Art Fix Friday: May 26, 2017

Hyperallergic publishes an illustrated guide to Linda Nochlin’s influential 1971 ARTnews essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

One of the first major works of feminist art history, the essay suggests that “the feminist art historian should pick apart, analyze, and question the social and institutional structures that underpin artistic production, the art world, and art history.”

Front-Page Femmes

NYLON includes Revival in their list of 13 art exhibitions to see this summer.

The ArtCurious podcast shares NMWA’s #5WomenArtists social media campaign and discusses five artists who have been left out of the art historical canon.

Shirin Neshat conveys her identity as an Iranian woman in America through her film Roja.

Multimedia artist Paula Crown creates an installation with 150 ceramic Solo cups.

Deborah Butterfield’s horse sculptures look like driftwood, although are actually cast in bronze.

The New Yorker discusses Leonora Carrington’s status within Surrealist circles. “The tendency for women artists to be overshadowed by their male partners is, sadly, a recurring one, and for women involved in the Surrealist circle, the situation was even more fraught.”

Women Photograph is an online database promoting 400 women photojournalists from 67 countries.

Artsy celebrates designer Florence Knoll Bassett on her 100th birthday.

Harmonia Rosales reimagined Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam with women of color.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam acquired a handwritten botanical book illustrated with photographic images by the first woman photographer, Anna Atkins (1799–1871).

Laurie Anderson creates a new, virtual-reality work in a 10,000-square-foot studio at Mass MoCA.

“When I came to [New York City] I felt like my newly forming ego and sense of self was just torn to shreds,” says Kara Walker in an art21 interview.

The Guardian calls Ariel Levy’s memoir The Rules Do Not Apply “so stark and succinct it can be read in one afternoon, and Levy’s honesty is blistering.”

Star Wars screenwriter Gloria Katz discusses her experiences as a woman screenwriter in the male-dominated movie industry of the 1960s and ’70s.

Laleh Khadivi discusses her new novel A Good Country.

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s debut novel Harmless Like You tells two interconnected stories of a teenage girl in the 1960s who dreams of becoming an artist, and her son in present day traveling to find his absent mother.

Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deavere Smith explores the paradox of procrastination.

Shows We Want to See

Shantell Martin at Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Shantell Martin at Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Shantell Martin’s work, on view at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, uses black ink lines on white surfaces to transform walls and found objects into a visual narrative.

Looking South: Photographs by Eudora Weltyon view at the North Carolina Museum of Art, contains 18 iconic images by the novelist and short story writer from the 1930s and early ’40s.

Lu Yang: Delusional Mandala, on view at MOCA Cleveland, explores links between aesthetics, coding, and bioart.

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

Gallery Reboot: Body Language

The museum’s newly reinstalled collection emphasizes connections between historical and contemporary art. Organized by the themes of the body, nature, domesticity, fabrication, and herstory, each gallery delves into a topic explored by women artists through time and around the world.

Male artists controlled the representation of the female body through most of Western art history. During the feminist art movement in the 1960s and ’70s, women artists claimed ownership over visualization of the body, and artists today explore the expressive potential of the female form. Artists Daniela Rossell, Mickalene Thomas, and Magdalena Abakanowicz use the human body to communicate powerful messages.

Daniela Rossell, Michelle Jacuzzi- Untitled (#7) (Ricas y Famosas), 1999; Chromogenic color print, 50 x 60 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Daniela Rossell, Michelle Jacuzzi–Untitled (#7) (Ricas y Famosas), 1999; Chromogenic color print, 50 x 60 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

In Michelle Jacuzzi–Untitled (#7) (1999) from the series “Ricas y Famosas,” Daniela Rossell (b. 1973) delves into the lives of Mexico’s elite families by emphasizing the way popular culture creates and disseminates female stereotypes. From a wealthy family herself, Rossell had access to some of the most affluent women in Mexico. Each subject constructs her own image by choosing her clothing, pose, and setting. Compared to other subjects in this series, Michelle is dressed in more casual clothing while perched atop a rooftop hot tub. Rossell’s model suggests a duality, shown with an over-sized rosary and subtly visible underwear and tattoo. The model’s confident posture and luxurious setting underscore her wealth and high social standing. Rossell’s works explore notions of purity, sexuality, and power in relation to the female body.

