Art Fix Friday: April 26, 2019

Zanele Muholi portrait; Image © Zanele Muholi; Courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg

Zanele Muholi portrait; Image © Zanele Muholi; Courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town/Johannesburg

The May issue of Out magazine delves into the power of art with a feature on visual activist Zanele Muholi, who came of age in South Africa’s apartheid era.

Muholi depicts the LGBTQI communities of South Africa, creating empowering images that seek to correct the distorted visual narrative around them. “I’m producing this work as a concerned citizen of this country,” Muholi says. “I want to change what is written about us, what we are fed and forced to consume because we are told that we need to become better persons.”

Front-Page Femmes

artnet rounds up five solo shows by women artists to take in during Berlin Gallery Weekend.

The Art Newspaper interviews Simone Leigh about her commitment to representing the experience of black women.

Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have been named the designers of the forthcoming Shirley Chisholm monument in New York City.

Mary Gabriel’s book Ninth Street Women will become a series on Amazon—who might play the pioneering artists?

Sarah Lewis’s “Vision & Justice” course has grown into a full convening, which kicks off this week to explore “the role of the arts in identity and justice.”

Wonderland interviews illustrator Alice Skinner about her relatable images of female friendships, diverse bodies, and her underlying messaging.

Illustrator Alice Skinner’s Afterparty Scene; photo courtesy Wonderland Magazine

Illustrator Alice Skinner’s Afterparty Scene; photo courtesy Wonderland Magazine

In partnership with Artsy, CNN has published “A brief history of female rage in art,” profiling seven works that show the beauty and power of female rage.

Vogue profiles eight Indigenous beaders who are modernizing their craft.

The Guardian reviews Tate’s new all-female collection rehang, which they say “contains some great art, but is too shallow to shake things up.”

Hyperallergic looks at the record-breaking Hilma af Klint exhibition, which drew over 600,000 visitors.

Meet Rosalba Carriera, “the first woman artist millionaire you’ve never heard of.”

Forbes interviews Cheyenne Westphal, chairwoman of Phillips auction house in London, who “shares her secrets of conquering two decades of master sales.”

Shows We Want to See

At the Aspen Art Museum, Margaret Kilgallen: that’s where the beauty is examines the artist’s roots in printmaking, American and non-Western folk history and folklore, and feminist strategies of representation.

Margaret Kilgallen, Untitled, ca. 2000; Acrylic on canvas; Courtesy of the Estate of Margaret Kilgallen and Ratio 3, San Francisco

Margaret Kilgallen, Untitled, ca. 2000; Acrylic on canvas; Courtesy of the Estate of Margaret Kilgallen and Ratio 3, San Francisco

At the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, the first major U.S. solo exhibition of Chilean-born artist Cecilia Vicuña will open on Saturday. Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen traces the artist’s career-long commitment to exploring discarded and displaced materials, peoples, and landscapes.

At the Guggenheim Museum, Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat is on view—presented on the occasion of Leigh winning the 2018 Hugo Boss Prize. Leigh layers “form, sound, and text to fashion narratives of resilience and resistance.”

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

Meet Fresh Talk Speaker Hilary Sample

In 2003, Hilary Sample co-founded MOS Architects, an architectural firm credited with award-winning design solutions and a new business philosophy in architecture—not to mention an offbeat and self-aware sense of style. Buildings aside, the firm has created furniture that mimics architectural maquettes, a collapsible puppet theatre, a low-resolution quilt, Early-Modernist Avant-Garde soap reproductions, and software programs that are both whimsical and stunning.

Tonight NMWA welcomes Sample, principal architect at MOS and associate professor at Columbia GSAPP, for Fresh Talk: Writing the Balance—a talk about rewriting predominant narratives. We asked her three questions to give us a taste of what we can look forward to:

  • What does gender equality look like in your field? Shifting beyond the discussion of equality and moving towards a discussion of quality over quantity of opportunities.
  • What is one thinga source of inspiration, character trait, skill, or toolthat has helped you overcome obstacles in your field? Focus on the future.
  • Can you describe a moment that made you recognize that you were doing important work? Every day offers a new chance to engage in creative work. I am grateful for the opportunities and relationships that shape a creative life, from teaching to writing, to practice, to motherhood.

