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Women and Art: Overview

In this guide

Basic resources including databases, directories, biographical dictionaries, surveys, encyclopedias, theory and criticism, organizations and museums and new books.


A Feminist Art Movement Online

A directory/archive of creatives who generate or distribute their work online; compiled by artist, Angela Washko as a contribution to making "the internet a more inclusive space for women and their cultural work."
Women Environmental Artists Directory online
Mission statement: Focusing on women’s unique perspectives we collaborate internationally to further the field and understanding of ecological and social justice art.

Biographical Dictionaries

Heller, Jules and Nancy G.Heller. North American Women Artists of the 20th Century: A Biographical Dictionary.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N6503 .N67 1995

Hillstrom,Laurie Collier and Kevin Hillstrom, eds. Contemporary Women Artists. Detroit : St. James Press, 1999.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N8345 .C66 1999

Watson-Jones, Virginia. Contemporary American Women Sculptors. Phoenix: Oryx, 1986.
HUNT FA-REF-4 NB212 .W37 1985

Gaze, Delia, ed. Dictionary of Women Artists. London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N8354 .D53 1997 VOL. 1
HUNT FA-REF-4 N8354 .D53 1997 VOL. 2

Surveys and Encyclopedias

Acker, Kathy and Avital Ronell. Time Capsule: A Concise Encyclopedia by Women Artists. New York, NY : Creative Time in cooperation with SOS International., 1995.
HUNT FA-REF-4 NX180 .F4 T56 1995

Butler, Cornelia, ed. Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution. Cambridge, Massachusettes; London: England, The MIT Press, 2007.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N72 .F45 W33

Conner, Randy P., David Hatfield Sparks, Mariya Sparks. Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit : Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Lore. London ; Herndon, VA : Cassell, 1997.
HUNT STACKS-2 BL795 .H6 C65 1997

Fine, Elsa Honig. Women and Art: a History of Women Painters and Sculptors from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. Montclair, N.J.: Allanheld & Schram, 1978.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N43 .F56

McQuiston, Liz. Suffragettes to She-Devils : Women's Liberation and Beyond. London : Phaidon, 1997.
HUNT FA-REF-4 HQ1154 .M424 1997

Reckitt, Helena, ed; survey by Peggy Phelan. Art and Feminism. London : Phaidon, 2001
HUNT FA-REF-4 N72 .F45 A78 2001

Rosen, Randy, curator. Making Their Mark: Women Move Into the Mainstream, 1970-1985. New York: Abbeville, 1989.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N6512 .M27 1988

Summers, Cluade J., ed. The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts. San Francisco : Cleis Press ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2004.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N72 .H64 Q44 2004

Grosenick, Uta, ed. Women Artists in the 20th and 21st Century. Köln : Taschen, 2001.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N8354 .W653 2001

Theory and Criticism


Broude, Norma and Garrard, Mary D. The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970's History and Impact. New York : H.N. Abrams, 1994
HUNT FA-REF-4 N72 .F45 P68 1994

Jones, Amelia. The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. London: Routledge, 2003.
HUNT STACKS-4 HQ1121 .F46 2003
Try using this volume in conjunction with Hilary Robinson's Feminism-Art-Theory, an Anthology 1968-2000.

Langer, Cassandra L. Feminist Art Criticism : An Annotated Bibliography. New York, NY : G.K. Hall, 1993.
HUNT FA-REF-4 Z5956 .F44 L36 1993

Robinson, Hilary, ed. Feminism-Art-Theory: An Anthology 1968-2000. Oxford, England and Malden, Massachusettes: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N72 .F45 F442 2001
Try using this volume in conjunction with Amelia Jones Feminism and Visual Cultural Reader (2003)

Smith, Paul and Carolyn Wilde. A Companion to Art Theory. Oxford ; Malden, MA : Blackwell, 2002
HUNT FA-REF-4 N61 . C58 2002


Feminist Art Journal. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Feminist Art Journal, Inc.
Vols. 1-6 1972-1977
On Microfilm, Hunt Library, 3rd floor

n. paradoxa (Katy Deepwell editor, London)
An international feminist art journal "exploring feminist theory and contemporary women's art practices."
The online and print edition (held at Hunt Library) are separate publications and the content of each is different.

