Washington Post Features Women Arts Leaders

It began with a simple discussion between NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling, Washington Post Arts Reporter Katherine Boyle, and me about the increasing number of women in leadership roles within Washington, D.C. cultural organizations. It culminated in a Washington Post print feature with group photo; web article, including individual leader profiles and photos; and video in the Emmy-award winning “On Leadership” series.

On Tuesday, January 21, with the Federal Government and NMWA closed due to an impending snow storm, an historic photo and video shoot arranged by the Washington Post took place at NMWA. Sixteen journalists and representatives from D.C. museums arrived at NMWA before the snow began to fall.

On January 21, a group of women museum directors, supporting staff members, and journalists gathered at NMWA; Photography by Joseph Marvin

On January 21, a group of women museum directors, supporting staff members, and journalists gathered at NMWA; Photography by Joseph Marvin

In an atmosphere of infectious energy, a group photo of eight women leaders included Sara Bloomfield, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Elizabeth Broun, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery; Susan Fisher Sterling, the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Camille Giraud Akeju, the Anacostia Community Museum; Judy A. Greenberg, the Kreeger Museum; Peggy Loar, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design; Kate Markert, the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens; and Kim Sajet, the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, individual portraits were shot and video clips on leadership recorded.

On Sunday, March 2, a group photo by photographer Joseph Marvin ran as an impressive horizontal, full-color cover across the front of the Style section. Art Reporter Katherine Boyle wrote an insightful feature that sets the stage for additional progress for women leaders in the arts, while discussing what it took for them to get where they are today, the challenges for women of color in leadership positions, and work-life balance. In addition, there were great individual profiles and photos of the eight leaders who were photographed, as well as of Doreen Bolger, the Baltimore Museum of Art; Johnnetta Betsch Cole, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art; Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, the American Visionary Art Museum; Dorothy Kosinski, the Phillips Collection; and Julia Marciari-Alexander, The Walters Art Museum.

Click here to read the Post’s feature.

—Amy Mannarino is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Great Washington Museums: Hillwood Estate

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden’s signature works by a woman artist, a kovsh by the firm of Maria Semenova. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Firm of Maria Semenova, Kovsh, 1898–1908; Silver, enamel, Siberian amethysts, chrysoprase, and garnets, 8 in. long; Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Garden, Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973 (acc. no 15.89)

Firm of Maria Semenova, Kovsh, 1898–1908; Silver, enamel, Siberian amethysts, chrysoprase, and garnets, 8 in. long; Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Garden, Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973 (acc. no 15.89)

In 18th- and 19th-century Russia, women regularly participated in family businesses, including gold and silversmithing. However, it was not until the late- nineteenth century that they began to register their own names and hallmarks. Maria Semenova came to the world of metalwork through her father’s workshop and eventually directed this firm. She frequently updated traditional Russian designs, such as this impressive kovsh (drinking vessel) in the Hillwood collection. Her choice of stones and her treatment of enameled flowers mark this work as innovative.

Hillwood is also holding an exhibition of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave’s paper costumes, on view through December 30, 2012.

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave., NW; www.hillwooodmuseum.org

Great Washington Museums: Corcoran Gallery of Art

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s signature works by a woman artist, Joan Mitchell’s Salut Tom. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Joan Mitchell, Salut Tom, 1979; Oil on canvas, 111 x 316 in.; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of the Women’s Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Arts with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts

Joan Mitchell, Salut Tom, 1979; Oil on canvas, 111 x 316 in.; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of the Women’s Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Arts with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts

The origin of Salut Tom, one of Joan Mitchell’s largest and most important paintings, is the view of the river Seine from her estate in Vérheuil, France, where the French Impressionist Claude Monet lived in the 1870s. Motivated by her mental image as well as the actual landscape, Mitchell redrew and repainted the scene many times, displacing the factual traces of her subject with abstract ruminations. Although she consistently denied being influenced by Monet, it is difficult not to compare Salut Tom to the French artist’s multi-panel vistas of water lilies. On view throughout 2012.

Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 Seventeenth St.,  NW; www.corcoran.org

 

Great Washington Museums: Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s signature works by a woman artist, Sally Milgrim’s ball gown for Eleanor Roosevelt for the 1933 inaugural. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Sally Milgrim, Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural ball gown, 1933; Costume; Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History; Gift of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sally Milgrim, Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural ball gown, 1933; Costume; Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History; Gift of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

This slate-blue silk crepe evening gown was designed by Sally Milgrim (1898–1994) for the 1933 inaugural ball. Embroidered with a leaf-and-flower design in gold thread, it featured detachable long sleeves. The belt buckle and shoulder clips are made of rhinestone and moonstone. Milgrim, known for her clothes’ quality and detail, began designing in the 1920s, adding women’s clothing to her family’s custom suit business, and went on to have stores around the country. On view November 2011–December 2013 in The First Ladies exhibition.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 14th St. & Constitution Ave., NW; Website: http://americanhistory.si.edu

Great Washington Museums: Georgia O’Keeffe at the National Gallery of Art

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the National Gallery of Art’s signature works by a woman artist, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jack-in-Pulpit Abstraction—No. 5. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Georgia O’Keeffe, Jack-in-Pulpit Abstraction - No. 5, 1930; Oil on canvas, 48 x 30 in.; Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 1987.58.4

Georgia O’Keeffe, Jack-in-Pulpit Abstraction – No. 5, 1930; Oil on canvas, 48 x 30 in.; Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe, 1987.58.4

In 1930, Georgia O’Keeffe painted a series of six canvases depicting a jack-in-the-pulpit. The series begins with the striped and hooded bloom rendered with a botanist’s care, continues with successively more abstract and tightly focused depictions, and ends with what might be the essence of the jack-in-the-pulpit, a haloed black pistil standing alone against a black, purple, and gray field. No. 5 represents an advanced point in O’Keeffe’s process of increasing detail and abstraction to discover the immanence of nature. On view through May 2013 in the NGA East Building.

