Separation of Art with a Capital “A”

Artemesia Gentileschi by Victoria Fitzgerald, 2020

Off the top of your head, name five artists. 

How many of them were women? 

Artist Victoria Fitzgerald explores the still profound lack of representation for women of all backgrounds in her art series, Separation of Art with a Capital “A”. This Fall at the Cayuga Museum, take a look at her celebration of the powerful women who inspired her and learn more about how much further we have to go to make the art world truly represent a broad spectrum of talent.

Separation of Art With a Capital “A” was inspired by my summer art camp students. After learning about different artists each day, the mostly female group of students chose Frida Kahlo, the only woman artist we studied, as their favorite. Realizing that women artists are so underrepresented that many people struggle to name even one, I decided to make this inequality the subject of a project. This exhibit seeks to bring focus to the many amazing women artists that are continually overshadowed by their male counterparts. 

Statistics show a staggering disparity between male and female artists in both the commercial and museum worlds. Only 30% of artists in commercial galleries are women. In museums, 87% of art is by male artists and 85% by white artists.  Despite this, women artists have been at the forefront of new art movements, often pioneering new techniques and inspiring their male contemporaries. The title of this show was inspired by the feminst art movement of the 1970s- a movement that encouraged freedom of expression unimpeded by the traditional male mainstream. Art historians Griselda Pollock and Roszika Parker stated, a separation of Art with a capital “A” from art made by women produced a “feminine stereotype” which cultivated a new feminist conciousness.

Each piece in this show features a portrait of a woman artist that inspires me, with a representation of their art in the background. My hope is that you leave the show knowing a few more female artists and their contributions to the art world despite the enormous inequality in the art community.

Victoria Fitzgerald

This project is made possible with funds from the Skaneateles Area Arts Council and the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered locally by Finger Lakes Community Arts Grants (FLCAG) at Auburn Public Theater.