#Instameets @WomenInTheArts

In honor of International Women’s Day, NMWA will host an #EmptyNMWA instameet on Tuesday, March 8. An “instameet” is an opportunity for photographers to gather, meet, and snap pictures for Instagram. The museum will give 30 photographers a chance to explore and photograph the museum’s collection before public hours.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts hosted its first instameet on December 9, 2015, in collaboration with @IGDC, a community of photographers based in the D.C. metropolitan area. NWMA welcomed local instagrammers to visit the museum before it opened to the public to capture the special exhibition Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today.

NMWA Associate Curator Virginia Treanor guided 18 photographers through the exhibition and highlighted show-stopping works by midcentury and contemporary women designers while illuminating the artists’ processes—photographers enjoyed hearing about Polly Apfelbaum, who used a punch card as a stencil for her Handweaver’s Pattern Book installation (2014).

2016-02-29-10_27_32-Ken-Stancil-Jr-on-Instagram_-“#Connected-_-#KenShootsPathmakers---We-are-connect

Left to right: @ksdirectional’s detail image, @saifahmed99’s photo

The event’s photographs captured the diversity of the dynamic women designers whose work was on view. Photographer @ksdirectional captured an amazing detail photo of Front Design’s Axor WaterDream/Axor Shower System (2014) and @saifahmed99’s installation shot of Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi’s Circle Dresses (ca. 1964) was chosen as the photo of the day by the #ACreativeDC feed. The instameet gave photographers the chance to see—and share—the exhibition from a new perspective.

2016-02-29 10_28_16-Steph on Instagram_ “After wandering with friends during the #pathmakersinstamee

@tappety’s post about Mickalene Thomas

After spending an hour exploring the exhibition with behind-the-scenes access, museum staff invited attendees to explore the museum’s collection. Many of the participants had never visited the museum before, but were inspired by NMWA’s diverse collection and the architecture of the Great Hall. One participant, @tappety, discovered Mickalene Thomas’s rhinestone-encrusted A-E-I-O-U (and Sometimes Y) during her tour of the third-floor galleries.

Browse the 100 stunning photos captured from the #PathmakersInstameet on Instagram. Apply here by noon on March 4 to have a chance to explore the museum’s empty collection galleries on International Women’s Day and enjoy a special collection highlights tour.

Stacy Meteer is the communications and marketing associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

5 Fast Facts: Anni Albers

Impress your friends with five fast facts about designer Anni Albers (1899–1994), whose work is on view in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today through February 28, 2015.

Anni Albers (1899–1994)

Anni Albers, Tikal, 1958; Cotton, 30 x 23 in.; Museum of Arts and Design; Gift of the Johnson Wax Company, through the American Craft Council, 1979; Photo by Eva Heyd

Anni Albers, Tikal, 1958; Cotton, 30 x 23 in.; Museum of Arts and Design; Gift of the Johnson Wax Company, through the American Craft Council, 1979; Photo by Eva Heyd

1. Jack(ie) of all Trades

Though best known as a textile designer, German-born Anni Albers dabbled in a variety of fine art and craft mediums. During her career, which began at the Bauhaus in 1922 and continued until her death in 1994, she experimented with lithography, painting, printmaking, jewelry design, and weaving.

2. Berlin to Black Mountain

Albers studied and taught in Germany at Berlin’s famed Bauhaus (1919–1933), a progressive art school that espoused the integration of fine art, craft, and design. When Nazis closed the Bauhaus, Albers and her husband, Josef, immigrated to America to teach at North Carolina’s newly formed, experimental Black Mountain College (1933–1957).

3. Bauhaus is a Very, Very, Very Fine Haus?

Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, believed that women thought in two dimensions while men could grapple with three. As a result, the school restricted female students’ enrollment to “gender appropriate” courses. Barred from architecture and sculpture classes, Albers and her female peers were encouraged to study weaving instead.

