Art Fix Friday: September 22, 2017

Last Sunday’s Emmy Awards celebrated female-driven stories. HBO’s Big Little Lies won multiple awards, as did Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Washington Post writes, “The winning drama series and limited series…focused on issues of women—rather than defaulting to the male point of view—as a vivid way to explore the human condition.” Julia Louis Dreyfus also won her sixth consecutive Emmy for her role in Veep.

Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win for comedy writing for Master of None. The Lily celebrates Waithe’s success and reflects on the black women previously nominated for Emmys.

Vulture and the New Yorker also discuss the triumph of women in television, while the Los Angeles Times points out that an imbalance remains. Only 18% of the 114 nominated writers were women and three of the 25 nominated directors were women.

Front-Page Femmes         

Gillian Wearing reveals her design for the likeness of suffragist Millicent Fawcett for London’s Parliament Square.

Murals by street artist Hyuro delve into social and political controversies.

Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen draws inspiration from science for her “strangely gorgeous garments,” incorporating unusual materials and 3-D printing.

Recent studies suggest that women may become more creative after having kids.

In her documentary The Town I Live In, artist Guadalupe Rosales speaks out about gentrification in Boyle Heights.

New York-based artist and educator Imani Shanklin Roberts created a street mural inspired by South African artist Esther Mahlangu.

Nikon chose 32 male photographers to promote their new camera, claiming that no women photographers responded to the casting calls.

Actress Nadine Malouf plays an unnamed Syrian-American who tells stories of Syria’s civil war in Oh My Sweet Land.

London’s Frieze Art Fair will feature nine radical feminist artists whose work was considered too graphic during the 1970s and ’80s.

Amaka Osakwe has become West Africa’s most celebrated designer.

NPR interviews Danielle Allen about her memoir, centered on her cousin, who was sentenced to a long prison term for carjacking and was shot three years after his release.

Shows We Want to See

MoMA showcases nearly 300 works by Louise Bourgeois, including 265 prints, to show the central role printmaking played in Bourgeois’s practice. The Guardian highlights several prints focusing on issues of patriarchy, sexuality, and womanhood.

Carolyn Case’s paintings in Homemade Tattoo involve abstraction through dots, lace, and mark-making.

The Pre-Vinylette Society at the Chicago Art Department contains a “vibrant display of over 60 women sign painters from nine countries around the world.”

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

Gallery Reboot: Domestic Affairs

Beatrice Wood, Gold Chalice, 1985; Earthenware, 12 x 8 7/8 x 8 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts; Gift of John Deardourff and Elisabeth Griffith; © Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts/Happy Valley Foundation

Beatrice Wood, Gold Chalice, 1985; Earthenware, 12 x 8 7/8 x 8 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts; Gift of John Deardourff and Elisabeth Griffith; © Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts/Happy Valley Foundation

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.

The domestic sphere, with its daily activities and feminine associations, serves as a rich source of inspiration for many women artists. They draw subjects and materials from the domestic realm in order to uphold—or upend—cultural traditions, gender roles, and boundaries between art and craft.

Beatrice Wood (1893–1998), known as the “Mama of Dada,” gained renown for her luminous luster-glaze ceramics. Wood discovered pottery classes in the 1930s, when she wanted a matching teapot for a set of teacups from the Netherlands. Her work in ceramics and in creating a signature luster glaze earned her acclaim. Her works were featured in many solo museum exhibitions and fetched high prices at auction. Wood crafted Gold Chalice (1985) when she was 92 years old.

Angela Strassheim, Untitled (Prayer), 2005; Chromogenic color print, 30 x 40 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of The Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Angela Strassheim

Angela Strassheim, Untitled (Prayer), 2005; Chromogenic color print, 30 x 40 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of The Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Angela Strassheim

American photographer Angela Strassheim (b. 1969) portrays suburban life in the American Midwest, while making references to religion and art history. Strassheim was raised in Iowa to a born-again Christian family, whose beliefs she denounced as a teenager. Her photographs’ Christian undertones are presented matter-of-factly, but there is often an unsettling quality to the work. Strassheim’s background in forensic photography also informs her calculated compositions. Her works display recognizable scenes from daily life, but suggest that there is more than meets the eye in family life.

