The Story of Art Without Men

Norton. May 2023. 512p. ISBN 9780393881868. $45. FINE ARTS
The fine arts have long suffered gender imbalance, with women often excluded from academies, galleries, and the traditional canon. In this title, London-based art historian and curator Hessel combines the upbeat appeal of her podcast The Great Women Artists with solid scholarship to spotlight a diverse cast of women artists from the 16th century to the present who threw off constraints, broke new ground, and made exciting work. Although she follows a conventional timeline from the Renaissance through the contemporary art scene, Hessel casts a wide net, with forays into themes from Spiritualist art to textiles to Afrofuturism, and consistent attention paid to political and cultural contexts. Hessel provides a lively brief of each woman’s life, work, and background, along with an intriguing image or two that will whet readers’ interest to discover more. Artists range from well-known to obscure; even the most seasoned art enthusiast, educator, or scholar will find surprises. An index of books, articles, and exhibitions offers useful jumping-off points, as does Hessel’s podcast.
VERDICT A good-looking, valuable addition to general or fine art collections in any public, academic, or school library, this engaging overview shines a light both entertaining and erudite on a critical half of the art world.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing