Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Art and Gender

A guide to researching topics at the intersection of visual art and gender. Includes tips for researching artists, as well as a list of sample artists working in different media.

Welcome

You've arrived at IU Libraries' guide to researching art and gender.  This site is designed to provide an overview of strategies, resources, and research ideas for anyone doing academic research at the intersection of gender and art.

Use this website to find sources about artists and gender.  The "Artists by Medium" tabs contain lists of cis, transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer artists as wells as some suggested secondary sources.  You can also use the following links to find artists:

The following Art Journal article is highly recommended for those interested in theory and criticism:

Gender and Art Theory Books

Crossmappings

The great, influential cultural critic, Elisabeth Bronfen, sets out in this book a conversation between literature, cinema and visual culture. The crossmappings facilitated in and between these essays address the cultural survival of image formulas involving portraiture and the uncanny relation between the body and its visual representability, the gendering of war, death and the fragility of life, as well as sovereignty and political power. Each chapter tracks transformations that occur as aesthetic figurations travel from one historical moment to another, but also from one medium to another. Many prominent artists are discussed during these journeys into the cultural imaginary, include Degas, Francesca Woodman, Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Wagner, Picasso, and Shakespeare, as well as classic Hollywood's film noir and melodrama and the TV series, The Wire and House of Cards.

Trap Door: trans cultural production and the politics of visibility

Essays, conversations, and archival investigations explore the paradoxes, limitations, and social ramifications of trans representation within contemporary culture. The increasing representation of trans identity throughout art and popular culture in recent years has been nothing if not paradoxical. Trans visibility is touted as a sign of a liberal society, but it has coincided with a political moment marked both by heightened violence against trans people (especially trans women of color) and by the suppression of trans rights under civil law. Trap Door grapples with these contradictions. The essays, conversations, and dossiers gathered here delve into themes as wide-ranging yet interconnected as beauty, performativity, activism, and police brutality. Collectively, they attest to how trans people are frequently offered "doors"--entrances to visibility and recognition--that are actually "traps," accommodating trans bodies and communities only insofar as they cooperate with dominant norms. The volume speculates about a third term, perhaps uniquely suited for our time: the trapdoor, neither entrance nor exit, but a secret passageway leading elsewhere. Trap Door begins a conversation that extends through and beyond trans culture, showing how these issues have relevance for anyone invested in the ethics of visual culture.  Contributors Lexi Adsit, Sara Ahmed, Nicole Archer, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Johanna Burton, micha cárdenas, Mel Y. Chen, Grace Dunham, Treva Ellison, Sydney Freeland, Che Gossett, Reina Gossett, Stamatina Gregory, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Robert Hamblin, Eva Hayward, Juliana Huxtable, Yve Laris Cohen, Abram J. Lewis, Heather Love, Park McArthur, CeCe McDonald, Toshio Meronek, Fred Moten, Tavia Nyong'o, Morgan M. Page, Roy Pérez, Dean Spade, Eric A. Stanley, Jeannine Tang, Wu Tsang, Jeanne Vaccaro, Chris E. Vargas, Geo Wyeth, Kalaniopua Young, Constantina Zavitsanos

Gender, Otherness, and Culture in Medieval and Early Modern Art

This collection examines gender and Otherness as tools to understand medieval and early modern art as products of their social environments. The essays, uniting up-and-coming and established scholars, explore both iconographic and stylistic similarities deployed to construct gender identity. The text analyzes a vast array of medieval artworks, including Dieric Bouts's Justice of Otto III, Albrecht Dürer's Feast of the Rose Garland, Rembrandt van Rijn's Naked Woman Seated on a Mound, and Renaissance-era transi tombs of French women to illuminate medieval and early modern ideas about gender identity, poverty, religion, honor, virtue, sexuality, and motherhood, among others. 

Pink Labor on Golden Streets: Queer Art Practices

Pink Labor on Golden Streets: Queer Art Practices builds on an exhibition and conference at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna that explored the contradictory standpoints of queer art practices, conceptions of the body, and ideas of “queer abstraction,” a term coined by Jack Halberstam that raises questions to do with (visual) representations in the context of gender, sexuality, and desire. This publication brings together papers from the 2012 conference and writing on artworks and art practices. In addition to testimonials from queer performers on the topic of “drag,” the book also includes interviews, essays, collage, and more personal writing. 

Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative

Is gender implicated in how art does its work, or is defined as work, in global space? Is a global imperative exclusive to capitalism's planetary expansion or does it also animate oppositional practices in art and curating? And what is new in the gendered paradigms of art after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in a persistently divided Europe and elsewhere? Angela Dimitrakaki addresses these questions in an insightful and highly original analysis of travel as artistic labour, the sexualisation of migration as a relationship between Eastern and Western Europe, the post-documentary aesthetic of the feminist video essay, the rise of female art and curatorial collectives, the spectral re-appearance of the male working class in the museum and globalisation's 'bad boys'. A central aspiration of the book is to demonstrate that contemporary art and theory's turn to labour and economic relations, around 2000, compels a reviewing of feminism's attachment to the cultural subject, practices and methodologies privileged by postmodernism. Artists and collectives discussed in the book include, among others, Marina Abramovic, Ursula Biemann, Tracey Emin, Andrea Fraser, Kuratorisk Action, Lin+Lam, Malmö Free University for Women (MFK), Jenny Marketou, Renzo Martens, Dani Marti, Steve McQueen, Mujeres Públicas, Tanja Ostojic, Ann-Sofi Sidén, Mare Tralla, WHW and Artur Zmijewski. This is a theoretically astute overview of key developments in art and its contexts since the 1990s and the first study to attempt a critical refocusing of feminist politics in art history in the wake of globalisation as capitalism's biopolitical arena. It will appeal be essential reading in art history, gender, feminist and globalisation studies, curatorial theory, cultural studies and beyond.

