Art Fix Friday: October 21, 2016

Ava DuVernay’s new documentary 13th explores how the U.S. became the country with the world’s largest prison population—and why a disproportional number of those prisoners are black.

The film borrows its title from the 13th amendment to the constitution, which outlawed slavery but left a loophole. NPR calls it the film a “searing, opinionated interpretation of American history.” The Guardian writes that DuVernay leans on “eloquent talking-head interviews and well-sourced archive material” to study the links between slavery, segregation, and mass incarceration.

Front-Page Femmes

Victoria and Albert Museum curator Sonnet Stanfill discusses gender imbalance in art museum leadership. NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling adds that “women still have a long road ahead of them to gain gender parity in the museum world.”

NO MAN’S LAND artist Anicka Yi received the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize for innovative and influential work in the contemporary art world.

2016 MacArthur Fellow Kellie Jones says, “A lot of women artists don’t get any recognition…their early years are really their 50s or 60s.”

NMWA artist Amy Sherald talks to Baltimore Magazine about her education, heart failure, and professional success.

Yoko Ono unveiled her first permanent art installation in the U.S.

Hyperallergic writes, “Decades before other artists, [Florine] Stettheimer depicted a number of challenging subjects that remain controversial and relevant today.”

Artist Nidaa Badwan created a photo series chronicling 20 months she spent in self-imposed quarantine during the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong will open a Yayoi Kusama “artistic themed zone.

British artist Lucy Sparrow created bodies of work that consist of more than 4,000 items made entirely of felt.

Japanese paper artist Chie Hitotsuyama creates textured sculptures of animals using rolled strips of wet newspaper.

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel will feature NO MAN’S LAND artist Isa Genzken’s I love Michael Asher.

Photographer Beth Moon documents the world’s oldest trees in her new book Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees.

A new animated biopic offers insight into Hokusai’s work through the life of his daughter, an artist in Edo-era Japan.

Six female artists, including NO MAN’S LAND painter Elizabeth Peyton, discuss Bob Dylan’s influence.

Actress Kathleen Turner discusses The Year of Magical Thinking, a play based on Joan Didion’s 2005 memoir.

Shows We Want to See

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art near Copenhagen hosts Louise Bourgeois. The Structure of Existence: The Cells, showcasing 25 of the artist’s powerful installations. Referred to as “cells” by Bourgeois, each work “is an independent spatial unit filled with carefully arranged objects which create different scenarios.”

Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s at The Photographers’ Gallery features the work of 45 female artists from across the world, including Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman, and Hannah Wilke.

Grandma Moses: American Modern is on view at the Shelburne Museum. Hyperallergic writes, “The Grandma Moses story reads a lot like an artist’s fairy tale.”

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

NO MAN’S LAND: Mesmerizing Motifs

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. Yayoi Kusama, Jennifer Guidi, and Anicka Yi construct contemplative works that invite viewers’ sustained attention.

Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY NETS (H10), 2000; Acrylic on canvas; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY NETS (H10), 2000; Acrylic on canvas; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

What’s On View?

Yayoi Kusama’s INFINITY NETS (H10), 2000

“My works are painful and at the same time playful,” says Yayoi Kusama, referring to the intensity and whimsy of her paintings. Since the 1950s, Kusama (b. 1929, Matsumoto, Japan) has created a multitude of hypnotic works that emphasize the negative spaces formed by dots or holes—earning her recognition as the “polka dot queen.” A self-described “obsessional artist,” Kusama is known for compulsively painting nets and dots. The artist, who has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric hospital since 1975, often describes her work as an “expression of my life, particularly of my mental disease.”

Kusama plays with the paradoxical idea that infinity can be captured within the confines of a canvas. INFINITY NETS (H10) comprises a pink lattice of nets against an off-white background. The composition’s web of lines tighten toward the edges of the canvas, mesmerizing the viewer and prompting reflection.

Jennifer Guidi’s Untitled (TRF #3 Black, White and Red), 2015

Jennifer Guidi, Untitled (TRF #3 Black, White and Red), 2015; Oil on linen; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Jennifer Guidi, Untitled (TRF #3 Black, White and Red), 2015; Oil on linen; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Jennifer Guidi (b. 1972, Los Angeles) began her artistic career with realistic paintings influenced by the southern California landscape. Inspired by woven patterns, Guidi turned toward abstraction. “Growing up, my grandmother taught me how to sew, knit, and crochet. I still love the repetitive motion of hands making things,” she explains.