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Apron, 1997; Cedar, stain, and graphite, 46 x 28 x 12 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the Tony Podesta Collection; © Ursula von Rydingsvard

Sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard (b. 1942) often take the form of domestic objects, such as Apron (1997). The artist’s medium of choice has been cedar for more than 35 years. Apron represents a traditionally feminine object wrought in a traditionally masculine medium. Like Strassheim, von Rydingsvard uses her family history as inspiration. The subject matter and medium are all carefully chosen. Household objects became dear to the artist when she moved around refugee camps with her family in Europe during and after World War II. In addition, aprons are a symbol of domesticity and comfort in many cultures. 

Women artists explore the theme of domestic affairs in various, unexpected ways. 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.

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

Art Fix Friday: September 15, 2017

DCist interviews Judy Chicago about her new exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, her visual archive, and the renewed interest in her work and in the feminist art movement.

“It’s really challenging now for young artists, I think it’s really hard to have the long sustained career I have,” says Chicago. “But if my career demonstrates anything, it’s the importance of not giving up.”

Tune in to Judy Chicago’s Fresh Talk livestream at the museum at 4:30 p.m. on September 17, 2017.

Front-Page Femmes 

Shirin Neshat is among the five winners of this year’s Praemium Imperiale award.

New York Times Magazine draws parallels between Marie Cosindas’s early color photography and Rachel Ruysch’s 17th-century Dutch still-life paintings.

“The art world definitely has its own set of issues, and in my opinion there is a tonality in certain of the spaces and institutions that as a black artist you should just be happy to be here,” says Solange.

Alice Walton reveals her plans for a new foundation that will loan works to exhibitions of American art and help shows travel.

Colette Fu crafts the largest pop-up photobook in the world.

Yale University acquired artist and filmmaker Barbara Hammer’s archives.

Kory Stamper, a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster, publishes Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries.

Rachel Shteir describes her interview with Kate Millett, conducted five days before the writer’s death.

Hyperallergic reflects on the importance of Faith Ringgold’s eight-by-eight-feet mural, For the Women’s House (1971).

Spencer Merolla opened a pop-up bakery serving goods made from coal ash in an effort to spark conversation about climate change.

Tatiana Huezo’s documentary about human trafficking is Mexico’s submission for this year’s Academy Awards.

Arleene Correa, an undocumented art student attending California College of the Arts, discusses the end of DACA and the obstacles she faces.

Patty Jenkins will direct the Wonder Woman sequel.

Author Attica Locke discusses her novel Bluebird, Texas, and the current political climate.

Elizabeth Rosner shares her book Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, inspired by an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her father’s liberation from Buchenwald.

Shows We Want to See

Work in Rachel Whiteread’s exhibition at Tate Britain is “as much psychological as it is physical.”

Julie Mehretu creates two large-scale paintings commissioned for SFMoMA’s renovated atrium. “There is no such thing as just landscape,” says Mehretu. “The actual landscape is politicized through the events that take place on it.”

Karen LaMonte: Floating World, on view at the Chazen Museum of Art in Wisconsin, explores clothing as a metaphor—and as a way to explore the body without depicting it.

Magnetic Fields artist Barbara Chase-Riboud’s series of steles in tribute to Malcolm X are on view at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

The Guardian shares a new exhibition of Käthe Kollwitz’s powerful works.

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

Wonder Women: Flappers Meet Underground Comics

NMWA could not host an exhibition called Wonder Women! without featuring several exceptional comics! The first group of objects on view in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center (LRC) are an unlikely trio of comics by women, ranging from a 1920s newspaper, to an underground 1970s feminist comic, to a contemporary collection of dystopian comics with a cult following. Each features powerful women and truly represents their respective eras.

Nell Brinkley, “Kathleen and the Great Secret,” New York Evening Journal, November 21, 1920

Nell Brinkley, writer and artist of the earliest comic on view, brought style, romance, and strong women to the pages of William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers for three decades. Brinkley drew serialized comics in American Sunday magazine, later named American Weekly. “Kathleen and the Great Secret” ran on the cover of American Weekly in 1920 and ’21, featuring a woman who saves her fiancé from villains. Kathleen’s rescue of Jim involved a thrilling journey around the globe. Brinkley’s immense popularity as an illustrator and tastemaker influenced styles of the time. The Ziegfeld Follies featured “Brinkley Girls” dressed in her fashion, and women used hair-curling products named after her.

