The National Council on Aging has started this holiday campaign and is reporting the sad statistic that half of the older women in the United States are struggling to meet their basic financial needs. Women are particularly vulnerable because they are the ones who stay home to take care of their families or take time off to take care of their parents. This effects the amount of Social Security and pension benefits women are able to accumulate in a lifetime. Add to that the loss of financial support due to divorce, job loss, or death and illness of a spouse.
AARP has a campaign as well to help financially strapped seniors and a link to help people determine what benefit programs they are eligible for.
AARP Foundation helps provide assistance to seniors with food, housing and income assistance.
This holiday, donate to NCOA to support grandmas in need. A $1 donation to NCOA can connect a struggling grandma with $60 in benefits to pay for daily needs.
Many women artists have been ignored but, while the world was looking away, they went on creating their art. There is a change in attitude lately, to pay attention to some of these women and give recognition to their work. They are being discovered or re-discovered now when they are in their elder years. There is such a diversity of styles and the materials they use. Their creative spark has not diminished.
I want to write about some of the women artists who I have become of aware of through a blog I subscribe to here in LA. It is the Engage blog which often posts about elder artists and provides links to articles.
Here is a group of artists from a New York Times T Magazinearticle called Works in Progress which, quote, is ” a very small sampling of the female artists now in their 70s, 80s and 90s we should have known about decades ago.” This piece includes some videos, of two of the artists, Judith Bernstein and Rosalyn Drexler.
This is a post from artfilemagazine.com on Jean Betancourt. The post has several images of her artwork which I found very interesting and whimsical. One more from the Tate on artist Geta Bratescu.
by Geta Bratescu
I have done a post on Carmen Herrera in the past which includes some nice videos of her work, including an interview of her, and more discussion of overlooked women artists through a link to a Hyperallergic essay. Carmen Herrera just had a retrospective show. She recently turned 100. The videos I found on some of the artists adds a depth over viewing 2-dimensional images. In many videos the artist is interviewed and able to speak for their own perspective and the videos include some art that is not available freely online.
Documenta Kassel by Etel Adnan
Artist Faith Ringgold
Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Wheatfield by Agnes Denes
by Michelle Stuart
Dorothea Rockburne via Netropolitan Artsconversations:
In the video below, the artist Joan Semmel speaks about how she wants her paintings of her older self to express that there should not be shame about being older for women or men. From the T Magazinepost: Semmel,…………. is encouraged by the current interest in her — and other older female artists’ work — because, as she puts it, women “are usually buried after about 45 years of age and just disappear completely.” Moreover, she adds, she isn’t just getting older, she is getting better: “I really feel that some of my most powerful work has come in these late years.”
The continued work of these women artists says that creativity does not have an age limit or expiration date. In my research I found this article from The Guardian by Emine Saner. She interviewed a group of women artists who were over 60 years old. She writes, “I spoke to a number of well-established women artists, and found that age certainly does not seem to have had a detrimental effect on their creativity – indeed, for many, their later years have been among their most productive.”
These women artists embody the essence of creativity and the inextinguishable flame of the human spirit.
Most older women are not visible in modern media. Women who are aging naturally that is. We don’t see many older actresses and models. Women drop off the radar and start to disappear as they get older. Wouldn’t you like to know more about them? Wouldn’t you like to hear their stories? Who are they? According to Beauty Redefined , in their great post, they have been shunned by main stream media. They have been “symbolically annihilated.”
That sounds like science fiction. Something The Borg would say. “We are The Borg. You have been symbolically annihilated. Resistance is futile!” But looks like it is not science fiction. If you are an older woman you will not see yourself in popular magazine ads, in Hollywood films or on TV. Unless you have had a lot of “work done” to make you look much younger. There may be a few token older women on display but they are in the minority. Kind of like endangered species in the zoo.
Then there are all the negative messages for women about letting yourself look your natural age. Messages bombarding us about anti-wrinkle creams, botox, hair color, diets, and plastic surgery.
“What would happen if confident, happy, beautiful women decided to forego painful and expensive anti-aging procedures, breast lifts and enhancements, liposuction, all-over hair removal or tanning regimens? How could that change the way their daughters, students, friends, nieces and coworkers perceived themselves and their own “flawed,” lined, real faces? How could simply owning (and treating kindly and speaking nicely about) our so-called “imperfect” bodies affect not only our own lives, but those over whom we have influence? Is it possible to slowly but deliberately change the perception of these “flaws” as something to shame, hide and fix at any cost to something acceptable and embraceable in all their human, womanly real-ness?” (Beauty Redefined)
Yes what would happen? The “beauty” industry would self-destruct. I do like to be optimistic, enthusiastic, and hopeful about change. I think I can imagine the change beginning. I think I hear it. Robotic voice in background, “The self-destruct sequence is initiated….”