Recent Acquisitions at the LRC: Richenda Cunningham’s Letter

The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center (LRC) to see new books on art, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more!

Richenda Cunningham, Temple of Caius & Lucius Caesar, or Maison Carre (from the series "Nine Views Taken on the Continent"), ca. 1830; Lithograph on paper, 13 x 16 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Richenda Cunningham, Temple of Caius & Lucius Caesar, or Maison Carre (from the series “Nine Views Taken on the Continent”), ca. 1830; Lithograph on paper, 13 x 16 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

The LRC recently acquired an original letter from British printer Richenda (Gurney) Cunningham (1782–1855). Her lithographic portfolio of travel prints “Nine Views Taken on the Continent” (ca. 1830) resides in the museum’s collection and was on view in the 2011 exhibition The Art of Travel: Picturesque Views of Europe by Richenda Cunningham.

“Nine Views” consists of nine 13-by-16 inch prints that were drawn by Cunningham and produced by prominent English lithograph printer Charles Joseph Hullmandel. The series includes drawings of landscapes and tourist locales such as Provence and the Rhineland, which Cunningham visited when touring Europe in 1815.

Cunningham was greatly influenced by Romanticism, a pervasive movement sweeping England in the 18th and 19th centuries that encouraged a love of nature and travel. Cunningham’s “Nine Views” could be compared to other popular travelogue-style lithographs  from the time. The artist included visually enticing elements of rugged landscapes for embellishment. Her lithographs were likely produced in the 1820s and 1830s, before lithography became a more commercial practice in the mid-century.

Richenda Cunningham, Villar, Valley of Luzerne, Piedmont (from the series "Nine Views Taken on the Continent"), ca. 1830; Lithograph on paper, 13 x 16 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Richenda Cunningham, Villar, Valley of Luzerne, Piedmont (from the series “Nine Views Taken on the Continent”), ca. 1830; Lithograph on paper, 13 x 16 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Cunningham’s prints were in such high enough demand that they had to be re-printed several times, evident from the letter, which is a response to a request for more prints by a patron, Ms. Thompson. This letter shows Cunningham dealing with her own business transactions as a professional artist. In the letter Cunningham “takes the liberty of charging” Ms. Thompson with two more copies of her prints, then politely invites her to the artist’s home “should any circumstances lead [Ms. Thompson] into our neighborhood.” This letter is both a business record and a piece of personal correspondence, helping us to better understand the daily interactions of a woman artist in the 19th century.

Letter from Richenda Cunningham to Ms. Thompson. Dated September 21, 18--. Betty Boyd Library & Research Center, National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Letter from Richenda Cunningham to Ms. Thompson. Dated September 21, 18–. Betty Boyd Library and Research Center, National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The LRC is always thrilled to acquire primary source material concerning artists represented in the museum’s collection. This letter is particularly interesting because there is so little known about the details of Cunningham’s life.

All are welcome to view this letter in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Lauren Redding is the spring 2017 intern in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Dead Feminists Live Again

Bold Broadsides and Bitsy Books is on view in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center (LRC). From the public nature of broadsides to the intimacy of a tiny handmade book, the LRC revels in contrasts of delightful collection items.

A visitor studies broadsides in the NMWA Library and Research Center; Photo: Francesca Rudolph, NMWA

A visitor studies broadsides in the NMWA Library and Research Center; Photo: Francesca Rudolph, NMWA

“Bitsy Books” refers to a charming selection of miniature artists’ books from the LRC’s collection. Miniature books, defined as books no larger than three inches in height, width, or thickness, communicate a sense of whimsy and intimacy from their size alone. The handcrafted quality of artists’ books enhances this sense, creating an intimate experience for the viewer. The “Bitsy Books” included in the exhibition vary in content, structure, and material.

The “Bold Broadsides” represent a 21st-century interpretation of a much older medium. Broadsides can be traced back to 17th-century Europe as precursors to modern-day posters and billboards. In the U.S., broadsides are perhaps most famous for their use as “Wanted” signs by 19th-century law enforcement agencies. The broadsides featured in this exhibition celebrate the lives of remarkable women from history. Called the “Dead Feminists,” these works are a collaboration between printmaker Jessica Spring and illustrator Chandler O’Leary. Each broadside highlights one woman’s achievements through an iconic quote paired with a corresponding illustration.

Peace Unfolds for Hiroshima survivor and pacifist Sadako Sasaki; © Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring

Peace Unfolds for Hiroshima survivor and pacifist Sadako Sasaki; © Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring

Spring describes their process as “a mix of traditional and contemporary letterpress processes…Our series is completely hand drawn by Chandler, using original illustrations and typography…then I print [the broadsides] by hand on a 1960s Vandercook Universal One printing press.” Spring selects women to feature and writes the colophon for each. O’Leary creates an illustration in pencil, refines it, and re-draws it in ink. At this stage, Spring creates the photopolymer plates needed for printing. Both artists sign and package the finished prints, and O’Leary launches the work online.

