Some feminine art from the Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, France. 2009

Here are some images of art that I really liked from the exhibition of feminine art called “elles@centrepompidou” at the Centre Georges Pompidou that we went to yesterday.

Generally (this is were I whack the hornet’s nest), when ever I hear the term “feminist art”, I think about so many shows that I’ve seen that have been dominated with works dealing with, vaginas, blood and naked artists making statements about how they’re treated as sex objects. I’ve always had a problem with the notion of “feminist art” because I think that if we are all equal then it shouldn’t matter what sex a person is and their work should be judged on its own strengths and not the sex of its producer.

I’ve never liked the idea of victimhood from any group.

And before anyone gets full of righteous rage and wants to start jumping all over my case because I’m a middle aged white guy (the punching bag of choice by the world’s disaffected), all I have to say is, “try growing up as an overweight freckle faced red headed male”. I’ve never seen a poster of a guy like me on any teenage girl’s wall or my type described as the ideal, but yet life goes on and we can’t all be the focus of everyone’s desires and in control of the world.

Having had my little rant and bleat, there are of course many issues faced by women artists, like they are discriminated against and their work is often ignored. While at the exhibition, I gave myself the task of naming female artists and you know what, I could only name about five.

I hang my head in shame.

Having banged on about “feminist art”, the refreshing thing about the elles@centrepompidou exhibition was that the museum was displaying the feminine side of its own collections rather than making just a feminist statement.

The Guerilla Girls make plenty of salient points and combat discrimination with sharp wit and humor. No victimhood here just action.


Alisa Andrasek’s “Biothing” is a beautiful tour de force of applied intelligence. 


Adaptive Agent Based Extreme Structures are created using a computer program, not unlike the one Engogirl uses in her work in Computational Fluid Dynamics. As a matter of fact my wife got very excited about Alisa Andrasek’s work and I’m sure that she’d like to meet her and play around with the software she uses.

Niki de Saint Phalle is someone I’ve been aware of for a while, and this work is quite different from most of her work that I’d seen before.


Kristin Backer’s “Passage at section K-P” (2004) acknowledges how structures are so dominant in the landscapes we now live in.


Lee Bontecou’s untitled work (1966) is about sitting on a jet airplane’s wing. I really loved this piece and it’s something that I’d like to own so I could look at it more often.


I’ve saved Helen Frankenthaler’s “Spring Bank” (1974) for last as it was the piece I liked the most.

5 thoughts on “Some feminine art from the Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, France. 2009”

  1. I’m not sure of the answer to this, but what percent of the artists represented in the museum producing works since the 1970’s are women? The history of gender bias is well documented. I would be curious to know if things have changed. The Whitney might be a good study in that. Or MoMA.

    As for the percentage of nudes. . . I think they’ve made their point. Sort of. I would have guessed the percentage higher than 83%.

    Don’t mess with Guerilla Girls.

  2. I fear stepping into this minefield, and certainly do not dispute women’s complaints of discrimination at the more elite levels of the art world. On the other hand, on the lower rungs of the art ladder that I inhabit my experience is that there are far more female than male artists active at the community level. I don’t think this is just a local phenomenon, and it may be due to the economic fears and discrimination against men in their productive years who forsake their “masculine” money-earning endeavors in favor of the more emotionally laden and risky arena of the arts. What happens in between the lower and upper rungs of the ladder to tilt the balance in favor of men is probably complex and political (small “p”).

    In the end, I suspect we all — both men and women — suffer discrimination in one way or another from traditional gender roles. (So there! I’ve stepped into the minefield anyway.)

    Very nice selection of art, by the way.

  3. Oh, I enjoyed this! And ending with Helen. Perfect. I don’t hear you apologizing for the effect of her seductive colors…thank you jesus. Safe trip home! Thanks for the wonderful images and stories. I really feel like I should be unpacking my bag and going through a pile of mail.

  4. I like the untitled work by Lee Bontecou the best. It reminds me of some type of wood puzzle for some reason.

    I guess your big adventure in Europe is almost done. I’m waiting for the Epicurienne post myself.

  5. Cafe Selavy

    To be honest I’ve no idea what the real stats are but I’d be willing to wager that things are getting better in some places like at the Pompidou centre but I’m sure there’s still a long way to go in so many places.

    What the Guerrilla Girls had to say certainly made me think about the issue.


    It’s funny how us guys have almost been cowed by the fear of unleashing a rabid torrent of radical feminist vitriol, from even talking about this issue in an open forum. It’s a pity really, because such reactions stifle what needs to be discussed and disseminated.

    As a matter of fact, just about any radical “ism” I can think about turns me totally off a cause. Frightening people isn’t where it’s at, it’s all about winning hearts and minds.


    It’s always nice to share nice things. Just like a nice bottle of wine always tastes better with friends.


    I found Lee Bontecou’s piece mesmerising and I could hardly take my eyes off it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.