Art Fix Friday: August 26, 2016

Israeli artist Sigalit Landau’s latest work made headlines this week.

Landau’s photographic work Salt Bride shows the gradual crystallization of a 19th-century dress weighted to the floor of the Dead Sea.

Landau’s final  installation, on view at Marlborough Contemporary in London, includes a series of eight life-size photographs.

Front-Page Femmes

Carrie Mae Weems speaks to Lenny Letter.

Artsy discusses why motherhood does not hinder women’s careers as artists.

The Huffington Post writes, “Feminist art is making a comeback in Los Angeles.”

Lorna Simpson talks about her influences, fiction, and progress.

The New York Times discusses a major exhibition featuring 51 artists—only three of whom are women.

The Guerrilla Girls re-evaluate Museum Ludwig’s collection through a feminist lens.

For the ten year anniversary of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston, the museum showcases half of its collection—64% of which is work by women artists.

Zanele Muholi discusses a photograph from her “Faces and Phases” series, about “creating positive images of black lesbians and transgender people in South African society.”

The Guardian interviews artists Amaal Said, Rachel Long, Rena Minegishi, and Sunayana Bhargava about the ways women of color are portrayed in today’s culture.

Laurie Anderson performed her Concert for Dogs in a sculpture garden to a canine audience.

Stephanie Syjuco’s exhibition Neutral Calibration Studies (Ornament + Crime) explores the appropriation of patterns from other cultures.

Serpentine Sackler Gallery will host an exhibition of Zaha Hadid’s paintings, drawings and digital art.

Laura Marling’s podcast Reversal of The Muse discusses female creativity.

Oakland-based artist Annie Vought creates intricately cut letters from large sheets of paper.

Kumi Yamashita creates single-thread portraits and silhouette art.

Sonia Rykiel, called the “queen of knitwear,” died this week at the age of 86.

Kara Walker helped create a new music video for “Banshee,” a song from Santigold’s 99¢ album.

Paris-based U.S. cultural critic Lauren Elkin’s book Flâneuse provides a “joyful genealogy of the female urban walker.”

Yayoi Kusama illustrates The Little Mermaid.

NPR interviews Imbolo Mbue about her debut novel Behold the Dreamers.

Shows We Want to See

Interdisciplinary artist Shani Crowe’s exhibition Braids, on view at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn, explores the ancestral and modern-day relevance of hair braiding.

Belief + Doubt: Selections from the Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Collection at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale consists of 70 newly acquired works—a “jolt of contemporary art” by prominent women artists.

Tate Liverpool hosts a retrospective of Austrian painter Maria Lassnig’s work. The Telegraph writes, “Lassnig’s radical self-portraiture took in her multiple roles.”

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

Art Fix Friday: April 15, 2016

The New Yorker traces French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle’s unconventional life and art through her Tarot Garden—a project she had “envisioned in a dream . . . when she was locked in an asylum.”

For the two decades that Saint Phalle worked on the sculpture park in Tuscany she lived inside a house-sized sculpture of a sphinx. The artist wanted to create “a sort of joyland” where visitors could have “a new kind of life that would just be free.”

Front-Page Femmes

French street artist Mademoiselle Maurice arranges candy-colored origami works in unexpected places.

Kit King’s hyper-realistic and abstract work conveys the artist’s struggle with agoraphobia.

Italian artist Chiara Fumai “channels the ghosts of marginalized women” in an exhibition that “scandalizes and unsettles the viewer.”

Conceptual artist Maria Eichhorn’s next show gives gallery staff five weeks off from work.

Carrie Mae Weems reflects on her kitchen table series and says, “I knew what it meant for me, but I didn’t know what it would mean historically, within the terms of a graphic history.”

Marilyn Minter will sell 50 editions of her portrait of Miley Cyrus to support Planned Parenthood.

The New York Times asked female architects to talk about their experiences in the field and the professional challenges they face.

Work by female artists will make up 36% of all the work displayed in the redesigned Tate Modern.

Designated as a national monument this week, the formerly-named Sewall-Belmont House & Museum commemorates women’s history.

Salima Koroma creates Bad Rap, a documentary about four Asian-American rappers.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet celebrates Maya Angelou during National Poetry Month.

Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn performs an experimental 75-minute opera about science—complete with lyrics drawn from famous scientists.

The Guardian asks, “Why, in 2016, are women still (mostly) silent film stars?”

Cartoonist Julie Doucet’s Carpet Sweeper Tales combines images from Italian novels and magazines to create “a narrative of male-female power relations.”

Wikipedia edit-a-thons help improve the visibility of women artists. Only 13–23% of Wikipedia’s contributors are women and only 15% of its biographies are about women.

The Argonauts author Maggie Nelson says, “The important thing is that whatever baggage you have from your life that you bring to intellectual scenarios is not going to keep you from being able to focus on the intellectual work being done.”

Slate celebrates the 100th anniversary of Beverly Cleary’s birth by highlighting the author’s four mostly-forgotten novels.

Shows We Want to See

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Hyperallergic examines works by Elise Ansel (left) and Sarah Braman (right)

An exhibition at Bowdoin College Museum of Art, showcases how Maine-based painter Elise Ansel re-creates, re-visions, and re-presents paintings from the past.

You Are Everything features Sarah Braman’s sculptures combining salvaged objects—like bunk beds and campers—with colorful prisms.

Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907), a lesser-known German painter who “exalted women in her paintings,” receives a retrospective in Paris of her brief ten-year career.

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

Art Fix Friday: January 8, 2016

London’s Saatchi Gallery made waves this week with the announcement of its first all-women exhibition. The Guardian reports Champagne Life will showcase the work of 14 emerging women artists.

