Friday, December 31, 2010

Cherchez la femme: women of courage

Judy Chicago. When I heard her recently, I was reminded again of her courage and feminist convictions. You think that the comments section at SF Gate are full of venom and bile? Try looking up some of the charges leveled against Judy in the last three decades. Yet, she's still here, she's still speaking out and she is still inspiring.
Since the 1970's, Judy Chicago has been keeping the faith. Along with Mariam Shapiro, she was one of the founders of "Womanhouse", a ground breaking instillation. She created "The Dinner Party" and battled to see that it got a permanent home. Every generation of women has to "reinvent" the wheel because our history is lost, over and over and over again. Judy Chicago is a one-woman marching band, trying to prevent that from happening.

Marei von Shaer - the daughter-in-law of Jacques Goudstikker - the family that would not give up and eventually won their case, a battle for the restitution of looted art which (hopefully) will allow other claimants to reclaim their stolen property The Goudstikker story is a tale of tragedy, greed, bigotry and great injustice, redeemed by courage and perseverance. It is a great story, but the ending is bitter-sweet for the principals never saw justice done, and indeed, the price of justice has been very high. It took the Nazis two months to loot the family's belongings. It took the family sixty years of determination to recover a fraction of that. And the battle continue (for now, notably with our own Norton Simon museum and it's two looted Cranach paintings.)

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