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Within the context of the broad cultural shifts that occurred in 1970s America, many art historians and curators have questioned the exclusion of women from both the pantheon of famous artists and the display floors of contemporary museums. This is an excellent overview of 12 significant and internationally successful female artists, among them installation artist Ann Hamilton, photographer Shirin Seshat, and sculptor Kiki Smith. Art historian Linda Nochlin's brief but important preface revisits a question she first asked in a 1971 essay: "Why have there been no great women artists?" True to form-feminist art scholarship is known for being smart and feisty-Nochlin refuses the very criterion of artistic "greatness" and notes that, for the artists considered here, "it is vitality...an incisive relationship to the present" that marks their work. A wonderful introduction by editors Heartney (Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads), Helaine Posner (Kiki Smith), Nancy Princenthal (visual arts, Bard Coll. & NYU), and writer/curator Sue Scott carefully assesses feminism's impact on the art world. The bibliography is thoroughly compiled. Enthusiastically recommended for all libraries focusing on art history, gender, and cultural studies.
—Katherine C. Adams