Mickalene Thomas, A-E-I-O-U and Sometimes Y, 2009; Plastic rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel on panel, 24 x 20 in.; Gift of Deborah Carstens; © 2009 Mickalene Thomas, Courtesy of the Artist and Lehmann Maupin

Mickalene Thomas, A-E-I-O-U and Sometimes Y, 2009; Plastic rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel on panel, 24 x 20 in.; Gift of Deborah Carstens; © 2009 Mickalene Thomas, Courtesy of the Artist and Lehmann Maupin

Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971) creates images of African American women as a way to scrutinize and disrupt popular notions of female beauty. Thomas pulls inspiration from art history as well as popular culture. Her works are as likely to reference 19th-century painting as 1970s Blaxploitation films. A-E-I-O-U and Sometimes Y (2009) re-creates a portrait of her model, Fran, from a photo booth picture. In Thomas’s work, Fran’s face materializes from carefully placed rhinestones against a flamingo-pink enamel background. Thomas compares her use of rhinestones to the lustrous lip gloss women wear as “another level of masking, of dressing up.” Her work challenges the perception of femininity.

Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930–2017), a leader in the fiber arts movement, created a mold made from a real person, using burlap mixed with resin and glue for her work 4 Seated Figures (2002). Born in Poland, Abakanowicz witnessed her mother get shot after soldiers stormed into their home during World War II—an instant that that is reflected in these figures. The forms are presented as genderless, and they appear to have been stripped of revealing muscles, arteries, or cords suggestive of the nervous system. Although her figures were inspired from a personal event, the work encourages multiple interpretations and speaks broadly to the human experience. Abakanowicz said, “They are naked, exposed, and vulnerable, just as we all are.”

Magdalena Abakanowicz, 4 Seated Figures, 2002; Burlap, resin, and iron rods, 53 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 99 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts; © Magdalena Abakanowicz

Magdalena Abakanowicz, 4 Seated Figures, 2002; Burlap, resin, and iron rods, 53 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 99 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts; © Magdalena Abakanowicz

Visit the museum to see these works in the third floor galleries. Can’t visit in person? Browse #GalleryReboot on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more collection highlights.

Madeline Barnes was the spring 2017 digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

What Did Simone de Beauvoir Read?

In the installation From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir, visitors can consider the influence and intellect of writer Simone de Beauvoir in an interpretation of her Paris studio alcove. Museum visitors can sit at a desk and read books and magazines that Beauvoir either read, wrote, or inspired. The installation includes a selections of books that Beauvoir read during her youth that helped develop her love of reading and storytelling.

Cover Image of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll showing a young girl crouched in the gras sunder branches while a rabbit in a red coat scurries away from her.

Cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, published by Rand McNally & Company, 1916.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, 1868/1869

Beauvoir read Little Women by the time she was ten. She identified deeply with the character of Jo, the creative and independent March sister. In the first volume of her autobiography, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958), Beauvoir says that when she was developing The Second Sex, she projected the four sisters of Little Women into adulthood and used their personality types to form some of her ideas.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865

Beauvoir was a voracious reader as a child, a habit fed by her father Georges, who supplied her with a constant supply of high-quality books. She stated in an interview, published in the The Paris Review in 1965, that “English children’s literature [is] far more charming than what exists in French.” Though she began learning English around the age of eight, she likely read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in translation.

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, 1860

In her Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958), Beauvoir recalls reading The Mill on the Floss when she was around 13 years old:

“About this time I read a novel which seemed to me to translate my spiritual exile into words: George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss made an even deeper impression upon me than Little Women. I read it in English, at Meyrignac, lying on the mossy floor of a chestnut plantation. Maggie Tulliver, like myself, was torn between others and herself: I recognized myself in her. She too was dark, loved nature, books and life, was too headstrong to be able to observe the conventions of her respectable surroundings.”

Cover Image of The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, published by Hurst and Company, New York, c. 1911. (left) and cover image of Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann, published by Henry Hold and Company, New York, 1927. (right)

Cover of The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, published by Hurst and Company, New York, c. 1911 (left) and cover of Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann, published by Henry Hold and Company, New York, 1927 (right)

Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann, 1927

Published when Beauvoir was 19, the novel Dusty Answer was extremely popular with young women—in order to keep re-reading it, Beauvoir had to return the library’s in-demand copy and buy her own. Beauvoir said that she was fascinated by the description of university life and its associated freedoms. Lehmann was influenced by English novelist George Meredith, whose novels Beauvoir also read intensely and used as models.

