Breaking Down a Woman's Place, cont'd
Amy Tobin

Images of Women


If Madden’s contribution to A Woman’s Place gestured to something ‘other’, Walker’s mannequin narrative was remarkably static. This stasis was something Walker regretted. In her review Parker notes that the ‘rooms evolve as she works on them and by presenting them as a finished product she thought the “human, tatty immediacy was a bit lost”’. (40) The 14 Radnor Terrace installation seemed to pose more questions to Walker than it answered and subsequent projects expanded and developed on its key themes. The first of these was a remake of Death of a Housewife in the exhibition ‘Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Shown’ (14–21 February 1975), organised by the arts group the Women’s Free Arts Alliance. While no photographs of the installation at 14 Radnor Terrace appear to have survived, Walker’s contribution to this exhibition was well documented with a number of slides in the artist’s personal collection. [pp. 37–44] The photographs relate closely to the sketchbook drawings for Radnor Terrace: the built frames in which the figures reside reappear, one draped in white tulle and the other painted black. Likewise the three mannequin figures feature alongside plastic baby dolls, the silver painted oven, wedding cake, and littered floor. These photographs also show the Prudential Life Assurance painting, a mobile of silver discs, masks, wilting flowers, a chain of paper doves, a scattering of coal and clusters of bottles, some painted silver, topped with teats. 


Walker remodelled the installation for a very different space. While 14 Radnor Terrace was a small house, the Women’s Free Arts Alliance occupied a large squatted warehouse at 1b King Henry Road, Chalk Farm. The building had three floors with high ceilings and large open spaces. (41) While other photographs of the exhibition show numerous artists’ works displayed together, Death of a Housewife was isolated, crammed into a narrow corner simulating the confined rooms of the original work. Without Walker’s collaborators the group process was absent, but the narrative of a woman’s life remained legible. The three figures were laid out in a line: the bride’s feet meeting one housewife, whose head points towards the feet of another figure wrapped in heavy cloth. High above this scene a white nightgown hung as if floating. In contrast to 14 Radnor Terrace the viewer did not move through the space, instead they encountered the whole installation as a single tableau. The transformation from white to black, and the increasing decrepitude of the environment came all at once. In this installation the bride’s head was perilously close to the illuminated oven, perhaps invoking the spectre of Sylvia Plath, whose work was read in the South London Women’s Centre reading group. 


Again deathliness was a key theme. Artificial and dried flower arrangements gesture to a long history of feminine creative practice, as well as to the preservation of beauty. While some plants had the cast of life, others appear more like memorial flowers laid at a grave long ago, the dried up and cracked leaves standing in for the loss of life and sensuality. At the back of the space a mangle sat on a high shelf, with pressed flowers between its rollers. This assemblage overlaid craft with domestic labour, creating a visual metaphor of the young woman’s deathly compression into the role of housewife. Dead leaves littered the floor as if the boundary between inside and outside had collapsed, and the space of the home was now just a frame for a scene of gendered oppression. Plants also overwhelmed other spaces of the Women’s Free Arts Alliance warehouse. One of the exhibition organisers and participants Kathy Nairne decorated the edges of rooms between wall and floor with grasses and paving stones. The effect was to confuse the boundaries of the industrial building and bring the exterior in. 


These additions provided continuity between the very different media and approaches of the exhibiting artists who included Rose English, Irene Kai, Carol McNicoll, Linda Mallet, Cathy Nicholson, Shirley Reed and Mary Sergeant. The exhibition was not thematic and work ranged from English’s installation Untitled (Country Life), which included a formation of debutant portraits and porcelain horses that picked up the irony in the exhibition’s title, to Sergeant’s self-portraits, McNicoll’s distorted pots and Mallet’s paintings. (42) In one space pans were hung from the ceiling and repurposed as musical instruments, and some nights the space was activated by performances by the women-only band the Stepney Sisters. As a review by art critic Su Braden reported, the Women’s Free Arts Alliance sought ‘to promote the idea of working together’ rather than protecting ‘a particular style or school of art’. (43) Indeed ‘Sweet Sixteen’ was an open call exhibition, which brought a variety of artists together without hierarchy. But the group was not quite as harmonious as the organisers may have intended. 


