New Geographies of Feminist Art: China, Asia, and the World

Not for Sale: Women, Experimental Art and the Marketing of Non-Commercial Art in Vietnam

Nora A. Taylor

Nguyen Phuong Linh, Chewing, 2008, from the artist’s website.

Vietnamese women artists have survived the standard political and historical transitions their countrymen have endured from patriarchy to feminism, through eras marked by Confucianism, revolution and social reform. The narrative of the women’s liberation movement often follows the discourse of economic development and globalization, where artistic success is measured by international commercial success. In the 21st century, however, women are no longer vying for a place in the male dominated art world and have found a different kind of liberation. While male artists appear more visible in the international art circuits, women artists have been carving a niche for themselves in the experimental art movement. Taking as an example three Vietnamese performance artists: Nguyen Phuong Linh, Lai Thi Dieu Ha, and Nguyen Trinh Thi, this paper will examine the choices that women artists face in finding a space for their artistic practices that provides them room for creativity and self-expression.