Art Fix Friday: January 24, 2020

The Guardian discusses Dior’s recent haute couture show, which featured a set designed by Judy Chicago. Guests were seated within a custom version of Chicago’s unrealized sculpture, Inflatable Mother Goddess; embroidered banners posed questions in Chicago’s signature cursive script.

Models walk the final act of Dior's couture show against Judy Chicago's backdrop of embroidered feminist banners.

Judy Chicago’s embroidered banners formed the backdrop to Dior’s spring-summer 2020 couture show in Paris; Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female artistic director of Dior, has looked to women artists for inspiration before. “The reason that Chiuri has felt it important to celebrate women at Dior—is that the art world has been, and continues to be, bedeviled by systemic prejudice, of which sexism is only one component.”

Front-Page Femmes

Photojournalist and director Jessica Dimmock campaigns for the Directors Guild of America to change its health benefits to support new parents; Dimmock lost her own insurance after the birth of her first child.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Artnet featured seven artworks that defined the Civil Rights Era;  Elizabeth Catlett’s wooden sculpture Homage to My Young Black Sisters (1968) is included.

Cecilia Alemani will be artistic director of the 2021 Venice Biennale; she is only the fifth woman to hold this position in the Biennale’s 59-year-history.

The New York Times profiles Yola, a best new artist nominee at this year’s Grammy Awards—though she’s been hard at work for the past two decades.

Artist Deana Lawson stands in front of a wisteria tree, behind an old camera, and holds the shutter click; she stares seriously at the viewer and is wearing a floral dress that compliments the tree.

Deana Lawson, Self Portrait; Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Artsy lists 20 trailblazing artists with major museum shows in 2020; 15 are women or gender-nonconforming, including Alice Neel, Zanele Muholi, and Deana Lawson.

Juxtapoz interviews Los Angeles-based artist Jillian Evelyn; her new solo exhibition, Skinny Dippers, is open at Outré Gallery in Melbourne.

Frieze reviews Marie Karlberg‘s film The Dinner, a parody of the social conditions surrounding artistic production.

Fractured Atlas interviews comedian and performance artists Kristina Wong about her “Radical Cram School” web series, which aims to engage young people in, and educate them about, civic participation.

Shows We Want to See

A realistic portrait of a woman from the chin to wait

Clarity Haynes, Genesis, 2019; Oil on linen; Courtesy of the artist and Denny Dimin Gallery

Clarity Haynes’s first solo show, Altar-ed bodies, is on view at the Denny Dimin Gallery in New York City through January 25. Haynes’s work centers bodies that the art world and society often deem unworthy of respect or admiration. Hyperallergic reviewed the show, noting that Haynes’s “portrayals of queer, heavy, and disabled bodies reimagines the white box as a communal space that allows for the possibility of healing.”

Gabriela Ruiz: Full of Tears is on view at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, California, through February 15. This is the first solo exhibition for the multidisciplinary artist and designer, who uses 3-D rendering, video mapping, and installation to investigate questions of the self. The Los Angeles Times profiled the artist.

Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics is open at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. A selection of works on paper—including rare preparatory drawings, working proofs, and trial prints—sheds light on Kollwitz’s creative process and political engagement. Frieze profiles the artist, looking at her radical legacy as a champion of working class struggles. On view through March 29.

—Alexa Kasner is the spring 2020 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Women Artists of the DMV: Maria Verónica San Martín’s “In Their Memory”

DMV Color presents artists’ books, graphic novels, photobooks, and zines by women of African American, Asian American, and Latina heritage with ties to the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia—known locally as the DMV. The works on view depict intimacies of family life, legacies of enslavement, dislocation tied to immigration, changes resulting from rampant development, and more. On view in NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center (LRC) through March 4, 2020.

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Originally from Santiago, Chile, Maria Verónica San Martín (b. 1981) is a New York-based printmaker, sculptor, performance artist, and bookmaker who attended the former Corcoran School of the Arts & Design in Washington, D.C. Her evocative artist’s book In Their Memory (2012) is featured in DMV Color. San Martín’s work functions as a tactile form of resistance—it critically examines power structures and the sanitization of historical atrocities.