Visit the installation and peruse these books along with works Beauvoir wrote or inspired. From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir is on view on the museum’s fourth floor through August 16, 2017.

—Sarah Osborne Bender is the director of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

Art Fix Friday: May 19, 2017

Bustle asks, “Why are there so many female art students, and so few female artists being exhibited?”

Bustle delves into art world gender statistics and includes the views of prominent curators, writers, and activists. “We live in a society ruled by males in every sector, not just art,” says curator and writer Maura Reilly. Artist and activist Micol Hebron says, “We have a culture that kind of generally supports and prepares men for this sort of autonomy and independence and entrepreneurship, but not women.”

Front-Page Femmes

NPR interviews NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center director about the Simone de Beauvoir installation at the museum.

The Horse Problem by Claudia Fontes is on display at the Venice Biennale’s Argentinian Pavilion. The immersive sculptural work portrays a girl touching a white horse frozen in mid-air.

The Hirshhorn’s Yayoi Kusama exhibition increased the museum’s membership by more than six thousand percent and brought in half a million visitors.

The Guardian explores why it took so long for British sculptor Phyllida Barlow to be “discovered.”

ARTnews writes that “The London art world was having a feminist moment last fall.”

Period., a multimedia exhibition, challenges common misconceptions about menstruation and women’s bodies.

Rachel Rose is the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Serbian artist Jovana Mladenovic photographs monuments from the former Yugoslavia.

Icelandic artist Björk decided to release the sheet music for 34 of her compositions.

Octavia Bürgel writes about growing up with her mother, Kara Walker.

Wu Tsang created a platform for a performance inspired the poetry of Chinese warrior Qiu Jin.

Former inmate Susan Burton discusses her memoir Becoming Ms. Burton and her efforts to help incarcerated women rebuild their lives.

Artsy shares works by six women artists exploring motherhood through portraiture.

Shows We Want to See

“[Florine] Stettheimer’s singular paintings are among the most spellbinding and enduring in the history of art,” writes The New York Times. The exhibition Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry is on view at the Jewish Museum.

In a review of Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind the Mask, Another Mask, Hyperallergic writes, “The two artists are separated by two generations, their backgrounds and technologies worlds apart, but they approached personal identity in the same way.”

Manal Abu-Shaheen’s photographs in the exhibition Beta World City explore the impact of capitalism and Western advertisements on the ever-changing landscape of Beirut.

Lauren Greenfield’s Generation Wealth explores “the evolution of celebrity culture, the out-of-control growth of the 1%, and the disintegration of the American dream.”

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

Women Making Moves: Immigrant Artists in NMWA’s Collection

As life in Europe became increasingly dangerous during World War II, some artists sought new lives abroad. Burgeoning art movements springing from major cities in North America shifted the art world spotlight away from Europe. European-born artists Anni Albers, Eva Hesse, and Remedios Varo became prominent figures in their respective art movements after fleeing Europe for North America.

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

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

Anni Albers (1899–1994)

Anni Albers grew up in Germany and met her husband, fellow artist Josef Albers, at the Bauhaus in the 1920s. Albers experimented with textiles, creating abstract woven wall hangings, and became Head of the Weaving Workshop in 1931—a senior position that was rare for a woman. In 1933, the Albers couple moved to the U.S. to escape the pressures of Nazi control. Both taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and exhibited work around the country. In 1949, she became the first weaver to have a solo exhibition at MoMA. Her contributions to both textile and printmaking traditions earned her honorary doctorates, lifetime achievement awards, a gold medal from the American Craft Council, and an induction into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

Eva Hesse, Study for Sculpture, 1970; Sculp-Metal, cord, Elmer’s glue, acrylic paint, and varnish on Masonite, 10 x 10 x 1 in.; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; © The Estate of Eva Hesse, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, London

Eva Hesse, Study for Sculpture, 1970; Sculp-Metal, cord, Elmer’s glue, acrylic paint, and varnish on Masonite, 10 x 10 x 1 in.; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; © The Estate of Eva Hesse, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, London

