Margaret Harrison

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Margaret Harrison (born 1940 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England) is an English feminist and artist whose work uses a variety of media and subject matter.

Life and work[edit]

Harrison studied at the Carlisle College of Art from 1957 to 1961; the Royal Academy Schools, London, England, from 1961 to 1964; and graduated from the Perugia Fine Arts Academy, Italy, in 1965.

She founded the London Women's Liberation Art Group in 1970. A 1971 exhibition of her work that was closed by the police included a piece depicting Hugh Hefner as a naked Bunny girl.[1]

Between 1973 and 1975 she collaborated with artists Kay Hunt and Mary Kelly to conduct a study of women's work in a metal box factory in Bermondsey, London. They presented their findings in 1975 in the installation Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry 1973-1975 that was first displayed at the South London Art Gallery in 1975. The exhibition told the stories of 150 working women who participated in the project and offers an account of the participants' relationship to the workplace, as well as reflections on the changes in labour and industry brought about by the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which had been passed in 1970. [2] [3]

Her work was included in the exhibition ‘’Issue: Social Strategies by Women Artists’’, curated by Lucy R. Lippard, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 1980. This important international group exhibition highlighted socially oriented feminist art practice and has been recognized as a key feminist exhibition.[4] According to Chris Crickmay, Harrison’s work was amongst others coming into prominence “reflecting social concerns in that had not hitherto appeared in art galleries".[5]

Her work "Beautiful Ugly Violence"[6] was described as "a field day of juxtapositions, as the bright and almost cheery colors of her paintings counter the often subdued and sometimes deadly topic: the various means of committing violence against women."[7]

Harrison continues to work in both the United States and England and has exhibited in America, Switzerland, and Great Britain. Her work has been shown in the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Tate Modern.[1] She was a Senior Research Professor and Director of the Social and Environmental Art Research Centre.

Her latest work (Spring 2011), entitled "I am a Fantasy", was exhibited at the Payne Shurvell gallery in East London from 15 April to 21 May.[8] Beverley Knowles curated the show.

In 2013, she won the Northern Art Prize [9]

In 2015, Harrison had a solo show at Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York.[10]

A retrospective of her work “Margaret Harrison: Dialogues Between Sex, Class and Violence” was held from October 2017 - January 2018 at the Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao.[11]


  1. ^ a b Brian, Steven (May–June 2004). "Violence isn't Always Ugly at First". NY Arts Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  2. ^ "Women and Work". Tate. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  3. ^ "BP Spotlight: Women & Work". Tate Britain. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  4. ^ Deepwell, Katy. "A Chronological List of International Exhibitions on women artists and feminist art practices" (PDF). kt press. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  5. ^ Crickmay, Chris. ""Art and Social Context", its Background, Inception and Development". Journal of Visual Arts Practice. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Beautiful Ugly Violence: The Brutality of the Everyday". SF Station. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  7. ^ Macklin, Karen (3 March 2004). "Art of Fact: Beautiful Ugly Violence's open wounds". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  8. ^ Lutyens, Dominic. "Margaret Harrison: A Brush with the Law". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  9. ^ "2013 Prize". Northern Art Prize. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  10. ^ "On Reflection". Ronald Feldman Gallery. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Azkuna Zentroa - Margaret Harrison. Dialogues between sex, class and violence". Azkuna Zentroa. Retrieved 24 June 2018.

External links[edit]