Left: Trina Robbins, “Girl Fight, issue 2,” 1972; Right: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, “Bitch Planet, Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine,” Image Comics, 2015

Fittingly, alongside Brinkley are two comic books by Trina Robbins, who also wrote two books about Brinkley’s place in comics history. While Kathleen has a wispy, Art Nouveau style, Girl Fight is angular and boldly colored. The plotlines are extreme and the dialogue is crude, but it is clear that Robbins was making a point: women in comics books can be powerful and sexual beings, not just minor characters or fantasy superheroes. Robbins also co-founded Wimmen’s Comix, the longest-running all-women comic book, which was published from 1972 until 1992.

The futuristic comic Bitch Planet, by veteran comics author Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Valentine De Landro, like Girl Fight, uses extreme stereotypes to make a point about the kind of stories that have traditionally been told about women in comics and B-movies. On Bitch Planet, women are deemed “non-compliant” and imprisoned for refusing to conform to gender expectations back on Earth. This graphic novel collection of the first issues of Bitch Planet include the backstory of hero Penny Rolle, jailed for “wanton obesity,” who defies the patriarchy that tries to punish her self-acceptance. In an interview with NPR in 2015, DeConnick discussed her awe at the comic’s cult following with some fans posting photos of “NC” (non-compliant) tattoos.

Visit NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center through November 17, 2017 to see Wonder Women!. Located on the museum’s fourth floor, the LRC is open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—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: September 8, 2017

Groundbreaking feminist writer Kate Millet passed away Wednesday at the age of 82.

The New Yorker praises Millett’s work, particularly her publication Sexual Politics as a “thrilling and damning critique of the patriarchy and its structural effects.” Smithsonian Magazine and the New York Times reflect on Millett’s role in the second-wave feminist movement. The New Republic offers, “What we might take from Millett and her comrades is their bold, unapologetic utopianism.”

Front-Page Femmes

Agnès Varda will receive an Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year.

Photographer Melanie Barboni, who is also an assistant researcher at UCLA’s Earth, Planetary and Space Science Program, takes photos of hummingbirds at a feeder outside her office window.

Hyperallergic explores Ana Pellicer’s series of “gigantic pieces of jewelry made for the Statue of Liberty” and a series of posthumous costumes for actress Nahuí Ollin.

Guadalupe Rosales brings images of her community to LACMA’s Instagram.

Sadie Barnette and Carrie Hott are the winners of Artadia’s San Francisco Awards.

An Incomplete History of Protest, on view at the Whitney Museum of Art, features art from the 1940s to today, including work by the Guerrilla Girls, May Stevens, and Carol Summers.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to artist Shirin Neshat in Venice about the importance of making space for women behind the camera.

The New York Times discusses the importance of statues and monuments dedicated to women. “Why does this matter? Because history is skewed. Because women have been rendered invisible and irrelevant for centuries.”

Atlas Obscura highlights the career of sculptor Caroline Shawk Brooks (1840–1913), also known as the “Butter Woman.”

Pop musician Wafia releases a new song about the Syrian refugee crisis.

Art in America interviews Philadelphia-based artist E. Jane (recording as alter ego Mhysa) about their art and music.

Shows We Want to See

The Victoria and Albert Museum announced a 2018 fashion exhibition dedicated to Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe. The show will include items discovered in the Blue House in 2004, after its cupboards and storerooms were opened after 50 years of being sealed.

The Atlantic explores Carol Rama: Antibodies at the New Museum. “Rama used womanhood as a lens for investigating anything from cultural norms and desire to illness and hysteria.”

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism, opening soon at the Phoenix Art Museum, examines how the artist plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions of art making.

Guggenheim Bilbao’s Anni Albers: Touching Vision is an in-depth survey of the pioneering textile artist’s most important series between 1925 and the late 1970s.

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

High Profile: Bettina von Zwehl

In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary, and inspired by the museum’s focus on contemporary women artists as catalysts for change, Revival illuminates how women working in sculpture, photography, and video use spectacle and scale for expressive effect.

Bettina von Zwehl (b. 1971, Munich, Germany)

Bettina von Zwehl, Profiles III, No. 6, 2005; Lambda print, 52 1/2 x 41 7/8 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Purdy Hicks Gallery; © Bettina von Zwehl

As a teenager, Bettina von Zwehl photographed friends for fun. Ever since she has been fascinated with the human form. Von Zwehl produces tight, focused portraits that seek to capture the spirit of her subjects. Although she initially favored eliciting natural responses from her sitters, von Zwehl shifted her focus toward carefully crafted profiles. The artist’s deep appreciation of classical portraiture found on medals, coins, and painted miniatures drives her photographs, combining traditional aesthetics and modern art forms. Striving to escape sentimentality, von Zwehl constructs portrayals that limit the view of her subjects’ faces without robbing them of their individual characteristics.

