Where can I get art with women just being people - not chicks or girlfriends?
March 24, 2009 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get art with women just being people - not chicks or girlfriends?

I'm looking for pleasant artwork to decorate with that has women being people, not playing off stereotypes, just being attractive (pin-ups), nor not just as part of something with a man. It's not that I'm particularly bothered by those, I'm just trying to balance out my office which I realized today just has a bunny (http://tr.im/hL8p) and a lot of men. The men aren't pin-ups either, they're just included in something I find aesthetically pleasing while also being thought provoking or humorous.. e.g. an Apple Think different ad.

The best I've found so far:
  • A nice saying, but I wish they'd picked a different pic of Mrs. Roosevelt.
  • Needs a witty saying at the bottom and to be orderable
  • Cool reference, and appropriate for my balancing work, but I wish they'd reproduced one of the original poses.
  • Lovely pic but not funny or particularly thought provoking. I don't know who she is so I can look up to her either (like say an Einstein pic.. I suppose that makes it thought provoking).
So - please help me find some funny / pretty / entertaining pictures with women to balance out my unintentional sausage fest?
posted by ggruschow to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Women in Science flickr set by the Smithsonian.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:22 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Browse away. That's using the keyword "women" but you can get different results to browse through with the keyword "woman."
posted by DarlingBri at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2009

I love the work of Jack Vettriano. Here. Here. Here.

But I'm not sure those are what you're looking for either.
posted by Sassyfras at 4:45 PM on March 24, 2009

This Flickr user has 100s of good portraits -- browse for women.

aircraft worker

face paint

Flickr has a lot of photos that can be ordered -- you'd need to check the specifics.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:52 PM on March 24, 2009

Rosie The Riveter is still quite appealing after all these years.

I think the Japanese Amelie poster is really lovely.

And if you live in a city with a large Chinese population, then in Chinatown you can probably find vintage Chinese ad posters (often from Shanghai) for about $5-$20. They often have cool images, both from before and during Communism. Some are reminiscent of pinups, but certainly not all- in many, the women are depicted as quite active. These posters are usually about 2x3 feet, printed on thick, non-glossy paper, and they have thin metal strips across the top and bottom. Sometimes you can get the slogans translated, too: this one says "don't spit everywhere", which I suppose is good advice for an office.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:53 PM on March 24, 2009

more ideas:

Feminism pool (for example)

women eating fruit
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do you like Picasso? This is one of my favorites: Dora Maar with green fingernails. She was involved with Picasso, but I don't think that disqualifies the painting by your rules. It's contemplative and interesting to look at (I saw the original, but I bet a poster would capture it, too).
posted by parkerjackson at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2009

I swear metafilter had a link to a site that had thousands of photographs of women working during wartime that was riveting. Can't seem to find it now.

But this is a good link here. You have to call to get reproductions.
posted by Vaike at 5:06 PM on March 24, 2009

There's a man in it, but mostly women (plus a girl): The Potato Eaters, by Van Gogh. Well, I've always assumed the one holding the cup is a woman, but I guess I could be wrong; in any event, there are more females than males, and they're all just "being people".
posted by Flunkie at 5:20 PM on March 24, 2009

Kathe Kollwitz.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 PM on March 24, 2009

Here are some pictures of Dorothea Lange: 1; 2; 3; 4.
posted by marsha56 at 5:50 PM on March 24, 2009

A search of the Flickr Commons for "women OR woman OR girl OR girls" yields a couple thousand very interesting historic pictures with no known copyright restriction. While some are pretty low resolution on the site, many might render a small print. Just take or send the digital file to a photo printing service and you're good to go. Some even allow you to order prints directly from the page on flickr. You could also have similar luck at the Life photo archive on Google, though I think the tagging isn't nearly as complete. A similar search there yields only 200 results, which just seems wrong to me. And then there's there's the difficult to search treasure trove at the Library of Congress's own site, which likely contains a lot of pictures that they haven't yet added to the Flickr Commons. The "women" thesaurus term brings up 5000 results. Here's one person describing her process of getting some of these public domain/no-long-copyrighted pictures onto her wall.

But, why just stop at freely available pictures. If you're interested in supporting the arts, buy directly from a currently working artist. Surf photo agencies or recent photo contests. Go to any of the links in a previous AskMe answer of mine, look at the photo credit and put the name into google. Send an email and ask if you could purchase a print of a particular picture on the photographer's website. It'll be a bit more expensive (and likely more expensive than buying on etsy), but you'll be funding new work directly. Similarly, you could go to Photoshelter (disclaimer, I have an archive there) and search through the libraries of 40,000 photographers (spanning all genres). Searching as above, I found over 200,000 images ready for print sales. There's a lot of cruft to sift through, there, unfortunately, so narrow down the search a bit to exclude local sports coverage and celebrities and the like, and you'll probably find something to put on your wall. I'm sure there's a similar way to find websites and work of painters and other types of artists, but my knowledge about this is limited to photography.
posted by msbrauer at 6:01 PM on March 24, 2009

Garry Winogrand's photos may not be what you want but I think they are open and honest. I think the women he photographs are just being people but sometimes they are also chicks and girlfriends.

A few: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
posted by quosimosaur at 6:06 PM on March 24, 2009

Here's one that has nothing to do with women's romantic relationships with men.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:14 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Aml Sol's work, which seems to fit your description.
posted by flaterik at 6:17 PM on March 24, 2009

Patrick Barr's has over 800 photos of women in his Flickr set "Women Hold Up Half the Sky." Barrybar is one of the people I know on the internet that I'd most like to meet in person.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:36 PM on March 24, 2009

I saw a photo that really stuck with me at the war museum in Ho Chi Minh City. It depicted a bunch of very smiley, pretty and happy looking women, with their long dark hair flowing....from under their army helmets, while they were operating an anti-aircraft battery in Hanoi during the Vietnam war.

Its probably online somewhere.
posted by Deep Dish at 7:55 PM on March 24, 2009

Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World"

Paintings listed in the catalog for "Edward Hopper's Women"?
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 10:29 PM on March 24, 2009

I've always loved this Cassatt painting, and for once babies are not involved! I like the little visual joke of it too, the way the one woman looks bored but polite and the busybody-ish visitor's teacup is positioned to look like a pig snout! Ha.

Seconding the Hopper, Wyeth, and Kollwitz, though frankly the most arresting female images by Hopper and Kollwitz are too...shocking? Visually "loud"? I don't know how to explain. And Hopper's women are complex, wonderfully so, but like characters from a Gaitskill story: clearly more than cardboard stand-in role providers for men, but nonetheless wounded or partly shaped by that positioning society likes to generally frame its women in. And the nudity...which reminds me of the pearl diving photography on Mefi a while back. Amazing, and fits your description, but also full of, alas, nudity.

I don't know if it's too pin-uppy third-wave feminist but still pandering to sexiness or whatever for you, but there are tons of flickr pools for roller derby ladies. Might be a possibility...

A portrait of Julia Child, maybe the famous chicken-strewn one.

Portraits of specific women you admire is in general a good route maybe. That flickr pool of scientists is great and reminds me of similar vintage photos of synth pioneers like Delia Derbyshire and Laurie Spiegel, stuff like that. So maybe think of authors, artists, musicians, designers, etc you love and then seek out photos of them.
posted by ifjuly at 12:50 PM on July 12, 2009

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