Art Fix Friday: January 20, 2017

Women artists made headlines this week through a series of projects responding to the Presidential Inauguration. The Nasty Women Art Exhibition, which was held at the Knockdown Center in Queens, New York, raised more than $42,000 in proceeds for Planned Parenthood. The Guardian and the Huffington Post explore how the exhibition came together. Mutual Art shares stories of the famous “nasty women” of art history and their pivotal works. Artemisia Gentileschi, Faith Ringgold, and Yoko Ono make the list.

Françoise Mouly, art director of The New Yorker, and her daughter, Nadja Spiegelman, received more than 1,000 submissions for RESIST!. The 40-page tabloid newspaper of comics and cartoons will be available around the country.

The We Make America group prepares for the Women’s Marches on Washington and New York by making signs, props, and banners to carry. War on Women, a self-described “feminist hardcore punk band,” inspires a series of protest postersArtist Coralina Meyer asks for contributions of used women’s underwear to make a quilt to fly at the Women’s March on Washington. Hyperallergic calls the project a “welcoming beacon for those hoping to air the nation’s dirty laundry.”

Front-Page Femmes

NO MAN’S LAND artist Jennifer Rubell created a five-foot-tall orange cookie jar resembling one of Hillary Clinton’s iconic pantsuits. The sculpture, Vessel, will be filled with cookies made using Clinton’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Mickalene Thomas discusses her portraits of Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles.

In a tribute to President Obama, artist Emily Spivack opens the retail store “Medium White Tee”—a one-month installation at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

artnet shares a list of women artists whose works top the auction charts.

Hyperallergic says works by Elizabeth Murray “are so alive they leap off the wall.”

The Creators Project explores Pat Steir’s “Waterfall” series.

The documentary film Girl Power explores the lives of more than 25 women graffiti writers.

The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film shows that only 7% of all directors working on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases last year were women—2% less than the year before.

The New Yorker delves into Zadie Smith’s fifth novel, Swing Time.

Shows We Want to See

A focused exhibition featuring the work of American artist Barbara Kruger closes this Sunday at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, opening March 3, 2017 at the Brooklyn Museum, will examine O’Keeffe’s “enduring influence.”

In advance of her retrospective, Lubaina Himid discusses how black British art evolved over the past three decades. Himid says, “I was trying to place black people into historical events, to make the invisible more visible.”

Terrains of the Body, on view at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, consists of photographs and a video work on loan from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The Telegraphs calls the exhibition a “quiet, intelligent protest.”

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

NO MAN’S LAND: Sculptures that Make You Move

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. Theatrical sculptural works by Jennifer Rubell, Cristina Iglesias, and Maria Nepomuceno encourage visitors to move around the gallery space.

What’s On View?

Jennifer Rubell, Lysa III, 2014; Fiberglass, resin, and steel; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Jennifer Rubell, Lysa III, 2014; Fiberglass, resin, and steel; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Jennifer Rubell’s Lysa III, 2014

As a conceptual artist, Jennifer Rubell (b. 1970, New York City) experiments with a variety of mediums, and many of her works involve food and the social and interactive nature of eating. Rubell says, “I’m interested in making art that people want to see and can use to understand what’s happening inside contemporary art. The minute you give people something they can participate with, it gives them access to it, because they’re a part of it.”

Lysa III exemplifies her playful approach. Inspired by a gag nutcracker of Hillary Clinton, this sculpture is a fully functional nutcracker meant to be operated by visitors. The exaggerated female form and destructive action epitomize popular caricatures of women as sexualized objects or aggressively anti-male.

Cristina Iglesias, Untitled, L-4, 1986; Iron and concrete; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Cristina Iglesias, Untitled, L-4, 1986; Iron and concrete; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Cristina Iglesias’s Untitled, L-4, 1986

“I am interested in making pieces that are sensitive to the space they occupy, working with it to create meaning,” says Cristina Iglesias (b. 1956, San Sebastián, Spain). Iglesias is renowned for her public architectural installations.

Iglesias transforms minimalist sculpture’s tough materials into expressive forms. The pink-hued, hand-formed concrete arches of Untitled, L-4 suggest both physical gestures and the look of flesh.

Appearing simultaneously time-worn and industrial, the sculpture seems as if it came from another realm. Like Iglesias’s more recent large-scale installations, this early work conjures a theatrical environment, a dream-like fictional world within an existing space.

Maria Nepomuceno’s untitled work, 2010

“It’s always my intention to evoke the pure vital energy,” says Maria Nepomuceno (b. 1976, Rio de Janeiro). The artist creates labor-intensive biomorphic sculptural forms dominated by spiral forms, alluding to naturally occurring spirals from DNA to galaxies. “For me the spiral means infinite transformation. It always makes the same movement, but always into a new path.”


Maria Nepomuceno, Untitled, 2010; Braided straw, ropes, and beads; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

The artist works in large scale to emphasize the relationship of sculpture to space and to envelop the viewer with the sensation of a powerful life force. Accented with beads purchased from Carnival event suppliers, the straw portion of this sculpture is woven using traditional techniques. Nepomuceno learned weaving from indigenous people in the Huni Kuin tribe in northwest Brazil, near her ancestral homeland.

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

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