Dear Ms Greer
Why, asks Germaine Greer in the Guardian today, didn’t more women paint back in the olden days? The answer posited by la Greer goes thusly: “Women, being generally more rational than men, are aware that life is more important than art.” Ahem. And there was I thinking that such gender reductionism was what we’d all been fighting against. Well. She goes on: “This is simple logic: art is a part of life, therefore art cannot be greater than life.” Simple, yes – verily, it trips off the tongue. Logic? Not quite. Still, she makes a good point about art spilling out of the frame of late “because the museum is not where it’s at” (Tell that to the Taoiseach). “There are plenty of dyspeptic critics who see, in the fading away of the picture frame and the spilling of the artwork into real life, the end of art itself. It seems more likely that art is being transformed from an antisocial preoccupation into something more conscious and committed. In a threatened world, the eternal monument looks increasingly pathetic and ridiculous.” All good stuff, but does that answer the question to anyone’s satisfaction? Why haven’t women been painting for years (or were they drawing, but not being recognised), and why are more women artists emerging now (if Greer’s role call of contemporary female artists – Marina Abramovic´, Silvie Bélanger, Mona Hatoum, Annette Messager, Cornelia Parker – means anything)?