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Ornament and the feminine


Negrin, L, Ornament and the feminine, Feminist Theory, 7, (2) pp. 219-235. ISSN 1464-7001 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2006 SAGE Publications

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DOI: doi:10.1177/1464700106064421


While ornament during the period of modernism was much maligned as inessential, superficial, deceptive and irrational, it has been rehabilitated by a number of feminist theorists in recent times such as Norma Broude and Naomi Schor. In their defence of ornament, these theorists have exposed the derogation of the feminine implicit in the devaluation of ornament, which has traditionally been conceived as a feminine domain. Yet this feminist espousal of ornament largely fails to challenge the modernist conception of ornament as decorative embellishment devoid of meaning, differing from it only by giving ornament a positive rather than a negative valuation. Consequently, its defence of ornament as a re-assertion of the legitimacy of the feminine ultimately perpetuates rather than undermines stereotypical associations of the feminine with the sensuous, the superficial and the irrational. A more thoroughgoing challenge would question the way in which ornament was defined during the period of modernism, recognizing its role as a carrier of meaning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adornment decoration feminine modernist design ornament
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Visual arts
Research Field:Visual arts not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The creative arts
UTAS Author:Negrin, L (Dr Llewellyn Negrin)
ID Code:43414
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Art (Hobart)
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2013-03-05
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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