Food, Drink, and Fun: After Hours at NMWA!

Last Thursday, the museum held NMWA Nights: Earthly Delights, an after-hours event featuring two new exhibitions, Super Natural and Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015. Hosted together with members of the Young pARTners Circle, NMWA Nights provided staff-led tours of the exhibitions for over 100 attendees.

Attendees explore exhibition artworks, including Organic Matters artist Dawn Holder's Monoculture; Photo credit: Laura Hoffman

Attendees explore exhibition artworks, including Organic Matters artist Dawn Holder’s Monoculture; Photograph: Laura Hoffman

Super Natural features women artists who do not simply document nature but treat the natural world as a space for discovery and invention. Historical and contemporary depictions of plants, animals, and natural landscapes are juxtaposed to show the diverse ways that nature has inspired women artists.

Organic Matters is a part of a series presented every two to three years in which the museum’s national and international committees nominate up-and-coming women artists from their region to exhibit at NMWA. This year’s 13 selected artists work with the subject of nature in mediums ranging from photography to fiberglass.

Guests contribute paper flowers to a collaborative floor installation

Flowers in a collaborative installation; Photograph: Laura Hoffman

Between tours, guests met on the Mezzanine to sip on the specialty cocktail, cleverly named “Metamorphosis.” Participants sampled an array of tasty snacks—provided by Dirty South Deli in collaboration with Union Kitchen—all while listening to tunes by DJ Flying Fortress.

In the Great Hall, attendees explored their crafty side by pushing the boundaries of paper. Guests sculpted flowers and contributed them to a collaborative art project.

The floor installation featuring everyone’s paper flora and fauna was inspired by Organic Matters artist Rebecca Hutchinson’s Patterns of Nature.

Many added to a projected photo collage by instagramming their artwork and photo booth fun with the hashtag #NMWAnights.

Everyone who instagrammed—anything from floral photos to face-in-the-hole shots of collection artwork—was entered into a photo contest to win delightful prizes. Check out @womeninthearts on Instagram to see what people captured!

To stay informed about future NMWA Nights, networking events, and other fun and enriching opportunities, please visit the online calendar or join the Young pARTners Circle.

—Bridget Mazet is the development intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Contest Follow-up: How Many Women are Represented in Janson’s?

Want to see influential work by genre-defining artists like Frida Kahlo? Don’t look in Janson’s!

A few weeks ago, we challenged readers to guess the number of women artists included in the 8th edition of Janson’s Basic History of Western Art. We were inspired by one of our current exhibitions, The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back, which includes bold, graphic works (1985–2005) that the Girls created to confront sexism and racism.

Installation view of The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back

Installation view of The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back

One reader, and our lucky winner, Laura B., guessed that there were forty-seven, as her copy of Janson’s (6th edition) included forty—she optimistically guessed that the number of women artists included in Janson’s would continue to rise over time. However, NMWA’s education staff pored through the text of the 8th edition and discovered that only twenty-seven women were mentioned, and of the twenty-seven, only nineteen had images of their work included. (There were 268 men mentioned!) What was even more shocking was the absence of significant artists such as Frida Kahlo, Louise Nevelson, and Louise Bourgeois.

Congratulations, Laura B., and thanks to everyone who participated. We encourage our readers to visit NMWA and enjoy The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back, on view until October 2!

—Elizabeth Keaney is the assistant educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Win NMWA’s Tiny Folio! Guess the Number of Women Artists in Janson’s History of Art

After learning about Dutch painter Clara Peeters while traveling in Europe in the 1960s, Wilhelmina Holladay, NMWA’s founder, looked up the artist in Janson’s History of Art. She referenced Janson’s because she understood that it was a classic, widely used survey of Western art. However, not only was Peeters not listed, there were no women included in the textbook at all. In fact, female artists made their Janson’s debut in 1986—a year before NMWA opened its doors on New York Avenue.

Now in its eighth edition, the cover of Janson’s Basic History of Western Art features the work of Artemisia Gentileschi. But how many women are inside? Correctly guess the number of women artists currently included in Janson’s and win a Tiny Folio, a gift book featuring highlights from NMWA’s permanent collection!

Cover image of Tiny Folio

Submissions may be made by email to ekeaney@nmwa.org. Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, June 21. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries.

—Elizabeth Keaney is the assistant educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Caption Writing Contest #2!

Congratulations to Jane Mason, winner of the “Telling Secrets” Caption Writing Contest #1 ! NMWA’s Web 2.0 Team enjoyed her caption “Just loosen your corset and breathe!” for Jane Hammond’s Untitled (141/257), 1989.

Curious about what Jane Hammond was thinking when she made the painting? The work is a direct response to an art critic who,  reacting to her first  one-person exhibition in New York in 1989, described her work as “just more jittery technique from another defensive female painter.” Zoning in on the words “jittery” and “defensive”, Hammond fired back and answered the critic’s negativity with his own words by featuring them prominently on the canvas. According to Hammond, “I had had this image all along of a ‘lady painter’ in silhouette–so it popped into my mind shortly after that this was a painting–the lady painter, central and hieratic, with all these accusations and diminutions swirling about her. It is the only painting I’ve ever made inspired by art criticism.” Later, she used this painting in a full-page ad in ArtForum for her next show.

Now, on two Caption Writing Contest #2! Take a look at Red, 1999, by Cathy de Monchaux, featured in NMWA’s fall exhibition Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions and Conundrums in Contemporary Art.  Respond with your creative captions and comments by November 17 for a chance to win two free museum passes!

Cathy de Monchaux, "Red", 1999; Brass, copper, velvet, leather, canvas, steel, graphite, and thread; 14 x 46 x 34 in.; Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC

Cathy de Monchaux, Red, 1999. Brass, copper, velvet, leather, canvas, steel, graphite, and thread; Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC.


Telling Secrets Caption Contest #1

Today marks the debut of Broad Strokes’ Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions and Conundrums in Contemporary Art caption contest! Every two weeks for the duration of the exhibition, we’ll post one image from the show for you to get creative with. The first work is Jane Hammond’s Untitled (141, 257), pictured below. Muse, ponder, look, and post your interpretation in the comments of this entry – the last day to enter is Tuesday, November 3. Our favorite entry will win two passes to the museum – we’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, November 4 and give you the artist’s view of her own work. Have fun!

Jane Hammond, Untitled (141,257), 1989. Oil on linen, 76 x 70 in. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Greg Kucera and Larry Yocum.

Jane Hammond, Untitled (141,257), 1989. Oil on linen, 76 x 70 in. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Greg Kucera and Larry Yocum.

"Telling Secrets" Scavenger Hunt Contest!

Robin Kahn, "Victoria's Secret", 1995 Mixed media on canvas, 68 1/8 x 38 1/8 in., National Museum of Women in the Arts Gift of Maxine Kahn

Robin Kahn, "Victoria's Secret", 1995 Mixed media on canvas, 68 1/8 x 38 1/8 in., National Museum of Women in the Arts Gift of Maxine Kahn

Be a sleuth at NMWA! We’re excited to announce a brand new scavenger hunt contest in connection with our fall exhibition, “Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions, and Conundrums in Contemporary Art!” Come the museum, pick up a scavenger hunt form (or download it here), and track down secrets hidden in works of art throughout the exhibition! Submit your completed form at the museum and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a nifty NMWA tote bag and a 1 year museum membership (includes free museum admission, our award-winning magazine, and discounts on purchases and events).

We’ll select winners for October, Novemeber, and December, so bring your family, friends, and favorite magnifying glass to NMWA this fall!