Critics, Reviewers Ignore Woman's Art Show

The kind of art Rachel bas-Cohain creates is kinetic; she calls it "air, fluids, light in motion exhibited as sculpture."

Although her exhibit has been at the Radcliffe Institute since November 8, not a single art critic or newspaper reviewer has appeared, she said in an interview yesterday.

"I sent out materials to all the local papers, and there's been no response," she said. "People see a woman's name and they just don't come."

Snotty Critics

Estimating that between 150 and 200 people have visited her exhibit, bas-Cohain said, "I've received wonderful support from those who have come." But the critics have shown little interest in her show and, she said, "I'm feeling very blue about it."


Bas-Cohain has been supported by a two-year Radcliffe Institute grant which is now ending. "I feel a little unsure of the future," she said. A graduate of Brooklyn School of Music, she has held several post-graduate fellowships and "didn't feel I'd have difficulty finding a position until recently when I tried."

At a Boston gallery run by two women she was told, "Women are a bad risk. We don't like to handle them." She had previously been unable to find a teaching position. "There is in our culture an ingrained preference of man over woman," she said.

Bas-Cohain is supporting herself now with the income from one of her works which is being mass-produced. "Next year, I don't know, I may have to rely on my husband for support," she said. Materials and studio expenses alone total about $400 a month.

Bas-Cohain's exhibit will run through November 27. She has worked in painting, graphics, and now kinetics. She lives in Somerville and spends most of the time doing her art.

"I think it's good; and it is the kind of art that people are becoming interested in now," she said. "It's awful having to beg people to review it."