4. Paper Products

NMWA’s collection includes two works on paper by Albers. An untitled screen-print (1969) is composed of vibrant turquoise and red triangles. Albers’s juxtaposition and choice of color create visual vibrations and noise. The more subdued palette of the ink-and-pencil drawing Dr. VII (1973) seems calm and quiet in contrast.

Anni Albers, Untitled, 1969; Serigraph on paper; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay, NMWA

Anni Albers, Dr. VII, 1973; Ink and pencil on paper, 18 1/4 in. x 12 5/8 in.; Gift of Olga Hirshhorn, NMWA

5. Exhibitionist

In 1949, the Museum of Modern Art mounted Anni Albers: Textiles, making Albers the first weaver to have a one-person exhibition at the museum.

—Addie Gayoso is associate educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

5 Fast Facts: Toshiko Takaezu

Impress your friends with five fast facts about designer Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011), whose work is on view in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today through February 28, 2015.

Toshiko Takaezu, Photo: John Paul Miller, ca. 1960s; Courtesy American Craft Council

Toshiko Takaezu, Photo: John Paul Miller, ca. 1960s; Courtesy American Craft Council

Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011)

1. Silent Partners

Takaezu saw every aspect of her artistic process as a collaboration. Whether working in her garden or firing her finished works, she knew there were forces beyond her control that contributed to the final products.

 2. Teacher’s Pet

The work of ceramic artist Maija Grotell inspired Takaezu to apply to the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art. She was accepted in 1951 and became Grotell’s teaching assistant in her third year. Works by both artists are displayed in Pathmakers.

3. Student to Teacher

Takaezu attributed her artistic growth to her teachers. She later passed on her passion to her own students. Through teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Princeton University, and by training live-in apprentices, she gave a new generation of artists the opportunity to find themselves through ceramics.

4. Renaissance Woman

Known for her work in ceramics, Takaezu glazed her vessels like a painter. Her first closed forms were a response to her desire for a continuous surface to glaze. She also worked in textiles and took classes with designer Marianne Strengell—another Pathmakers artist—while at Cranbrook.

Installation view of Takaezu’s ceramics in Pathmakers

Installation view of Takaezu’s ceramics in Pathmakers; NMWA

5. Everything is Sound

Takaezu found that the senses of sight, touch, and hearing were closely connected. While she focused on visual aesthetics, she often incorporated sound into her work. She placed clay beads in some of her closed pots, which rattle when handled. She even created several bronze bells.

—Ashley Harris is assistant educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Patterned Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Dorothy Liebes, Prototype Theatre Curtain for DuPont Pavilion

Liebes’s work in Pathmakers represents her skill in fusing natural and synthetic materials into colorful, cutting-edge textiles. Her innovative, custom-designed modern fabrics appealed to prominent architects and her mass-produced designs modernized the textile industry.

8-Liebes-Prototype-Theatre-Curtain-for-DuPont-Pavilion

Dorothy Liebes, Prototype theater curtain for DuPont Pavilion, New York World’s Fair, 1964; DuPont Orlon and Fairtex metallic yarn, 99 1/2 x 46 3/4 in.; Museum of Arts and Design; Gift of Dorothy Liebes Design, through the American Craft Council, 1973; Photo by Eva Heyd

Who made it?

Hailed as the “mother of modern weaving,” Dorothy Liebes (1897–1972) taught herself to weave on a small handloom while in college. She began designing textiles in the 1930s and became one of the first American artists to adapt her weaving techniques into mass production. After opening a studio in San Francisco in 1930, Liebes designed custom textiles for leading architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright.

Paving the way for women designers like Hella Jongerius, Liebes was commissioned to design textiles for the United Nations headquarters. The Museum of Modern Art regularly exhibited her work and she received the 1970 American Craft Council Gold Medal.

How was it made?

In the late 1940s and early ’50s, Liebes’s focus shifted from custom weaving to working with industry. She became known for her revolutionary combinations of natural and synthetic materials. Prototype Theatre Curtain for DuPont Pavilion was commissioned during her 20-year relationship with the DuPont chemical company. Liebes helped DuPont promote the image of manufactured fiber by making it look like a familiar natural material. The curtain in Pathmakers is exemplary of Liebes’s trademark combinations of color and industrial materials. A single panel of fabric, the work contains repeating vertical stripes in luminous shades of green and blue and shimmering strands of metallic thread. Through integrating unusual materials, such as sequins and nylon fibers, Liebes created bold, vibrant textiles.

