Notably, both Fischl and Salle attended CalArts in the early 1970s before moving to the East Coast. If FAP wasn’t an explicit influence on their work, it’s difficult to believe that such a radical project, right on their campus, didn’t affect them. (It should be noted that
, a FAP participant, became one of the most vocal detractors of Salle’s work.)
Schapiro herself was a major figure of the Pattern and Decoration movement, which integrated traditional, female-coded craft elements and vibrant ornamentation into fine-art forms. Found fabrics and glitter adorn her paintings. Julian Schnabel, who became famous for shattering plates and affixing them to his canvases, was destroying functional ceramics in the service of his paintings—a violent inversion, then, of certain feminist aesthetic strategies of the 1970s.
Butler, however, is just as apt to attribute the segregation of feminist art and Neo-Expressionism to regional exceptionalism as she is to sexism. The standard New York–centric view of the 1980s painting scene hasn’t previously allowed the radical ideas born on the West Coast to enter the conversation. Katy Siegel, senior programming and research curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art, offers a different, gender-specific perspective. “When women paint expressively, it’s seen as feminine, or minor, or sweet or hysterical,” she told me recently. “When men do it, it’s heroic, transgressive, and large-scale.”