‘It’s About Who’s Been Able to Tell the Story’: Curator and Author Katy Hessel on Writing an All-Women History of Art, Sarah Cascone, δημοσίευση στο Artnet news [25/1/2023]Marilena Pateraki
In September, curator and art historian Katy Hessel, known for her popular Instagram account @thegreatwomenartists, published her first book, The Story of Art Without Men, in the U.K.
Now, the groundbreaking volume, which highlights the many accomplishments of women throughout art history—independent of their relationships to their husbands or fathers—is headed stateside, with the U.S. release set for May 2, 2023.
The book is designed as a counterpart to Ernst Gombrich’s catalogue of the history of art, The Story of Art (1950), which is to British art education what Janson’s History of Art is in the U.S. But in both countries, what’s presented as an encyclopedic text was first published without mentioning a single woman artist—and even current editions have a long way to go toward equal representation, by gender and race.
Hessel’s book paints the other half of the picture, the non-male artists who have been making art all along, their stories told in short, easily digestible chapters, with copious illustrations of their work.
“I want it to really be an introduction to these artists,” Hessel told Artnet News. “That’s what Gombrich’s book did for me. It was an introduction to all these artists and art movements, and then I did my own research that led me to something else.”
The author, who also hosts the podcast The Great Women Artists, has become an expert in teasing out the incredible stories of art history’s overlooked women—and identifying their 21st-century counterparts working today. (The book’s final chapter ends with a section about women painting in oils today, which Hessel sees as a way to bookend a volume that begins with female Renaissance masters.)
Ahead of the U.S. release of the book, we spoke to Hessel about what inspired The Story of Art Without Men, the challenges of following so many narratives at once, and the joys of celebrating women artists and their many achievements across the centuries.
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