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‘Countering memory loss through misrepresentation: what does she think feminist art history is?’, Julie M. Johnson, The Memory Factory: The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900

Author(s): Griselda Pollock

Journal: Journal of Art Historiography
ISSN 2042-4752

Volume: 8;
Start page: 8;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Vienna 1900 | Feminist Art History | Memory Studies | Austrian Women Artists | Anti-Semitism | Modernist Art History

Johnson offers a detailed study of women in the Viennese avant-garde art movements between 1880 and 1940, detailing both the careers and the critical/public reception of their contributions to various Vienna art groups. Johnson aims to counter the myth that women were confined to the private sphere, suffered institiutional discrimination and were hence unrecognized by their contemporaries, arguments Johnson attributes misleadingly to ‘feminist’ art history. Her book sets itself up in refutation to feminist straw women, thereby distorting feminist analysis of women and modernist art movements. The effect of this false battle with straw feminists is to miss out on the analysis of the specific significance of the politics of memory in the twentieth century’s selective representation of the artworlds of Vienna that serve precisely to confirm feminist analysis of the modernist phenomenon of new gender politics being erased by the distinctly unmodernist forms of androcentric art historical and museal representations of modernist art movements and their significantly egalitarian art worlds.
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