The Artist’s Voice:

“For almost a decade I have been researching the human profile and the hierarchic approach to portraiture that was applied during the Italian Renaissance. There is an uncanny quality to viewing a person in profile, related to what remains invisible and untold. This method of representation may have a cold, rigid aspect, with no indication of the subject’s true character or emotion. To me it is one of the most powerful ways of representing a person.”—Bettina von Zwehl, in an artist statement

Left to right: Installation of Bettina von Zwehl’s Profiles III , a photograph by Deborah Paauwe, and Bettina von Zwehl’s The Sessions; Photography by Lee Stalsworth, Fine Art through Photography, LLC

Revival Highlight:

Von Zwehl’s works in Revival demonstrate her capacity to work on both a small and a large scale. While three portraits from her series Profiles III (2005) loom over the viewer, presenting each child’s profile in extreme detail, The Sessions (2016) on the opposite wall displays 50 small, uniquely torn images of a young girl’s silhouette.

Von Zwehl upends traditional ideas about portraiture as a direct means for exposing character and emotion. Her larger-than-life images of toddlers in Profiles III seem to capture some personality traits, but their profile format keeps much information hidden. Viewers are unable to meet the child’s gaze in each portrait. Von Zwehl’s subjects appear independent, their existence separate from adults.

Left: A visitor studies The Sessions; Right: Bettina von Zwehl, The Sessions (detail), 2016; 50 gelatin silver prints, Dimensions variable; Courtesy of the artist and Purdy Hicks Gallery; © Bettina von Zwehl

Drawing inspiration from painted miniatures made in Victorian England, von Zwehl conceals her subject’s identity by depicting her in silhouette for The Sessions. Each torn profile reveals a different aspect of the girl, showcasing the complexity of her character through many variations on a single take. This work’s title and the 50 photographs composing it collectively refer to psychoanalytic sessions and the duration in minutes of each meeting. Inspired by Anna Freud’s pioneering work in child analysis, von Zwehl’s photographs embody Freud’s belief that the mental health of even the youngest child is complex, vital, and deserving of support. By rejecting the reduction of children to relational beings and preserving their autonomy, von Zwehl hints at society’s fragmented understanding of its youngest members.

Visit the museum and explore Revival, on view through September 10, 2017.

—Xiaoxiao Meng is the summer 2017 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Crocheted Creatures: Joana Vasconcelos

In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary, and inspired by the museum’s focus on contemporary women artists as catalysts for change, Revival illuminates how women working in sculpture, photography, and video use spectacle and scale for expressive effect.

Joana Vasconcelos, Tsarina, 2015; Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience, ceramic glaze, and Azores crocheted lace, 55 1/8 x 27 1/2 x 39 3/8 in.; Collection of the artist; © Joana Vasconcelos

Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971, Paris, France)

Joana Vasconcelos grew up traveling to museums across the globe with her family and her work expresses sensibilities cultivated during that time. Vasconcelos is interested in expressing universal themes through techniques and materials that are traditionally identified as Portuguese. “My creative process is based upon the appropriation, de-contextualization and subversion of pre-existent objects and everyday realities,” says the artist. Vasconcelos combines the exaggerated scale of her sculptures with the delicacy of traditionally feminine handcraft. Her explorations of the paradoxical dichotomies between power and vulnerability captivate audiences, prompting them to engage with her work.

Left to right: A museum visitor with Joana Vasconcelos’s Viriato (2005), Senator (2017), and Tsarina  (2015) next to a hanging work by Sonia Gomes in Revival

The Artist’s Voice:

“The use of crochet and the compartmentalization of forms restates the idea that we often act and live divorced from our conscience, that we don’t question our perceptions enough. Lace is paradoxical in that it was used by Portuguese women to fill the emptiness of their lives; it was the only means of expression available, the sole response to an absolutely passive social situation.”

