TitleScience, technology and utopias in the work of contemporary women artists
NameFilippone, Christine (author), Marter, Joan (chair), Yanni, Carla (internal member), Sharp, Jane (internal member), Stiles, Kristine (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Science in art,
Technology in art,
Utopias in art,
Aycock, Alice--Criticism and interpretation,
Denes, Agnes--Criticism and interpretation,
Rosler, Martha--Criticism and interpretation,
Schneemann, Carolee, 1939- --Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThis dissertation examines the work of artists Alice Aycock, Agnes Denes, Martha Rosler and Carolee Schneemann, created between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s, which incorporated science and technology as subject and media. It represents the first focused examination of the conceptual use of science and technology by American women artists during the Cold War. I argue that, for these artists, science and technology represented a realm of investigation replete with negative associations in the wake of the Vietnam War, but also ripe with opportunities for change. Motivated by the contemporary American women's movement, these artists leveraged theories in physics, cosmology and systems, as well as new technologies such as video, in order to subvert modernist, male-centered, heroic, painterly styles, in addition to the traditional economic structures of the gallery, museum and dealer. This study sheds new light on conceptual art by re-centering the use of technology, generally treated as a conservative trend and excised from avant-garde histories, as a means for critique of Cold War society and as a method for imagining alternative concepts of human community. At stake in this investigation are domains of knowledge and power from which women have been historically excluded.
Informed by New Left and counter-culture criticism of nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War arising from influential theorists, such as Herbert Marcuse and Lewis Mumford, these artists associated the industries of science and technology with the military-industrial complex, which was reviled as representative of a closed, mechanistic "technological society." However Marcuse, the media-acknowledged guru of the New Left (a left-wing international movement composed of social activist groups formed in the 1960s), also inspired the counter-culture to imagine an alternative society in which "science and technology are the great vehicles of liberation." Thus, while these artists subjected the patriarchal institutions and industries of science and technology to withering attack, they also redeployed their implicit notion of progress in feminist utopian visions of a different future.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 304-331)
Noteby Christine Filippone
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.