With a career spanning over 60 years, Carol Rama has had no formal art training. Her unconventional and often, controversial painting style is full of eroticism and sexual aggression with characters who stand to represent themes of sexual identity specifically referencing female sensuality. When she was young she suffered a number of personal tragedies; her father commit suicide and her mother suffered from mental illness. Rama describes her work as the result of this. Painting was a means of escape for her and became a world in which she could exercise her extreme need for freedom. She has been compared to the likes of Louise Bourgeois and Maria Lassnig in her explicitly autobiographical approach which, for much of her life kept her work out of the mainstream. Her first exhibition in 1945 was shut down by the authorities in Turin before it even opened but despite all of this, she has gone on to be popular in the present day, winning the Golden Lion award at the 2003 Venice Biennial.
is a photographer, author and artist who works with a variety of media including video, performance, and drawing. In her three most recent photographic series, The Last Days of Pompeii (2001), Roman Allegories (2004), and Helen’s Odyssey (2007), Antin makes a satirical social comment on her interpretation of the contemporary American empire by using classic historical references. These staged photographs are layered with staged mythology and historicism from ancient Greece and Rome. The composition of each piece is reminiscent of both 19th-century French and English salon painting and Hollywood historical films.
is an artist, musician, author and peace activist who is perhaps better known for her marriage to the late John Lennon. Ono incorporated feminism into her music, which came just before New Wave Music (a sub-genre of rock music that emerged in the mid to late 1970s alongside punk rock) and it is thought that she may have been a direct influence to this genre of music. Known for her charitable contributions to peace and AIDS outreach programs, she is also a supporter of gay rights. Formerly, she was also a member of Fluxus, a network of avant-garde artists that drew their inspiration from Dadaism throughout the 1960s.
Best known for her discourses on the body, sexuality and gender, Carolee Schneemann’s artistic work is populated by exploration of visual traditions, taboos and the societies construction of the female body. Schneemann’s works have been associated with a variety of art classifications including Fluxus, Neo-Dada and the Beat Generation. Unlike much other feminist art, Schneemann’s revolves around sexual expression and liberation, rather than referring to the victimization or repression of women.
is a musician who is best known for her humorous songs inspired by her own lesbianism. Phillips was a member of three bands in the 1980s: the punk band Meat Joy, a name possibly taken from Carolee Schneemann’s seminal work Meat Joy (1964), the rock band Girls in the Nose and the country/disco/rock/folk/pop band Two Nice Girls. Two Nice Girls released a song written by Philip’s; I Spent My Last $10 (on Birth Control and Beer), which satirized heterosexual relationships.
, which means crazy food
in Italian, was a New York based band formed in 1994 by two Japanese women, Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori. Their music has been described as a combination of Jazz, Hip-Hop, Brazilian music, African Drumming, and Disco samples and the lyrics in their songs are primarily concerned with food (hence the name). Honda and Hatori claim that stereotypes are something they encountered throughout the entire duration of Cibo Matto’s popularity. “There are people who think that women can’t operate studio equipment,” Honda, who produced the first album entirely by herself, once stated in an interview. They released two albums throughout the course of their career; Viva! La Woman: 1996 and Stereo ★ Type A: 1997.
A transgender activist, speaker, and author, Leslie Feinberg’s novel “Stone Butch Blues” is widely considered a ground-breaking work about gender issues. The novel follows protagonist, Jess Goldberg, a transgender individual growing up in a conservative town in New York as he discovers the gay community in Buffalo during the 1970s and 80s. Since the 60s, he has been a grass roots activist and a journalist and is well-known in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements throughout the world. The lesbian magazine Curve
named Feinberg one of the “15 Most Influential.” Assigned female at birth, Feinberg now prefers the gender-neutral pronouns “hir”, “ze” and s/he.
is an artist and author, perhaps best known now for her painted story quilts which blur the line between high brow, “serious” art and craft-work by combining painting, sewing and storytelling. She has also written and illustrated seventeen children’s books.
In the 1960s, Ringgold’s work reflected the turmoil and change throughout America by use of bold images created using dark colours. This is said to have been a reflection of both the skin of African-Americans and the oppression that they were suffering throughout this time. It was during this period that she also became acquainted with feminist ideas which led her to become an activist for social change for women and black people. Alongside her daughter, Ringgold was a founding member of the National Black Feminist Organisation.
Mr. Lady Records
was a lesbian-feminist independent record label and video art distributor based in San Francisco, USA. It ran from 1996 – 2004. Artists on the label included Le Tigre and The Butchies. Founded by Kaia Wilson, a member of the band The Butchies, Mr. Lady records was also involved in debates surrounding whether transsexual women should be entitled to attend the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, which had a formal stance against allowing transsexual and transgendered women to attend the festival.
Misty Ericson holds a BA in English & Comparative Literature from San Jose State University, California, and an MA History of Art from University of Leeds, UK. In addition to her work on HerCircleEzine.com, which she founded in 2005, Misty enjoys painting in her studio and restoring her home in the English countryside.