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Meet Betty Ann Brown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Betty Ann Brown.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am an art historian. I grew up identifying as the family artist, then the class artist in school. But when my career military father was transferred to Madrid, Spain, I fell in love with the Prado Museum and, by extension, with art history. I haven’t looked back. I wrote my masters thesis about Mexican folk art and my doctoral dissertation about Aztec art. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1978, I began writing about contemporary Chicano art that appropriated Aztec imagery. From there, I went on to writing and teaching about contemporary artists in LA, with focus on underrepresented women and people of color. My feminist politics were kick-started by reading Judy Chicago’s “Through the Flower.” I was involved with the Los Angeles Woman’s Building and with the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art. I am now a Professor Emeritus at Cal State Northridge, where I am curating and exhibition featuring the work of Mark Stephen Greenfield and Mark Dean Veca for February 2020.

Please tell us about your art.
As an art historian, I don’t make visual art. My creative practice involves writing about and curating exhibitions of contemporary art. I have written dozens of critical essays. My books include “Expanding Circles: Women, Art & Community” (1996); “Gradiva’s Mirror: Reflections on Women, Surrealism & Art History” (2002); “Hero, Madman, Criminal, Victim: The Artist in Film & Fiction” (2009) & “Afternoons with June: Stories of June Wayne’s Art & Life” (2012). My curatorial projects include retrospectives for Hans Burkhardt, Jean Edelstein, Roland Reiss, Linda Vallejo, June Wayne & John White, as well as themed exhibitions addressing alternative families, community & environmental issues. My most recent exhibition featured Betye, Lezley & Alison Saar for MOAH Lancaster.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
I think that artists’ criticize groups are a great way for artists to connect and get feedback on their work.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
At this point, I publish reviews in Art & Cake and Artillery magazine. In the past, I have written for several other publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the Los Angeles Reader, ArtScene, Arts, and ArtWeek. Most of my books were published with Midmarch Arts Press, a feminist press based in New York.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1176 East Claremont, Pasadena, CA 91104
  • Phone: 626-8235548
  • Email:

                 Image Credit:
Photo by Hermine Harman

1 Comment

  1. Ann Isolde

    October 5, 2019 at 04:55

    I am so glad VoyageLA interviewed art historian Betty Ann Brown. She is a mainstay in the Los Angeles and feminist art world. Last November the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art published an archival oral history titled PERSONAL VOICES: CULTURAL VISIONS: Conversations in the Visual Arts Community, Los Angeles 1994–1996. She wrote a wonderful review of the book for ART AND CAKE. We were so grateful.

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