Collection connection

Joana Vasconcelos, Viriato, 2005; Faience dog, handmade cotton crochet, 29 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.; Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC

Joana Vasconcelos, Viriato, 2005; Faience dog, handmade cotton crochet, 29 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.; Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC

In NMWA’s collection, Viriato by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971) also melds consumer culture with craft forms. Named after a first-century leader of Portugal, Viriato consists of a ceramic dog covered in an intricate crocheted cotton yarn—in shades similar to those found in Liebes’s curtain. Eye-catching and unconventional, the needlework obstructs the dog sculpture beneath.

Vasconcelos examines consumer culture through works that cross the boundary between “high” and “low” art. She often envelops everyday items in crocheted or knitted materials. Through integrating a mass-produced, decorative sculpture with traditional crochet, Vasconcelos reveals the conflict between handcrafted and manufactured.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

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

Puzzling Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Anni Albers, Orange Meander, 1970

Orange Meander’s dense and repetitive patterning calls to mind Albers’s textile works. Her abstract prints focus on geometric formal qualities—thick, straight lines and bold, flat colors. Their meanings are intentionally obscure. The electric orange of the print catches the eye, inviting the viewer to meander within a maze of lines.

Anni Albers, Orange Meander, 1970; Paper and ink, 28 x 24 in.; Museum of Arts and Design, Gift of the artist, through the American Craft Council, 1982; Photo credit Ed Watkins

Anni Albers, Orange Meander, 1970; Paper and ink, 28 x 24 in.; Museum of Arts and Design, Gift of the artist, through the American Craft Council, 1982; Photo credit Ed Watkins

Who made it?

German artist Anni Albers (1899–1994) is primarily known for her work in the textile arts—particularly weaving. She studied textiles at the Bauhaus, a German art and design school, after being turned away from other departments due to her gender. After the Bauhaus closed in 1933, Albers and her husband Josef Albers took teaching positions at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. In 1949 she exhibited at the first textile show in the Museum of Modern Art’s history. In addition to her fine art, she created fabric patterns that could be mass produced and wrote two influential books in her field, On Weaving (1965) and On Designing (1959).

How was it made?

In 1963, Albers began experimenting with printmaking at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. By 1970, she moved away from textiles and focused on lithography and screen printing—the technique used to create Orange Meander. Color was an integral element in her weavings as well as her prints. Albers noted, “Color . . . involves you in an emotional sense far beyond line.” One of a series of similar prints in different colors, Orange Meander’s bold rectilinear pattern is layered over a second, lighter arrangement, creating an optical dynamism. Lacking a focal point, the asymmetrical design presents several visual points of entry.

Collection Connection

Valerie Jaudon, Ingomar, 1979; Oil and metallic paint on canvas, 80 x 72 in.; NMWA, Gift of Josephine Cockrell Thornton; © Valerie Jaudon; Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Valerie Jaudon, Ingomar, 1979; Oil and metallic paint on canvas, 80 x 72 in.; NMWA, Gift of Josephine Cockrell Thornton; © Valerie Jaudon; Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

In NMWA’s collection, Valerie Jaudon’s Ingomar (1979) likewise takes its inspiration from decorative patterns. Jaudon was associated with the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s, which sought to challenge the long-held belief that the fine arts were superior to the decorative or “feminine” arts.