In Fresh Talk: Writing the Balance, Sample joins Amy Padnani, creator of the “Overlooked” obituary series at the New York Times, and Jodie Patterson, LGBTQI activist and author of The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation. By exploring how these three women have challenged normative perspectives in their fields, Writing the Balance will investigate how gender equity can be shared through language, and what progress means for underrepresented genders across disciplines.

—Grace DeWitt is the spring 2019 public programs intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: April 19, 2019

Clockwise: Awol Erikzu’s photograph of Beyoncé; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Frida Kahlo photographed by Nickolas Muray

Clockwise: Awol Erikzu’s photograph of Beyoncé; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Frida Kahlo photographed by Nickolas Muray

Artnet breaks down the ways Beyoncé has masterfully remixed art history over the years, creating her own visual language by using elements sourced from the Italian Renaissance to Afro-Futurism.

Among other examples, her 2017 pregnancy announcement photographs echo Our Lady of Guadalupe, Frida Kahlo, and The Birth of Venus; and scenes in the video for “Hold Up” parallel Pipilotti Rist’s 1997 video work Ever Is Over All. Her use of these images “…invite[s] contemplation about the African diaspora, about what it means to be a Black woman in America, or simply what it means to be a woman in today’s world.”

Front-Page Femmes

The New York Times reports on the contemporary jewelry inspired by Frida Kahlo, calling the artist “the 1940s counterpart to an influencer; a walking painting.”

Alexandra Suda becomes the fourth woman director of the National Gallery of Canada.

Roberta Smith, co-chief art critic of the New York Times, has won the Rabkin Foundation’s $50,000 lifetime achievement award—she will donate the money to the Art for Justice Fund.

The Whitney Museum has acquired 300 artworks over the past six months, and works by Nina Chanel Abney, Barbara Hammer, Simone Leigh, and Mary Weatherford will enter its collection for the first time.

Afghanistan’s first female conductor, who leads the country’s all-female Zohra Orchestra, is convinced that music can help deliver peace to the country—if only the Taliban will listen.

A shot of Afghanistan’s all-female orchestra performing at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Afghanistan’s all-female orchestra performs at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jan. 2017; Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Hyperallergic reports on the viral photograph that has come to symbolize the power of the Sudanese women leading the nation’s recent uprising against ruler Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

A new novel about Louise Bourgeois attempts to channel the artist on the page with a “sometimes uncomfortable” performance of the artist’s voice.

The Art Newspaper profiles Katie Paterson’s Future Library and how to “future-proof” the ongoing work, which will not be completed until 2114.

Buzzfeed interviews the granddaughter of Lee Miller, once the official war photographer for Vogue during World War II, on the artist’s lasting legacy.

Show We Want to See

Opening today at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, Beatriz González: A Retrospective is the first large-scale U.S. retrospective of the 81-year-old Bogotá-based artist. It will include 150 works from the 1960s through today that embody the full oeuvre of the artist, who was part of the “radical women” generation in Latin America.

Beatriz González, Los Predicadores, 2000; Charcoal and pastel on canvas; Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez

Beatriz González, Los Predicadores, 2000; Charcoal and pastel on canvas; Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez

At Vancouver’s Bill Reid Gallery, the exhibition water honours us: womxn and waterways features works by Indigenous women artists that aim to combat stereotypes. Organized by the ReMatriate Collective, the show “explores the roles of Indigenous women as childbearers, healers, and doulas, and their relationships with water.”

At the Oakland Museum of Contemporary Art, Queer California Untold Stories presents contemporary artwork and historical materials that deepen the stories of transgender communities, people of color, women, and others who have been left out of history.

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

Art Fix Friday: April 12, 2019

This week, a team of more than 200 researchers released the first image of a black hole. The feat was years in the making and made possible by algorithms written in part by 29-year-old Katie Bouman, one of just a few women on the team.

