First Looks: NO MAN’S LAND

NMWA’s new contemporary exhibition NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection opened with a bang. On Thursday, September 29, NMWA members enjoyed a first look at the exhibition during Member Preview Day and the public celebrated with a special evening reception.


Attendees study work by Kerstin Brätsch (left) and Karin Davie (right); Photo: Kevin Allen

NMWA presents a new vision of the exhibition, which opened in December 2015 at the Rubell Family Collection (RFC)’s 45,000-square-foot Miami facility. The new presentation features paintings and sculptures by 37 artists from 15 countries. Stemming from the 1970s feminist art movement, NO MAN’S LAND plays with images of the female body and the process of making, subverting the convention of handcraft as “women’s work” into a beautiful, visual conversation reclaiming the female form.

Rubell Family Collection Director Juan Roselione-Valadez

Rubell Family Collection Director Juan Roselione-Valadez leading a tour during the opening reception; Photo: Kevin Allen

The event brightened a rainy Thursday for all the attendees. Members gained early access to the exhibition through tours led by knowledgeable and engaging curatorial and education staff. Each thematic tour focused on different aspects of the collection. One member described the day as “an excellent experience that highlighted talented women and prompted important conversation.” During the day members received perks at the Mezzanine Café and in the Museum Shop, featuring the NO MAN’S LAND catalogue and the gag nutcracker that inspired artist Jennifer Rubell’s attention-grabbing Lysa III.

NMWA’s Great Hall: Photo: Kevin Allen

NMWA’s Great Hall; Photo: Kevin Allen

Evening reception attendees sported glow stick accessories and enjoyed Miami-inspired appetizers and drinks—including zesty mini tacos and a specialty mojito—while DJ Elodie Maillot energized the crowd. Collectors Don and Mera Rubell were also in attendance and chatted with guests about the works on view.

From Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno’s immersive work to Karin Davie’s large-scale optical illusion, the power and playfulness of NO MAN’S LAND captivated its premier audience. Guests left the museum with smiles and compliments, lamenting the evening’s end and vowing to “return again soon to study the exhibition further.”

Intrigued? Become a member today and take part in the next Member Preview Day! Check the online calendar for more information about upcoming gallery talks and programs. Visit NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, on view through January 8, 2017.

—Caroline Byrd is the fall 2016 membership intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Far-Out Fun: “Pathmakers” Member Preview Day

On Thursday, October 29, NMWA members gained advance access to the new exhibition Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today. In the post-war period, women artists were often excluded from more male-dominated fine arts fields like painting and sculpture. Instead, many worked in craft and design, combining traditional methods with innovative approaches and materials, and achieved great success. These midcentury trailblazers cleared the path for contemporary artists and designers—whose work is also shown in Pathmakers.


Jennifer Scanlan speaks to members in Pathmakers; Photo: Elizabeth Lynch

To kick off the day, members gathered on the museum’s mezzanine level for refreshments and mingling before exploring the exhibition. They attended special tours of Pathmakers led by guest curator Jennifer Scanlan, who organized the show at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. On the tours, Scanlan discussed the varied ways in which artists elevated mediums like weaving, ceramics, and metalwork to the realm of fine art.

Visitors marveled at the mesmerizing, complex wire sculpture of Ruth Asawa, admired the fluid forms and simplicity of Eva Ziesel’s ceramics, and glimpsed into a re-creation of the UN Delegates’ Lounge interior designed by Hella Jongerius.


Members explore Gabriel Maher’s work; Photo: Elizabeth Lynch

Members also had the opportunity to attend tours of the exhibition Esther Bubley Up Front. Featuring works by photojournalist Esther Bubley, the exhibition reveals how Bubley’s photographs capture revealing and poignant portraits of American life in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.

In honor of the Pathmakers sneak peek, the Museum Shop stocked a pop-up shop full of authentic 1950s and ’60s clothes and accessories supplied by Vintage Vagabond. Members also enjoyed discounts off of purchases from the Mezzanine Café and the Museum Shop.

Take part in the next round of Member Preview Day festivities and become a member today! Visit the museum to explore Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today, open through February 28, 2016.

—Marina MacLatchie is the education and digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.