|Judy Chicago Dinner Party|
Terrible bout of loneliness today. Succumbing to society's mandate that I marry, or at least take a lover. Must have a male presence. I want to quickly say here, I like men. Most of my closest friends are men. When my life went to shit last year, it was men who stood by me. I'm equally discouraged though that although they like me, invite me to come around, respect me, they always marry someone else. The only explanation I can come up with is I open my mouth and brains come out. Not just smarts in particular, but views, opinions, challenges. The latest interested party came right out and admitted feeling intimidated. He wanted to take my painting class you see, and upon rendering his patchouli laced ideas of what he perceives art to be, I returned volley with what I thought was a gentle dose of what it really is. Nietzsche said people don't like to hear the truth because it shatters their illusions. I started as a tiny cute blonde. My truth transformed me into Medusa. She's hard to get cuddly with, snakes in her hair and that whole turn to stone thing.
I'm trying to come up with something to make me feel better and get out of my couch lamentations. "Art, go to art," I hear my head suggest. "It won't work!" it screams back. I had !Women Art Revolution sitting on my dresser upstairs unviewed. Oh ok, FINE. I get a little tired of what is now viewed as a dirty word, feminism. I think those women had to push the way they did to even get heard. I went to a female art celebration thing a couple weeks ago and sat uncomfortably as this same male-diminishing theme was passionately presented. As I may have mentioned, I like men. I don't feel that by mocking them in the same way some have done to us to make themselves feel more powerful is the answer. No one is equal in either equation.
Judy Chicago's Dinner Party was 1979. I went to college the next year and actually learned about this installation in art history class. What I didn't know is that Congress put a bill on the floor to prevent it from being shown in DC. It failed thankfully, but there was about and hour ½ discussion about the piece. It was that big a deal. I've visited the Women's Art Museum in DC. I wondered why we needed a separate building? The Guerrilla Girls can provide the stats why. There is still terrible inequality in the arts. White men. Still in charge.
Point of all this I was suddenly ok. Not lonely. I went from feeling that my life was pointless and stupid because I haven't mated . . . I have to add lately because I was married a while back for a few years . . . to a sense of purpose again. Art. It's always about art. Most of the residents in the Pioneer Building* are women. Quite a few got married and raised a family before they pursued their practice. There wasn't much of a choice for their generation. Here I am again, the product of doors women opened in the '70's. I mentioned this in relation to general living and business in the last post, but it translates to art as well. And once again, as I barreled forward in my career after my divorce, it never occurred to me I couldn't. I feel privileged to paint. I have the luxury to reject traditional female roles and paint. I feel I owe it to those women to paint. Not as a woman painter. As a painter.
*artists studios in Detroit