Art Fix Friday: December 4, 2015

The significant number of works by women at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach has the art world buzzing.

Highlighting a handful of young artists at the main fair, The Wall Street Journal includes noteworthy Moroccan artist Yto Barrada’s exhibit evoking a natural-history museum and Mexican artist Fritzia Irizar’s gold-threaded Phrygian hat.

The Frisky lists 15 works by women artists who exhibited at Art Basel, including Hannah Wilke, Helen Frankenthaler, Marina Abramović, and Kara Walker. The Observer also selects seven must-see booths, including works by Rosalyn Drexler, Louise Nevelson, Emily Sundblad, and Zilia Sánchez.

A showcase by collectors Don and Mera Rubell, No Man’s Land, presents work by more than 100 women artists. The Guardian writes, “The whole presentation works more than fine as an art world cross-section, and you really don’t miss the men.”

Front-Page Femmes

Three decades after her tragic death, Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta “seems to inspire, generally: devotion, even obsession.”

Hyperallergic explores the fluid, abstract works of Philadelphia-based painter Jan Baltzell.

Examining femininity and domesticity, Patty Carroll’s “Anonymous Women” photos depict textile-cloaked women blending into their environments.

Dickey Chapelle, the first American woman photojournalist killed in action, captured historical moments from Iwo Jima to the Vietnam War.

This year’s Pirelli calendar—famous for featuring sexualized, nude models—features women role models under the direction of photographer Annie Leibovitz.

B.A. Shapiro’s new novel, The Muralist, tells the fictional story of two Abstract Expressionist painters.

Slate writer Anne E. Fernald traces the links between Gertrude Stein and Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown.

Known for her pioneering work in Islamic feminism, Moroccan writer and sociologist Fatima Mernissi died Monday at the age of 75.

Orange Is the New Black actress Uzo Aduba discusses acting, smiling, and her ten-year ice skating career.

Critiquing Hollywood image and weight standards for actresses, Star Wars star Carrie Fisher says, “They don’t want to hire all of me—only about three-quarters! Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing.”

A new play for the Royal Shakespeare Company, written by Helen Edmunson, delves into Queen Anne’s relationship with the aristocrat Sarah Churchill.

Blank on Blank animates an interview with Nina Simone and European jazz singer Lillian Terry, which progresses from a discussion of pop culture to violence.

Shows We Want to See

Haunting panel scenes by married artists Iri and Toshi Maruki encapsulate the horrors they witnessed three days after the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima in 1945.

Hyperallergic reviews Mary Heilmann’s works, which combine “a do-it-yourself ethic with a vision of unconventional domesticity.”

A Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective in Grenoble, France includes O’Keeffe’s paintings alongside the works of her contemporaries. The Huffington Post explores the exhibition’s abstracted floral imagery and the artist’s success in “escaping the classic images of female sexuality.”

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: October 2, 2015

The MacArthur Fellows Program announced the 24 individuals awarded “genius grants” this year—including nine women. Two prominent U.S. artists, Nicole Eisenman and LaToya Ruby Frazier, received $625,000 in funding over five years.

NPR spoke with Frazier about her work exploring the collapse of the steel industry in her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Retelling the town’s history through photos of her own family, Frazier reveals the roles of African-Americans in Braddock’s industry, which had been “overlooked and ignored and erased from the history pages.” As a call for social justice, her work serves as a “human document” of the injustices faced by the working class.

Front-Page Femmes

Moa Karlberg photographs women’s faces in Sweden and Tanzania during the final stages of giving birth.

ARTINFO interviews Tania Bruguera about her new project, The Francis Effect, which confronts issues of immigration by appealing to the pope.

Jerry Saltz asks, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Bad-Boy Artists?” In this Vulture article, Saltz explains that “the art world has never really known what to do with them, mostly responding from fear.”

Flutist Clare Chase “is a model for a new generation of American classical musicians,” writes The New Yorker.

Sound artist Christine Sun Kim rethinks definitions of sound and silence.

A new project invites contemporary women artists to imagine the narratives and voices of characters in Western art’s recurring images of women reading.

International art curator Koyo Kouoh discusses contemporary African Art and the “invisible boundary” of the Sahara.

Hillary Clinton made a “girl power” Spotify playlist. Slate lists more empowering songs by women artists.

Nancy Meyers’s The Intern gets dismissed by male critics as a “chick flick.” The Guardian says, “It’s not unusual for [female filmmakers’] work to receive unduly harsh criticism.”