Eccentric Modernisms

What if we ascribe significance to aesthetic and social divergences rather than waving them aside as anomalous? What if we look closely at what does not appear central, or appears peripherally, or does not appear at all, viewing ellipses, outliers, absences, and outtakes as significant? Eccentric Modernisms places queer demands on art history, tracing the relational networks connecting cosmopolitan eccentrics who cultivated discrepant strains of modernism in America during the 1930s and 1940s. Building on the author's earlier studies of Gertrude Stein and other lesbians who participated in transatlantic cultural exchanges between the world wars, this book moves in a different direction, focusing primarily on the gay men who formed Stein's support network and whose careers, in turn, she helped to launch, including the neo-romantic painters Pavel Tchelitchew and writer-editor Charles Henri Ford. Eccentric Modernisms shows how these "eccentric modernists" bucked trends by working collectively, reveling in disciplinary promiscuity and sustaining creative affiliations across national and cultural boundaries.

Queer Difficulty in Art and Poetry: rethinking the sexed body in verse and visual culture

Augmenting recent developments in theories of gender and sexuality, this anthology marks a compelling new phase in queer scholarship. Navigating notions of silence, misunderstanding, pleasure, and even affects of phobia in artworks and texts, the essays in this volume propose new and surprising ways of understanding the difficulty--even failure--of the epistemology of the closet. By treating "queer" not as an identity but as an activity, this book represents a divergence from previous approaches associated with Lesbian and Gay Studies. The authors in this anthology refute the interpretive ease of binaries such as "out" versus "closeted" and "gay" versus "straight," and recognize a more opaque relationship of identity to pleasure. The essays range in focus from photography, painting, and film to poetry, Biblical texts, lesbian humor, and even botany. Evaluating the most recent critical theories and introducing them in close examinations of objects and texts, this book queers the study of verse and visual culture in new and exciting ways.

A Queer Little History of Art

The last century has seen a dramatic shift in gender and sexual identities for both men and women, reflected in artistic experimentation as artists have sought to challenge social conventions and push the boundaries of what has been deemed acceptable. The result is a wealth of deeply emotive and powerful art intended to express a range of desires and experiences but also to question, criticize, and provoke dialogue. This generously illustrated book showcases the breadth and depth of queer art from around the world since 1900, exploring identity, eroticism, relationships, hidden desires, love, and gender, revealing how experiences have also been shaped by class and ethnicity, and how art itself has played a key role in changing attitudes and crystalizing identities in different historic and contemporary contexts.

Unruly Visions

In Unruly Visions Gayatri Gopinath brings queer studies to bear on investigations of diaspora and visuality, tracing the interrelation of affect, archive, region, and aesthetics through an examination of a wide range of contemporary queer visual culture. Spanning film, fine art, poetry, and photography, these cultural forms--which Gopinath conceptualizes as aesthetic practices of queer diaspora--reveal the intimacies of seemingly disparate histories of (post)colonial dwelling and displacement and are a product of diasporic trajectories. Countering standard formulations of diaspora that inevitably foreground the nation-state, as well as familiar formulations of queerness that ignore regional gender and sexual formations, she stages unexpected encounters between works by South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Australian, and Latinx artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Akram Zaatari, and Allan deSouza. Gopinath shows how their art functions as regional queer archives that express alternative understandings of time, space, and relationality. The queer optics produced by these visual practices creates South-to-South, region-to-region, and diaspora-to-region cartographies that profoundly challenge disciplinary and area studies rubrics. Gopinath thereby provides new critical perspectives on settler colonialism, empire, military occupation, racialization, and diasporic dislocation as they indelibly mark both bodies and landscapes.

Queer Art

A queer theory of visual art - based on extensive readings of art works Queer Art traces the question of how strategies of denormalization initiated by visual arts can be continued through writing. In the book's three chapters art theoretical debates are combined with queer theory, post-colonial theory, and (dis-)ability studies, proposing the three terms radical drag, transtemporal drag, and abstract drag. The works discussed include those by Zoe Leonard, Shinique Smith, Jack Smith, Wu Ingrid Tsang, Ron Vawter, Bob Flanagan, Henrik Olesen, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sharon Hayes, and Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz.

Art and Queer Culture

A revised, updated edition of the acclaimed historical overview of Queer art - available for the first time in paperback Art & Queer Culture  is an unprecedented survey of visual art and alternative sexualities from the late nineteenth century to the present. Beautifully illustrated and clearly written, this special edition has been updated to include the art and visual culture that has emerged since the publication of its acclaimed first edition in 2013. A group of new contributors - themselves gay, lesbian, queer and trans - join the primary authors in emphasizing the global sweep of queer contemporary art and the newfound visibility of gender non-conforming artists. In a compact, reader-friendly format, this revised volume packs over 130 years of queer art history.   Art and Queer Culture  features work by famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe alongside that of AIDS activists, lesbian separatists, and pre-Stonewall photographers and scrapbook-keepers who did not regard themselves as artists at all. The volume traces a spectacular history of queer life and creativity in the modern age.