Maria Verónica San Martín holds up her artist's book In Their Memory

Maria Verónica San Martín holds up her artist’s book In Their Memory; Photo courtesy of the artist

San Martín’s work draws upon Chile’s fraught political history. In Their Memory memorializes the Chilean citizens who were tortured and disappeared under General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973–1990). As a result, thousands of Chileans sought asylum in Canada, Sweden, and the U.S., including the DMV area. The full scope of the human rights injustices committed by the regime remains under investigation to this day.

In an interview, San Martín explained her activist approach. “As a second-generation witness of the regime’s atrocities and a first-generation artist experiencing the legacy of the dictatorship on the collective body…my practice rejects the idea of a progressive history with a fixed past.”

In Their Memory invites viewers to grapple with the erasure of the era’s violent political history. Wherever the work travels, it honors and preserves the identities of missing people, along with the resilience of their families. Through archival practices, printmaking, and bookmaking, San Martín also explores the role of collective memory. The flag book structure is both a sculpture and a book immortalizing, through black-and-white portraits and lists of names, the victims of the Pinochet regime.

The process of etching and printing images onto the book’s surface embodies the painful erasure and reappearance of those missing—literally and from the Chilean people’s collective memory. An image of Chile’s presidential palace, La Moneda, is printed onto the back. Images of missing Chilean citizens juxtaposed against the government’s seat of power further embodies issues of unjust institutions.

In Their Memory-21

Maria Verónica San Martín, In Their Memory, 2012

In Their Memory-9 (1)

Maria Verónica San Martín, In Their Memory, 2012

Today, the people of Chile have taken to the streets to protest social inequality. As the country’s economic model was put in place under Pinochet, the dictator’s legacy still looms. In an interview with the LRC, San Martín identified the spike in political engagement among Chileans, especially the youth, as important to transforming economic and social structures that favor the rich and discard the middle class and poor. “When this social crisis arose, there was a [collective] conscious[ness] happening.” In Their Memory is an important vehicle of activism and social justice, connecting Chile’s past to this contemporary moment.

Elizabeth Chung was the fall 2019 Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: January 17, 2020

A print of a closeup of the Statue of Liberty's face/crown with a black woman wearing thigh high shiny black boots and a colorful leotard sitting atop, looking out into the distance.

Renee Cox, Chillin With Liberty, 1998; Courtesy of the artist, © Renee Cox

The Park Avenue Armory is marking the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage by commissioning new works from 100 women artists.

“Supporting the creation of new work by some of the most innovative women artists working today allows us to creatively explore where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and the work that remains to be done,” Rebecca Robertson, the Armory’s founding president and executive producer, said. Participating artists will be announced at the Armory’s February 15 “Culture in a Changing America” symposium.

Front-Page Femmes

Judy Chicago has created an immersive installation for Dior’s spring haute couture show at the Rodin Museum in Paris; the general public will have the opportunity to view the installation from January 21 to 26.

Betty Pat Gatliff, a pioneer in forensic arts, who is responsible for sculpturally reconstructing the face of Pharaoh Tutankhamun featured in Life, has died at age 89.

Slate reports on Little Women director Greta Gerwig’s Best Director Oscar snub and the long-running gender inequity in that top category; the New York Times interviewed Gerwig shortly after the nominations.

Little Women costume designer Jacqueline Durran discusses her radical approach to Victorian costume design.

The New Yorker interviews textile designer Diana Ejaita, whose illustration of Martin Luther King, Jr., is featured on the cover of the magazine’s latest issue.

Three photos side by side showing artist Diana Ejaita's studio in Nigeria; it is full of colorful prints and plants.

Diana Ejaita in her studio in Lagos, Nigeria, where she has also been working on a series of posters for a dance company; Photographs by Taiwo Ojudun

Cindy Sherman has won the $100,000 Wolf Prize in Art; the award honors scientists and artists for “achievements in the interest of mankind.”

London’s National Gallery has revealed details about its upcoming Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition; Artemisia will include 30 of her paintings, nearly half from private collections and many rarely lent.

