For too long, artists have been told that they can't have both motherhood and a successful career. In her polemical volume How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents) (Lund Humphries, 2022) critic and campaigner Hettie Judah argues that a paradigm shift is needed within the art world to take account of the needs of artist mothers (and other parents: artist fathers, parents who don't identify with the term 'mother', and parents in other sectors of the art world). Drawing on interviews with artists internationally, the book highlights some of the success stories that offer models for the future, from alternative support networks and residency models, to studio complexes with onsite childcare, and galleries with family-friendly policies. Some artists have described motherhood as providing them with renewed focus, a new direction in their work, and even inspiration for a complete change of career. Other artists choose to keep their domestic and creative lives compartmentalised. All are placed at a disadvantage by the art world as it is currently structured. This book argues that by making changes and becoming more sensitive to the needs of artist parents, the art world has much to gain.
Hettie Judah is chief art critic on the British daily paper The i, a regular contributor to The Guardian's arts pages, and a columnist for Apollo magazine. She writes for Frieze, Art Quarterly, Art Monthly, ArtReview and other publications with 'art' in the title, and is a contributing editor to The Plant magazine.