Jaudon engages with abstraction through decorative motifs. In an effort to discourage the perception of narrative in her works, Jaudon titled her paintings during the 1970s after towns in her home state of Mississippi. Drawing ornamentation from diverse periods and cultures, Ingomar resembles Celtic or Islamic designs. The metallic paint and vigorous brushstrokes in the painting contrast with the exacting and controlled feeling of the precise pattern. This visual puzzle welcomes viewers in, inviting a closer examination of its shimmering surface.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

—Marina MacLatchie was the fall 2015 education and digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Profound Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Rut Bryk, Untitled, ca.1970s

This untitled wall relief by Rut Bryk is composed of numerous modular ceramic pieces at varied depths, characteristic of the artist’s style during this period of her career. The piece exemplifies her sparing use of color—with subtle gradations of blue and teal—and her delicately built, geometric forms and patterns.

Rut Bryk, Untitled (detail), ca. 1970s; Ceramic, 35 3/8 x 23 5/8 in.; Collection Kakkonen; Photo by Niclas Warius

Rut Bryk, Untitled (detail), ca. 1970s; Ceramic, 35 3/8 x 23 5/8 in.; Collection Kakkonen; Photo by Niclas Warius

Who made it?

Designer Rut Bryk (1916–1999) was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and spent her education and adult life in Finland. She graduated from the Central School of Industrial Crafts in Helsinki in 1939, and began working in the art department of the Arabia ceramics factory in 1942. During the first phase of her ceramic work, she created wall pieces with figurative motifs—butterflies, humans, animals, plants, and still lifes. In the 1960s, she began making abstract wall-hung compositions, such as the piece on view in Pathmakers, as well as textiles. In the 1970s, some of her wall-relief works grew larger and were integrated into the architecture of civic buildings in Helsinki. She was married to celebrated Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala (1915–1985).

How was it made?

Bryk’s work in this style was inspired by colors and patterns from “the traditional folk art of India and southeastern Europe.” She had studied printmaking, and she was hired at the Arabia factory specifically to work on ceramic wall pieces, which were popular in the 1930s and ’40s. In her decades working in ceramics, she created a wide variety of art and also decorated functional pieces in the medium.

Collection connection

Elena Presser, Unfinished Symphony, 1982; Paper, pastel, pencil, silk thread, silk ribbon, and wire, 29 x 36 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Members’ Art Acquisition Fund and the artist; Photo: Lee Stalsworth

Elena Presser, Unfinished Symphony, 1982; Paper, pastel, pencil, silk thread, silk ribbon, and wire, 29 x 36 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Members’ Art Acquisition Fund and the artist; Photo: Lee Stalsworth

In NMWA’s collection, Elena Presser’s Unfinished Symphony (1982) shares Rut Bryk’s aesthetic—geometric forms in relief emphasizing pattern and rhythm. Presser (b. 1940), an Argentine-born, U.S.-based book artist, uses her work to convey the abstract beauty of music. On the book’s central panel, inspired by a piece by Franz Schubert, viewers can peer through cut-out squares to view colors and shapes behind the surface. On the two outer panels, subtler squares protrude from the surface to evoke the music’s “mysterious quality and unfathomable beauty,” the artist says.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

—Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Passionate Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Gabriel Maher, DE___SIGN, 2014

Maher examines the ways in which design supports and shapes concepts of “male” and “female.” Maher’s work in Pathmakers reveals how gestures, movements, and positions can imply gender norms.

Gabriel A. Maher, DE___SIGN, 2014; Video: directed by Gabriel A. Maher and Kimon Kodossos; Performers: Naomi Jansen, Floraine Misslin, Gabriel A. Maher, Olle Lunden; Courtesy of the artist

Gabriel A. Maher, DE___SIGN, 2014; Video: directed by Gabriel A. Maher and Kimon Kodossos; Performers: Naomi Jansen, Floraine Misslin, Gabriel A. Maher, Olle Lunden; Courtesy of the artist

Who made it?

Australian-born designer Gabriel A. Maher (b. 1983) practiced and taught interior architecture in Australia until 2012 and received a Masters degree in Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven (Netherlands) in 2014. Maher identifies as gender queer and prefers the pronouns “they” and “them”—representing gender as a spectrum.

How was it made?

