ESSAYS ON WOMEN’S ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL CONTRIBUTIONS 1919-1939: Expanded Social Roles for the New Woman Following the First World War

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Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
This work examines the social, cultural and political contexts in which women artists from Europe, Asia, and North America had the opportunity to contribute to their nations’ cultural production. This book contains twenty-nine black and white photographs.


". . . offer[s] a reader thoughtful analyses of 'international feminist art practices and popular culture'(p.3) that hopefully will lead to further studies." - RACAR - Canadian Art Review

". . . offers a geographically and materially expanded investigation into an already much-examined time period. Not simply seeking to raise up and insert historical women into an existing canon of artists, most of the essays aim instead to enlarge and even redefine our understanding of cultural production and its location. Birnbaum nad Novakov's interdisciplinary approach pushes art historians to consider the larger category of material culture, and in doing so provides a welcome addition to the existing scholarship on women artists of the period." - Women's Art Journal

“A book dedicated to women’s cultural production during the interwar years begs the question of why we had to wait for so long for women to have extensive opportunities for creative expression. It also brings to mind the famous question posed by the Guerrilla Girls, 'Do women have to be naked to get into the Museum of Metropolitan Art?' – Prof. Flavia Marcello, University of Melbourne

"“. . . explores from a number of disciplinary perspectives, the many facets of what it meant to be a woman actively engaged in cultural production during a time of great social opportunity, but also economic collapse and a series of conservative backlashes that often played out in the arenas of sexual politics and equality.” – Prof. Whitney Chadwick,San Francisco State University

Table of Contents

Preface by Flavia Marcello
General Introduction - Paula Birnbaum and Anna Novakov
Part I: Reconfiguring Childhood
Marching Teams and Modern Girls: Bodies and Culture in Interwar New Zealand – Charlotte Macdonald
Gender and Generational Identity: Camp Fire Girls and Cultural Production in the Interwar Years – Jennifer Helgren
Deconstructing Girlhood: Claude Cahun’s “Sophie la Symboliste” – Jennifer L. Shaw
Part II: Modernity and Visual Culture
Weimar Cultural Production: Visual Pleasure and Radical Critique in the Work of Hannah Höch – Melissa Johnson
Modern Madonnas and Working Mothers – Paula Birnbaum
Modern Girls, Working Women, and Housewives: Japanese Women Artists in the Interwar Years – Laura W. Allen
Part III: Re-Imagining Gender and Race
Pool and the Production of Cinema, Sexuality, and Race during the Interwar Era – Tirza True Latimer
Frida Kahlo, American Nationalism, and The New Mestiza Woman – Celia S. Stahr
Passion and Valor in Malvina Hoffman’s Sculptures from the Interwar Years – Susan Martis
Part IV: Craftswomen and National Identity
“The Fabric of the Nation’s Art”: Women’s Appropriation of Aboriginal Textile Motifs during the Interwar Period in British Columbia – Tusa Shea
Foreign Treasures: Elizabeth Ginno’s Costume Etchings at the 1940 Exposition on Treasure Island – Heather A. Vaughan
Part V: Women and Public Spaces
The Bobbed Builder: Women Architects in the Weimar Republic – Despina Stratigakos
A Bath in the Surf: Ivana Tomljenovic’s Interwar Street Photographs – Anna Novakov
Hobo Girls: The Inauspicious Working Girl and Ideal Fluidity – Stephanie Ellis

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