In a text published in MAMA: Women Artists Together, Walker alludes to the difficulties she and Cathy Nicholson faced being part of an exhibition as single mothers, with tight schedules and numerous responsibilities. In a list of ‘New Year Resolutions, For All Time’ she warns to ‘Only work with Feminists who have had a lot of C.R. [consciousness-raising] group experiences’ and ‘other mothers’, as well as to be wary of hierarchies, of public funding and criticising other women’s work. (44) The text emphasises that shared politics did not amount to shared experiences and underlines the frequent fallings out and blocks in communication that prevented collaboration. But in the case of ‘Sweet Sixteen’ there was a more straightforward issue at hand: one of Nicholson’s paintings had been censored by the organising committee. In another text titled ‘An Australian Artist Not an English Lady’ also published in MAMA, Walker defends Nicholson’s depictions of sexually available, naked women – ‘grotesque parodies of a girly magazine’ – against other feminists’ conclusions that her images are ‘unsubtle or even downright sexist’. (45) She argues ‘to see, to depict, is NOT the same as to condone’. (46) In this argument Walker picks up on a key debate animating the critical work on women’s art in the 1970s, namely whether images of women, and particularly naked women, can be retrieved from the patriarchal dynamics of desire operating in visual culture. Laura Mulvey’s early essays on the artist Allen Jones and on narrative cinema, along with Griselda Pollock’s incisive discussion of advertising, painting and print diagnosed the problem, while other critics and artists entered into heated disputes over representing and using women’s bodies – including the artist’s own body – in art, photography and film. (47


In the mid-1970s the ‘Images of Women’ network was established in an attempt to delineate a space for interdisciplinary debate. The network was supported by the Society for Education in Film and Television (SEFT), which was part of the British Film Institute (BFI) and also included the See Women’s Workshop, the Hackney Flashers and the London Women’s Film Group among others. (48) That groups of women artists like the Women’s Free Arts Alliance and the South London Art Group were not represented in the network perhaps suggests some of the disconnect between the theoretical and political debates circulating around film, cinema and photography in the 1970s, and the interests of artists in articulating an alternative visual language. As Walker wrote: ‘what we are doing is attempting to change the visual content of a whole culture’. (49) In 1980 the filmmaker Sally Potter wrote an early defense of exploring images of women in performance. (50) Potter argued that the presence of the performer displaced sexist readings, by exposing the limits of feminine masquerade and revealing ‘it for the act it is’. (51) Walker’s discussion of Nicholson, like Potter, aims to give some agency back to the artist. Although the women depicted in Nicholson’s work do not have a live presence – they sit on plates of salad or are wrapped in polythene and hung from hooks – the bodies are shown at the most corporeal, without the pretense of costume, setting or narrative which might accompany the depiction of models in girly magazines. As Nicholson describes in response to male exhibition visitors who commented that the figures were just ‘how they liked them’, ‘that was exactly what it’s all about, and I thought that was a terrific compliment’. (52


The corpses in Death of a Housewife functioned to undercut what the ‘necrophiliac male artocracy’ demanded from ‘object-symbols’. (53) While three of the figures lay on the floor, one with a deep, bloodied gash in her cheek, none performing the role of romantic availability, another body was outlined in black lingerie and silver spraypaint against a clear Perspex screen. The effect in the photographs is ghostly, as if the figure is an image that cannot be embodied, that cannot physically be grasped but only just seen. Walker enacted an erasure of this fetishised body in a performance that animated the installation. She describes the work as a ‘reverse striptease’ in which she began as a nude, before transforming into a sex object, then to a housewife ‘more clothes, make up removed’ and finally to the ‘artist-androgyne (male costume, tie, hat, etc)’. (54) In her reflections on the performance Walker describes the fearful effect, as well as the boredom of some assembled male viewers. She also reports the approach of the then assistant director of Modern Art Oxford, Sandy Nairne, who describes it as an ‘exciting piece’ that he would like to show his director, Nicholas Serota. (55) Resistant to this apparent compliment, Walker wrote: ‘I abandoned, temporarily, any further attempt at live work until I had given it some thought. My aim, I think, should be to challenge men, not to intrigue them.’ (56) While Walker’s reaction might seem extreme, it does not simply indicate an unequivocal dislike of men, but a serious consideration of the force of the artwork to resist the frame of an art institution. The reverse striptease was an autobiographical performance, as well as an act of symbolic disjuncture; for the event to be ‘exciting’ rather than destructive annulled the power of the act. 


