Book Review: Story of Art Without Men

  The Story of Art (Without Men) by Katy Hessel

I follow Katy’s social media and I was very excited when she announced publication of her book.

Website:  Great Women Artists


The exclusion of women (and other underrepresented groups) from the history of art and in the collections of our major and regional cultural institutions has been reported in cultural and general media. Many museums, have over the years, attempted to rectify these oversights through their efforts to collect more broadly and hold exhibits by women artists. And of course there is the National Museum of women in the arts in Washington DC that is an important repository.

However, publishing books is still one of the main avenues for correcting art history. Although I love media such as podcasts, YouTube videos and social media posts, I still think that it is important to read and possibly oh important references in the traditional form of an actual book.

Katy Hessel has published the history of art without men and I highly recommend it as an important resource to broaden our awareness of the contribution of women in the arts.

I do not hold a degree in art history, but I thought that I was fairly knowledgeable about women artists particularly from Western Europe and the United States. Nonetheless I felt surprised when I opened the book and began to scan the chapters. The gaps in my knowledge are indeed vast and this books feels so comprehensive.  Even so, the author acknowledges that this book is not completely comprehensive. She does more than scratch the surface but much scholarship and research remains to be done. And of course, in the 21st century women artists continue to produce groundbreaking work everyday and much of that work is still not recognized, celebrated or brought to the attention of cultural institutions and collectors.

The Story of Art Without Men  is richly illustrated with color reproductions on nearly every page. I will often pick up the book open to a random page and just begin reading and looking at the works. I always learn something even if I just spend 15 minutes perusing this wonderful book. The writing style is clear and relatively free of art theory jargon. So you do not need a background in art history to learn a lot about how women have made contributions to modern and historical art movements.

Katy Hessel also has an Instagram account, a podcast  and a website which has more links to resources.

So if you are looking for inspiration for your own work, or just want to spend some time finding out more about any period of art history, this is the book for you.

Look for this book at ,  local book shops or online.



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