Katie Bouman watches a computer screen excitedly as the first image of a black hole is created with the algorithim she helped write.

Katie Bouman watches the first image of a black hole being created; Photo credit: Katie Bouman Facebook

With a background in computer science, electrical engineering, and computer vision, Bouman has a passion for “coming up with ways to see or measure things that are invisible.” She may be in science, but it’s clear Bouman has the sensibilities of an artist.

Front-Page Femmes

Beverly Cleary, award-winning author of the “Ramona” series, turns 103 today, and Slate reflects on how she transformed her difficult childhood into heartwarming fiction.

French sculptor Claude Lalanne has died at age 93. “In a few decades, [she] created unforgettable and universal worlds where poetry and imagination speak to everyone.”

Artsy remembers the forgotten women who hand-painted the first color films. The meticulous work was seen as similar to “domestic, female-coded tasks like painting glass or china.”

Hyperallergic profiles the January 2019 gathering of 100 Black women, non-binary artists, and curators at the Art Gallery of Ontario, organized by Black Wimmin Artists.

The Art Newspaper reports on Art Paris, describing this year’s fair as markedly more feminist, but still lacking a clear identity.

A painting by Emma Amos of an African American man and woman dancing in the center of a green circle that is framed by a blue background. Around them other smaller figures--white, black, singular, couples, clothed, naked--dance in varying poses.

Emma Amos’s Let Me Off Uptown (1999–2000) sold for a record $125,000 at the Swann African American Art Sale

The latest sale of African American fine art at Swann Auction Galleries resulted in records for several living women artists, including Simone Leigh, Emma Amos, and Howardena Pindell.

Dazed profiles women surrealists and their contributions to the movement, noting that they “emblazoned surrealism with a new type of self-awareness never achieved by their male counterparts.”

Artsy examines how the biblical story of Judith beheading Holofernes “became art history’s favorite icon of female rage.”

The National Museum of Wales admitted its collections “embed historical injustice” after research showed that men dominated its recent exhibitions.

The National Endowment for the Arts celebrates 2019 Jazz Master Maria Schneider with a tribute video ahead of the April 15 Jazz Masters Tribute Concert.

Shows We Want to See

At the FM Center for Contemporary Art in Milan, The Unexpected Subject: 1978 Art and Feminism in Italy is on view—it is the “first extensive survey on the relationship between feminist movements and visual arts in Italy.”

Maria Lassnig: Ways of Being is open at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. It is the first large survey of the Austrian artist and includes more than 200 paintings, drawings, films, and sculptures.

At the Queens Museum, Alexandria Smith threads religious and African American cultural themes in her memorial installation Monuments to an Effigy, which honors the African and Native women buried—but never acknowledged—at the Old Towne of Flushing Burial Ground in Queens.

Sheila Hicks, VARMAYANA (The Place of Shining Light), 2018; Installation view at Poussières d’étoiles, Domaine des Etangs, Massignac, France, 2018

Sheila Hicks, VARMAYANA (The Place of Shining Light), 2018; Installation view at Poussières d’étoiles, Domaine des Etangs, Massignac, France, 2018; Photo: Arthur Péquin; Courtesy the artist and galerie frank elbaz

On April 13, Sheila Hicks’s Campo Abierto (Open Field) will open at The Bass in Miami. The show will explore “the formal, social, and environmental aspects of landscape that have been present, yet rarely examined,” throughout Hicks’s career.

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

Director’s Desk: Rebels with a Cause

At the National Museum of Women in the Arts, we regularly rotate our collection to spark new thematic connections. This is an essential part of our curatorial philosophy. In a six-post series, I will explore the themes featured in our most recent collection installation.

Eight diverse women museum visitors are scattered throughout the NMWA collection galleries browsing the art on the walls.

NMWA visitors browse the newly reinstalled collection galleries; Photo by Kevin Allen

Throughout Western art history, women artists have distinguished themselves by persistently and successfully working within a system that has tried to suppress them and/or devalue their efforts. Not to be dismissed, they charted their own courses, petitioned for admittance to all-male art schools and artists’ organizations, and developed their own networks.

