Happiest Hours: “Artists in Conversation” Invite You to Eat, Drink, and Connect

How can NMWA offer a distinctive type of artist talk program, one that engages attendees, activates artwork, and highlights the personalities of the guest speakers? The new “Artists in Conversation” program engages small audiences in the galleries during intimate group happy hour events.

Artists in Conversation participants socialize over happy hour in the galleries; Photo: Francesca Rudolph, NMWA

Artists in Conversation participants socialize over happy hour in the galleries; Photo: Francisca Rudolph, NMWA

The museum invited artists Rozeal, Analia Saban, Mira Dancy, and Suzanne McClelland for a series of three “Artists in Conversation” programs highlighting their respective works featured in the contemporary exhibition NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection. In this new format, participants have time to explore the galleries, look closely at the artists’ works, enjoy food and drink, and engage in conversations with the artists and fellow attendees.

On October 18, 2016, Rozeal captivated participants in a discussion of her work Sacrifice #2: it has to last (after Yoshitoshi’s “Drowsy: the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era). Rozeal explored the influence of American hip-hop culture clichés on Japanese culture, namely ganguro, a sub-culture fascinated with dark tans and thickly applied contrasting makeup.

Rozeal with one of her works in NO MAN’S LAND, Photo: Francesca Rudolph, NMWA

Rozeal with one of her works in NO MAN’S LAND, Photo: Francisca Rudolph, NMWA

Rozeal portrays her protagonists with natural hairstyles such as dreadlocks, knots, or Afros, whereas her villains appear more sexualized, with intricate weaves and extravagant embellishments. Brown’s sources span the gamut—from 19th century Japanese woodblock print techniques and masters to popular culture. She cited J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as an inspiration for her own use of elaborate details in her work. Influenced by comedians like Bernie Mac and Rob Schneider’s Deuce Bigalow character, Rozeal often incorporates Easter Eggs in the form of hidden, humorous references. She revealed, “I usually end up laughing quite a bit when I make these paintings.”

Analia Saban shares her work with attendees; Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

Analia Saban shares her work with attendees; Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

On November 11, 2016, Analia Saban introduced her works Acrylic in Canvas and Acrylic in Canvas with Ruptures: Grids. “While working on my MFA at the University of California in Los Angeles, I was curious why painting received more attention than sculpture,” explained Saban. By using acrylic and canvas in unexpected ways, she said, “My artwork opens up dialog about the boundaries between these two mediums.” Saban amused attendees with anecdotes about her trial-and-error artistic process. She recounted one night when a sculpture “exploded” and flooded her apartment with acrylic paint.

Join us for the delightful opportunity to talk with not just one—but two—NO MAN’S LAND artists in the same evening. On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, Mira Dancy and Suzanne McClelland will converse with small groups about their respective backgrounds, artistic process, and works. Find out what inspires McClelland’s large abstracted canvases and Dancy’s neon nudes. Reserve your spot today for the upcoming “Artists in Conversation” happy hour at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

—Olivia Lussi is the fall 2016 education intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

NO MAN’S LAND: Painting or Sculpture?

Contemporary large-scale paintings and sculptural hybrids are on view in NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection. The exhibition imagines a visual conversation between 37 women artists from 15 countries exploring images of the female body and the physical process of making. Dianna Molzan, Tauba Auerbach, and Analia Saban blur the line between painting and sculpture through their experimental approaches to conventional materials and techniques.

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, 2010; Oil on canvas on fir; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, 2010; Oil on canvas on fir; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

What’s On View?

Dianna Molzan’s untitled work, 2010

Dianna Molzan (b. 1972, Tacoma, Washington) says, “I’m definitely a painter. . . . But it’s fun to see how far I can push things.” Molzan uses traditional materials like canvas, wood, pigment, and brushes to create paintings that are often described as sculptural. Her restructured canvases highlight the “drama of presentation” while challenging conventions of painting.

Molzan’s investigations of painting defy expectations. One of her untitled works on view embraces three-dimensionality by revealing the wooden supports and gallery walls beneath unraveled canvas. The space itself becomes a part of her piece, while referencing the history of painting. In describing her smart and playful works, Molzan says, “I’ve likened them to paintings in drag. . . . I’m trying to do my best impersonation.”

