register     ► my cart


Artworks by women artists on 30 topics
related to Feminism and Contemporary Art


About this topic: Core imagery, vaginas and vulvas

This topic highlights images of female genitalia in art by women artists. This is not pornography. The images are of vulvas and clitorises and their associations with female sexual pleasure from a woman's point of view and reversing negative ideas of objectification through a feminist reaffirmation i.e. associations of cunt (the Anglo-saxon word for "sheath") often used as a term of abuse. Anatomical vaginas are rarely represented even though the "vagina" in these titles sometimes stands as a shorthand for all female genitalia or women's sexuality. Questions of female imagery arise in Judy Chicago's controversial arguments about new forms of female self-representation expressed in core imagery. This is not the only frame of reference for these works, the myth of the "Vagina Dentata" (vagina with teeth) is also explored.

  1. Georgia O’Keefe (USA) Black Iris  (1926) Oil on canvas  36 x 29 7/8 in. (91.4 x 75.9 cm)   Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Stieglitz Collection  

  2. Meret Oppenheim (Switzerland) Object  (1936) Fur and teacup    Museum of Modern Art, New York   [known as Fur Breakfast or Breakfast in Fur and nicknamed Le Déjeuner en fourrure by André Breton]

  3. Lee Bontecou (USA) Untitled (1961) Welded steel, canvas, black fabric, rawhide, copper wire, and soot  6' 8 1/4  Museum of Modern Art, New York  

  4. Shigeko Kubota (Japan/USA) Vagina painting (1965) Fluxus Festival performance, Cinemateque, East 4th Street New York, documented in photos      

  5. Niki de Saint Phalle (France) Hon/She  (1966) temporary mixed media site specific installation, destroyed after exhibition      Moderna Museet Stockholm  See Utube video of production of work:

  6. Mari Chorda (Spain) The Great Vagina / La Gran Vagina (1966) enamel and oil paint on canvas 82.1 x 99.7 cm  Profile of artist at World Goes Pop! (Tate Modern)  

  7. Vivienne Binns (Australia) Vag Dens  (1967) painting, synthetic polymer paint and enamel on composition board  122 h x 91.5 w x 2.5 d cm unframed 1220 h x 915 w x 30 d mm  National Gallery of Australia  

  8. VALIE EXPORT (Austria) Genitalpanik: Actionhose / Action Pants: Genital Panic (1968 - 1969) performance action (1968), photos (1969), also 6 prints silkscreen on paper, also presented as vitrine of objects   Tate Collection  

  9. Magdalena Abakanowicz (Poland) Abakan Red  (1969) suspended fiber sculpture, sisal weaving on metal support 300 x 300 x 100 cm   Museum Bellerive, Zurich  

  10. Cary Lang, Vanalyne Green, Dori Atlantic and Sue Bond (USA) Cunt Cheerleaders (Feminist Art program, Fresno State College) (1970) performance troupe with pink and red satin outfits      

  11. Karen LeCocq (USA) Feather Cunt (1971) Fabric, feathers, polyester fiber.(Early feminist work at California Institute of the Arts)  7”w 5”h 7” d   

  12. Judy Chicago (USA) Female Rejection Drawing. From the Rejection Quintet  (1974) Colored pencil and graphite on paper    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art  

  13. Hannah  Wilke (USA) S.O.S.Starification Object Series (1974 - 1982) 10 b & w silver gelation prints and 15 chewing gum sculptures mounted on board    Museum of Modern Art, New York  

  14. Suzanne Santoro (UK, Italy) Towards a New Expression /Per una Espressione Nuova (1974) artist's book of prints       

  15. Tee Corinne (USA) Cunt Coloring Book (San Francisco) (1975) artist's book of drawings      Archive, University of Oregon 