Beginning in the 20th century, many women artists boldly engaged with social issues and embraced their roles as advocates. These visionaries demonstrate that revolution comes in many forms, and their voices are alternately gracious, shrewd, fierce, and funny. In our “Rebels with a Cause” gallery, these artists—and often the individuals they portray—demonstrate that women have blazed trails and propelled change for centuries.

Gallery Highlights:

Born in 1552, Italian Renaissance painter Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614) is regarded as the first professional woman artist in Western Europe. Not only did she work within the same sphere as her male counterparts, but her husband gave up his artistic ambitions to manage her career and their household. Through eleven pregnancies, Fontana produced vibrant, detailed works, and eventually became a portraitist at the courts of several popes in Rome.

What If Women Ruled the World (2016), the six-foot neon sculpture by Yael Bartana (b. 1970), raises questions around gender equity, national identity, and the fate of humanity. The piece is inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, in which a select group of powerful white men assemble to discuss options for survival in the face of an accidental nuclear Armageddon. Bartana’s piece proposes and proclaims a more peaceful alternative to this vision.


Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of a Noblewoman, ca. 1580; Oil on canvas, 45 1/4 x 35 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; Funding for the frame generously provided by the Texas State Committee; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Yael Bartana, What if Women Ruled the World, 2016; Neon, 98 1/2 x 38 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase, Belinda de Gaudemar Acquisition Fund, with additional support from the Members’ Acquisition Fund; © Yael Bartana; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Yael Bartana, What if Women Ruled the World, 2016; Neon, 98 1/2 x 38 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase, Belinda de Gaudemar Acquisition Fund, with additional support from the Members’ Acquisition Fund; © Yael Bartana; Photo by Lee Stalsworth


Amy Sherald, They call me Redbone but I’d rather be Strawberry Shortcake, 2009; Oil on canvas, 54 x 43 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of the artist and the 25th Anniversary of NMWA; © Amy Sherald


Guerrilla Girls, Do women Have to Be Naked update (from the series "Guerrilla Girls Talk Back: Portfolio 2"), 2005; Lithographic poster, 12 x 14 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of Wilhelmina Cole Holladay; © Guerrilla Girls, Courtesy

Amy Sherald (b. 1973) reworks the traditional portrait format to reimagine the African American experience and challenge concepts of racial identity. Sherald’s haunting figures are expressionless and dressed in playful, costume-style clothing. In all of her works, including our painting They Call Me Redbone but I’d Rather be Strawberry Shortcake (2009), Sherald paints her subjects in grayscale, metaphorically removing their skin color and helping viewers imagine a world without restrictive stereotypes.

No discussion of “Rebels with a Cause” would be complete without the Guerrilla Girls, a group of famous—but anonymous—activist-artists who began wearing gorilla masks to call out sexism and racism in the art world of the 1980s. Several of their broadsides are on view at NMWA, including the well-known poster Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? (2005). Fortunately, as this and other works in this new themed gallery illustrate, women artists have found other ways to get their work noticed and their talent and ideas across.

—Susan Fisher Sterling is the Alice West Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: April 5, 2019

A black and white photo of artist Anni Albers at work in her studio. She wears a polka dot bandanna on her head and a plain white sweater. The photo is taken from the side of a loom, her hands are working the wood sections as she weaves.

Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College, 1937; Photo by Helen M. Post Modley; Courtesy of Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina

As the Bauhaus turns 100, female members of the influential design school are finally getting their due with long belated attention paid to their important—and historically overlooked—contributions.

Curbed celebrates six trailblazing Bauhaus women, noting, “Now weaver Anni Albers can have a solo retrospective at the Tate Modern. Now Lucia Moholy’s photographs can be treated as works of art in themselves, not, as documentation of other people’s genius, as some of her more famous colleagues thought. But it took so long, and these stories remain so frustrating.”

Front-Page Femmes

Harper’s Bazaar interviews Judy Chicago on feminism, fame, and the renewed appreciation for her decades of work.