Clothes can often reinforce “male” or “female” looks. Maher’s video work DE___SIGN includes a garment designed for personal use. Lacking gendered colors, the gray outfit—or “behavioral tool” as Maher calls it—can limit or exaggerate body movements and postures. Dancers and models wear the garment in a series of performances. The video also shows performers using a chair designed by Maher that enables the body to move into positions often associated with either “maleness” or “femaleness” including knees together or knees spread apart. Together, the clothes and chair in Maher’s work show how gender is constructed and can be reconstructed.

Collection connection

Mwangi Hutter, Neger Don't Call Me (installation view), 2000; DVD, speakers, four wood chairs, and Dolby surround sound; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C., Image courtesy of the artists

Mwangi Hutter, Neger Don’t Call Me (installation view), 2000; DVD, speakers, four
wood chairs, and Dolby surround sound; National Museum of Women in the Arts,
Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C., Image courtesy of
the artists

A work in NMWA’s collection, Neger Don’t Call Me (2000) by Ingrid Mwangi (b. 1975), also explores representations of identity through video performance. A grid of nine frames alternates to a single image showing the artist’s face covered and uncovered with masks made from her own hair. Mwangi explained that her hair represents one facet of her identity. The installation incorporates four wooden chairs with speakers attached under the seats. A recording of Mwangi fills the space, repeating stories from her childhood related to the German word “neger,” or negro, as it translates in English. The artist explains, “Many people can’t say the word because they are so wounded by it, but for me, the more I used it, the history behind the word dissolved.”

Throughout her career, Mwangi focuses on issues of “hyphenated” identity. With Kenyan and German roots, Mwangi has lived in Africa and Europe. Her work often investigates Western culture’s tendency to label people with a race or nationality. Through video and performance art, Mwangi uses and manipulates her body to confront and dismiss these stereotypes. In 2005, Mwangi and her husband, Robert Hutter, merged their names and biographies as IngridMwangiRobertHutter. They consider all new and old artwork as part of their collective.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016. Join a conversation with Gabriel Maher and design critic Alice Rawsthorn on January 27, 2016 during FRESH TALK: Can Design Be Genderless?

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

Powerful Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Vivian Beer, Anchored Candy No. 7, 2014

Beer describes her “Anchored Candy” series of benches as “inspired by fashion and hotrods.” The curving, inviting seats feature sleek, jewel-tone automotive finishes, and each bench is grounded by a contrasting raw steel block. She says, “It is furniture simultaneously about desire and structure.”

Vivian Beer in her studio, 2014; Courtesy of Vivian Beer; Photo by Mariana Rosas-Garcia

Vivian Beer in her studio, 2014; Courtesy of Vivian Beer; Photo by Mariana Rosas-Garcia

Who made it?

Vivian Beer (b. 1977), a New England-based furniture designer, takes inspiration from culture, industry, and the decorative arts “to create handmade, one-off objects that manifest the nostalgia of history, the speed of progress, and the memory of the human hand.” Her forms evoke speed and motion, beauty and power.

For Beer, who grew up in a rural area of Maine, making objects and developing hands-on skills was integral to everyday life. She received a BFA from Maine College of Art in sculpture in 2000 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in metalsmithing in 2004. In 2014 she undertook a fellowship at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. There, she researched the design history of American aeronautics and the aesthetic and cultural influences that have shaped airplanes over time.

Vivian Beer, Anchored Candy No. 7, 2014; Steel and automotive paint, 80 x 20 x 37 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Wexler Gallery; Photo by Alison Swiatocha

Vivian Beer, Anchored Candy No. 7, 2014; Steel and automotive paint, 80 x 20 x 37 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Wexler Gallery; Photo by Alison Swiatocha

How was it made?

Beer, a former metalworker and blacksmith, incorporates the tools and techniques of industrial design into her furniture. In her studio, she welds, grinds, and builds steel armatures for furniture. Other pieces incorporate concrete, appearing to drape the rigid material into graceful curves. She finishes her furniture meticulously, touching each inch of the surface at least a dozen times. She says, “This attention to detail is very important, because . . . one of the wonderful things about furniture, especially seating, is its intimacy.”

