understood as the cathartic repetition of their original function. Many of these 20th and 21st century manifestos compiled by Deepwell, as she herself indicates, were read performatively and publicly at the time using the language of discourse, sometimes even slogans and proclamations, but also poetic and experimental. And this was so, because the manifestos were and are a call to adherence to subscribe to the ideas exposed and call for action to change the situations that are denounced; in all cases it can be said that they are addressed to a wider audience, using the language of provocation, with the intention of raising awareness of the problems that are denounced in them.

Throughout the introduction, Katy Deepwell outlines the specific characteristics of these ephemeral documents –which, however, always return to the cultural arena–, which are presented as programmatic, in most cases bearers of denunciations and, in other examples collected here, art objects in themselves, such as that of the Spanish artist Dora García. In general, the manifestos in this anthology are the result of the analysis of patriarchy, and the internal debate carried out by feminists after 1968 and early 1970. An analysis that exposes the exclusion of female artists from exhibitions, collections and museums, and from where it is questioned whether or not feminism was an avant-garde artistic movement, considered by some theorists as the last. However, Deepwell tells us, the manifestos collected here “confirm the complexity of these historical relationships and the political questions about feminism as a vanguard movement.” Feminism, Deepwell asserts, “is a political dynamic that has always encompassed a wide range of political views.”

Most of these selected feminist manifestos are a critique and an invitation to think about patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism, sexism, heterosexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, classism, intersectionality, policy advocacy. in defense of the land, the denunciation of the exploitation of the vulnerable by capitalism and globalization, and the defense of women’s rights as human rights. All this, at the same time approached in a broad political and social sense, and focused on the field of culture, in which the writers/promoters of these texts move and work, who stress the need to investigate issues about the representation and, even more, the recognition and appreciation of the art made by women artists, of whom, as Deepwell points out, “a limited and derogatory vision still persists at a local and global level”, hence the need to consider new criteria valuation.

An inspiring reading for the artists and an invitation to use the manifesto as a vehicle for expressing feminist claims and complaints in the current context. They are also, Deepwell tells us, “an opportunity to learn about the changes that have occurred in feminist cultural politics and the different forms of feminist poetics used during the last 40 years.”

Katy Deepwell is a London-based feminist scholar and art critic. She is founder and editor of n.paradoxa, an international magazine for feminist art published between 1998 and 2017. Deepwell founded KT Press, a non-profit feminist publisher, to publish the magazine and books on feminist art. She also produces The Feminist Art Observatory, which contains a list of information on contemporary women artists and feminism. Wikipedia

Feminist Art Manifestos MOOC, free course in 6 lessons.


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