The collection presents a record of the historic first years of the
Woman's Building in Los Angeles and the women involved with it, including Feminist Studio
Workshop founders Judy Chicago, Sheila de Bretteville, and Arlene Raven. Maria Karras's
photographs are joined by related ephemera, correspondence, posters, and other documentary
materials, together with a selection of original artwork by Karras and her peers.
Maria Karras was born in New York City in 1950 and received her BFA in printmaking from the
State University of New York at Buffalo in 1973. Inspired by a two-day workshop led by Judy
Chicago that she attended before graduating, Karras decided to enroll at the Feminist Studio
Workshop (FSW), which opened later that year in the fall of 1973. She arrived in Los Angeles
that September, and became part of the inaugural cohort at the FSW, where she attended the
first classes held at co-founder Sheila de Bretteville's home and helped to transform what
had been the Chouinard Art Institute on South Grand View Street near MacArthur Park into the
first home of the Woman's Building, which opened to the public in November of that year.
From 1973 to 1980, Karras documented the daily life of the Woman's Building while also
taking part in the Feminist Studio Workshop and the Women's Graphic Center. During this
time, she also obtained her Master of Arts in art education from Goddard College and
produced her own feminist photography and books addressing gender roles, especially in
relation to race and ethnicity and her Greek-American heritage. In the late 1970s, she
received a Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) grant, which she used to create
a project for the city's bus system titled Both Here and
There. This project was later included as part of the group exhibition Issue: Social Strategies by Women Artists, curated by Lucy Lippard
for the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.
10.9 Linear Feet
(18 boxes, 4 flatfile folders. Computer media: 57.1 GB [751
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