Walker’s concern over the misinterpretation of images of women was also effected by Nicholson’s brush with the BBC. Around 1974 the artist was commissioned to make a series of paintings for the television production The Other Woman (1975). The paintings were supposed to depict powerful women and as a condition of the commission they were destroyed at the end of the programme. The Other Woman was an adaptation of Watson Gould’s novel The Three Sexes and was made as part of the Play for Today series, which included a number of dramas concerned with contemporary issues. (57) The central protagonist of The Other Woman was Kim, a feminist artist with shabby clothes, short Joan-of-Arc style hair and a heavy wooden pendant. The narrative followed the artist as she left the comfortable bourgeois home of her rich, male sponsor Robin to move into the tiny one bedroom flat of Niki, a seemingly innocent upper class teenage girl. Kim moves through various scenes of hysteria, including one in which she and Niki kiss violently among canvases and brushes. In another scene Kim almost attacks her sponsor’s mean children and, later attempts unsuccessfully to prevent the marriage of Niki. Afterward she returns home to Robin, where she has a tiny studio, to find that he had destroyed her work in a fit of jealous rage. The picture of the feminist artist presented in The Other Woman was an exaggerated caricature and for Nicholson and Walker, offensive. Here the woman artist broke up families, abandoned her children, corrupted a young woman and abandoned her feminist principles and her sexual orientation for space and money. Nicholson wrote a letter of complaint to the Daily Mail and the author Watson Gould contested the adaptation, commenting on the misinterpretation of the male producer. (58) The television programme has all but disappeared from history, but it evidences not only the presence of political women and artists in the public sphere, but also the hyperbolic fear of feminism’s critique of the family, of heterosexuality and representation of women. 


The climate of critique and discontent had a decisive effect on women in the movement. Friendships and groups broke down and new ones took their place. Walker was committed to exploring new avenues of collaborative work. Along with Nicholson and her ex-neighbour Sally Gallop, Walker initiated the Women’s Postal Art Event. [pp. 55–61] The event was durational and involved women from across the UK sending artworks to one another through the post. The network expanded after Walker made an announcement at the Women’s Art History Conference in 1975 in which she registered her dismay with the discussion and asked if the women in the audience didn’t want to make work for each other. (59) From this invitation the network grew to include the artists Angela Amesbury, Lyn Austin, Penny Booth, Lyn Foulkes, Tricia Davis, Phil Goodall, Chick Hull, Su Richardson, Monica Ross and Suzy Varty among others. It continued to attract new members as the group exhibited the objects they received in group exhibitions in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh and London. (60) The work produced was incredibly diverse, although each was small enough to post and made inexpensively from materials found around the home. Ross commented that the Women’s Postal Art Event was ‘a non-stop process, new work constantly emerges as a visual conversation develops. The aim is communication, not perfect aesthetics’. (61) The constant emergence of new work in this project provided an answer to Walker’s dissatisfaction with stasis in A Woman’s Place. Objects moved through homes and gallery spaces appearing in new configurations and accumulating responses. The border between the maker and the audience was also dissolved as every work prompted another to be made and because visitors to the exhibitions were invited to join the network. After the London exhibition Richardson, Ross, Varty and Walker formed a smaller art collective called Fenixº, which concentrated on making environments. [pp. 99–107] 