“Lace decorates and protects, but protection is another manifestation of imprisonment. It’s for the spectator to decide what the crochet means for him, whether it’s showpiece or dungeon.”—Joana Vasconcelos, in an interview published in Joana Vasconcelos: Versailles (LeYa, 2012)

Joana Vasconcelos, Senator, 2017; Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro faience, ceramic glaze, and Azores crocheted lace, 34 5/8 x 21 1/4 x 23 5/8 in.; Collection of the artist; © Joana Vasconcelos; Photo © Unidade Infinita Projectos

Revival Highlight:

Vasconcelos’s works in Revival question viewers’ assumptions about nature. She presents large, mass-produced forms of a German shepherd, an enlarged snail, and a larger-than-life wasp—their forms covered in patterned lace. Rather than simply delight viewers, the over-sized representations of these creatures unsettle, startle, and even frighten the viewer. The intricate crochet encasing them raises more questions. Does the lace protect or imprison these animals? Does lace adorn the creatures or hide something treacherous about them?

Vasconcelos combines mass-produced lawn ornaments made in Portugal with Azores lace. Although lawn decorations and crocheted works are often associated with domesticity, Vasconcelos transforms them into high art, challenging the art establishment’s traditional conceptions of artistic value. Within the ambiguity of her combined symbols, she reveals the face of domesticity, its double-binding nature of simultaneous entrapment and protection.

Visit the museum and explore Revival, on view through September 10, 2017.

—Xiaoxiao Meng is the summer 2017 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn: Alison Saar

In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary, and inspired by the museum’s focus on contemporary women artists as catalysts for change, Revival illuminates how women working in sculpture, photography, and video use spectacle and scale for expressive effect.

Alison Saar (b. 1956, Los Angeles, CA)

Alison Saar’s mother, acclaimed assemblagist Betye Saar, exposed her to the rich mythology of many non-Western traditions. She also learned from her father, a painter and art conservator. Her signature sculptures evoke German Expressionist work in robustness, reference Greek or African mythology in name or form, and often seek to address historical or contemporary social issues in the United States. A master of varied mediums, Saar places special emphasis on the tactility of handcraft, never afraid to experiment with finding new forms for her ideas.

Alison Saar, Tippy Toes, 2007; Wood and cast bronze, 59 x 23 x 23 in.; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Gift of the Friends of African and African American Art, 2008.2 © Alison Saar

The Artist’s Voice:

“…It was really poignant to me, this idea that a work of art could, somehow, turn a page, or shed a light, or lead back to a source. And that’s one of the things that’s exciting about being an artist; that your work threads people to other places, and not necessarily in straight lines.”—Alison Saar, in an interview with BOMB Magazine

“I realized that by changing the function of objects, I could transform information and work ‘magic.’”—Alison Saar, in “The Saar System” in Mirabella (July 1992)

Revival Highlight:

The theme of hardship unites Saar’s works in Revival. The bodies of her figures often seem challenged, confined, or undermined by external obstacles or internal conflict, although they appear stoic in the face of suffering. Figures in many of Saar’s recent sculptures seem to suffer stabs of pain and loss by touching or consuming brambles. The motif speaks to broader themes of fertility, life cycles, human vulnerability, and hope.

Installation view of Alison Saar’s Barreness (2017)

Although the bramble’s thorns seem insidious at first, figures in works such as Tippy Toes (2007) and Barreness (2017) call that association into question. The brambles encircle and suspend the figure in Tippy Toes, uplifting while also trapping her. However, she appears calm, with her hands outstretched in a welcoming gesture. In Barreness, thorns germinate from the figure’s womb. The punning title of this sculpture plays on two words: “barrenness,” the incapability of producing offspring, and “baroness,” the title given to the wife of a baron, or to a woman who holds the title by her own right.

These suggestions of the “in-between” explore the conflicting identities often thrust upon women of color in an attempt to curtail or categorize them. As a biracial artist, Saar is interested in the complexity of personal history that rejects tidy categories.

Visit the museum and explore Revival, on view through September 10, 2017.

—Xiaoxiao Meng is the summer 2017 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

“Bossy” Blue Gowns: Beverly Semmes

In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary, and inspired by the museum’s focus on contemporary women artists as catalysts for change, Revival illuminates how women working in sculpture, photography, and video use spectacle and scale for expressive effect.

Installation view of Beverly Semmes’s Blue Gowns (1993); Photo: Emily Haight, NMWA

Beverly Semmes (b. 1958, Washington, D.C)

Beverly Semmes currently resides in New York City. Semmes graduated from Tufts University with degrees in Fine Arts and History before pursuing an MFA in sculpture at Yale University. She currently teaches at the Steinhardt School of New York University and the Pratt Institute while continuing her art practice. Semmes works with a wide variety of media, including fabric, glass, drawing, photography, and performance.