In a response to the announcement, an artnet article debates the value of women-only exhibitions. The gallery’s chief executive stated that although women artists are better represented in art today, “there remains a glass ceiling that needs to be addressed.”

ARTnews examines 2015 auction prices and finds that “while women artists are very slowly beginning to gain a fairer share of the art market, their male counterparts continue to outperform them dramatically at the highest end.”

Front-Page Femmes

Known as the Bee Queen, Oregonian artist Sara Mapelli dances with swarms of honeybees covering her torso.

Anita Corbin photographed the female punks of London’s 1980s underground clubs. Now, 35 years later, the artist is trying to track down her subjects.

Photographer Annemarie Heinrich’s negatives, prints, and archives are in jeopardy due to a lack of conservation policies in Argentina.

Carmen Herrera, Rosalind E. Krauss, and artist-activist Carrie Mae Weems were among the recipients of the 2016 Awards for Distinction from the College Art Association (CAA).

Stark black watercolor paintings by Indonesian artist Elicia Edijanto explore the relationships between people, animals, and nature.

Singapore Art Week will be “helmed by female artists,” including solo exhibitions by Jane Lee, Donna Ong, and Belinda Fox.

New Orleans-based artist Eugenie Schwartz—known as Ersy—died at the age of 64. For her “darkly humorous” works, the artist took inspiration from the French Quarter and Southern Gothic surrealism.

Cate Blanchett discusses her role in the movie Carol, which tells the story of two women who fall in love in 1950s New York.

Cartoonists and graphic novelists called for a boycott of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, because no women were nominated for France’s most prestigious comics prize.

The Huffington Post explores Katy Siegel’s book “The heroine Paint” After Frankenthaler.

Discover seven interesting facts about Zora Neale Hurston, in honor of the 125th anniversary of the writer’s birthday.

NPR interviews Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo about her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Shows We Want to See

The New York Times raves about Liza Lou: Color Field and Solid Grey at the Neuberger Museum of Art. The exhibition includes Lou’s largest work—an iridescent grid of tiled colors comprised of cylindrical glass beads.

New works by Los Angeles-based artist Lita Albuquerque explore the Earth, space, land, stars, and the body in two exhibitons at Kohn Gallery and the University of Southern California’s Fisher Museum of Art. The artist tells Artforum that her paintings communicate “activation through a vibrating language of pigments” and her new film explores the idea of “interstellar consciousness.”

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

Carrie Mae Weems and the Art of Change

In September, the National Museum of Women in the Arts launched a new public programs initiative, Women, Arts, and Social Change, focusing on women and the arts as catalysts for change. On Sunday, November 15, the museum hosted the second program in the series, FRESH TALK: Carrie Mae Weems—Can an artist inspire social change? The event’s audience provided thought-provoking commentary over Sunday Supper, through Twitter, and via comment cards. Here are a few highlights:

Carrie Mae Weems:  Keynote on an artist’s responsibility:

Weems gave a candid description of her artistic journey, saying that being an artist is “a very difficult thing to do, because you’re constantly living emotionally.”

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Carrie Mae Weems speaks at the second Women, Arts, and Social Change program; Photo: Kevin Allen

Weems’s project Social Studies 101 directly addresses the issues faced by the marginalized community of her hometown of Syracuse, New York. Syracuse has the highest concentration of extreme poverty among African Americans and Hispanics in the country. As part of her project, Weems created and displayed public billboards and lawn signs with messages including, “Stop the Senseless Violence” and “Our failure to respond is the problem!” Weems inspired the audience to think about the impact they can have on their communities.

Can art inspire social change?

Carrie Mae Weems was joined onstage by Raben Group president and founder Robert Raben. Washington Post columnist Lonnae O’Neal moderated the conversation, posing questions about the roles and spaces for art in current social justice movements, concepts of intersectionality, and the relationship between arts and policy.

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Left to right: Lonnae O’Neal, Carrie Mae Weems, and Robert Raben discuss how artists can inspire social change; Photos: Kevin Allen

During the discussion, Raben mentioned that much of what is known about the Civil Rights era is limited to a handful of stories, which have been curated by mainstream audiences. The annual March on Washington Film Festival, produced by the Raben Group, uses film, music, and art to share other relevant stories surrounding the period’s events and heroes—while inspiring a renewed passion for activism. Raben challenged, “If you care about social justice, you must care about changing the narrative.” Tweets about representation, identity, and otherness flooded the #FreshTalk4Change dialogue:

  • @VMPhoto3 quoted Weems [MT] How do you live a life without otherness. Mic drop.
  • @KiaWeatherspoon “Our history is miss-told” @RobertRaben #FreshTalk4Change
  • @eferry “Energized by Carrie Mae Weems on using art for social change #FreshTalk4Change #RBC”

Creating space for change:

Over Sunday Supper, attendees participated in lively discussions on  social justice issues among a diverse crowd. On one comment card, a participant said their experience “changed my opinion of what a museum can be.”

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Sunday Supper attendees discuss social justice with Carrie Mae Weems; Photos: Kevin Allen

Weems prompted the crowd to share their questions about how to integrate art with social change. Many artists in the audience mentioned that they hadn’t considered using art for social justice previously, but hoped to make it a key component in their future art-making practice.

The conversation initiated by Raben, O’Neal, and Weems empowered the audience to take ownership of their own stories as artists and social leaders. The conversation doesn’t stop here. Join the discussion and add your voice on Twitter with #FreshTalk4Change.

—Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is the public programs coordinator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.