Fenixº expanded on the touring exhibition format of the Postal Art Event exhibitions and perhaps also referred to the phoenix motif in Madden’s early environments. The artists described the project this way: 


FENIXº is made in situ at each gallery. The artists work publicly, improvising the installation for one week at each site, after which it is kept for a further period. It then travels to the next exhibition space where it continues to grow, building on previous work. (62


In each location the three artists constructed walls in the gallery space, creating loosely delineated rooms that provided the support for other works. These works ranged from illustrations, text and patterns printed directly onto walls, to furniture-made-strange, mannequin figures, clusters of domestic ephemera and craft objects. The group – which shrank to Richardson, Ross and Walker after the first iteration – used the gallery space as a studio. In one sense this was a pragmatic solution, allowing the artists to make bigger, more ambitious work than was possible in their home studios. But it also staged a breakdown of an imagined, perhaps psychic, domestic environment. Dud walls and fake windows fragmented the space, while the diverse elements of the installations – including fabric sculptures, dresses, stenciled text, projections, framed pictures, furniture, mannequins and wallpaper prints – created a dense texture rich in dark humour. Each iteration was monochromatic, an effect that Walker must have brought to Fenixº from Death of a Housewife. The graphic colour scheme created continuity and connected the areas that each artist worked on individually. Members of the collective supported one another in realising the exhibitions, and they worked on shared motifs in collaboratively-made areas, as well as in the associated artist book Flying in the Face of Male Artocracy. (63) The collaboration established in Fenixº, as well as the unfixed and constantly changing character of the installation, seems to allay the regret Walker felt about her earlier work and to complete the breakdown of the architecture of domestic life began in A Woman’s Place. 





It is not incidental that both the Women’s Free Arts Alliance and 14 Radnor Terrace were squatted buildings. Squatting provided a means of inexpensive living and of challenging conservative connotations of home. It was a widespread phenomenon, particularly in London boroughs whose bomb damaged areas had emptied out after the war in favour of suburban communities. But squatters also occupied ex-industrial buildings, like the Women’s Free Arts Alliance warehouse and the London Women’s Liberation Workshop Earlham Street office. Squatting was part of a landscape of housing struggles in 1970s London, extending from rent strikes in the Heygate Estate to campaigns for the preservation of Georgian townhouses in Camberwell. While developers attempted to make the city more efficient with high-rise apartment blocks, others sought to preserve the discrete buildings they associated with family life. In Lambeth, the borough in which Radnor Terrace was located, a housing crisis was taking place as the council faltered in its development of the new residential estates, while failing to maintain older properties. This resulted in dire living conditions and homelessness for many of the area’s poorest residents. The problem spread across South London as the economic life in that part of the city shifted from blue to white-collar industry. As a response The Family Squatters, a group of local activists, worked with the council to find housing for those in need. (64) Families lived in these properties in exchange for a low rent or maintenance. But it was increasingly difficult to scale this model up to match demand, and along with pressures from developers to clear plots and retain value, as well as media interest, squatting increasingly became less associated with a pragmatic solution than with political activism. The press demonised this way of life and represented squatters as deviant, amoral and antisocial. 