Tamara de Lempicka’s portrait of Marjorie Ferry will be a leading highlight at the Impressionist and Modern evening sale at Christie’s London on February 5.

Artnet reports on the details of Yayoi Kusama’s upcoming New York Botanical Garden exhibition, which will include a new Infinity Room.

Singaporean artist Amanda Heng has won the Benesse Prize, which recognizes work in the Singapore Biennale that embodies an “experimental and critical spirit” centered on the theme of well-being.

Shows We Want to See

Suzy Lake’s Performance of Protest is on view at Arsenal Contemporary Art in New York through tomorrow, January 18. The exhibition follows Lake’s five-decade career, capturing her continued investigation of her own image as a means to probe and resist constructions of gender, identity, and beauty. In an interview with Art in America, Lake said, “I started to realize that all my work about representation was really about resistance.”

A grid of photos showing artist Suzy Lake with her face painted white putting on makeup and skin cream.

Suzy Lake, Imitations of Myself #2, 1973/2003, Ed. 5 of 5; Courtesy of the artist

Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection is on view at New York City’s Grolier Club through February 8. The exhibition documents the long and sometimes hidden history of women making an independent living as scientists, midwives, writers, activists, undertakers, and more. The 200 objects on view are drawn from the collection of Baskin, who said, “I’m interested in how women managed to survive and keep themselves.”

—Alicia Gregory is the assistant editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Judy Chicago—The End: Extinction

The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, the newest body of work by iconic feminist artist Judy Chicago, continues the artist’s practice of tackling taboo subjects. In these works, she offers a bold reflection on mortality and the destruction of entire species. Visually striking and emotionally charged, the exhibition comprises more than 35 paintings on black glass and porcelain, as well as two large-scale bronze reliefs. On view September 19, 2019–January 20, 2020.

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When asked if it was hard to confront the topic of death—one most people try to avoid—in her latest body of work, Judy Chicago revealed that the process of addressing her own mortality brought her to a place of acceptance. Harder, however, was her work on the “Extinction” section of The End, which she described creating through two “excruciating” years of intense painting. Chicago does not mince words: “To be faced every day with what we are doing to other creatures and the planet was to enter the kingdom of hell.”

Judy Chicago - Collected

Judy Chicago, Collected, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2015–16; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Judy Chicago - Smuggled

Judy Chicago, Smuggled, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2016; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Judy Chicago - Vulnerable

Judy Chicago, Vulnerable, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2015–16; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Judy Chicago - Bleached

Judy Chicago, Bleached, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2017; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Judy Chicago - Smothered

Judy Chicago, Smothered, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2016; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Chicago expresses a collective sense of anxiety and sadness in the 15 “Extinction” panels, which depict, often in graphic detail, groups of animals, fish, birds, and flora that have been irrevocably harmed by humans. Her titles for these works directly name the violence enacted on innocent life forms: Smothered, Battered, Bleached, Finned, Harvested, Slit Open, Targeted, Silenced, Poached, Vulnerable.

From polar bears displaced by melting Artic ice to trees flayed of their bark for medicinal purposes, Chicago offers her lament for each of her subjects. Chicago’s handwriting, which has long been part of her artistic practice, appears here as it does in each section of The End. While the artist frequently employs writing in her work to communicate or narrate, the writing in the “Extinction” panels also becomes an integral part of the composition. Chicago emphasizes significant words and phrases with different text sizes, often in capitalized block letters.

A bronze relief sculpture of the faces of a bear, gorilla, and sea turtle; a shark body; and birds. The bear centers the piece with its four claws prominent, the other animals appear to be in the body of the bear.

Judy Chicago, Extinction Relief, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2018; Patinated bronze, 53 1/2 x 30 1/2 x 14 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Chicago includes a large bronze relief sculpture in “Extinction”—an assemblage of the likenesses of creatures threatened with extinction. The material is notable for its prevalence in monumental statuary and its use throughout history in high art and ceremonial vessels; Chicago honors the animals that once lived. However, the work also evokes the visual language of mounted hunting trophies, calling into question the ethics of killing purely for sport or luxury, and presenting a haunting image of suffering.