Eva Hesse (1936–1970)

Eva Hesse was born into a Jewish family in Nazi Germany. When she was 3 years old, her parents moved the family to the U.S. to flee the Nazi regime. Hesse studied under Josef Albers at Yale before working as an artist in New York City in the 1960s. She exhibited watercolors and drawings in 1961, and continued working in this medium during the first half of the decade. In 1965, Hesse moved to Germany for one year, where she experimented with making abstract sculptures. Once back in New York, Hesse continued her sculpture practice and was featured in the exhibition Eccentric Abstraction at Fischbach Gallery. Tragically, Hesse died from cancer in 1969 after only ten years of art making—but her influence on contemporary sculpture continues.

Remedios Varo, Tejido espacio-tiempo (Weaving of Space and Time), 1954; Oil on Masonite, 32 1/2 x 28 x 2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift from Private Collection

Remedios Varo (1908–1963)

Remedios Varo, originally from Spain, was forced to migrate as a result of war—twice. Varo moved to Paris to escape the Spanish Civil War, where she met and worked with the Surrealists who greatly influenced her work. Then, in 1941, the Nazi invasion forced Varo to flee again, this time to Mexico. Once there, she became a part of a community of artists, and continued working in a Surrealist style with her friend Leonora Carrington. After only a few years of having her work featured in solo exhibitions, Varo suffered a fatal heart attack in 1963. Her works have been shown in Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art and NMWA held a retrospective of more than 50 of her pieces in 2000. To further cement her impact on American culture, her work Los Amantes inspired imagery in Madonna’s 1995 music video for her song “Bedtime Story.”

Experience the legacy of these immigrant artists by visiting the museum in person or online today!

Meghan Masius is the spring 2017 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

What #BeauvoirSays to NMWA

Visitors ask me why the National Museum of Women in the Arts has a dedicated installation to honor Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir was not an artist, not a patron, and not a noted art collector—though she did collect books, souvenirs, snapshots, and a few works of art from friends, including Alberto Giacometti. As I gathered research for the installation, I found an interview with Beauvoir from 1984, in which she reflects on the work of emboldened women activists in the late 1960s in Paris. Her comments in that interview made the relationship between NMWA and Beauvoir clear to me.

Installation view of From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir; Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

Installation view of From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir; Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

Beauvoir wrote, “[Women] realized that they would have to take their fate into their own hands and separate their battles from the larger revolutionary rhetoric of the men. I agreed with them because I understood that women could not expect their emancipation to come from general revolution but would have to create their own. . . . I realized that women would have to take care of their own problems in ways that were personal, direct, and immediate. They could no longer sit waiting patiently for men to change the society for them because it would never happen unless they did it themselves.”

Installation view of From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir; Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

Installation view of From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir; Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

I nodded along to these words and reflected on the motivations of NMWA’s founder, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. Mrs. Holladay and her husband, Wallace Holladay, could have donated their growing collection of art by women to an established museum. Perhaps Mrs. Holladay’s name would appear on a gallery wall and the collection would find a place with—likely be obscured by—notable works by male artists. But instead, the Holladays chose to create a space, a grand museum only blocks from the White House, and name it the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Mrs. Holladay wanted a dedicated space in which to address art world sexism. She took action and for that we are thankful.

Visit the installation From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir, on view on the museum’s fourth floor through August 16, 2017.

—Sarah Osborne Bender is the director of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

Artist Friendships: Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo

Inspired by the special exhibition New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin, we are celebrating famous artist friendships. Did you know that Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) and Remedios Varo (1908–1963) met in Paris and became close friends after finding refuge in Mexico City?

Surreal Sisters

Both Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo painted primarily in a Surrealist style, infusing their works with mysticism and otherworldly elements. NMWA owns five works by Carrington, including one print, two paintings, and two sculptures. Although Carrington did not begin producing sculptures until 1990, The Ship of Cranes (2010) is exemplary of Carrington’s interest in mythology and use of animal symbolism.

One the three paintings by Varo in the collection, La Llamada (The Call) (1961), is on view on the mezzanine level. La Llamada (The Call) provides viewers with signature traits of Varo’s work, including an ethereal being dressed in gold against a darker, castle-like background.

