Feminism and the Critique of the Political Economy of Art

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

This paper begins from the hypothesis that what appears as internal fractures of feminism in art (and modern feminism overall) is but the internalization of the antagonisms that inhere in, and shape, the very social system that feminist politics seeks to transform. This system of operative divides emanates from capital as a social relation underpinning dominant and marginalized histories of modernity, including the intricately gendered cycle of production-reproduction. The question posed is how an art theory informed by feminist politics can address this cycle in its concrete historical episodes. By ‘history’ I refer to a mode of enquiry addressing actually existing social relations (and these include forces of resistance) bearing both a vertical and a horizontal axis - mapped on time and space respectively. Feminism as a politics crossing through art - by which I mean the field of relations, ideas, and practices constitutive of the art field (and not exclusively artworks as the outputs of labour performed in this field) – is only realizable within the given synchronicity, the contemporary, as the terrain of struggle. To grasp the specificity of this contemporary I propose that feminist art theory develop a discourse in terms of the critique of the political economy art with gender at its core. By way of example, feminist art theory can look at the historicity of its own development: how did feminist art theory change from the moment of its emergence in the 1970s, when neoliberalism was launched, to the 2010s, when neoliberalism has become hegemonic and feminism must be articulated in an art field defined by neoliberalism’s contradictions and widely lived outcomes? It is hoped that such a perspective will help feminism differentiate between its actual theoretical dilemmas and the social circumstances that generate and possibly propagate such dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018
EventContemporary Art Theory Now: Panel Discussion with Angela Dimitrakaki and Griselda Pollock - Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
Duration: 4 May 20184 May 2018


SymposiumContemporary Art Theory Now
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • feminst art theory
  • contemporary art


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