Rutgers University Press

Peeling Potatoes, Painting Pictures: Women Artists in Post-Soviet Russia, Estonia, and Latvia Matthew Baigell Author

How do women artists in Russia, Estonia, and Latvia view themselves in the post-Soviet era? What is their relationship to feminism and how has that relationship changed following the fall of the Soviet regime?Having conducted over sixty interviews between 1995 and 1998, Renee Baigell and Matthew Baigell explore in this volume these women’s seemingly second-class status, the difficulties of pursuing an art career in a male-dominated society, and the attitudes—often hostile—of their male counterparts toward feminist concerns.The artists interviewed—some born as early as the 1920s, others as recently as the 1970s—discuss their private lives and situations, as well as specific works of art. They reveal a wide range of attitudes and a complex relationship with a feminist movement often regarded as an alien import from the West. Gender issues in art school, the demands and strains of career and family life, and questions regarding a female approach to imagery are among the topics raised, as are these artists’ hopes and dreams for the future. This book also includes a brief chronology of pertinent art exhibitions during the 1990s.Readers will both gain a new perspective on universal issues facing women artists worldwide, as well as comprehend, with fresh appreciation, the relative freedom enjoyed by female artists in the West.