Unknown to most, the first women students to attend Yale University were members of its School of Art, present upon its inauguration in 1869. Despite the auspicious beginning it would take 121 years before the School awarded tenure to a female professor, and 147 years for the School of Art to welcome its first woman dean. Assembled from hundreds of hours of interviews with notable women and non-binary graduates, comes the first oral history of a fabled, if frequently misunderstood institution. Once a bastion and now a vestige of 20th century modernist master narratives, the voices of 50 years of women graduates complicate an already complicated legacy, revealing the life of an art school careening into the 21st century, speaking plainly to the long and still ongoing struggle for feminist integration and representation in the arts. This sweeping narrative of the education of a continuum of women artists and designers traces its way through the incendiary politics of the radical sixties, the formation of cultural studies, identity politics, and intersectionality in the seventies, the AIDS crisis, the culture wars, and the neoliberal escalation of the eighties, through to our fully globalized, hyper-capitalized present.
Interviews by Marta Kuzma with: Barbara Chase-Riboud, Abigail Child, Judy Pfaff, Joyce Baronio, Maya Lin, Roni Horn, Jessica Stockholder, Lorraine Wild, Alice Aycock, Rochelle Feinstein, Sarah Oppenheimer, An-My Lê, Samia Halaby, Joyce Owens, Wangechi Mutu, Anoka Faruqee a.o.