Few of the 52 women artists spotlighted in this eye-opening, delightful album fit easily into any category. How, for example, would one classify Therese Oulton's gossamer, darkly archetypal painting Spinner , Ann Page's brightly dyed parables on handmade Japanese paper, Louise Bourgeois' Venus-like marble Stake Woman or Elizabeth Butterworth's astonishingly lifelike, insouciant Yellow-Billed Amazon Parrot ? Beckett, a British freelance art critic, graces each full-page color reproduction with a conversational mini-essay. If this rewarding survey has a theme, it is the sheer diversity of contemporary art, and in particular of art being done by women. There are feminist resonances: for example, the struggling, independent mother's expression in Alice Neel's Mother and Child , or the furiously angry blonde in Cindy Sherman's photograph Untitled #122. While most of the contributors are British or American, we also meet Polish, Czech, Iranian, Canadian and German artists. (Jan.)
YA-- A provocative, intelligent overview of the vast variety of art work being produced by contemporary women artists today. Beckett admits that hers is a personal selection of artists, and she provides strong arguments for understanding contemporary art. The book contains over 50 color plates and a short but vivid description of each of the artists' work illustrated. In every case, there are appropriate remarks that increase novice viewers' knowledge.-- Jenni Elliott, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.