Collection connection

Chakaia Booker, Acid Rain, 2001; Rubber and wood, 120 x 240 x 36 in.; NMWA, Museum purchase: Members’ Acquisition Fund

Chakaia Booker, Acid Rain, 2001; Rubber and wood, 120 x 240 x 36 in.; NMWA, Museum purchase: Members’ Acquisition Fund

In NMWA’s collection, Chakaia Booker’s Acid Rain, 2001, also evokes power and beauty through automotive materials. Booker, whose work was featured in NMWA’s New York Avenue Sculpture Project, uses recycled rubber tires as her medium. With varied techniques—chopping, slicing, shredding, and curling—Booker transforms the dense material. To fabricate her largest sculptures, Booker uses computer-aided design software, creates detailed models, and constructs armatures from pressure-treated wood and steel rods. The intricacy of Acid Rain, a wall relief sculpture, belies its imposing 10-foot-tall size. Her use of tires refers to social mobility and progress as well as environmental, political, and cultural issues.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

—Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Posh Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe, Viviana Bangle Watch, ca. 1969

Bülow-Hübe’s sleek stainless-steel watch exudes modernity and seamlessly integrates art with functionality. It showcases clean, curvilinear lines and maintains a sense of visual balance despite its asymmetry. The watch’s band remains partially open, revealing a small portion of the wearer’s wrist. Elegant and simple, the piece lacks numbers or clasps. The watch is stripped of excess adornments and distilled to basic forms.

Left: Image of Viviana Torun Bülow-Hübe, 1954; Right: Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe (manufactured by Georg Jensen), Vivianna Bangle Watch, 1969; Stainless steel, 3 x 1 3/8 in.; Photos courtesy of George Jensen

Left: Image of Viviana Torun Bülow-Hübe, 1954; Right: Vivianna Bangle Watch, 1969; Stainless steel, 3 x 1 3/8 in.; Photographs courtesy of George Jensen

Who made it?

Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe (1927–2004) gained renown for her unconventional silver jewelry designs. Born in Sweden, Torun (as she was usually known) began designing jewelry as a teenager. She attended the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm before setting up a studio in Paris. Her innovative, handmade designs caught the attention of luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, Billie Holiday, Brigitte Bardot, and Ingrid Bergman. Her life, like her designs, was unconventional. In the late 1960s she became a member of Subud, an international spiritual movement. She moved to Germany and later to Indonesia, working in service of the movement.

How was it made?

In 1967, Torun began designing for the Danish luxury silver company Georg Jensen. The watch on view in Pathmakers was the first ever made by Jensen and enjoyed great popularity. Eventually the company renamed it “Vivianna” in honor of its creator. Torun said that the watch’s creative design stems from a desire to attune its wearers to the present moment: “I wanted to free people from the slavery of time,” she explains, “the watch is open-ended to symbolize that time should not bind us, and the dial like a mirror reminds us that life is now.” The watch is still sold by Jensen today.

Collection connection

Eulabee Dix, Me, 1899; Watercolor on ivory, 2 1/2 x 2 1/8 in. oval; NMWA, Gift of Mrs. Philip Dix Becker and family

Eulabee Dix, Me, 1899; Watercolor on ivory, 2 1/2 x 2 1/8 in. oval; NMWA, Gift of Mrs. Philip Dix Becker and family

In NMWA’s collection, Eulabee Dix’s Me (1899) also serves as functional and portable art. Easily carried, miniatures like Dix’s served as mementos for loved ones. They were also used to introduce people across long distances. The trend of creating portrait miniatures began in the 15th century, and they remained popular until they were displaced by photography. American-born Eulabee Dix was instrumental in the miniature revival movement in the early 1900s. She used watercolor on ivory—a painstaking process resulting in a delicate artwork. A close look reveals that Dix used stippling for facial details and broader strokes for the clothing. Me exemplifies Dix’s attention to detail and her skill in creating likenesses.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

—Marina MacLatchie is the education and digital engagement 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.

MEMBER-DAY

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.

IMG_8318-b

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.