A Match Made in Mexico

Carrington and Varo met in Paris during the Surrealist movement, and were seen as the “femmes-enfants” to the famous and much older male artists in their lives. Varo had left Spain with poet Benjamin Péret and Carrington was in a relationship with Max Ernst. Their friendship then moved overseas to Mexico City as the outbreak of World War II in Europe caused them to move. In their new home, the two saw each other almost daily, of which Carrington said, “Remedios’s presence in Mexico changed my life.”

Though they painted separately, they did spent time together cooking, writing spells, and looking for ways to prank guests. Their mutual interest in alchemy is evident in their works. Both artists often depicted magical, alternate realities that are characteristic of Surrealism. While Carrington and Varo shared subject matter based on the universe, the supernatural, alchemy, and astrology, they interpret these topics differently in their works. In the book Surreal Friends: Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Kati Horna, Stefan van Raay writes, “Carrington’s work is about tone and color and Varo’s is about line and form.”

In Carrington’s book The Healing Trumpet, she modeled the two main characters after much older versions of herself and Varo, revealing how important she felt the friendship was to her and her wish that it would last well into their old age. Varo also included their friendship in stories she wrote, creating characters just as outlandish as Carrington’s.

Learn about the friendship between potter Maria Martinez (ca. 1887–1980) and photographer Laura Gilpin (1891–1979), whose works are on view in New Ground through May 14, 2017.

—Meghan Masius is the spring 2017 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: May 12, 2017

Women artists exhibiting at the Venice Biennale made news this week. artnet highlights five must-see pavilions, including Carol Bove for Switzerland, Phyllida Barlow for Britain, and Geta Brătescu for Romania.

The Guardian profiles the 72-year-old Barlow, who was unrecognized for most of her career. ARTnews reviews Anne Imhof’s performance Faust, a seven-month “scenario” of five-hour performances over the duration of the Biennale. Rachel Rose’s video work on view at the Central Pavilion, Lake Valley, explores themes of abandonment and loneliness through thousands of images from children’s books. Rachel Maclean’s film Spite Your Face captures “the sense of an above world and a below world.”

However, Artsy finds that women and artists of color are still vastly underrepresented at the Venice Biennale. Women artists make up only 35% of the participants, including only one black woman artist, Senga Nengudi.

Front-Page Femmes

Lezley Saar portrays gender fluidity through paintings inspired by her son’s transition.

In a new documentary, Lynn Hershman Leeson explores the psychological effects of artist Tania Bruguera’s detention.

Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery attempts to address the gender imbalance in the art world by launching a series of exhibitions featuring undervalued women artists.

Illustrator Marina Esmeraldo creates graphics in support of the women’s movement.

Hyperallergic writes, “The versions of feminism on display in the [2017 Whitney Biennial] are incredibly rich and varied.”

Elle features 10 contemporary women artists to watch.

NPR interviews Mary Gaitskill about her new collection of personal essays titled Somebody with a Little Hammer.

The New York Times features two West African artists, Ojih Odutola and Yaa Gyasi, as “poignant observers of race in America.”

The Guardian highlights Alice Neel’s painting Benjamin (1976).

Shows We Want to See

I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson at the Morgan Library & Museum “reveals a far more socially engaged Emily Dickinson than the recluse we’ve believed her to be.”

As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings, on view beginning this July at the Clark Art Institute, focuses on nature as a long-standing inspiration for the artist.

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing at the Oakland Museum of Art includes 25,000 negatives and 6,000 prints.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher, on view at the New Museum, debuts a new body of work by the British artist.

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

Artist Friendships: Loïs Mailou Jones and Céline Tabary

Inspired by the special exhibition New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin, we are celebrating famous artist friendships. Did you know that Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998) and Céline Tabary (1908–1993) were close friends who met in Paris before establishing art classes and a studio group in Washington, D.C.?

Lasting Impressions

NMWA’s collection contains six works by Loïs Mailou Jones. Her colorful landscape painting Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées (1949) was completed while the artist was on a sojourn in France. Other works by Jones are much more modernist in style, with bold colors and an African influence veering towards abstraction.

Céline Tabary’s painting Terrasse de Café, Paris (1950) is also part of NMWA’s collection. Tabary painted in an impressionist style for most of her career, but Terrasse de Café, Paris reveals an emerging cubist influence.