  16. Barbara Hammer (USA) Multiple Orgasm (1976) 16 mm film, colour, silent 6.5 min      

  17. Renate Bertlmann (Germany) Vagina tenera, Vagina Dentata (UrVagina) (1978) 2 drawings each 63 x 49 cm     Sammlung Verbund  

  18. Marlene Dumas (South Africa, The Netherlands) Primitive Art (1987) gouache, wax pencil, indian ink on paper 23 x 31.7 cm  Centre Pompidou, AM-2003-233  

  19. Cathy de Monchaux (UK) Erase (1989) Denim, velvet, steel bolts and PVC 310 x 88 x 90 mm  Tate Collection  

  20. Annie Sprinkle (USA) Public Cervix Announcement (also part of the Post-Porn Modernist show, 1992) (1990) performance    

  21. Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan (Canada) We're Talking Vulva (1990) performance, documented on 16 mm film  5 min  Available on u-tube  

  22. Zoe Leonard (USA) Title/Untitled  (1992) 19 black and white prints installed between paintings in Neue Galerie, Kassel for Documenta 9       

  23. Carolee Schneemann (USA) Vulva's Morphia  (1992 - 1997) photographs and text, presented as wall installation 5 x 8 feet  See artist's website   Vulva's Morphia Granary Books, NYC, 1997

  24. Cai Jin (China) Beauty Banana Plant (1993 - 1998) series of 100 paintings, of banana plants      

  25. Mira Schor (USA) Slit of Painting (1994) Inkjet print of oil on canvas 12” x 16”     

  26. Cosey Fanni Tutti (UK) Lip Service (1994) Giclée print on archival paper.      

  27. Judie Bamber (USA) Untitled #2 (1994) Oil on canvas 1.75 x 6.5 x 1.5 ins     

  28. Linda Dement (Australia) In My Gash (1999) 3D animated renderings       This is a developed version of Linda Dement, Fur Gash, 1988 which won an Ars Electronic prize in 1994

  29. Faith Wilding (USA) Early german Gothic, Optimum Architevtural Integrity of the Vulva (2000) Watercolor and ink on vellum  10”x8”      

  30. Wangechi Mutu (USA) Foxy Lady (2001) mixed media 2D drawing and fur      

  31. Tanja Ostojic (former Yugoslavia/Germany) After Courbet, L´origin du Monde  (2004) displayed as public billboards in Vienna, 2005      

  32. Allyson Mitchell (Canada) Hungry Purse: the vagina dentata in late capitalism (2006) installation, mixed media, fabric and ropes       

  33. Betty Tompkins (USA) Masturbation Painting #2 (2009) acrylic/canvas 84" x 60"     

  34. Ida Appelbroog (USA) Mona Lisa  (2010) installation, drawings, wood construction      

  35. Iwona Demko (Poland) Vagina Chapel (2012) installation, fabric, construction     Academy of Fine Art, Cracow, Poland 

  36. Melanie Bonajo (The Netherlands, Germany) Genitalpanik: An event for Equality (2012) print of action, homage to Valie EXPORT, 48 x 70 ins.      

  37. Casey Jenkins and her Craft Cartel (USA) Fling Up  (2013) craft project displayed across telephone wires in Fitzroy, Melbourne, 2013      

Additional References

Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro 'Female Imagery' Womanspace Journal (1973) p. 14
Catherine Francblin 'Corps-Object, Femine-Object' (Body-Object, Woman, Object) Art Press (France) 20 (Sept-Oct 1975) pp.14-15

Lisa Tickner 'The Body Politic: Female Sexuality and Women Artists since 1970' Art History (UK) June 1978 pp.236-251
Hilary Robinson 'Reframing Women' Circa (Ireland) 72 (Summer 1995) pp.18-23
Amelia Jones (ed) Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party in Feminist Art History (University of California Press:1996)
Ojeblikket 10.42 (Denmark, Spring 2000) Special issue on Sexual Difference.
Anna Chave The Visible Vagina (David Nolan Gallery, 2010)