Washington, D.C.’s National Portrait Gallery has opened the exhibition Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence, the most comprehensive show ever on the fight for women’s suffrage in the U.S.

Hyperallergic remembers Agnès Varda and her rich body of work, which “begs for deep and continual consideration.”

artnet looks at Brazil’s surprisingly feminist art world, where women artists enjoy equal recognition and market value with their male peers.

The Washington Post reviews NMWA’s current Ursula von Rydingsvard exhibition, The Contour of Feeling, hailing the artist’s “remarkable body of work and courageous honesty.”

A photograph of sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard, center, who is surrounded by her four studio assistants--one woman, three men--as they stand in a large studio/warehouse space in front of her massive "Bowl With Folds" sculpture. The artist and her assistants all wear protective white jumpsuits, which are tarnished with graphite and two assistants have masks hanging around their necks.

Ursula von Rydingsvard, center, surrounded by studio assistants in front of Bowl With Folds (1998–99) in Detroit in 2017; Photo courtesy of Kevin Silary/Galerie Lelong & Co.

The Library of Congress has acquired 157 handwritten letters from Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, Alfred Stieglitz.

Brandi Cheyenne Harper pens an essay for Design*Sponge on what it means to be a black artist in the design community.

Hyperallergic reviews Simone Fattal’s first U.S. retrospective, Works and Days, on view at MoMA PS1, “a feminist expression of pure modernity from an ever-conflicted Beirut.”

The life story of renowned poet and writer Maya Angelou is being developed into a one-woman Broadway show, set to debut in 2021.

Not long before the election of Chicago’s first black woman mayor, The Cut interviewed Eve Ewing, poet, playwright, scholar, sociologist, and “Chicago’s true mayor: a young, charismatic guardian of the city’s possibility and spirit.”

Shows We Want to See

A painting of a black woman who is positioned in the center, wearing a white head scarf and dress, with a subtle pink sky behind her, palm trees, a sun, and the words "Lua Cheia" painted in black over the sun. Her expression is forlorn and in the lower half of the painting there is a yellow bandanna, red goggles or a bikini, and blue shorts.

Cassi Namoda, Moon Bather, 2019; Photo: Ian Byers-Gamber, courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly

At the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Sonya Clark: Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know spotlights the Confederate Flag of Truce—a cloth that brokered peace and represented the promise of reconciliation—and proposes it as a monumental alternative to the divisive Confederate Battle Flag. For the exhibition, Clark created 101 replicas of the Truce Flag, along with a massive replica ten times the size of the original.

Cassi Namoda’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, The Day a Monkey is Destined to Die All Trees Become Slippery, is on view at François Ghebaly Gallery. “Like the exhibition’s title, a folk saying in Namoda’s birth country of Mozambique, the works in the show explore the mythologies and proverbs of daily life in East Africa from the perspective of a vibrant young storyteller.”


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

Art Fix Friday: March 29, 2019

In 2020, the first major survey of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work will open at Tate; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Amber and Jasmine (2018), oil on linen, 59 1/4x 55 1/8 inches (Courtesy the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, and Corvi-Mora, London © Lynette Yiadom-Boayke)

In 2020, the first major survey of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work will open at Tate Britain; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Amber and Jasmine (2018); Oil on linen, 59 1/4 x 55 1/8 in.; Courtesy the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, and Corvi-Mora, London, © Lynette Yiadom-Boayke

Our #5WomenArtists campaign wraps up this Sunday, and there is still time to participate! Join the conversation, carry the movement forward with campaign merchandise, and continue your support of women artists throughout the year.

This week we interviewed Nell Burnham, digital marketing production officer at Tate, about the strides her institution is making to better represent women artists, including a schedule of five major solo shows by women artists throughout 2019–2020.

Front-Page Femmes

Washington, D.C.’s Hirshhorn Museum has acquired Yayoi Kusama’s reconfiguration of Phalli’s Field, her very first Infinity Mirror, which will go on view in 2020.

Vice interviews Bangladeshi photographer Habiba Nowrose about her “Concealed” series and the “sacrifice women make to fit society’s standards of beauty.”

