The future is female, someone has said recently, and as reassuring as that sounds it kind of excludes the present. We’d like to argue to the contrary and say that women in the arts are alive and well in the present day, with careers spanning over several decades, influencing many male young guns in the process. Most of them deal with contemporary issues, from feminism and human rights, including your right to go on a transgender date or freedom to speak your mind after you’ve dyed your hair green, to abstract art and pushing the boundaries in every sphere of life. Today, we present the top 5 female artists still very much at work, who never stop to shock, amaze and shake up their audience.
1. Annie Leibovitz, Photographer
Annie Leibovitz is famous for her portrait photography and draws inspiration from the works of Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Leibovitz is famous for capturing the intimate moments of her subjects who ‘open their hearts, souls, and lives to you’. She began her career in 1973 as chief photographer at Rolling Stone magazine, where she stayed for 10 years before branching out on her own. Leibovitz has photographed the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Queen Elizabeth II, Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, Dolly Parton, and many others, and much of her work can be found in Vanity Fair.
2. Kathryn Bigelow, Film Director
A woman in a man’s world, Kathryn Bigelow is a famous Hollywood movie director, film writer, and producer. Her most popular work includes Near Dark, Point Break, Strange Days, The Weight of Water, K-19: The Widowmaker, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty. Bigelow is the first woman to ever win an Academy Award for Best Director for The Hurt Locker (2009). Her other awards include the Directors Guild of America Award for Direction, the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Director, and the BAFTA Award for Best Direction.
3. Vivienne Westwood, Fashion Designer
Responsible for bringing punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream, Dame Vivienne Westwood is not only one of the most famous female artists of today, but also the most eccentric, with her own personal style recognized for miles. Her career took off in the 1970s when she collaborated with Sex Pistols, and since then she has opened a number of stores around the world where companies and private clients can get their hands on her unique designs. Westwood has influenced a number of young designers over the years and has worked with Marion Cotillard, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, Gwen Stefani, and Pharrell Williams.
4. Yayoi Kusama, Artist and Writer
Even saying that Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist and a writer is a bit of an understatement. Over her long career, Kusama has done work in painting, collage, scat sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations. She made a name for herself working with pop art, minimalism, and feminist art movements long before they were popular, making her an inspiration for Andy Warhol, and Claes Oldenburg. Kusama is also a published novelist and poet and has worked in the film and fashion industry. In 2008, Christie’s in New York sold her piece for a whopping $5.1 million, and in 2015 Artsy named her as one of the Top 10 Living Artists.
5. Marina Abramović, Performance Artists
Marina Abramović is a Serbian-born performance artist who explores the relationship between a performer and its audience, the limits of the human body, and the possibilities of the mind. Abramović has performed for more than 30 years all over the globe. Her most famous performance, “The Artist is Present“ took place in 2010 in the Museum of Modern Art, where she sat for a total of 736 hours and 30 minutes immobile and silent in the museum’s atrium while spectators were invited to take turns sitting across the table from her. Abramović collaborated with Lady Gaga in 2013 on the singer’s third album Artpop.