Urgent Museum Notice

Superwoman

Close up of Superwoman

A monumental figure sports a gray camouflage jumpsuit, black army boots, red gloves, and an aviator cap with goggles. Legs splayed, the standing figure wields oversized, white scissors open in an X-shape. The linear style, bulbous eyewear, and cartoonish weapon evoke comic books.

Kiki Kogelnik, Superwoman, 1973; Oil and acrylic on canvas, 99 x 60 x 2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the Honorable Joseph P. Carroll and Mrs. Carroll; © 1973 Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All Rights reserved.

Superwoman
Kiki Kogelnik

Kiki Kogelnik’s paintings from the 1970s, including Superwoman, engaged with feminist perspectives on the representation of women’s bodies. In particular, she addressed the body’s ubiquity in advertising.

With characteristic deadpan humor, Kogelnik drew her figures in an imposing, larger-than-life scale. The hard-edged outline of Superwoman against a monochrome background makes her appear powerful yet two-dimensional, akin to a cartoon or comic book character.

The X shape formed by the open scissors echoes the woman’s confrontational pose. Kogelnik often rendered her figures with unsmiling faces and hollow eye sockets or dark sunglasses, making them appear somewhat fearsome.

Superwoman is likely a self-portrait. Kogelnik often wore flamboyant clothing, including aviator caps and large sunglasses such as those sported by the figure in this painting. A slightly earlier self-portrait by Kogelnik is nearly identical in composition to Superwoman. That print shows the artist holding scissors and straddling a stack of cut-outs.

Kogelnik often used scissors in her art to create stencils and vinyl silhouettes. Images of the artist holding scissors allude to her own power to manipulate figures and images by literally cutting them out.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Kiki Kogelnik
  • Title

    Superwoman
  • Date

    1973
  • Medium

    Oil and acrylic on canvas
  • Dimensions

    99 x 60 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of the Honorable Joseph P. Carroll and Mrs. Carroll
  • Photo Credit

    © 1973 Kiki Kogelnik Foundation. All Rights reserved.
  • On Display

    Yes