DIFFERENCING THE CANON. FEMINIST DESIRE AND THE WRITING OF ART'S
In this book, art historian Griselda Pollock makes a compelling intervention into a debate at the very centre of feminist art history: should the traditional canon of the ´Old Masters´ be rejected, replaced or reformed? What ´difference´ can feminist ´interventions in art´s histories´ make? Should we simply reject the all-male succession of ´great artists´ in favour of an all-woman litany of artistic heroines? Or should we displace present gender demarcations and allow the ambiguities and complexities of desire to shape our readings of art? Differencing the Canon moves between feminist re-readings of the canonical modern masters - Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Manet - and the ´canonical´ artists of feminist art history, Artemisia Gentileschi and Mary Cassatt. Pollock avoids both an unnuanced critique of masculine canons and an unquestioning celebration of women artists. She draws on psychoanalysis and deconstruction to examine the project of reading for ´inscriptions in the feminine´, and asks what the signs of difference might be in art made by an artist who is ´a woman´.