Humor Challenges Female Stereotypes

Humor Challenges Female Stereotypes

The inspiration came from a photograph taken in 1968, which shows a circle of elegantly dressed men together with a single woman. Their last names are written above their heads: Steiger, Kalb, Pichler, Attersee, Graf, and Wiener – only the woman is identified by her first name, “Ingrid.” This photo perfectly characterizes the macho attitude of the male dominated art crowd of the times. The answer comes twenty years later in the form of a postcard. Titled “The four new members of the First Vienna Male Choral Society,” it shows four women posing in front of the camera, looking cool, perfectly styled, and fashionable. The women’s artist group “Die Damen” (“The Ladies”) was born, an “Agency for Self-Confident Art by Women” comprising of Ona B., Evelyne Egerer, Birgit Jürgenssen, and Ingeborg Strobl. In elaborate photo shootings and performances, their emancipatory stance is staged in a cool and humorous manner. With wry self-irony, they explore the status women in the art world and in society. 

The Ladies, The First Vienna Male Choral Society,1988
© State of Lower Austria, Lower Austrian State Collections
Photo: Peter Böttcher

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