Art Fix Friday: June 3, 2016

The New York Times asks, “Broadway may not be so white, but is it woman enough?” Theater critics Laura Collins-Hughes and Alexis Soloski discussed roles for women.

The Broadway musical Waitress, which just passed the million-dollar mark, and the play Eclipsed feature all-female creative teams. However, “women still lag far behind men as playwrights, composers, directors and designers.” About celebrated roles for women, Soloski says, “This season, I’ve worried that we still need to approach female characters as victims to accept them as heroes.”

Front-Page Femmes

Micol Hebron draws attention to the underrepresentation of women artists in her Gallery Tally project. When asked about upsetting gallerists, Hebron responded, “I’m reporting the numbers. I’m not making them.”

Multimedia artist Margot Bowman uses technology to reimagine the selfie in art.

Colossal shares minimalist aquariums with 3D-printed flora designed by Haruka Misawa.

Havana-born artist Carmen Herrera, now 100 years old, has lived and worked in New York City for the past six decades—in relative obscurity for much of that time.

Japanese “vagina artist” Megumi Igarishi released a manga memoir illustrating her practice and backlash from Japanese authorities.

Illustrator and typographer Georgia Hill creates bold, letter-based murals.

San Francisco-based artist Meryl Pataky combines neon sculptures with organic forms.

Lexi Alexander, a former kickboxing champion, is the only woman to direct a major comic book superhero movie.

“For all practical purposes the history of silhouette animation begins and ends with [Lotte] Reiniger,” writes the Telegraph. A Google Doodle celebrated the anniversary of the German filmmaker’s birth.

Yvonne Koolmatrie, an Ngarrindjeri weaver from South Australia, wins the $50,000 Red Ochre art prize.

The New York Times interviews comedic actress Maria Bamford about mental illness and her Netflix show, Lady Dynamite.

The Ghostbusters reboot, featuring an all-female cast, faces “a buzz saw of sexist backlash.”

The New York Times reviews Rita Dove’s career-spanning Collected Poems: 1974–2004.

Art historian Reiko Tomii’s latest book “offers illuminating assessments” and “provides valuable investigative tools for carrying out this kind of fresh-spirited research.”

The Ruins of Civilization, a new play by Penelope Skinner, “suggests a bleak sociopolitical future that is within the realm of possibility.”

Shows We Want to See

The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art hosts an exhibition of photographs by Cindy Sherman—“one of the most influential photo artists of the late 20th century,” The Guardian shares Sherman’s theatrical self-portraits, which capture “the grotesque and the uncanny, the monstrously feminine, and the comedic worlds of haute couture.”

Diane Simpson’s window designs at MCA Chicago are “a distillation of Art Deco design and research.” For her sculptures, Simpson even repurposed wallpaper and linoleum flooring from the 1920s and ’30s.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art presents wooden dolls arranged in two tableaux vivantes by Canadian artist Ydessa Hendeles that are reminiscent of Pietà scenes, crime shows, and a controversial children’s book.

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

Righting the Balance: It Doesn’t Stop Here

NMWA’s latest initiative, Women, Arts, and Social Change, kicked off Sunday, October 18, with FRESH TALK: Righting the Balance. The new public program focuses on women and the arts as catalysts for change through a series of “Fresh Talks.”


FRESH TALK panelists, Left: Maura Reilly, Sarah Douglas, and Jillian Steinhauer, Right: Guerrilla Girl Alma Thomas, Micol Hebron, Ghada Amer, and Simone Leigh; Photo: Kevin Allen

Women at the top of their art-world careers addressed the topic, “Can there be gender parity in the art world?” Curator and event co-organizer Maura Reilly, who wrote the central essay in the recent ARTnews magazine on women in the art world, introduced the event. Discussions featured Jillian Steinhauer of Hyperallergic, Sarah Douglas of ARTnews, Gabriela Palmieri of Sotheby’s, Mary Sabbatino of Galerie Lelong, artist Ghada Amer, artist Micol Hebron (organizer of Gallery Tally), artist Simone Leigh, Guerrilla Girl Alma Thomas, and activist/storyteller Jamia Wilson.

The goal of FRESH TALK is to keep the conversation going, and it wouldn’t be complete without input from participants, advocates, and women. We asked for your feedback during stimulating conversation over Sunday Supper and via comments. This is what you told us:

1. More women need to be heard.

Although the panel featured women from different backgrounds, talents, and career paths—Guerrilla Girl Alma Thomas was a highlight for many attendees—participants want to hear from more women of color and from the LGBT community. The next two FRESH TALK programs push these communities to the forefront of the discussion.

2. It’s time to get loud!

Artist Micol Hebron—one of the most-quoted speakers of the night—said, “If you don’t see something, say something!” When visitors notice a lack of representation of women, persons of color, and the LGBT community in museums, galleries, or other arts spaces, they should speak up! Collective voices can rally against these injustices.


FRESH TALK attendees share their thoughts during Sunday Supper and through comment cards; Photo: Kevin Allen

3. Arts inequities are a problem for women of all ages.

A vast intergenerational audience exchanged views over Sunday Supper. Emerging women advocates sat with experienced professionals and passionately shared ideas about advancing the conversation. Intergenerational advocacy can be a strong resource in combating inequality.

4. Nonprofit art centers can make a difference too.

FRESH TALK attendees; Photo: Kevin Allen

FRESH TALK attendees Sheena Marie Morrison and Lauren Lyde; Photo: Kevin Allen

Panelists focused on data concerning gender inequity in the arts—particularly in sales and auction prices of art by women.

Nonprofit and alternative art spaces work as resources contesting the status quo. Many institutions thrive under the leadership of women, especially in D.C. We look forward to hearing more about the challenges that local centers face through an upcoming Cultural Capital series.

5. Now is the time to strike!

Fueled with the knowledge of engaging panelists, the event’s participants were inspired to take action. One commenter wants to host a protest for women artists, while another hopes to encourage her university gallery to collect and display work by women. An educator plans to empower her students to continue to challenge inequity.

It doesn’t stop here. Stay tuned for more FRESH TALK programs and get involved in the fight for gender equity in the arts. Mark your calendars for “Carrie Mae Weems: Can an artist inspire social change?” on November 15 and “Change by Design with Gabriel Maher and Alice Rawsthorn—Can design be genderless?” on January 27, 2016.

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