For Chicago, the physical stamina needed to execute these works was compounded by the grief she felt for her subjects. Recalling a similar emotional toll while working on the Holocaust Project (1985–93), Chicago says, “That was hard but this was worse,” adding that the Holocaust Project dealt with events in the past while there is no end in sight to the extinction of countless species.

Art Fix Friday: January 10, 2020

At the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Awkwafina made history by becoming the first performer of Asian descent to win the best actress award for her performance in The Farewell. Angela Bassett is the only other woman of color to win the same award—almost three decades ago in 1993.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite growing diversity in Hollywood, this award season’s nominations have been notably white and male. The Golden Globes, Directors Guild of America, and BAFTA all excluded women from their top directing prize despite a successful year for women behind the camera, including Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), and Greta Gerwig (Little Women). In a recent interview Scafaria said, “The female experience is often considered the female experience, not the human experience. For people of color it’s twice as hard. I’d love to see change.”

Front-Page Femmes

The Atlantic interviews director Melina Matsoukas about her debut feature film, Queen & Slim, and her eye for capturing “the inextricable beauty and brutality of life for black Americans.”

The New York Times looks at Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women and the ways it “feels positively radical.”

Artnet ranks Frida Kahlo’s most under-the-radar paintings.

Writer Elizabeth Wurtzel has died at age 52. Her memoir, Prozac Nation, introduced an influential style of confessional writing and opened a public dialogue about mental health.

Women in Public, a miniseries of multidisciplinary programs presented as part of Brooklyn Falls for France, will explore themes of place and wandering with a focus on the female experience.

Nell Irvin Painter stands in front of one of her works smiling in a paint-stained smock.

Nell Irvin Painter; Photo by John Emerson

The Boston Review interviews celebrated scholar of African American history and race Nell Irvin Painter, who retired and enrolled in art school; Painter observes, “In art, I can delve into what I can’t know as an historian.”

Artnet interviews Claire L. Lanier, the new social media manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, about “how she landed one of the most prestigious gigs in the New York art world.”

The latest episode of NPR’s LifeKit explores how to start an art habit; DMV Color artist Malaka Gharib leads the conversation with artist Trinidad Escobar and art therapist Girija Kaimal.

The New York Times reviews Miranda Popkey’s debut novel Topics of Conversation, which “poses unanswerable questions of female autonomy and consent.”

Shows We Want to See

Kiki Smith, Sky, 2012; Jacquard tapestry, © Kiki Smith; Courtesy of Timothy Taylor, London/New York and Magnolia Editions

Kiki Smith: I Am a Wanderer is on view at Modern Art Oxford through January 19. The retrospective focuses on three distinctive areas of Smith’s practice: small sculptures created from the mid-1980s to the present day, a selection from her printmaking, and the intricate Jacquard tapestries she has produced since 2012.

At New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design, Vera Paints a Scarf celebrates the work of Vera Neumann, one of the most successful female design entrepreneurs of the 20th century. From 1942 to her death in 1993, Neumann produced an iconic line of women’s scarves, as well as thousands of textile patterns based on her drawings, paintings, and collages. On view through January 26.

—Alicia Gregory is the assistant editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Xaviera Simmons: “How might our entire history have been different…?”

Xaviera Simmons (b. 1974) staged herself among a towering thicket of reeds in her photograph One Day and Back Then (Standing) (2007), currently on view in NMWA’s exhibition Live Dangerously. Simmons wears a black trench coat, black tights and boots, black face makeup, and bright red lipstick—a presentation that starkly juxtaposes her form against the landscape.

Xaviera Simmons (b. 1974) staged herself among a towering thicket of yellow reeds in her photograph One Day and Back Then (Standing) (2007). Simmons wears a black trench coat, black tights and boots, black face makeup, and bright red lipstick—a presentation that starkly juxtaposes her form against the landscape.

