In the fall of 2007 Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution opened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. A reflection of feminist history, art history and how the world was forever changed through the feminist movement and the art that defined it was a moving and powerful exhibit that not only told the story of the lives changed in the movement, but changed the lives of those who visited the exhibit.

Wack! included the work of over 120 artists represented from the United States, Central and Eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Asia and Canada. With various media including photography, film, video, painting, sculpture and performance art, the exhibition was organized around themes such as politics, media, geography and aesthetic. This was the first comprehensive, historical exhibition to address the world wide issues and impressions of feminist art. Focusing on the time period when most of the feminist activism and producing of art took place around the world, the exhibit is comprised of works created from 1965-1980.

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Connie Butler, organizer at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it opened in the spring and Susan Fisher Sterling, the women's museum's chief curator and acting director, are credited with the amazing task of bringing more than 300 works by 118 artists into one exhibit that could accurately convey the breadth of feminist art. An edgy account filled with history, passion and scandal, Wack!, nothing short of phenomenal, addressed such issues as male biases, body image, sexuality and media interpretation of feminism from the perspective of many traditional and controversial artists over several decades.

Featuring such works as Judy Chicago's "Pasadena Lifesaver Red #5," Louise Bourgeois's "Unconscious Landscape," Elaine Sturtevant's film "Duchamp Nu Descendant un Escalier," Thriller," a 1979 video by Sally Potter that explores the causes of Mimi's death in the tragic opera "La Boheme," and Martha Roslerís "Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain," Wack! captured a treasure of masterpieces in this tribute to art intended to change the way we live.

Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution was a thrilling journey through the womenís movement and the art that was not only a result but a catalyst for the changes that resulted. Feminist art has influenced identity-based art, crafts-derived art, performance art as well as post-modern art. While the exhibit could in no way be considered comprehensive, the artistic and feminist statement will affect generations to come.

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Art and architecture

Copyright Carole Phillips 2007