Analia Saban’s Acrylic in Canvas, 2010

Analia Saban (b. 1980, Buenos Aires, Argentina) often blurs the line between mediums “in a way that deconstructs and re-visualizes the very process of art-making.”

Analia Sabain, Acrylic in Canvas, 2010; Acrylic in canvas bag; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Analia Sabain, Acrylic in Canvas, 2010; Acrylic in canvas bag; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Acrylic in Canvas consists of a canvas bag filled with vibrantly colored acrylic paint. Propped up against a wall, the work combines the traditional ingredients of painting in a new way that questions the medium’s boundaries. Saban sometimes describes her work as “the process of sculpture applied to a painting.”

Saban’s work complicates conventional ideas about painting. “Usually we think of painting on canvas,” she says. “It was interesting to think of painting as pigment on thread.”

With a playful title just one letter away from describing a traditional form of painting, Acrylic in Canvas reminds viewers how flexible borders between seemingly discrete categories can be.

Tauba Auerbach’s Slice II, 2012

Tauba Auerbach, Slice II, 2012; Woven canvas on wooden stretcher; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Tauba Auerbach, Slice II, 2012; Woven canvas on wooden stretcher; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Slice II, by Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981, San Francisco, California), explores the boundaries between text and meaning, appearance and reality, and two and three dimensions.

Working in a wide range of mediums, Auerbach expresses interest in structure, technology, and binaries.

A woven canvas on a wooden stretcher, Slice II resembles a conventional abstract painting at first glance. However, the canvas is not painted, and her weaving process is more closely akin to a sculptural technique. Auerbach says these works have “a teeter-tottering quality: they oscillate between being flat surfaces and 3D objects.”

Visit the museum and explore NO MAN’S LAND, on view through January 8, 2017.

Reserve your spot to meet artist Analia Saban at NMWA on November 11, 2016 for a special in-gallery conversation.

—Kait Gilioli was the summer 2016 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Opening This Friday: NO MAN’S LAND

Large-scale paintings and sculptural hybrids reveal the expressive range of women artists in NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, on view from September 30, 2016, to January 8, 2017.

Isa Genzken, Schauspieler, 2013; Mixed media, 72 1/4 x 18 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.

Isa Genzken, Schauspieler, 2013; Mixed media, 72 1/4 x 18 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is collaborating with the Rubell Family Collection (RFC), Miami, to realize a new vision for the exhibition that opened at the RFC’s space in December 2015. The exhibition features 37 women artists whose aesthetically diverse work addresses wide-ranging intellectual and political themes. Although women historically had limited access to training and opportunity in the traditional fields of sculpture and painting, the title of the exhibition suggests “a space free from the rule of any sovereign power” where women artists are able to adapt and modify these mediums.

The highly focused selection of paintings and sculptures emphasizes the female body and the physical process of art-making. Ever since the feminist art movement of the 1960s and ’70s, these two themes have become prevalent avenues for experimentation, play, and subversion.

Mickalene Thomas, Whatever You Want, 2004; Acrylic, rhinestone, and enamel on panel, 48 x 36 in.

Mickalene Thomas, Whatever You Want, 2004; Acrylic, rhinestone, and enamel on panel, 48 x 36 in.

During the feminist art movement, women artists claimed ownership over visualization of the body. Artists in NO MAN’S LAND explore this history and experiment with the expressive potential of the female form. Some artists, including Cecily Brown and Mickalene Thomas, adapt the art-historical theme of the odalisque by transforming its typically passive character. Others such as Hayv Kahraman use portraiture as a space for self-expression. Many of the works on view signify broader ideas about culture, gender, and ethnicity.

For artists in NO MAN’S LAND, the physical process of making is key to developing meaning, exploring intellectual conundrums, and conjuring psychological experiences. Painters and sculptors eliminate hierarchies among mediums by disrupting conventional ideas about women and handcraft. Historically defined as “women’s work,” handcraft remains a gendered topic in art. Artists including Analia Saban, Rosemarie Trockel, and Shinique Smith focus on unconventional materials or labor-intensive techniques. They upend tradition to suit their aesthetic and intellectual purposes.

Visit the exhibition before the public during the opening reception on September 29, 2016. See the full calendar of events for NO MAN’S LAND.

—Francisca Rudolph is the fall 2016 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.