TheCraft Readeris an excellent piece of work filled with a variety of opinions andperiods, which are thoughtfully assembled various excerpts to affirmand contrast each other on issues relating to art and craft. Oneexcerpt from TheCraft Readeris Lucy Lippard’s MakingSomething from Nothingwritten in 1978. In her writing, Lippard discusses the idea of hobbycraft, which entails making various items from recycled objects andaccessible materials such as bottle caps and flowers made fromfeathers or dried plants (Lippard,1978).Lippard further explains how different types of hobby crafts appealto diverse demographics based on the concept of good taste and socialclass structures. However, these activities have to be appropriate toa person’s position and duties. For example, she explains that theparticular hobby craft that appeals to housewives have to reaffirmtheir positions in the household (Lippard,1978).Thus, the art has to be less obtrusive to their responsibilities intheir homes. Besides, the hobby art appeals to women because the artworld during the specific era discussed in the excerpt marginalizedthem, which is also common in many local art communities. Accordingto Lippard, the housewives can learn how to practice their hobby artfrom instructional leaflets and books (1978). These instructionalmaterials serve as a guide as well as motivation as at most timesthey emphasize on the use of recyclable materials. Besides, theseresources also teach them the exact type of recycled materials thatbest suit their particular preferences of hobby art. In this article,Lippard concentrates on the role of women in the world of art andcraft. She goes ahead to examine the response their craft receivesfrom the art world as well as steps they undertake to improve it(Lippard,1978).
Lippard’sessay relates to an era when women were beginning to rise, whichmarked a significant transition in history. Hence, important factorslike feminism were at their peak during this era. Evidently, Lippardis using feminism as she advocates for the equal recognition of womenart. Through her advocacy, Lippard contextualizes her essay abouthobby art on a descriptive basis, which is clearly supported by thefactual description of the hobby art among housewives rather thanrelying on theories (Lippard,1978).First, she explains that hobby art is instruction-based, which aregiven through instructional leaflets and books. The instructionalmaterials also provide insight into hobby art through an illustrativeformat as they show how the use of readily available recycledmaterials can enhance hobby art. Moreover, the basis of descriptionfurther manifests itself in Lippard’s essay through her explanationof diverse types of hobby craft attraction to different demographics,based on the idea of preferences and class structures. According toLippard, art is something that goes hand in hand with one’s taste,which results in varied types of art (1978). For example, those withexcellent tastes at most times are said to be attracted to good art,and their preference is said to be good. Lippard also describes howart is related to class structures. The society today is composed ofdifferent social classes that are defined by various factors such aseconomic stability as well as different occupations. These factorsare used as a determining element in the choice of hobby art as wellas all art in general. Lastly, the author uses description to pointout how gender bias is dominant even in the field of art. Thedescription gives the reader a vivid picture of how the art world hasmarginalized of women (Lippard,1978).
Lippard’sarticle articulates her views regarding women in art during the 20th-century. The article was well written directly pointing out on thesocial and gender discrimination experienced during this century(Lippard,1978).The 20th-century craft manifested its prowess using both formal andinformal notions. Lippard clearly conveys her message by focusing onthese important aspects of art. By doing so, she tries to examinewomen as a unit of production of the informal artwork such as hobbyart. She goes further and examines how they undertake these craft andfactors that motivate them (Lippard,1978).Besides, Lippard emphasizes on how housewives get to choose theirhobby art and the attention they give to it. She argues that theyprefer hobby arts, as they are appropriate for their positions ashousewives and source of support for their husbands and families.Lippard performs a well-articulated analysis of hobby art, whichhelps to emphasize her point based on the real facts facing women art(Lippard,1978)
Theexcerpt clarifies the difference between the 20th-century artworksand the contemporary forms of art (Lippard,1978).First, the 20th-century was a century that was marked by the lack ofappreciation to the artwork of women. However, the situation haschanged as art is judged through an artist’s creativity, expertiseand skills to represent his or her idea, which best attracts theaudience’s attention. On the contrary, people evaluated art usinggender as a determining factor during the 20th-century mainly becauseof the existence of a sexist society that was biased against women.Moreover, the excerpt makes significant contributions to 20th-centuryart. Lippard alongside others authors identified three criticalissues that would enable people to understand and appreciate women’sart better (Lippard,1978).They analyzed the current and historical artworks by women anddeveloped an informal language for writing about art by women.Finally, they created theories about the meaning of art created bywomen because it was not given its due appreciation. However, shedoes show the full comparison between the 20th-century and the21st-century art because she wrote her article on hobby craft in 1978(Lippard,1978).Therefore, she did not have the chance to evaluate the difference incrafts in the two centuries.
Theauthor applies a feminist approach to her writing. Feminism is anintegrative approach towards gender equality, which is well explainedusing political activism and social theories. Feminism has progressedfrom the critical assessment of gender inequality to a more impactivefocus on the performative and social interpretations of gender andsexuality(Lippard,1978). The feminist theory interrogates gender bias to provoke changein areas where sexuality and gender create social imbalances. Thus,the author shows how women’s hobby art is marginalized. Shereaffirms this statement by stating thatwhen a man tries a hobby craft, it is often elevated to a higher formart as compared to that of women. It is a clear manifestation ofgender bias in the art. Thus, she is trying to bring out the creativehobby art of those women at home whose craft ought to be given equalopportunities for recognition. Eventually, she aims at enactingchange so that the society can hold a man’s hobby craft on the samestandards as that of a woman (Lippard,1978).
Thenagain, Lippard uses opinions from other authors to perform a fullassessment of art history during the 20th-century. Other authorsPatricia Mathews and Thalia Gouma-Peterson, who analyze the feministhistory of art, can support the Lippard’s view on feminism.These two authors clearly explain that art critique from a feministperspective is an upcoming phenomenon that was not in existence.Therefore, it is a clear indication of the existence of gender biasagainst women artworks, which clearly occurred without any criticism(Gouma-Peterson& Mathews 1987). Theydocument feminism in the art as having developed from a firstgeneration, which focused on thecondition and experience of being female but later changed since thelate 1970s. Hence, neglectedwomen artists had to be recognized because of her famous article tothe history of art (Gouma-Peterson& Mathews, 1987).
Froma personal standpoint, I believe that the article has madesignificant contributions to art history and changed the way peopleview female artists. I can confidently indicate that the art worldhas evolved as it is currently open to both male and female artistson equal levels. Consequently, the 21st-centuryhas been greatly influenced by events that took place in the20th-century as women art was greatly advocated encouraged to maketheir contribution to the art industry. Finally, the authorhighlights that hobby art is a form of art that should be equallyrecognized as a mode of art despite it being informal art. Moreover,women practice hobby art, and this has been a reason for itsmarginalization. Therefore, all art should be treated equally withoutdiscrimination, as it is a result of creativity and passion.
Gouma-Peterson,T., & Mathews, P. (1987). The Feminist Critique of Art History.TheArt Bulletin,69(3),326-357.
Lippard,L. (1978). Making Something from Nothing (Toward a Definition ofWomen’s ‘hobby Art’). In A. Glenn (Ed.), TheCraft Reader.(pp. 483-490). Oxford: Berg.