The Gender Equity in Museums Movement recently published Museums as a Pink-Collar Profession, a report that looks at the woman-dominated field and states that “equal demographics don’t mean workplace equity.”

French New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda has died at age 90.

In Kansas City, 50 local women artists exhibit their work in Who Does She Think She Is?, an exploration of the “unique experiences and challenges women artists face in America.”

Broadly profiles five Muslim women artists who are “creating, growing, and inspiring others.”

In the current exhibition Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse, the Musée d’Orsay has temporarily renamed Manet’s Olympia and other iconic works to honor the black subjects depicted in them.

Édouard Manet, “Laure” (1863), oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm (via Wikimedia Commons, Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Édouard Manet, “Laure” (1863); Oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm (via Wikimedia Commons, Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Museum Hue co-founder Stephanie Cunningham talks about racial diversity in cultural institutions on the latest episode of the Museum Archipelago podcast.

The City of New York has revealed five proposals for the forthcoming Shirley Chisholm monument created by artists Firelei Báez, La Vaughn Belle, Tanda Francis, Mickalene Thomas, and Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifou.

At the Pasadena Museum of History, Something Revealed: California Women Artists Emerge, 1860–1960, presents nearly 300 works by 132 overlooked women artists.

Show We Want to See

The Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada, presents a survey of Rebecca Belmore’s 30-year career in Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental. A member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), Belmore’s work is rooted in the political and social realities of Indigenous communities. The sculptures, installations, photographs, and performance-based works in this survey address water and land rights, women’s lives and dignity, police and state violence against Indigenous people, and the role of the artist in contemporary life. On view through May 5.

Rebecca Belmore, sister, 2010, colour inkjet on transparencies, 213.4 x 365.8 cm (overall). Courtesy of the artist. © Rebecca Belmore

Rebecca Belmore, sister, 2010; Color inkjet on transparencies; Courtesy of the artist; © Rebecca Belmore

At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, Saya Woolfalk: Expedition to the ChimaCloud “transports visitors into a fantastical world where they encounter a fictional race of women called the Empathics.” The immersive, multimedia work was designed specifically for the Nelson-Atkins and was inspired by the museum’s permanent collection. The experience incorporates themes of “cultural hybridization, technology, identity, ceremonial rituals, and science fiction.”

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

#5WomenArtists Up Close: Tate

NMWA’s annual #5WomenArtists campaign calls attention to the fact that women artists remain underrepresented—and their work undervalued—in the art world. Since 2016, more than 11,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations have participated. This year, we asked cultural institutions to commit to actions that will advance gender equity in the arts. Hear from Nell Burnham, digital marketing production officer at Tate, about her museum’s commitments—and get inspired to make your own.

Tate highlights the work of British artist Gwen John, including her Self-Portrait (1902), in this year’s #5WomenArtists campaign; Photo © Tate

Is this Tate’s first year participating in #5WomenArtists?

Tate has participated in #5WomenArtists for the last three years. The campaign has been well received by our audience—in 2018, engagement on our social channels increased by more than a third during this campaign. Working on content and looking at our collection through the lens of #5WomenArtists helped us reframe our social media strategy, putting representation and diversity at the heart of what we present on our channels—not just for Women’s History month but throughout the year.

Why is the #5WomenArtists campaign important to Tate?

The #5WomenArtists campaign sheds light on the inequalities that exist in the arts sector. It has also united galleries and museums from around the world in raising awareness and working for change. Tate is committed to championing the work of women artists across its collection and exhibition programme, and the #5WomenArtists campaign gives us a moment to reflect on the work we are doing to represent women artists and share their work with our online audiences.

Tell us about your pledged action(s).

Tate pledged to make 95% of our social media posts about women artists for the month of March. To mark the campaign, we also announced five major solo shows by women artists opening across the Tate galleries in 2020 and 2021.

Which women artists will you be highlighting?