Xaviera Simmons, One Day and Back Then (Standing), 2007; Chromira c-print, 30 x 40 in.; Collection of Darryl Atwell; © Xaviera Simmons, Courtesy David Castillo Gallery

In her writing on racial and social justice for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Art Newspaper, Simmons has expressed a desire to understand what it takes to shift political systems. Her art works to shift our notions of race, history, and collective narratives.

She says of One Day and Back Then (Standing), “The image asks complicated questions of the viewer: Who is this subject and what are her intentions? What is the meaning of blackface in this context and where might this subject be? Who, historically and traditionally, gets to exist in the sublime with regards to landscape photography and landscape painting? How might our entire history have been different had America fulfilled its emancipatory promises to its freed slaves and their descendants instead of commemorating its defeated Confederate planters?”

“Black American men and women, particularly those who descend from American slavery, have been in a constant state of migration, distress, and unsettle since the formation of the United States in and on the landscape of their centuries of forced toil,” explained the artist. Simmons herself is the daughter of a sharecropper from Georgia and can trace her ancestors back nearly four centuries in the U.S. The artist states that her “entire lineage on all sides is all some kind of mixed ‘race’ group built by Southern American slavery.”

After graduating from Bard College with her BFA in 2004, Simmons simultaneously trained as an actor at the Maggie Flanigan Studio and completed the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art. She uses wide-ranging forms of art and writing in her work, including photography, performance, installation, and sound.

In her feature for MoMA, Simmons contemplates white supremacy and systemic racism in her social groups, her home town of New York City, and the country. “America doesn’t know people as daughters of sharecroppers or as descendants of American slavery…if there are descendants of slavery then there are descendants of planters and plantation owners.…Our collective narrative doesn’t really account for the white people, their children, and so on across the country who oppressed negros for centuries, like till right now.” Simmons wants us to properly acknowledge and take responsibility for our national history of oppression. “It would be radical if we were once again abolitionists; these times demand the usage of that word…”

—Hannah Southern was the fall 2019 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

In Her Own Hand: Judy Chicago’s Use of Text in “The End”

The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, the newest body of work by iconic feminist artist Judy Chicago, continues the artist’s practice of tackling taboo subjects. In these works, she offers a bold reflection on mortality and the destruction of entire species. Visually striking and emotionally charged, the exhibition comprises more than 35 paintings on black glass and porcelain, as well as two large-scale bronze reliefs. On view September 19, 2019–January 20, 2020.

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Judy Chicago has a long history of incorporating handwritten text into her bold and colorful artworks. Whether embroidered into cloth or painted in watercolor, Chicago uses words within a visual language that invites viewers to reflect on—or challenge—the status quo. In her most recent body of work, The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, the sections titled “Extinction” and “Mortality” are no different. In these works, made of kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, the artist’s soft, cursive handwriting appears juxtaposed with the difficult and urgent subject matter it communicates. Through words and images, Chicago addresses a culture that averts its eyes from the inevitable and from destruction: aging, death, and extinction.

An image that is part of Judy Chicago's "Mortality" series, depicting the artist's reclined body, her crying husband holding her, and the text "Will I die in my husband's arms?" floating above the image.

Judy Chicago, How Will I Die? #8, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2015; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 9 x 12 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

The panels in both series carry the intimacy of a diary in scale, at just 9 by 12 inches each (“Mortality”) or 12 by 18 (“Extinction”). Her distinctive, swirling letters resemble a decorative motif and embrace femininity, sentimentality, and sincere personal reflection. In the “Mortality” works, Chicago imagines various ways she might die and renders these scenarios in striking imagery framed by ruminating text. “Will I die in my husband’s arms?” hovers over an image of the artist’s reclined body, her crying husband holding her.

In “Extinction,” Chicago expresses compassion for the natural world by addressing human greed through factual, heart-wrenching descriptions. These works highlight her meticulous handwriting and commitment to research, presenting urgent information. Text in this series commands moral authority. In Declining (2016), Chicago paints three frogs perched on a cliff facing a distant horizon. Underneath the illustration, she writes:

Frog populations have been declining worldwide and nearly one-third are threatened with extinction. Frogs have survived in their current form for 250 million years and should serve as an alarm call that something is dramatically wrong with the environment. Frogs are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress. Pollution, global warming and habitat destruction have already taken a toll.

