The Domestic and Domesticity

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Numerous artistic traditions over centuries have focused on home life. For example, 17th-century genre scene paintings cultivated an image of the virtuous woman, quietly at work cooking and caring for children. Particularly since the 1960s, Feminist artists have challenged this societal norm, bringing their perspectives on the private space of the home into the public sphere. In her video Semiotics of the Kitchen, Martha Rosler performs violent gestures while alphabetically listing kitchen utensils, expressing her frustration with the oppressive expectations assigned to the female gender. Inspired by housing anxieties of the past several decades, artists have also responded to the economics of the home—and homelessness. For example, Andrea Zittel personally constructed podlike “living units,” while Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Homeless Vehicle Project put forward an alternative solution for shelter.

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