In some instances the hyperbole of the press reports matched the political rhetoric associated with squatting. For the residents of Villa Road, Brixton squatting was part of a revolutionary anti-capitalist politics. (65) On this street squatting meant living communally and actively resisting attempts to evict residents and even to demolish the buildings. In contrast with the families rehoused by the Family Squatters, many of the inhabitants of squats like those at Villa Road were young people, often university graduates who moved to the city to participate in political activism and to live differently. Elsewhere in Brixton, Black radicals like Olive Morris and Liz Turnbull defended their squat at 121 Railton Road against police intimidation and eviction notices. Though the pair moved down the road to 64 Railton Road, the original squat remained a meeting place for Black organisations and the base for Sabaar Books into the 1980s. (66) The inhabitants of the other houses on Radnor Terrace were mostly young squatters, although one resident, Lesley Mair remembers that one of the buildings was still occupied by an elderly couple who refused to move when the evictions were served. (67) The community was varied in terms of class identity, although predominantly composed of white, lesbian women. (68) There are few records now of what the interiors of these buildings looked like, although it’s clear that they were small and shabby. (69) This lifestyle was not luxurious, although it did help build a unique community. One photograph from the archive of Mair, who is depicted washing herself while stood up in the kitchen sink, also shows two more women sat at the kitchen table in the same room, talking and chatting. On the wall hangs a Vermeer reproduction, which ironically echoes Mair’s pose. Mair lived in a house on Rosetta Street, the adjacent road to Radnor Terrace. Together these streets constituted a community of women, with South London Women’s Centre and the nearby Festival Inn – the site of a weekly and renowned women’s disco run by Julia Tant – as political and social centres. (70) The streets were a hub for women visiting from other areas of London and beyond, and as such provided security from harassment and attacks. (71) Eventually the area became so independent that a gable end on the approach to Radnor Terrace was graffitied with the inhabitants’ names and the tag ‘Incredible Lesbians’, visible in a photograph in the collection of Frankie Green. 


In an analysis of the squats around Railton Road in Brixton the historian Matt Cook discusses how the community of gay men that occupied some of the houses on one side of the street adapted them for communal life, notably Olive Morris and Liz Turnbull are not included in this narrative. One of the squatters quoted in Cook’s book describes the process of moving in: ‘paint the ceiling, talk, make endless cups of tea, put graffiti on the walls… It was actually part of breaking from old ideas’. (72) Indeed the garden walls between the houses on Railton Road were also demolished to make one large shared space at the rear of the building, reorienting the social façade of the terrace from front to back. More often than not each of the buildings was unlocked so that people could move between each space. Despite this openness, Cook had also described the ‘certain insularity’ produced by these large communal conditions. (73) In one sense this was a reaction to the difficulty for gay men, lesbians and single women of finding places to live that were tolerant and safe, but it also demonstrates the desire for alternative ways of living from the nuclear family unit that could support new forms of intimacy and commitment. (74


The woman-centred focus of Radnor Terrace and Rosetta Street provided an alternative to the predominantly male community at Railton Road. The history of this community shows the intersection between women’s liberation activism and struggles around lesbian rights in the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and beyond. By 1972 many women had left GLF groups to set up alternatives, and the relative distance of Radnor Terrace from Railton Road perhaps registers this break. One of these splinter groups was established at the South London Women’s Centre. ‘Lesbian Liberation’ is advertised in the Women’s Liberation Newsletter as well as in the publication Gay News, evidencing the connections between struggles for women’s and gay liberation movements, as well as showing their often-overlapping concerns. (75) Another instance of this intersection is evidenced on the poster for A Woman’s Place. The paired female signs next to the title text do double service, indicating both collaboration between women and lesbian sexuality. The crossed over circles gesture to the interconnection of body and mind, a motif that was also explored in Monica Sjöö’s oil painting Lovers (1975). Here the paired female signs replace in the ‘o’ of the word ‘Lovers’, on the top left of the canvas, but the interlocking symbols are also invoked by the intersecting lines that make up the bodies of the two figures.  


The paired female sign represented a commitment to relationships between women and it was ubiquitous, appearing on graffiti, on badges and on posters. Another See Red design Lesbian Spirit multiplied the pair into a cadre, with each loop becoming a link in a chain. This poster also dates from See Red’s time at 14 Radnor Terrace, and perhaps connects with the community of women living in the area, but it also points to political lesbianism and separatism. Both separatism and political lesbianism advocated for abandoning relationships with men on political grounds and in this context lesbian relationships could signify friendships and often precluded sex and physical intimacy. Much of this activism was predicated on essentialist associations of men and women, as such the paired woman sign was an important marker of political affiliation. (76) Radical feminist groups came to represent the most extreme positions in the women’s liberation movement and many women were disenfranchised by their positions on heterosexuality, transsexuality, butch and femme identification, pornography, sex work, and childrearing. (77) On the surface at least the paired female sign pasted over the often-fractured relationships between different parts of the movement, and the sign – as well as its alternative permutations – remained important for diverse people. This is demonstrated in a sketch by Walker, in which the woman sign is transposed into different configurations dotted around the curved outline of a pink yin-yang sign labelled ‘ping-pong’. 


