Venerable Female Artists, Musicians & Authors Give Advice to the Young: Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson & More

To the Louisiana Channel and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, on behalf of mature women everywhere: Thank you. You have excellent taste.

We’ve weathered invisibility and Mom jeans jokes, as representatives from our demographic are judged more harshly in categories that never seem to apply to their male counterparts in politics and the performing arts.

You’ll find plenty of celebrated male artists contributing advice to emerging artists in the Louisiana Project’s video series, but the Guerilla Girls will be gratified to see how robustly represented these working women are.




Nothing beats authority conferred by decades of professional experience.

And while young women are sure to be inspired by these venerable interviewees, let’s not sell anyone short.

We may have assembled a playlist titled Women Artists’ Advice to the Young (watch it from front to back at the bottom of the post), but let’s agree that their advice is good for emerging artists of all genders.

Author, poet, and Godmother of Punk Patti Smith (born 1946) serves up her version of to thine own self be true.

Avant-garde composer and musician Laurie Anderson (born 1947) counsels against the sort of narrow self-definition that discourages artistic exploration. Be loose, like a goose.

Author Herbjørg Wassmo (born 1942) wants young artists to prepare for the inevitable days of low motivation and self-doubt by resolving to work regardless.

Other notables include filmmaker Shirin Neshat (born 1957), author Lydia Davis (born 1947), artist Joyce Pensato (born 1941), and performance artist Marina Abramović (born 1946).

The oldest interviewee in the collection, artist Yayoi Kusama (born 1929), refuses to saddle up and come up with any teacherly  advice, but could certainly be considered a walking example of what it means to be “living as an artist with a wish to create a beautiful world with human love.”

Enjoy the full playlist here:

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inkyzine.  Join her in New York City May 13 for the next installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her@AyunHalliday.


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