Dear Judith Bernstock,
You were one of my favorite Art History professors at Cornell. Mainly because until I took your class, all the art history I’d studied consisted of staring at Greek vases and memorizing their date and place of origin. Art history, while fascinating and necessary, can be totally boring. How many flashcards can one look at before he goes totally berserk? I have fond memories of taking Art History 360: FDR to Reagan, where we got to study modern art. One key figure in this movement was an abstract expressionist named Helen Frankenthaler, who passed away yesterday. She made huge, gorgeous paintings, influenced by other abstract artists of the time including Jackson Pollock. Most people who aren’t part of the art community have no idea how dominated it is by straight men (shocker: it’s way less gay than you’d expect). Thus, she was kind of a trailblazer even though she never considered herself a feminist. In fact, she said this:
“For me, being a ‘lady painter’ was never an issue. I don’t resent being a female painter. I don’t exploit it. I paint.” (Source)
In my humble opinion, there is nothing more glamourous than photographs of artists in their studios.
Here are some images of her beautiful work.
More gorgeous vintage photographs of Frankenthaler in her studio.
Painting with her feet! Go girl.
This makes me want to make a huge painting. Lovely.
Thanks for all the beauty you created, Helen Frankenthaler. I’m certainly thankful for your work!