Relationships between women were imagined in a different way in the slogan ‘sisterhood is powerful’. Coined by New York Radical Women member Kathie Sarachild it entreated women to see each other as close relations rather than competitors in the game of domestic bliss. The sibling structure allowed for multiple connections rather than the unilateral structure of the heterosexual family, but it also marked a translation from the fraternal language of other political organisations. This double service distinguished women’s liberation as an autonomous movement and signalled one of its primary aims – to break women out of the constraints of family life. (78) In the early years of the movement the slogan had a celebratory and empowering affect, but the unity implied in the idea of sisterhood quickly became something to interrogate. These intimate relationships did not transcend divisions of race and class, and there were few attempts, especially earlier in the decade, to think seriously about difference. White British women often did not admit their own privilege, or seek to understand the lives of those of different cultural backgrounds and so the analysis of working and family life – as is demonstrated in the material gathered here on A Woman’s Place – were often skewered toward a single perspective. Understood from a contemporary perspective, sisterhood might also contain some of these fractures and speak to the difficulty of collective politics. As the psychoanalyst Juliet Mitchell has recently argued, sibling relationships present a challenge to the development of the subject and influence the structure of group interactions. (79) Thinking with Mitchell, the invocation of sisterhood in the 1970s attests to the complex negotiations that animated the women’s liberation movement. Importantly sisterhood also made a particular political address to family life. While being a sister may not have excluded being a wife or a mother, it brought the former to the fore and prompted the revaluation of relationships between women. Necessarily this demanded space, and women found it in living rooms requisitioned for consciousness raising meetings, in streets during protests, or in underused buildings transformed into women’s centres. But this focus on other women also meant redistributing responsibilities for care and maintenance, women were away from home more often, and some left heterosexual family life behind permanently. In this way sisterhood presupposed the death of the housewife. 


A Woman’s Place showed the home laid to waste through the wasted life of the housewife. In other words it depicted not the fate of the girl or the woman, but the socialised, gendered identity of the housewife that many had been pressed into. As such the installation had the effect of what Marina Vishmidt has elsewhere described as ‘de-naturalising’ reproductive labour, ‘making it look foolish, futile, or indeed grandly absurd’. (80) Vishmidt argues that the representation and reiteration of reproductive labour in art can counter the socialisation of housework, allegorising its ‘entropic qualities’. In other words the displacement of housework in an artwork shows its absurdity. This is made palpable in A Woman’s Place through the artificial effects of the monochrome and silver colour scheme, the excessive coagulations of mess and the tragi-comic poses of the three figures. Here the deleterious effects of maintenance take their toll, crowding out the building and perhaps producing what Vishmidt has described as ‘alienation from the manifest or unarguable “usefulness” of reproductive labour’. 


Indeed 14 Radnor Terrace had no use for a dedicated housewife. The women’s centre depended on the outmoded architecture of the nuclear family home and squatting meant that the building was altered to suit its inhabitants rather than enshrined as valuable property. The installation not only denaturalised the relationship between women and housework, it also severed the attachment between private property and the home, and demonstrated the possibility of reorganising family life. In this way it disrupted what feminist theorist Gayle Rubin described as the traffic in women. (81


In the 1975 essay ‘The Traffic in Women’ Rubin explored how sexuality, gender and economic value intersected and underscored normative social structures. In this formulation women were the passive subjects of transactions animating the ‘sex-gender system’, in which they moved from home to home. If the value of the woman depended on 

family, or kinship, the home was contingent upon privacy and therefore property ownership. So even beyond the time consumed by housework, women were tied into the symbolic space of the home and the fabric of the house. Rubin argued that as a countermeasure ‘feminism must call for a revolution in kinship’ and free human life from the ‘straightjacket of gender’. (82) This revolution was put in process in A Woman’s Place, through an attack on the architecture of the building. Rooms filled with everything from dirt, rubbish, grass, twigs and papers, to girly stuff and bridal gear choking the space. Footprints chalked on the floor, tracing the circular routes of housework, estranged the familiar spaces of the home and piles of newspaper, twigs and coal concentrated at walls and floors troubled the boundaries between interior and exterior. These static tableaux paused the narrative of family life, and started a process of breaking down that hinged on the entropic decline of the fabric of the house.