Women's Art Journal
Held as print subscription at Hunt Library.
Also available online for Carnegie Mellon Users: Link to e-Journals A-Z from the University Libraries home page.

Journal of Women's History
Available online for Carnegie Mellon Users: Link to e-Journals A-Z from the University Libraries home page.

Organizations and Museums

Art Institutions and the Feminist Dialectic website
"...aims to explore the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the exhibition, acquisition and preservation of feminist artwork by Ontario's public art galleries.."
Butler, Cornelia and Alexandra Schwartz, eds. Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art. New York : Museum of Modern Art : Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2010.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N8354 .M63 2010


National Museum of Women in the Arts website
"By bringing to light remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today, the museum directly addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art in the U.S. and abroad, thus assuring great women artists a place of honor now and into the future."

see also:
Heller, Nancy, Women Artists : Works from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Washington, D.C. : National Museum of Women in the Arts ; New York : Rizzoli International Publications.
HUNT FA-REF-4 N8354 .N38 2000


Women Make Movies 
"...a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women."
Entire catalog of films can be searched via the site; current print catalog kept in Hunt Library at Arts Reference
FA-REF PN1995.9 .W6 W664

Women's Caucus for Art website
Organization begun in 1972 in association with The College Art Association to support women professional artists. Includes important web links for affiliate women's art organizations and women in the arts in general.


Library Catalogs and Collections

Cameo the online library catalog represents the holdings of the Carnegie Mellon Libraries with an excellent selection of art books and exhibition catalogs on gender topics in addition to other titles held across the humanities disciplines. Link to the holdings of other libraries locally and nationally via the Library Catalogs page (via the CMU Libraries home page). Note that the local libraries of the University of Pittsburgh, Carlow University, Chatham University, and Duquesne University support formal women's and/or gender studies programs. Worldcat can help you identify and locate libraries holdings nationally. You can obtain materials the CMU Libraries do not have through interlibrary loan, Illiad.
Materials in the University of Pittsburgh's Frick Fine Arts Library can be checked out with your CMU I.D.card.

Article databases for Art as a starting point

Art and Archtecture Source (formerly Art Source)
Focus on art and architecture; combines article databases Art Full-Text, Art Index Retrospective and Art and Architecture Complete with increased access to full-text content.

ArtBibliographies Modern

Bibliography of the History of Art

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance

International Index to the Performing Arts

Other databases

Link to Databases A-Z for a full list of arts databases and databases across disciplines.

Gender Watch  database
"repository of important historical perspectives on the evolution of the women's movement, men's studies, the transgendered community and the changes in gender roles over the years.

North American Women's Drama (Alexander Street Press)
Full text play scripts and supporting materials.

North American Women's Letters and Diaries (Alexander Street Press)
Letters and diaries from Colonial times to 1950.

Artists Books Collection
Art Library and Special Collections, Carnegie Mellon

This collection provides an opportunity to explore traditional and alternative "book" forms created by artists who address social and cultural issues including gender.  Some of the works in the collection addressing gender have been generated via the active Women's Studio Workshop and the Visual Studies Workshop.

Additional Research Guides

Women's History Research Guide by Sue Collins, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

eserver Feminism and Women's Studies
a "point to" resource guide with supporting articles and commentary


Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian

Acqs of Interest

Drushel, Bruce E.,, and Brian M. Peters. Sontag and the Camp Aesthetic: Advancing New Perspectives. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017.

Seaman, Donna. Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, 2017.

Cover Image
Filippone, Christine. Science, Technology, and Utopias: Women Artists and Cold War America. London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.


Shuqin Cui