Detail view of Blue Gowns

The Artist’s Voice:

“I’m looking for an open-upness quality in the forms, a place where the work is breathing. . . . Thinking about the big dress pieces, I see a certain crudeness in them. They probably end up looking quite refined, things made out of velvet or organza.”—Beverly Semmes, in conversation with Ian Berry

“Many of my sculptures from the ’90s were designed to take up space. The viewer is pushed way to the side; you can’t really walk into the room.”—Beverly Semmes, in an interview with Artforum

Revival Highlight:

Created using chiffon and crushed velvet, Beverly Semmes’s Blue Gowns (1993) aggressively fills a gallery in Revival. Pinned to the wall and flowing onto the gallery floor, these three over-sized dresses resemble cascading waterfalls or female bodies expanding in space. This relationship between the body and the landscape is further enhanced by the texture of the materials.

Visitors study Beverly Semmes’s work; NMWA, © Yassine El Mansouri

The artist’s dress installations epitomize a strong impulse that emerged among women artists in the 1990s to make work that was tactile, intimate, sensuous, messy, or excessive. Semmes tweaks conventional ideas about women, fabric, and craft by working on a monumental scale that emphasizes movement and sensation rather than dainty handwork and industriousness.

The installation also creates an immersive experience for the viewer. Semmes’s gowns force viewers to the periphery of the room, presenting the female body as dominant. The work challenges conventional expectations about how women occupy space.

Visit the museum and explore Revival, on view through September 10, 2017.

—Roseline Odhiambo is the summer 2017 digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: September 1, 2017

A new analysis of 10,000 reviews in the New York Times Book Review shows that “two-thirds of reviewed books were written by men, and the reviewed books tended to reflect gender stereotypes.”

“According to one analysis, women’s books that get reviewed tend to be fiction with themes of romance, gender, and family, whereas reviewed books by men tend to be non-fiction, focused on traditionally masculine topics like war and sports, or scholarly topics like science and economics.”

Front-Page Femmes

Lucy Lippard, Nancy Holt, and others reflect on Eva Hesse’s sculptures in an exclusive clip from the documentary Eva Hesse.

Women writers and editors won all 12 of the individual awards at the 2017 Hugo Awards ceremony.

Swiss artist Clio Newton creates towering portraits of women—solely with compressed charcoal.

Zaria Forman’s large-scale soft pastel drawings of glaciers in Antarctica raise awareness about the effects of climate change.

Karen Anderson creates miniature door installations under tunnels and nestled in public parks in Atlanta to “bring a bit of curiosity and wonder to the city’s inhabitants.”

Julie Taymor will helm a revival of M. Butterfly on Broadway.

Tate Modern published a multimedia collaboration between Solange Knowles Ferguson and artist Carlota Guerrero, titled Seventy States (2017).

NPR features Jesmyn Ward and her works discussing race and class and her experiences in Mississippi.


Tiffany Hsiung’s The Space We Hold is an interactive documentary on “comfort women.” The projects shares the stories of three women held in sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

Roya Amigh uses “thread and configurations of the hybridized paper” to reveal how simple materials can transform into a story.

Renee Gladman’s collection of drawings in Prose Architectures “resemble not-quite-legible script, registering somewhere on the visual spectrum between image and language.”

NPR describes The Burning Girl as a “subversive commentary on the stories we tell about women and the ways those stories circumscribe our lives.”

Carrie Mae Weems, Wangechi Mutu, and other women artists create protest slogans.

The New York Times publishes a series of interviews in an article titled “Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled By Women: The Round-Table Conversation.”

Shows We Want to See

“These were women dealing with power,” says the co-curator of the Hammer Museum’s Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985. “They are women fighting power.”

More than 50 women artists featured in Dreamers Awake in London “harness and expand upon the Surrealist legacy.” Apollo Magazine says, “Surrealism’s women found new forms of protest and expression in the reappropriation of symbols traditionally associated with male desire.”

Amie Siegel: Interiors, on view at Frye Art Museum in Seattle, presents video, photographic, and installation work.

Up/Rooted. Four Women Artists in Exile, on view at Museum der Moderne Salzburg, presents 200 works by four Jewish artists who had to rebuild their lives and careers after fleeing Germany during the World War.

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