National Gallery of Art, 4th St. and Constitution Ave., NW; www.nga.gov

Great Washington Museums: Inter-American Development Bank

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Inter-American Development Bank’s signature works by a woman artist, Olga de Amaral’s Riscos calizos (Limestone Cliffs). Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Olga de Amaral, Riscos calizos (Limestone Cliffs), 1988; Wool, 99 x 114 in.; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Art Collection, Washington, D.C.

Olga de Amaral, Riscos calizos (Limestone Cliffs), 1988; Wool, 99 x 114 in.; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Art Collection, Washington, D.C.

Colombian textile artist Olga de Amaral (b. 1932, Bogota, Colombia) began her artistic career in Colombia in the late 1950s and studied textiles at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Bloomfields Hills, Michigan. She was one of the first artists in the 1960s to transform textile arts from a primarily two-dimensional representational art form into a three-dimensional, abstract art form. Her textiles are in significant collections around the world. On display from mid-January through December 2012 in the East Lobby, Ground Floor of the IDB main building. By appointment: contact Soledad Guerra, 202-623-1213, or Debra Corrie, 202-623-3278.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Cultural Center, 1300 New York Ave, NW; www.iadb.org/cultural.

 

Great Washington Museums: Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum’s signature works by a woman artist, Samella Lewis’s Dance. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Samella Lewis, Dance, 1964; Oil on canvas, 53 x 41 in.; Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Collections; Photograph Susana Raab/ACM

Samella Lewis, Dance, 1964; Oil on canvas, 53 x 41 in.; Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Collections; Photograph Susana Raab/ACM

Samella Lewis (born 1924) is a renowned historian, critic, teacher, collector, and artist who has worked to define and popularize African-American art for more than six decades. Her extensive teaching and writing on the subject as well as her contributions to many museums and exhibitions have contributed substantively to the recognition and esteem of African-American art and artists. On view in the John Kinard memorial gallery, July 28–December 31, 2012.

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum; 1901 Fort Dr., SE; http://anacostia.si.edu

Great Washington Museums: The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s signature works by a woman artist, Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo’s Reduced Angled Spouted Black Piece. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo, Reduced Angled Spouted Black Piece, 1990; Ceramic, 17 ½ x 11 ¼ x 11 ¼ in.; Museum purchase

Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo, Reduced Angled Spouted Black Piece, 1990; Ceramic, 17 ½ x 11 ¼ x 11 ¼ in.; Museum purchase

Magdalene Odundo’s works illustrate a deliberate association with African and European modernist forms, referring to world ceramic history and technique. She regards her subtle, elegant pieces as non-utilitarian containers of form and color. Odundo’s works are hand-coiled, scraped smooth with a gourd, coated with slips and burnished. The color is dependent upon the firing technique. Her black pots are stuffed with combustibles (wood chips and shavings) and undergo a second firing. On view throughout 2012. Also in 2012, the museum is hosting the exhibition Lalla Essaydi: Revisions, May 9, 2012–February 24, 2013.

National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW; http://africa.si.edu

Great Washington Museums: The National Portrait Gallery

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the National Portrait Gallery’s signature works by a woman artist, Alice Neel’s Self-Portrait. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Alice Neel, Self-Portrait, 1980

Alice Neel, Self-Portrait, 1980; Oil on canvas, 57 x 43 x 2 framed; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, © Estate of Alice Neel, 1980; NPG.85.19

At the age of seventy-five, Alice Neel began this shocking, endearing, and unconventional portrait, a project that took another five years to complete. A striking challenge to the centuries-old convention of idealized femininity, Neel’s only painted self-portrait is wonderfully suggestive of the artist’s bohemian, bawdy character. On view indefinitely.

National Portrait Gallery, 800 F St., NW; www.npg.si.edu.

Great Washington Museums: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s signature works by a woman artist, Nakunte Diarra’s Bògòlanfini wrapper. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Nakunte Diarra, Bògòlanfini wrapper, 1990; Handwoven cotton textile with mud dye designs, 149 x 118 cm.; Department of Anthropology, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution; Photograph by James DiLoreto

Nakunte Diarra, Bògòlanfini wrapper, 1990; Handwoven cotton textile with mud dye designs, 149 x 118 cm.; Department of Anthropology, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution; Photograph by James DiLoreto

The cloth depicts a traditional style of hand-woven and hand-dyed wrapped skirt worn by Bamana women in the Republic of Mali. The mud dye design is hand painted onto the cotton cloth. This design refers to marriage and the moving of a bride to her husband’s village. Nakunte Diarra, the artist, was taught this art form by her grandmother and her mother, and she has now taught her own children and grandchildren. On view indefinitely in the African Voices Exhibition, a National Museum of Natural History permanent exhibition on African Cultures, which features artwork by a number of African and African Diasporan women.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, 10th St. & Constitution Ave., NW;  www.mnh.si.edu/africanvoices.