A biographical study of Italian women artists and critics active in the 1960s and 1970s, Judith Kirshner’s article will examine the passionate and contradictory relationship between Italian feminism and the neo-avant-garde. Kirshner’s research—conducted over ten years using interviews with key protagonists, private correspondence, and translations of original documents—reveals the interpersonal intricacies and intellectual textures of this cultural discourse. Absorbing the impact of American art and feminist consciousness-raising, these women shaped significant cultural production in Turin, Milan, and Rome. With sections dedicated to Carla Lonzi, Carla Accardi, Lea Vergine, Gina Pane, Ketty La Rocca, and Marisa Volpi, Kirshner’s article will explore how their oppositional practice generated a dynamic model of creativity.
Judith Kirshner is the dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She published “Voices & Images of Italian Feminism,” in Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007). She contributes reviews to Art in America, Artforum, and frieze, and has written on a range of artists, including Dara Birnbaum, Marlene Dumas, Roni Horn, Yayoi Kusama, and Karen Reimer. She has also written catalogue essays for exhibitions on artists Ann Wilson, Carol Rama, Julia Fish, and Christina Ramberg. She has served as a curator at both the Terra Museum of American Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.