Art Fix Friday: June 21, 2019

Poet, writer, and musician Joy Harjo has been named the new U.S. poet laureate—she is the first Native American to serve in the position.

A headshot of Joy Harjo for the Library of Congress; the writer wears her black hair parted in the middle with some wispy bangs, a slight smile with red lipstick, and long intricately beaded earrings.

Joy Harjo; Photo by Shawn Miller for the Library of Congress

Harjo is the author of eight books of poetry, a memoir, and a number of children’s books. She will represent both her Indigenous culture and all those of the U.S. when she succeeds Tracy K. Smith this fall. About the appointment, Harjo said, “I bear the honor on behalf of the people and my ancestors…It’s such an honoring for Native people in this country.”

Front-Page Femmes

Elizabeth Acevedo is the first writer of color to win the Carnegie medal, the U.K.’s most prestigious children’s book award, in its 83-year history.

The New York Times profiles the re-emergence of female surrealists, reviewing two current shows featuring work by Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo.

Painter Joyce Pensato, whose work addressed the sinister side of cartoon iconography, has died at age 78.

A new survey revealed that only a quarter of solo museum shows in Switzerland have been dedicated to women over the past decade.

A woman stands in the middle of Yayoi Kusamas LOVE IS CALLING Infinity Room, which is full of neon pink, green, and yellow sculptures with black polka dots that rise from the floor like tentacles, but are also reflected on all of the mirrored surfaces to create a fully immersive environment.

Exhibition employees admire Kusama’s installation LOVE IS CALLING, which will be on view at ICA Boston in September 2019; Photo by Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Yayoi Kusama will debut a new Infinity Mirror Room at David Zwirner Gallery in New York this fall; the ICA Boston will also open its recently acquired Infinity Room—the largest owned by a museum in North America—around the same time.

According to new research, more women are directing independent films than ever—and when there’s a female director, there are more women writers, editors, and cinematographers hired.

Marin Alsop, head of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the first women to lead a major American orchestra, has started a fellowship for women conductors.

The Art Newspaper looks at the life of U.K. sculptor Mary Spencer Watson (1913–2006), whose 16th-century farmhouse is now open year-round and includes reproductions and a permanent exhibition.

Vanity Fair features an exclusive first look at Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan’s remake of the classic Little Women, which will hit theaters in December 2019.

Shows We Want to See

MOOD: Studio Museum Artists in Residence 2018–19 is on view MoMA PS1. It features the work of Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self, and Sable Elyse Smith and resituates the often-trending social media hashtag #mood that describes moments both profound and banal.

Five textile sculptures by Mrinalini Mukherjee hang from the ceiling in a row. They are different shades of muted purple, orange, and yellow and are larger than a person. Each sculpture resembles a creature in the way the fabric has been constructed to look like it is around a body, but also is unfolding in ways that resemble otherworldly costumes or deities.

Left to right: Mrinalini Mukherjee’s Basanti (She of Spring), 1984; Yakshi (Female Forest Deity), 1984; Pakshi (Bird), 1985; Rudra (Deity of Terror), 1982; and Devi (Goddess), 1982; Photo by Ben Davis

Mrinalini Mukherjee’s Phenomenal Nature is on view at the Met Breuer in New York City. It is the first comprehensive presentation of the artist’s work in the U.S. and explores her work with fiber, along with her forays into ceramic and bronze. Throughout her career, Mukherjee “[did] the labor of staking out new terrain, navigating the psychic dilemmas of art-making in post-colonial India.”

On June 27, Cindy Sherman opens at the National Portrait Gallery in London. This is the first major U.K. retrospective of the artist’s work and includes 150 works from the mid-1970s to the present day. It will explore the artist’s manipulation of her own appearance and the tension between façade and identity—including the influence of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

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