In Declining (2016), Chicago paints three frogs perched on a cliff facing a distant horizon. Underneath the illustration, she writes: Frog populations have been declining worldwide and nearly one-third are threatened with extinction. Frogs have survived in their current form for 250 million years and should serve as an alarm call that something is dramatically wrong with the environment. Frogs are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress. Pollution, global warming and habitat destruction have already taken a toll.

Judy Chicago, Declining, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2016; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Though small in scale, works in “Extinction” are striking and emotional. They urge viewers to question consumption and destruction and advocate for change. In a recent interview, Chicago stated, “I wanted [the artwork] to be in my own hand because I wished to demonstrate that art does not have to be huge in order to be important or moving.”

When artists include language as a technique, they liberate their artwork from its formal properties. Words have the power to control, influence, and inspire—often more directly than images alone. Chicago’s use of her own handwriting welcomes interpretation and introspection, inviting us to reflect on how we spend our time here on Earth.

—Christina Papanicolaou was the summer 2019 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: December 13, 2019

Feminist artist May Stevens died on Monday at age 95. An active figure in the Feminist Art Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, Stevens believed that art must be used for social commentary, not just personal expression.

May Stevens, Soho Women Artists, 1978; Acrylic on canvas, 78 x 142 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase: The Lois Pollard Price Acquisition Fund

May Stevens, SoHo Women Artists, 1978; Acrylic on canvas, 78 x 142 in.; NMWA, Museum purchase: The Lois Pollard Price Acquisition Fund

Stevens celebrated the lives of women artists in individual and group portraits, including SoHo Women Artists (1978) on view in NMWA’s collection galleries. She co-founded the feminist magazine Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics, published from 1977 to 1992.

Front-Page Femmes

Parker Curry, the young girl dazzled by Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama, has written a children’s book about the experience with her mother called Parker Looks Up.

Eun Sun Kim, recently named San Francisco Opera’s next music director, will be the first Asian woman to lead an American opera company.

Guernica interviews essayist and feminist Lilly Dancyger, editor of the new book Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger.

Rebecca Salter has been elected president of London’s Royal Academy of Arts; she is the first woman in the position in its 251-year history.

Artist Myrlande Constant in her studio

Artist Myrlande Constant; Courtesy of Faena Art

Artnet News profiles Haitian artist Myrlande Constant, who “paints” with beads in her intricate embroideries.

Mexican conceptual artist and curator Carla Herrera-Prats has died at age 46 from complications due to breast cancer.

Hyperallergic reviews Céline Sciamma’s film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, paying homage to the labor of women artists.

The Chicago Tribune profiles Re-Tool 21, a collaboration between the Joyce Foundation and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago that will train traditionally underrepresented groups in the art world for art preparation and handling.

Thirty-four-year-old Sanna Marin, the new Prime Minister of Finland, became the youngest head of government in the world when she took office on Tuesday.

The Hill interviews lawyer-turned-photographer Cindy Trinh, who documents activism, protests, and social justice movements to “show the positive outcomes of people exercising their rights to freedom of speech and protest.”

The BBC reports on the women revolutionizing Middle-Eastern film, a larger proportion than in Hollywood; a recent study found that 26% of independent Arab filmmakers are women.

Exhibitions We Want to See

Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory is open at The Met Breuer in New York. It is the artist’s first major retrospective in more than 25 years. The Nation writes, “it’s possible to look at any object in the show for a long time: There is so much to be seen, and each object yields so much on deeper investigation.”

A black and white photo of a still ocean.

Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean), 1970; Courtesy of The Met Breuer

Mickalene Thomas: Better Nights is open at The Bass in Miami. The immersive installation reconstructs an apartment environment from the 1970s according to the domestic aesthetic of the period. Artsy interviews Thomas and Bass director Silvia Cubiñá about the exhibition, which “promotes a vision of art making that relishes in solidarity and collaboration instead of tired notions of the single lone genius, toiling away in the studio to his sole benefit.”

