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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Joan Arbeiter

Metuchen,
USA

Joan Arbeiter is an artist drawn to people, nature and the ironies of her pre-feminist circumstance.

Her art has focused on Women Artists, Street People, The Vanishing Vista, Friends and Neighbors, a Job Search, Familiar Faces, The Artists Palate, and Portraits of the Artist. As A Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations, an on-going series. Portraying her images in the media and size she finds appropriate, Joan weaves into her art a text of personal, political and/or social significance relating to her subject.

The artist is co-author of Lives and Works: Talks With Women Artists, Vol 2 (1996,1999) with Beryl Smith and the late Sally S. Swenson. She has been published, quoted, reviewed or reproduced in Manhattan Arts International, Spirit Taking Form by Nancy Azara, Language Visual Art, Frontiers, Women’s Art Journal, World Hunger Year Magazine, catalogue essays and publications of Douglass College and Rutgers University and on radio, TV and the internet.

Her feminist consciousness was awakened in 1979 at the New York Feminist Art Institute, where in Nancy Azara’s Visual Diaries class she learned to connect being an artist with being a woman. These sensibilities continued to expand during her association with the Women’s Caucus For Art, and with the artists who exhibited in the Women’s Artist Series at Douglass College and who later became the subjects in her book.

Joan attended Douglass College, received her BA from Brooklyn College and MFA from Pratt Institute. An art educator for 30 years, she directed the Joan Arbeiter Studio School and was artist-in-residence for the New Jersey School of the Arts. Joan joined the faculty of The duCret School of Art in 1978, where she continues to teach.

Joan is an exhibiting artist at Ceres Gallery, NY, and The Varo Registry Active as curator, consultant, lecturer, moderator, and juror, she is a member of ARTTABLE and an honorary member of the Board of the Women’s Studio Center from whom she received The Elan Award for mentoring.

Joan Arbeiter’s work has been seen in more than 20 solo exhibitions and 100 group exhibitions. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Noyes Museum and in public and private collections throughout the country.

Feminist Artist Statement

For me feminism is life-affirming and open-minded. It is the lens through which I perceive my artistic practice and my personal and political circumstance.

I have seen how vital the feminist movement is to the world at large and have come to understand how my own life and art may be considered relevant in this wider context.

A tremendous effort has brought us this far and I am grateful to the many incredible feminists for their art, their scholarship, their leadership and their support.

Here’s to the next wave! The door is closing if we don’t keep pushing against it.

<p>Trapped In The Text</p>

Trapped In The Text

Trapped in the Text (part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

These 1949 advertisements and Cosmopolitan magazine article exhort young women to smell good, be dainty, and “let men wear the pants.”

Here I am - first as a child (absorbing) and later as Prom Queen (reflecting) these lessons.

In her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan wrote that married, college educated American women living in the suburbs were suffering from “a problem that has no name.”

Could their “vague yearning” and “quiet desperation” have been the result of a shallow and unfulfiling lifestyle?

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

Trapped In The Text

Trapped in the Text (part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

These 1949 advertisements and Cosmopolitan magazine article exhort young women to smell good, be dainty, and “let men wear the pants.”

Here I am - first as a child (absorbing) and later as Prom Queen (reflecting) these lessons.

In her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan wrote that married, college educated American women living in the suburbs were suffering from “a problem that has no name.”

Could their “vague yearning” and “quiet desperation” have been the result of a shallow and unfulfiling lifestyle?

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

This Is For Keeps

This is For Keeps

(part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

Choosing to make a lifetime commitment to another individual based on unrealistic expectations and unreasonable needs is probably not a good idea.

It would be more promising if each has had a chance to evolve as an individual, so the relationship is on solid and equal ground.

Because, a lot of unexpected things can happen on the way to “happily ever after…” - Joan Arbeiter

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

(part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

Scantily clad, attractive women have been and continue to be used to sell just about anything. In these 1950’s new car advertisements, the implied message is “When you buy the car you get (control over) the girl.”

But what were we gals thinking as we mindlessly entrusted ourselves to the guy behind the wheel or obligingly draped ourselves over the hood of his car? ... I’m afraid we bought into the whole thing.

Today, N.O.W. encourages us to reshape our image and rewrite the message to reflect our considerably more pro-active potential. - Joan Arbeiter

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

What! Can Anything Be Better Than Tide?

What! Can Anything Be Better Than Tide?

(part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

The vintage snapshot shows the six-year old artist at play. My “toys” are dolls’ clothes, clothesline and clothespins.

The pretty housewife who is ecstatic over her clean laundry is from a 1950’s detergent advertisement. This authentic back cover from McCall’s magazine shows a striking visual correspondence to the activity of the child who was, in turn, being groomed for this role.

The current Girls’ Bill of Rights published by Girls, Inc., which is pinned to the clothesline, amounts to a declaration of independence of revolutionary proportions! - Joan Arbeiter

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

Where Were We Supposed To Go? What Were We Supposed To Do? (Wonder Woman)

Where Were We Supposed To Go? What Were We Supposed To Do? (Wonder Woman)

(part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

This five-year old somehow manages to evolve into a complete, even heroic, woman with the strength and smarts to effect change in the political (fist) and cultural (flowers) status quo.

“Having such a positive role model as Wonder Woman didn’t hurt me. But what was my mother thinking when she signed me up for tap dance lessons?” - Joan Arbeiter

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

Head To Toe

Head To Toe

(part of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series)

The 6 year old and the 26 year old are both playing dress-up. Here the Suburban Housewife is trying on the role of; Society Matron, Coiffed to Kill and Gowned for Glory.

I’m on my way to (I kid you not) The Barrister’s Ball!

Not even Laura Petrie* could do better. - Joan Arbeiter

*Laura and Rob Petrie, played by Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, were the ideal young T. V. couple of the early and mid 60s.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl Fulfilling Society’s Limited Expectations Series

There are three main elements in the mixed media assemblages. Each begins with vintage photos of me during my formative years, then docu­ments the timeframe in question with an authentic period magazine illus­tration and finally, updates and completes the message by including posi­tion statements from contemporary feminist books and periodicals e.g. Kate Millet, Betty Friedan, N.O.W., Feminist Majority, and Girls, Inc.

It took the Women’s Movement to help me to see these cute snapshots in a different light: as a record of my being prepared to assume the then prevailing gender roles.

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41 Victory Court
Metuchen, 08840
USA

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