Screenwriter Julia Hart discusses her work in the feminist Western film, The Keeping Room. Hart enjoys taking “classic tropes that have been dominated by men and turning them around and making them female.”

The Women’s List is an oral history of 50 years of women’s equality told through 15 trailblazing women.

Author Julie Schumacher becomes the first woman to win the Thurber prize for humor writing.

Singer and model Grace Jones releases her memoir, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs.

Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last is a strange version of reality.

New York Magazine shares words of wisdom by 25 famous women writers.

Shows We Want to See

Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta investigates the mostly-forgotten films of the multi-talented feminist artist. artnet says the exhibition “remedies this fractured past, so that the artist can be more than her tragedy.”

Including over 90 works, The Indestructible Lee Miller reveals how Miller’s experience as a model for Vogue and Man Ray influenced her photography.

Mexican Photography: Women Pioneers includes photos from “some of Mexico’s most celebrated photographers, though most are not famous outside the art world.”

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Uncommon Ground: Summer Exhibitions at NMWA

What is natural? Porcelain grass lawns and anthropomorphic scooters may not be the first objects to come to mind, although they are likely to make a lasting impression. Visitors can explore sensational and surprising views of flora and fauna in NMWA’s summer exhibitions, Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015 and Super Natural, opening on June 5.

Dawn Holder, Monoculture (detail), 2013; Porcelain, 2 ½ x 92 x 176 in.; Courtesy of the artist; On view in Organic Matters

Dawn Holder, Monoculture (detail), 2013; Porcelain, 2 ½ x 92 x 176 in.; Courtesy of the artist; On view in Organic Matters

The latest installment of NMWA’s biennial exhibition series, Organic Matters explores the connections between nature, women, and art. In collaboration with 13 participating national and international outreach committees, this exhibition features contemporary artists working with the subject of nature.

Calling to mind entrenched associations of women with nature, Organic Matters opens a dialogue about traditional views. The artists recontextualize nature and redefine the relationships between women and nature. Their works are fanciful and sometimes frightful. They also reference modern society’s complex relationship with nature, ranging from concern for its future to fear of its power.

Through a delightfully diverse array of mediums, including photography, drawing, sculpture, and video, these artists capture nature in its most interesting forms. Rachel Sussman’s images documenting Earth’s oldest organisms (including a 9,500-year-old spruce tree) are as enchanting as Ysabel LeMay’s otherworldly ecosystems. From Polly Morgan’s creepy-cool birds to Lara Shipley’s ominous landscapes, these uninhibited works offer a fresh perspective on the natural world.

Patricia Piccinini, The Stags, 2008; Fiberglass, automotive paint, leather, steel, plastic, and rubber, 69 ¾ x 72 x 40 ¼ in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C.; Photograph by Graham Baring; On view in Super Natural

Patricia Piccinini, The Stags, 2008; Fiberglass, automotive paint, leather, steel, plastic, and rubber, 69 ¾ x 72 x 40 ¼ in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C.; Photograph by Graham Baring; On view in Super Natural

Giving context to Organic Matters, Super Natural juxtaposes historical artists’ works with photographs, books, and videos by contemporary artists. Featuring works by 25 artists, including Rachel Ruysch, Kiki Smith, and Sam Taylor-Johnson, Super Natural highlights the way that old mistresses’ interpretations of the natural world directly inspire artists today.

Maria Sibylla Merian, Plate 18 from Dissertation in Insect Generations and Metamorphosis in Surinam, 2nd Ed., 1719; Hand-colored engraving on paper, 20 ½ x 14 ¼ in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; On view in Super Natural

Maria Sibylla Merian, Plate 18 from Dissertation in Insect Generations and Metamorphosis in Surinam, 2nd Ed., 1719; Hand-colored engraving on paper, 20 ½ x 14 ¼ in.; NMWA, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; On view in Super Natural

Remarkable prints by 17th-century artist-naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian depict insects she studied in South America, while contemporary prints, artist’s books, and sculptures feature spiders, reptiles, and hybrid creatures. The female form historically symbolized abstract ideas such as spring or the Earth. In response to these ideas, works by Janaina Tschäpe and Ana Mendieta include dramatic performances and interventions in the landscape in order to show a new vision of nature.

NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling says, “Both exhibitions demonstrate that women artists, historical and contemporary, are often adventurous, inventive and subversive when dealing with nature in their work.”

Don’t wait—plan your visit to see these wild works by women artists. Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015 and Super Natural are on view June 5–September 13, 2015.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.