For the five major solo shows, Tate Britain will celebrate two of the most important figurative painters of their generations; in 2020 the first major survey of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work will open, followed by a retrospective of Paula Rego’s paintings, drawings, and prints in 2021. Tate Modern will highlight the work of two Eastern European sculptors in its 2020 programme, beginning in June with an immersive exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s huge textile sculptures. This will be followed in November by a retrospective of Maria Bartuszová, an artist renowned for her experimental abstract works in plaster. In summer 2020, Tate St Ives will stage a major exhibition of the multisensory work of South Korean artist Haegue Yang.

On our social channels, we will share the work of more than 50 women artists across the month, including Lubaina Himid, the Guerrilla Girls, Louise Bourgeois, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Gwen John, Sonia Boyce, Alexis Hunter, Beatrix Potter, and Gillian Wearing.

How will your digital channels continue to champion the work of women artists beyond this campaign?

We will continue to champion the work by women in our collection, collaborate with new and emerging women artists, and engage in conversations around diversity and equality.

—Nell Burnham is the digital marketing production officer at Tate; Alicia Gregory is the assistant editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: March 22, 2019

Lincoln, Nebraska’s Sheldon Museum of Art participates in #5WomenArtists and #InternationalWomensDay with a snap of their collection galleries

Week three of #5WomenArtists wraps up with almost 700 institutional participants since March 1. Have you joined the conversation, taken a pledge, or shared #5WomenArtists graphics?

This week we interviewed Dr. Valerie Paley, director of the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library. She highlights the important work of Augusta Savage, Betye Saar, and Clara Driscoll—the head designer of the Tiffany lamp, who managed a team of 30 women glasscutters. Read the full interview.

Front-Page Femmes

The Washington Post goes inside Kaywin Feldman’s first week as the new director of the National Gallery of Art.

Culling details from the new book Daily Rituals: Women at Work, Artsy highlights the daily routines of 10 women artists, from Marisol to Joan Mitchell and more.

Watch Judy Chicago send the Miami Design District up in smoke with A Purple Poem for Miami, an extension of her current exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.

TL mag features the work of women artists in France, post-war to present, curated by AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions.

Hyperallergic remembers Barbara Hammer, the prolific filmmaker who “opened up a space for women to be themselves.” Hammer passed away on Saturday at the age of 79.

The Chicago Tribune takes a look at the city’s “new wealth of black female comic book talent.”

Chicago-based author Eve Ewing, at right, and the cover art of the first issue of the series “Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man,” written by Ewing; Photos courtesy of Marvel/Stefano Caselli/Nolis/CTMG

The artists behind the iconic mural on San Francisco’s Women’s Building are planning to release a book to honor the mural’s 25th anniversary—it will feature an introduction by Angela Davis.

Yoko Ono will be celebrated by 75 musicians and artists in the show “BreatheWatchListenTouch,” in collaboration with Girlschool, a festival for women-identified artists and leaders.

Brainpickings sheds light on the life and work of Misuzu Kaneko, who died at 26 and was rediscovered half a century later as Japan’s most beloved children’s poet.

Wanda de Guebriant, the leading specialist on artist Henri Matisse, has died at age 69.

ABC News profiles the 2nd annual Women’s Day on Broadway, where attendees engaged in open conversation about gender equality in the theater industry.

Shows We Want to See

Opening tomorrow at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hayv Kahraman’s Superfluous Bodies explores themes of identity, memory, gender, and exile in paintings and sculptures that present and re-present the “colonized” female figure. “She weaves, tears, patches, and reworks materials to create exquisite artworks that nod to a breadth of artistic traditions found in Europe and Asia.” The Iraqi-born Kahraman fled to Sweden with her family after the Persian Gulf War and later moved to the United States.

Hayv Kahraman, Untitled, 2017; Oil on wood panel; Photo courtesy of the artist

Christien Meindertsma: Everything Connects is now open at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition showcases two of the artist’s recent projects that explore the potential of raw materials—like flax and wool—and reveals processes that have become obsolete due to industrialization. “By exploring the often hidden lives of products within their social, political, and material contexts, Meindertsma invites us to reconsider the value of objects, especially the potential of undervalued resources.”