The dark, critical qualities of A Woman’s Place met with the evidence of collectivity and cooperation. The walls hung with paintings and meeting minutes evidenced the activity of the S.L.A.G, while Madden’s Chrysalis presented a self-portrait in abject, unshaven and uncovered glory. Indeed the South London Women’s Centre also already provided an alternative space, where the rhythms of production and reproduction had been paused and women could be activists, lovers and friends. The lesbian community around Radnor Terrace and Rosetta Street likewise ruptured the traffic in women, as sisters became lovers. If no.14 set a feminist alternative in action, A Woman’s Place enacted a symbolic breakdown and participated in the irritation of physical architecture, a process that was taking place at a slower speed across London. A Woman’s Place let the material weight of gendered domesticity self-destruct, but this breakdown was also an opening up, connecting 14 Radnor Terrace to Grove Park, King Henry Road and Covent Garden, as Walker wrote: ‘You know it’s a whole culture that we’re demolishing and rebuilding from the other side: it’s a whole new view’. (83





40 . Walker quoted in Parker, ‘Housework’: 38. 

41 . Kathy Nairne interview with author, 1 April 2014 and 1 March 2017. 

42 . Some elements of English’s installation, including the pointe shoe curtain, were included in the performances English’s Divertissement (Leeds Polytechnic, June 1973) and The Boy Baby… A Mere Glimpse (Battersea Art Centre, 13 December 1974), while the horse hoof shoes on display were later used in Quadrille (1975) and Pegasus (1975). See Brett, Abstract Vaudeville: 26–61. 

43 . Su Braden, ‘Self Exposure’, Time Out (1975): 15–16. Reprinted in Parker and Pollock [eds.], Framing Feminism: 163. 

44 . Walker, ‘Women’s Free Arts Alliance Show’, MAMA: 38. 

45. Walker, ‘An Australian Artist Not an English Lady’, MAMA: 39. 

46 . Ibid. 

47 . Laura Mulvey, ‘Fears, Fantasies and the Male Unconscious or “You don’t Know What You’re Doing, Do You Mr Jones?”’, Spare Rib, no.8 (February 1973): 13–6; and, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, Screen, vol.16 no.3, (1975): 6–18, both reprinted in Visual and Other Pleasures, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 1989: 6–13 and 14–28. Griselda Pollock, ‘What’s Wrong With “Images of Women”?’, Screen Education, no.24 (1977): 25–33, reprinted in Parker and Pollock [eds.], Framing Feminism: 132–8. 

48 . See Mandy Merck, ‘Mulvey’s Manifesto’, Camera Obscura, vol.22 no.3 (2007): 1–23 and Amy Tobin, ‘Moving Pictures: Intersections Between Art, Film and Feminism in the 1970s’, MIRAJ, vol.4 no.1–2 (2016), 118–135: 129–130. 

49. Walker, ‘Women’s Free Arts Alliance Show’, MAMA: 38. 

50 . Sally Potter, ‘On Shows’, About Time, London: ICA, 1980: unpaginated. 

51 . Ibid. 

52 . Cathy Nicholson quoted from ‘Franklin Institute transcript’, p. 24 of this publication. 

53 . Walker, ‘Do You Need Spectacles or Are You Wearing Contact Lenses, Squire?’, FAN (Feminist Art News), no.2, (Summer 1980): 4–6. 

54. Walker, ‘Do You Need Spectacles’: 5. 

55. Ibid. 

56 . Ibid. 

