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Guide to the California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection
CalArts-003  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Administrative Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History of the California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection
  • Bibliography
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Contents of the Records
  • Index Terms

  • Administrative Summary

    Creator: California Institute of the Arts
    Title: California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection
    Dates: 1971-2007
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1972-1977)
    Quantity: 2.3 cubic feet
    Repository: California Institute of the Arts. Library.
    Valencia, California 91355-2397
    Abstract: The California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection contains articles, brochures, correspondence, exhibition catalogs, invoices, newsletters, and other materials documenting the influence of feminism on the training of artists and the making of art. The collection covers the years 1971 to 2007 with the bulk of the material ranging from 1972 to 1977.
    California Institute of the Arts Archive
    Identification: CalArts-003
    Language of Material: English

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    This collection is open for research with permission from California Institute of the Arts Archive staff.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights and literary rights reside with California Institute of the Arts. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact California Institute of the Arts Archive staff.

    Related Material Located in the California Institute of the Arts Archive Archives

    Unprocessed collections with related material are located in the CalArts Library Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection. California Institute of the Arts Archive, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Collected by California Institute of the Arts as part of the California Institute of the Arts Archive.

    Processing Information

    Preliminary arrangement by library staff. Processed by History Associates Incorporated, 2007-2008.

    Accruals

    Future additions are possible.

    Administrative History of the California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection

    California Institute of the Arts, commonly known as CalArts, is located in Valencia, California, and grants degrees in the visual and performing arts. Incorporated on September 1, 1961, it was the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the United States created specifically for students of both the visual and the performing arts. It was the dream and vision of Walt Disney to create such an institute and he provided funding for it in his will. Initially formed through the merger of the Chouinard Art Institute (founded 1921) and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music (founded 1883), it opened at its present campus in Valencia, California, in November 1971.
    In that same year, CalArts faculty members and noted artists Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro co-founded the Feminist Art Program (FAP). Based on the experimental program Chicago had started at Fresno State College the previous year, the FAP at CalArts was one of the first in the country to offer team taught courses on female art history taught exclusively by women for women only. Also founded in 1971 was the Women’s Design Program, led by Sheila de Bretteville. Like the FAP, the Women’s Design Program was a one-year program that focused on participation in various processes by which art is created, including group consciousness raising sessions, performance workshops, and reading of feminist literature.
    Approximately twenty-five young women artists joined the FAP during the program’s opening year. Work on the program’s first class project, “Womanhouse," began on November 8, 1971. The purpose of “Womanhouse" was to “provide a better understanding of women artists by themselves and by the predominately male art community." Together the artists transformed a deserted, seventeen-room, Los Angeles mansion into an exhibit space. Each artist chose a portion of the house in which she had complete freedom to “explore aspects of female experience" through her art.
    The completion of “Womanhouse" coincided with the West Coast Women Artists’ Conference, hosted by CalArts. Despite its name, the conference included participants from states all over the country. On the evening of Friday, January 21, 1972, the conference commenced with a tour of “Womanhouse" followed by performances presented in the living room of the house. The next morning, Schapiro opened the official conference during which various women artists gave talks, showed slides of artwork, and discussed the exclusion of women from major museum exhibits and gallery spaces. “Womanhouse" opened for public exhibition on January 30, 1972. Approximately 4,000 visitors viewed the house and attended the evening performances over the course of the installation’s exhibit period.
    Activities related to feminist art continued to emerge throughout the early 1970s. On June 6, 1972, an exhibit entitled “Ablutions," created by Chicago and three students, Suzanne Lacy, Aviva Rahmani and Sandra Orgel opened for public exhibition off-campus. In 1973, Chicago, de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven founded the Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW), the first independent school for women artists. That same year, the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles was also founded. Other events held at CalArts included the Feminist Art Festival which took place from May 27-31, 1974. However, despite the positive impact of such activities, the FAP dissolved, mainly as a result of Chicago and Schapiro’s departures in 1973 and 1975 respectively.
    Although many of the organized feminist art programs at CalArts formally ceased to exist, beliefs and ideas cultivated from the programs of the early 1970s continued to be influential. In May 1998, CalArts students, alumni, and faculty began meeting to discuss those programs and their effects on feminist art. Based on these meetings, the Feminist Art Workshop took place from September 28-October 3, 1998. Individuals from CalArts, as well as people from other Southern California art institutions, participated in various discussions, events, and workshops. From March 5-10, 2007, a student-organized event entitled “Exquisite Acts and Everyday Rebellions" was held consisting of exhibitions, performances, workshops, and a day-long symposium of panel discussions. Such events are responsible for preserving the role CalArts played in the feminist art movement of the 1970s.

    Bibliography

    Dellabough, Robin. “Shattering the Glass Slipper." Cal Arts Today. March 1982.
    Lovelace, Carey. “The CalArts Program That Transformed Feminist Art." CalArts, Summer/Fall 2007.

    Chronology

    1970 Judy Chicago founds Feminist Art Program (FAP) at Fresno State College.
    1971 Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro co-found Feminist Art Program (FAP) at CalArts.
      Sheila de Bretteville founds Women’s Design Program at CalArts.
    November 1971 CalArts opens at present campus in Valencia, California.
      Work begins on FAP’s first exhibition, “Womanhouse."
    January 21-23, 1972 West Coast Women Artists’ Conference held at CalArts.
    January 30, 1972 “Womanhouse" opens for public exhibition.
    June 6, 1972 “Ablutions" opens for public exhibition.
    1973 Woman’s Building in Los Angeles founded.
      Chicago, de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven found the Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW).
      Chicago leaves FAP/FSW to work on collaborative project entitled “The Dinner Party."
    May 27-31, 1974 Feminist Art Festival held at CalArts.
    1975 Schapiro leaves FAP.
    1981 FSW closes.
    September 28-October 3, 1998 Feminist Art Workshop held at CalArts.

    Scope and Contents of the Records

    The California Institute of the Arts Feminist Art Materials Collection contains articles, brochures, correspondence, exhibition catalogs, invoices, newsletters, and other materials documenting the influence of feminist art on CalArts. The collection covers the years 1971 to 2007 with the bulk of the material ranging from 1972 to 1977.
    The collection consists primarily of materials related to CalArts’ Feminist Art Program (FAP). However, materials related to other feminist art programs and events, including the Women’s Design Program and the Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW), are also included. The largest series in the collection, Publications, is divided into two series. The first series in comprised of materials published by CalArts while the second series consists of materials published by outside publishers. In addition to factual information about various feminist art programs and events, the Publications series also gives insight into perspectives on feminist art from the opinions of program participants, other CalArts students, and individuals not associated with the institution. The Events series consists of materials related to feminist art events such as exhibits, symposiums, and workshops. However, this collection does not include documentation for every feminist event related to CalArts. Likewise, the administrative records are not comprehensive as they focus mainly on the sale of Feminist Art Program publications.
    Due to the large amount of duplication within the collection and the scattered nature of the materials, this collection was reorganized during processing to bring consistency to its arrangement and to improve research access.

    Index Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects:

    California Institute of the Arts
    Chicago, Judy, 1939-
    de Bretteville, Sheila
    Feminism and art
    Raven, Arlen, 1944-2006
    Schapiro, Miriam, 1923-

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Articles
    Black-and-white photographs
    Brochures
    Correspondence
    Exhibition catalogs
    Invitations
    Invoices
    Magazines (Periodicals)
    Newsletters