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

Opening Friday: Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling

Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling presents the artist’s monumental cedar wood sculptures alongside newer works for the first time. The poetic and expressive sculptures, which also use leather, linen, and other organic materials, reveal the process by which von Rydingsvard gives outward visual form to her innermost ideas and emotions.


On view March 22–July 28, 2019, The Contour of Feeling marks the most ambitious von Rydingsvard exhibition to date in the United States and her first solo exhibition in Washington, D.C. Featuring 26 sculptures, a wall installation, and nine works on paper, the exhibition is guest-curated by Mark Rosenthal, formerly curator of 20th-century art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and organized by the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, where it was on view from April 27 to August 26, 2018.

A woman stares up at a large and towering cedar sculpture that features a very tall base, perhaps 12 ft, with an extending smaller piece on the left that seems to hang down slightly, resembling the unevenness/organic makeup of a tree base.

Ursula von Rydingsvard, For Natasha, 2015; Cedar and graphite, 9 ft. 1 in. x 6 ft. 7 in. x 3 ft. 6 in.; © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.; Photo by Michael Bodycomb

The daughter of a woodcutter from a long line of peasant farmers, von Rydingsvard spent several of her early years in the wooden barracks of refugee camps in Germany at the end of World War II. While von Rydingsvard resists biographical readings of her works, she speaks of those critical years as woven into her subconscious or instinct, which in turn leaves an imprint on her art.

The Contour of Feeling centers on the creative flourishing of the artist’s recent career, anchored by a number of her early masterpieces. Among these is Untitled (nine cones) (1976), von Rydingsvard’s first major work in cedar and the earliest work on view in this exhibition. Subtle references to her family history are seen in Zakopane (1987), a wall installation of 22 fused vertical units with hollow vessels at the base. The sculpture commands the viewer’s attention with an altar-like presence that simultaneously recalls the tools used for labor by Polish peasants.

Von Rydingsvard’s oeuvre also includes smaller works on handmade linen paper which are infused with surprising materials like knotted silk from a red scarf, tangles of thread, paper pulp, hair, lace, graphite and pigment. The collaged materials extend the boundaries of the paper, giving the delicate two-dimensional works a sculptural presence. The more intimate side of von Rydingsvard’s art is also evident in a wall installation that features her little nothings (2000-15), small objects collected and created by the artist, including strands of her brother’s hair, fragments of cedar, knitting and linen, and personal photographs.

Ursula von Rydingsvard - Zakopane

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Zakopane, 1987; Cedar and paint, 11 ft. 6 in. x 22 ft. x 3 ft.; © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.; Photo by Carlos Avendaño

Ursula von Rydingsvard - Scratch II

Ursula von Rydingsvard, SCRATCH II, 2015; Cedar and graphite, 10 ft. 1 in. x 6 ft. 3 in. x 4 ft. 11 in.; © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.; Photo by Carlos Avendaño

Ursula von Rydingsvard - thread terror

Ursula von Rydingsvard, thread terror, 2016; Cedar and graphite, 8 ft. 10 in. x 8 ft. 5 in. x 1 ft. 1 in.; © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.; Photo by Jerry L. Thompson

Ursula von Rydingsvard - Red Wool

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Untitled, 2016; Thread, wool, and pigment on linen handmade paper, 38 x 22 in.; Produced at Dieu Donné, New York; © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.; Photo by Etienne Frossard

Ursula von Rydingsvard - little nothings

Ursula von Rydingsvard, little nothings, 2000–15; Items including cedar objects, drawings on paper, copper wires, photographs, tools, threads, and lace, dimensions variable; © Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.; Photo by Carlos Avendaño

The Contour of Feeling illuminates the “interior Ursula,” as evidenced by the exhibition’s title, which was inspired by a line from Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Fourth Duino Elegy”: “We don’t know the contour of feeling; we only know what molds it from without.” Like Rilke’s poem, von Rydingsvard’s art expresses a persistent search for deeper truths. In her relentless quest to visually render her emotions and feelings, von Rydingsvard states that she makes art to “get answers to questions for which I know there are no answers” and “mostly, to survive.”