Little Paris in Washington, D.C.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1949; Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 23 5/8 in; National Museum of Women in the Arts; Gift of Gladys P. Payne

Loïs Mailou Jones, Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1949; Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 23 5/8 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Gladys P. Payne; © Loïs Mailou Jones

Jones moved to Paris in 1937 to study at the Academie Julien. Jones fell in love with the French way of life and lack of racial prejudice, and was introduced to Tabary, a fellow student, when she needed help translating. The two became friends, and Jones visited Tabary’s family in the north of France. Jones considers paintings she did there some of her best.

Jones returned to Washington, D.C. in 1938, and Tabary joined her, as they both planned to go back to France together. However, the start of World War II prevented their return, and Tabary and Jones continued working together in the United States and established Saturday morning art class for children as well as a salon style group to promote the artistic practice of public school art teachers. Alma Thomas, another prominent artist represented in NMWA’s collection, was also a part of the “Little Paris Group” run by Jones and Tabary.

Jones and Tabary remained very close friends throughout their careers. Due to racial tensions in the U.S., Jones did not want to reveal to the institutions acquiring her work that she was African American. In these instances, Tabary delivered Jones’s paintings for her, ensuring her friend’s works were exhibited. Tabary eventually returned to France, but even in an interview in the late 1980s, Jones mentioned visiting her friend. “Very soon I’ll be goin’ to visit Céline. . . . Before I return to Haiti, I’m goin’ back to paint with her again, like in the old days, even at my age which is now 83. That is certainly many, many years since it all started in Paris at the Academie Julian in 1937.”

Learn about the friendship between potter Maria Martinez (ca. 1887–1980) and photographer Laura Gilpin (1891–1979), whose works are on view in New Ground through May 14, 2017.

—Meghan Masius is the spring 2017 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the arts.

Art Fix Friday: May 5, 2017

The four nominated artists for the 2017 Turner Prize are Andrea Büttner, Lubaina Himid, Rosalind Nashashibi, and Hurvin Anderson.

Hyperallergic calls this year’s shortlist “refreshingly diverse,” including three women, two artists of color, and two artists over the age of 50. British painter Hurvin Anderson and the Tanzania-born painter and sculptor Lubaina Himid were not eligible for a nomination last year, before the age restriction of 50 years old or under had been removed. artnet delves into the nominees’ works.

Front-Page Femmes

Artsy calls the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 “the realization of a dream.”

Iranian artist Maryam Ashkanian embroiders individuals deep in sleep onto the surface of handmade pillows.

The Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society opened on Saturday.

Cornelia Parker is the first woman to be named the official Election Artist for the U.K. general election.

The Washington Post profiles Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu.

Hyperallergic features Swiss artist Sonja Sekula, whose work fell into obscurity after her death in 1963.

ARTnews presents an excerpt of Lowery Stokes Sims’s acceptance speech for the 2017 Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts.

Alexa Meade paints on her models and their surroundings to trick the viewer’s eye.

Action at a Distance features work by five contemporary Lebanese artists, including Rania Matar.

Emil Ferris’s debut graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is “a rich tapestry full of hairpin turns in style and content.”

Paula Wilson’s exhibition pairs stained-glass-inspired works with her short video Salty + Fresh.

Kaari Upson discusses the relationships between the drawings, objects, and videos in her upcoming New Museum show.

The New York Times reviews the fourth episode of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

NPR interviews Salt Houses author Hala Alyan about her book, displacement, and her own family.

New Museum director Lisa Phillips initiated the first study to investigate the salary gap for museum directors.

The New York Times examines box office results to bust five myths about diversity in Hollywood.

Carol Rama’s solo exhibition presents viewers with 150 works portraying “the ecstatic horror of existing in a female body.”

Shows We Want to See

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute hosts its first show devoted to a living designer (since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983) by honoring Rei Kawakubo, the designer and founder of Comme des Garçons.

Artist Olek created a 32-foot crocheted mural honoring Harriet Tubman at the Schweinfurth Art Center—one of 50 planned installations celebrating important women across the U.S.

The Guardian discusses Alice Neel’s exhibition on view at Victoria Miro, and shares highlighted works. An anonymous figure in one of Alice Neel’s portraits is identified.

The New Yorker and Hyperallergic explore Louise Lawler’s exhibition at MoMA.

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