57 . Gould wrote the screenplay, but the novel was published after the television programme aired. Gould, The Three Sexes, London: Futura Publications, 1977. 

58 . I have not been able to locate either Gould or Nicholson’s complaints in the Daily Mail, suggesting they were not published. See ‘The Other Woman Forty Years On’, BBC Store website, https://, accessed 25 January 2017. 

59 . Walker quoted in Su Richardson, ‘Crocheted Strategies: A New Audience for Women’s Work’, in Elinor, Richardson, Scott, Thomas, et al., Women and Craft: 39. 

60 . See Alexandra Kokoli, ‘Undoing “Homeliness” in Feminist art: The case of Feministo: Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife (1975–7)’, n.paradoxa, vol.13, Domestic Politics (January 2004): 75–83 and Amy Tobin, ‘I’ll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours: Collaboration, Consciousness-Raising and Feminist-Influenced Art in the 1970s’, Tate Papers, no.25, Spring 2016, publications/tate-papers/25/i-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours, accessed 21 March 2017. 

61 . Monica Ross, ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman: A Postal Event’, MAMA: 24. 

62 . Su Richardson, Monica Ross and Kate Walker, Fenixº: Flying in the Face of Male Artocracy (N.P: Self-published, c.1978–9): 4. Held in the Fenixº folder, Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths. 

63 . Ibid. 

64 . See Cynthia Cockburn, The Local State: Management of Cities and People, London: Pluto, 1977, and Cynthia Cockburn, As Things Are: Women, Work and Family in South London, London: Union Place, 1976. 

65 . See Vanessa Engel (dir.), Lefties: Property is Theft, 2006. 

66 . For more information on Olive Morris see https://rememberolivemorris., accessed 20 March 2017. 

67 . Lesley Mair in conversation with the author, 1 and 28 February 2017. 

68 . Frankie Green in conversation with the author, 3 February 2017. 

69. For photographs of other London squatting communities see Astrid Proll, ed. Goodbye to London: Radical Art & Politics in the 70s, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2010. 

70 . Members of the bands Jam Today and Ova lived in this community. See entries on the online Women’s Liberation Music Archive,, accessed 29 March 2017. 

71 . Frankie Green described attempted attacks and harassment from local communities, as well as the precautions – including travelling in groups. Green in conversation with the author, 3 February 2017. 

72 . Matt Cook, Queer Domesticities: Homosexuality and Home Life in Twentieth Century London, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014: 203. 

73 . Ibid. 

74 . See Cook, Queer Domesticities: 192 and Sarah F. Green, Urban Amazons: Lesbian Feminism and Beyond in the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Battles of London, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997, particularly ‘Difference and change: transformation in the community’: 97–101. 

75 . Notices for this group appear in numerous issues of the Women’s Liberation Workshop Newsletter and Gay News (see ‘Information’, Gay News (1 August 1972): 12). 

76 . For more information on radical feminist groups see Jeska Rees, ‘A Look Back in Anger: the Women’s Liberation Movement in 1978’, Women’s History Review, vol.19 no.3 (July 2010): 337–356. 

77 . See Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in 20th Century America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991): 209–212. 

78 . Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique (1963) (reprinted London: Penguin Books, 2010), was an important starting point for the women’s liberation movement in North America, where the phrase ‘sisterhood is powerful’ originated. 

79 . Juliet Mitchell, Siblings: Sex and Violence, London: Polity, 2003. 

80 . Marina Vishmidt, ‘The Two Reproductions in (Feminist) Art and Theory since the 1970s’, Third Text 148, vol.31 no.5 (September 2017). 

81 . Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic in Women: Notes on the Political Economy of Sex’, (1975), reprinted in Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011: 33–65. 

82 . Ibid: 58. 

83 . Walker quoted in Lisa Tickner, ‘Kate Walker’ part of ‘Women Artists in the UK: Nine Women Critics Write About Women Artists of their Choice Working int he UK’, Studio International, vol.193 no. 987 (June 1977): 190.