—Hannah Southern is the fall 2019 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s no secret: NMWA’s Museum Shop is a local favorite for fun, funky, and fresh gifts from women-owned and -operated companies around the world. We rounded up our favorite products to help you find last-minute gifts for the art-loving feminists in your lives.

Visit the shop Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. –5 p.m., or buy products online.

Museum members receive a 10% discount on purchases both in-store and online. For online purchases, use the member code on your magazine subscription.

For the Art Buff

1.Great Women Artists ($59.95)

2. Yayoi Kusama Mug Set ($48)

3. Guerrilla Girls “Erase Discrimination” Eraser ($3)

4. Frida Kahlo Keychain ($25)

5. Niki de Saint Phalle Bookmark ($4)

For the Fierce Feminist

1. Guerrilla Girls “Dear Art Collector” Handkerchief ($18)

2. Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism ($19.99)

3. “You’re Perfect!” Boobs Coffee Mug ($17)

4. “Chill with that Misogyny” T-Shirt ($35)

5. Ruth Bader Ginsberg Trinket Tray ($20)

For the Women Who Live Dangerously

NMWA’s exhibition Live Dangerously, on view through January 20, 2020, presents fierce, dreamy, and witty photographs of women presiding over the landscape—all through the lens of the female gaze.

1. Everyday Magic: Rituals, Spells & Potions to Live Your Best Life ($14.99)

2. “Ignite” Small Match Bottle ($17)

3. Rosebud Original Strength CBD Oil ($55)

4. “Women Don’t Owe You Shit” Cap ($32)

5. The New Women’s Survival Catalog ($30)

For the Little Feminist

1. Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time ($17.99)

2. We Came to America ($17.99)

3. She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History ($17.99)

4. Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment ($17.99)

Visualizing Extinction in Judy Chicago’s “The End”

The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, the newest body of work by iconic feminist artist Judy Chicago, continues the artist’s practice of tackling taboo subjects. In these works, she offers a bold reflection on mortality and the destruction of entire species. Visually striking and emotionally charged, the exhibition comprises more than 35 paintings on black glass and porcelain, as well as two large-scale bronze reliefs. On view September 19, 2019–January 20, 2020.

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In a piece for the New Yorker this summer about a polar bear that was sighted far from its usual terrain, Michele Moses wrote, “The story of climate change has been told, in part, through pictures of polar bears. And no wonder: in their glittering icy habitat, they reflect the otherworldly beauty that rising temperatures threaten to destroy.” Polar bears, dependent on a habitat of sea ice to hunt for food and raise their young, were the first species to be declared threatened or endangered due to climate change. Little has been done to end this destruction, and greenhouse gases continue to shrink the extent of Arctic ice.

Judy Chicago, Stranded, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2016; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

Judy Chicago (b. 1939) captures that otherworldly beauty—and human-caused destruction—in Stranded, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction (2016). In kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, Chicago depicts a polar bear looking out toward the viewer as it seems to drift backward on an ice floe. Luminous colors evoke the vibrant blues of the Arctic ocean and the reflected light from water and ice.

As artists contend with the urgency of climate change, some portray nature’s stunning grandeur to inspire viewers into protecting the planet; others show human-caused damage that provokes shock and anguish. In combining those approaches, Chicago delivers a painful message through beautiful and delicate works. She has said that this body of work was “personally excruciating to create. To be faced every day with what we are doing to other creatures and the planet was to enter the kingdom of hell.”

Separate sections of The End show the artist grappling with grief and with her own mortality. Stranded is part of the “Extinction” series, a group of works that each depict the plights of individual animals or plants—birds, sea turtles, elephants, frogs, coral, and orchids appear, among others. Chicago uses written text throughout her work to describe the threats that imperil each creature and to issue a plea for compassion. The handwritten text within Stranded underscores the importance and centrality of the polar bear, and it includes a quote from environmental activist Derrick Jensen: “Every creature on the planet must be hoping that…our time of awakening comes soon.”

 —Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.