Individual dabs of paint in deliberate rows against a black background compose Untitled (TRF #3 Black, White and Red). Guidi seamlessly switches from white dots to crimson for the lower third of the canvas. The painting’s textured effect reveals Guidi’s interest in tapestries and the backs of rugs. The magnitude of the painting encourages visitors to view the work at a distance, while its stitch-like marks draw visitors in closely, prompting contemplation and meditation.

Anicka Yi’s Life Serves Up the Occasional Pink Unicorn, 2013

Tempura-fried flowers, resin, Plexiglas, stainless-steel shelves, and chrome-plated dumbbells make up Anicka Yi’s large-scale five-panel work.

Anicka Yi, Life Serves Up The Occasional Pink Unicorn, 2013; Tempura-fried flowers, resin, Plexiglas, stainless-steel shelves, and chrome-plated dumbbells; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Anicka Yi, Life Serves Up The Occasional Pink Unicorn, 2013; Tempura-fried flowers, resin, Plexiglas, stainless-steel shelves, and chrome-plated dumbbells; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Yi (b. 1971, Seoul) explores ideas of ephemerality and materiality. “I’m interested in connections between materials and materialism, states of perishability and their relationship to meaning and value, consumerist digestion and cultural metabolism,” she states. Yi works with biologists and chemists to help predict how particular materials will transform over time. Sensory elements are critical to Yi’s work, which often exude a fragrance. The tactile and olfactory qualities of her work make them uniquely engaging and thought-provoking.

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

—Casey Betts was the summer 2016 digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: August 5, 2016

Alma Thomas at the Studio Museum in Harlem continues to make headlines. A painting in NMWA’s collection, Iris, Tulips, Jonquils, and Crocuses, is on view in the exhibition.

Thomas had “one of the great, late-blooming careers in American art during the post-World War II era,” writes the New York Times. At the age of 80, Alma Thomas became the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Front-Page Femmes

Photographer Kathy Shorr documents the scars of survivors of gun violence.

Lucy Sparrow’s first installation in New York will be a corner shop where people can browse 8,000 items—all hand-sewn from felt and available for purchase.

Rebecca Louise Law re-creates Dutch still-life paintings as 3-D sculptures and photographs their decay over time.

Mariko Mori discusses her translucent ring sculpture, sponsored by the Olympics and mounted above a waterfall in Rio de Janerio.

Juxtapoz shares South African artist Barbara Wildenboer’s book sculptures.

Turkish painter and journalist Zehra Doğan was detained in Turkey after the failed military coup.

Feminist Avant Garde of the 1970s comprises over 150 works by 48 international female artists.

artnet shares seven facts about Abstract Expressionist painter Hedda Sterne (1910–2011).

Artsy discusses the forgotten legacy of Beatrice Wood.

Ten paintings of Brandi Twilley’s childhood home in Oklahoma, which burnt down in 1999, comprise the exhibition The Living Room.

ArtInfo shares Marina Abramović’s 1975 film Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful.

This summer, New York-based painter Nicole Eisenman will occupy a workshop on the Greek island of Hydra.

Comedian Ali Wong discusses her first comedy special, filming while pregnant, and female comics.

Hyperallergic asks Elizabeth Sackler about the Sackler Center First Award, Angela Davis, and mass incarceration.

Heather Headley returns to Broadway after 15 years in a revival of The Color Purple.

A new book about Agnes Martin emphasizes the importance of the artist’s early works.

Jesmyn Ward invited prominent writers and thinkers to reflect on black life in America and contribute to her essay collection The Fire This Time.

Cate Blanchett will perform 13 separate roles in German cinematographer and video artist Julian Rosefeldt’s film installation Manifesto.

Ava DuVernay will direct the film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time—making her the first woman of color to direct a film with a $100 million budget.

Alice in Black and White explores the life of photographer Alice Austen (1866–1952), including her relationship with Gertrude Tate.

Shows We Want to See

Anicka Yi, whose work will be on view in NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, presents new work in Germany.

She: International Women Artists Exhibition, on view at the Long Museum in Shanghai, features 108 works by 100 female artists from 13 countries. The Art Newspaper reports that the exhibition’s four sections span ten centuries.

Nancy Mitchnick’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit features oil paintings of landscapes and post-industrial Detroit that Hyperallergic says “ricochet out into the real world, conveying a sense of how a place looks based on how it feels.”

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