One of the new standout features of NMWA’s revitalized building is the use of technology to bring artists’ voices to life. Immersive experiences and digital prompts enhance guests’ exploration of the museum. Through digital engagement, NMWA seeks to spark curiosity, inspire advocacy, and encourage slow looking among visitors as they move through the building’s expanded and redesigned art spaces.
In Focus: Artists at Work
The new video presentation In Focus: Artists at Work provides an intimate look into the work and inspirations of artists in NMWA’s collection through short, documentary-style profiles. Interviews as well as archival and behind-the-scenes footage capture the essence of each artist’s work and process.
The artists are nationally and internationally recognized and have had major exhibitions at NMWA. Debuting throughout the opening year, the eight films profile Ambreen Butt, Sonya Clark, Colette Fu, the Guerrilla Girls, Graciela Iturbide, Delita Martin, Rania Matar, and Alison Saar. For this project, NMWA partnered with the Emmy and Clio Award-winning film production company Smartypants Pictures, which directed and produced the series.
When the museum reopens, the first four films will debut. They feature:
The Guerrilla Girls
“Be critical of the system, but be open to the art,” advises one member of the Guerrilla Girls in their NMWA film. Since the 1980s, the feminist art collective has called out sexism and racism in the art world via bold advertising-style graphics featuring eye-opening facts and figures. Watch the Guerrilla Girls—who maintain their anonymity by wearing gorilla masks in public—poster New York City with their newest provocations.
With her large-scale, mixed-media prints, which primarily feature Black women, Martin creates a new iconography for African Americans based on African tradition, personal recollections, and physical materials. Watch the artist at work as she draws, sews, collages, paints, and explains the spiritual significance of her practice. “Being able to work on these portraits is an act of prayer—I’m literally just a vessel in the studio,” she says.
As a photographer, Matar, who works in both the United States and the Middle East, explores female adolescence and womanhood, creating portraits of young women in lush and unforgiving landscapes. The video follows the artist as she photographs a new subject in New York City and discusses the influence of her Lebanese, Palestinian, and American background on her practice. “Being from two cultures is a gift. . . .I see myself [in the women I photograph]. We’re creating a narrative together,” she says.
“My work talks about issues of gender, race, equity, our history, and our present. Love and compassion. And hopefully [it] helps guide us towards a brighter future,” Saar says in her film. Though primarily a sculptor, the artist works across mediums in service to each artwork, which often feature powerful figures. The film follows Saar into her studios, where she sculpts (with chainsaw!), carves, paints, and prints.
To craft an in-gallery experience around this exciting new film series, NMWA worked with Art Processors, an experiential design and technology company. They transformed the films into a multi-screen format for a profound experience.
Visitors will also encounter a custom touchscreen table in the third-floor collection galleries. This table, built in collaboration with Art Processors, provides a playful and exploratory experience designed to help visitors make connections through ideas that link artworks on view. In addition to learning more about the artworks, users will respond to fun prompts and explore related artworks in the redesigned galleries. Visitors will find this approach simultaneously surprising, enriching, and personalized.
NMWA reopens on October 21. Plan your visit to experience In Focus: Artists at Work and new tech offerings throughout the galleries and building.