"Move Out to the Barn Lee Krasner" by Elaine Luther Copyright 1997 Elaine Luther

“Move Out to the Barn Lee Krasner” by Elaine Luther Copyright 1997 Elaine Luther

I recently went to the “M Word” Day of Panels put on by the Feminist Art Project at the College Art Association. The M word is motherhood.

No fewer than two women/mother artists said, “I don’t have real studio right now.” One didn’t have a studio at all and one said she had a room in the basement that was also the guest bedroom.

This gets me mad! I’ve known so many women artists and metalsmiths over the years living on crumbs and working out of the spare bedroom, the laundry room.

How many house guests do you have every year? Is there really no other way you could put them up? Couldn’t you give them your room, while you bunk with your kids?

How do these women artists expect to create great work, make a living without adequate space?

I point to Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollack. When they met, she was the more famous and successful. According to biographer Gail Levin, Lee Krasner achieved abstraction first.

When they moved out to the suburbs, their house had a barn. Guess who got the barn for a studio? Pollack. With this large space, his work got larger. Krasner took a spare bedroom upstairs, her work got smaller.

This is what inspired my piece, above, “Move Out to the Barn, Lee Krasner.”

After his death, she did in fact, move her studio out to the barn and her work got larger again.

It made me mad that these women, these guest speakers, representative artists, who make great work, by the way, won’t take up space for themselves. What more could they make if they had a room of their own?

It makes me think of how in advertising, little girls and women fold in on themselves and take up as little space as possible, while boys and men are expansive in the space they take up.

These artists who refuse to take up space in their own homes are doing the same thing. They must feel unworthy, at some level.

Your work is worth it! Take up space! Take over that guest room, banish that guest bed!

I was going to share links to Murphy beds and clever Instructables for other alternative beds, but you know what, I’ve changed my mind. You have to banish the bed completely. I can’t imagine anyone sleeping in my studio.