Women Breaking Barriers:
Women’s Music from 1964 to 1984
GLBT Historical Society
657 Mission Street #300
San Francisco, CA 94105
“Women Breaking Barriers” focuses on imagery of women artists from 1964 through 1984. Visual elements were an important part of Women’s music, conveying as much information as song lyrics and melody. Often, they reflected an ongoing dialogue between the ideological and cultural values of creators and audiences. Through art, women found ways to work reinforce, challenge, and subvert the changing values of the Women’smusic scene. Working within a rapidly evolving subculture, the designers who created the visual stories of Women’s music contributed to a powerful artistic legacy. The exhibit will present the development of an art form in a historical context, examining how the values and aesthetics of Women’s music shaped individual and community identities.
Women’s music, also variously known as Womyn’s or Wimmin’s music, emerged as a genre by, for, and about women during the second-wave feminist movement. It often touched upon themes related to racial justice, peace, and labor struggles. Many founders were openly lesbian, and nearly all were women-loving women of one kind or another. More than just focused on the artists, Women’s music envisioned and enabled women-centered production, studios, sound engineering, promotion, and distribution. Integrating all elements of music creation and reception, this vision gave birth to a thriving women’s music festival scene in the mid-1970s that continues today.
“Women Breaking Barriers” is being curated by the longstanding Women’s Committee of the GLBT Historical Society. The Women’s Committee has been instrumental in the exhibition, collection, and preservation of lesbian culture and history for many years.