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Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) Hardcover – March 7, 2017
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From the Publisher
Meet some of the artists in Broad Strokes:
"Often I'll be surprised at even what I could think, self-righteous goody-two-shoes that I am."
- Kara Walker
"Whenever there was a free moment, I would sit down and do some work. Sculpture is like farming. If you just keep at it, you can get quite a lot done."
- Ruth Asawa
"I want to go back to my eighth grade dream of being an artist. Because if I don’t do it now, then when will I??? Why delay the truth in your heart?"
- Susan O' Malley, age 24
From the Introduction
At a cocktail party not long ago, a friend asked what I was working on. I’m writing about artists I love, I said happily.
'Which artists?' She asked, grinning and sipping her cocktail. I imagine she pictured a fierce Mission muralist or half-naked performance artist.
I got no further than a single word - Baroque - when she lowered her drink. 'The worst class I took in college was art history,' she said. 'So. Boring.'
'Maybe you had the wrong teacher,' I said, about to add a titillating art historical tidbit when she caught sight of something more interesting over my shoulder and moved on.
It strikes me that we might need a little caveat here before getting started. Can we agree at the outset to lay down our qualms about Ye Olde Arte Hystore at the door of this book? Put them down. Walk away. Let us agree that together we shall fear no corsets, nor nursing saviors, nor men in top hats and cravats, nor vast expanses of peachy dimpled thighs.
Let us withhold judgment until we know more.
“A terrific essay collection with quick and pithy profiles of famous and not-famous women artists—Alice Neel, Louise Bourgeois, Lee Krasner, Kara Walker, etc. Spunky, attitudinal, SMART writing, excellent color reproductions.” —Susan Stamberg, NPR
Named a Top 10 Spring 2017 Book in Memoirs/Biographies by Publishers Weekly
“Your Art History 101 syllabus just got a lot more fun.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
“Inspiring, charming, and eye-opening.” —The Millions
“In her entertaining and accessible debut, Quinn mixes biography, art history, and women’s studies to shed light on 15 women artists.… The color reproductions add to this book’s appeal, giving readers a chance to appreciate the artists’ work as well as Quinn’s upbeat writing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Can you name five women artists? That question, which launched a recent social media campaign, receives a beautiful answer in art historian Quinn and illustrator/writer Congdon’s accessible and intimate tour of 15 female artists from the 17th century to the present.” —Library Journal
“As its title suggests, Broad Strokes isn’t stuffy. There’s plenty of scholarship here about women artists over the centuries, but Quinn combines her research with a lively, breezy tone that turns her subjects into more than feminist symbols. They’re masters in their own right, bold and brilliant despite the limits they faced.” —Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Bridget Quinn is a writer, art history scholar and educator. She lives in San Francisco where she's a contributor and advisory board member for Narrative Magazine and a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.
Lisa Congdon is a Portland, Oregon–based artist and author.
Top customer reviews
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It's not only a feast for the eyes. The always stirring, sometimes stunning, artwork aside, I appreciated how the author weaves the personal and political throughout this rich read. It's an intriguing braid of memoir, biography and history of women's art.
"Art can be dangerous." I did not expect to feel so deeply throughout this read and visual experience. It's impossible not to rage against the (mis)treatment of these women artists (and women overall down through history and right up to the present day)--rape, torture, internment, abuse, disregard. It is inspiring and instructive that these women channeled all that violence, heartache and rage into making great art. More, they put all their love, spirituality and passion into their work, too. They resisted. They persisted. They triumphed.
Alice Neel. Lee Krasner. Louise Bourgeois. Ruth Asawa. Susan O'Malley, and more. Thank you, Bridget Quinn, for returning these women front and center, where they belong. Thanks, also, for reminding us that we can be all that, too.