Sarojini Naidu sings her Nightsong; © Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring

Sarojini Naidu sings her Nightsong; © Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring

Not only stunning as visual works, each broadside highlights a relevant social justice issue. For example, the fight for marriage equality prompted Spring and O’Leary to create Love Nest, featuring a quote from activist Emma Goldman. Nightsong, honoring Indian heroine Sarojini Naidu, implores an end to domestic violence. Through the Dead Feminists Fund, Spring and O’Leary donate a portion of the series’ proceeds to nonprofits that align with the social issues they address.

In October 2016, Spring and O’Leary also released a letterpress book compilation of the series titled Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color.

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

—Lydia Hejka is the fall 2016 intern in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Photographer Lori Grinker Documents Life “Afterwar”

The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see new books on women in the arts, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more.

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Cover image of Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict by Lori Grinker

Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict
Lori Grinker
(de.MO Design Limited, 2004)

On November 11, many nations around the world will observe Armistice Day, or Veteran’s Day, a holiday first created in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I—known in its day as “the war to end all wars.”

As Veteran’s Day approaches, 97 years since its first observance, it is sobering to reflect on the many conflicts that continue around the world. Photographer Lori Grinker employs portrait photography and first-person testimony to chronicle the lasting traumas experienced by male and female soldiers in her poignant book Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict.

Grinker highlights veterans from both sides of wars in the 20th and 21st centuries, spanning more than 30 countries and five continents. Within 23 sections—one section for each conflict—Grinker assembles her subjects in an ideologically-alternating arrangement. In a chapter on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only one page separates the portrait of a Intifada fighter from that of an Israel Defense Forces veteran. The effect is startling and powerful. Ideologies become irrelevant. Grinker, who received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, manages to evoke something different and unique with each portrait, capturing post-war trauma in many enigmatic iterations.

Arafat Jacoub, Intifada (Palestine), participated 1989–1990 (left) and Yossi Arditi, Israeli Defense Army, served 1971–1988 (right); All photos: Lori Grinker

Arafat Jacoub, Intifada (Palestine), participated 1989–1990 (left) and Yossi Arditi, Israeli Defense Army, served 1971–1988 (right); All photos: Lori Grinker

Grinker writes that her works “originate from the personal but…speak to our commonalities.” She says, “ultimately, my work is about the ephemeral transcendence of everyday experience.” Perhaps the real power of this book is its suggestion that human beings have more that unites than divides them. Viewed in this way, Grinker’s powerful and elegiac perspective elevates Afterwar from journalistic account to artistic testimony.

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Penny Kettlewell, U.S. Army (Vietnam conflict), served 1966–1971; Photo: Lori Grinker

All are welcome to view this book in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Lydia Hejka is the fall 2016 intern in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

See and Be Seen: Diane Arbus

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know,” said Diane Arbus (1923–71), who obsessed about the secrets of others while carefully guarding her own. Six decades after she left commercial fashion photography and began her artistic career, many of Arbus’s previously unknown secrets and photographs have finally been published.

Created to accompany an exhibition at The Met Breuer, the catalogue diane arbus: in the beginning (Yale University Press/The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016) showcases photographs from 1956–1962, providing a prelude to the best-selling monograph from Arbus’s 1972 retrospective. Featuring over 100 images, an essay by curator Jeff Rosenheim, and notes from the museum’s archive of her personal papers and negatives, the catalogue focuses on the first seven years of Arbus’s oeuvre. Featuring children, society ladies, carnival performers, and eccentrics, these early photographs depict the development of her famously striking and evocative style.

Arthur Lubow’s meticulously researched and revealing biography Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer (HarperCollins, 2016), published just weeks before the opening of the Met exhibition, provides a similar look behind the curtain shrouding the artist’s mysterious life. In 85 short chapters based on interviews, archival research, and careful study of her work, Lubow describes Arbus’s personal history, philosophy, and approach to photography.

Arbus’s art centered on a profound desire to “not only see her subjects but to be seen by them.” She often talked for hours with people she found interesting before photographing them, charming them into revealing their secrets, hopes, and dreams, waiting for the perfect shot that captured the essence of their personalities. Though plagued by illness, depression, and financial insecurity throughout her life, her inventiveness and creativity made her, as a teacher once noted, “totally original.”

“I do it because there are things that nobody would see unless I photographed them,” said Arbus in a 1968 interview. Through the vivid detail of this biography and the catalogue of dozens of previously inaccessible early works, a full portrait of one of the most celebrated and provocative artists of the 20th century can be seen at last.

All are welcome to view these books, which will be available soon in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Kait Gilioli was the summer 2016 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

“Puzzle de Brasil”: A Topographical Tourist Map

While the 2016 Rio Olympic Games encourage development in Brazil and bolster the country’s worldwide reputation, NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center (LRC) is showing a work that also revels in Brazilian pride. Priya Pereira’s artist book Puzzle de Brasil, originally published in 2001, is on view in Priya Pereira: Contemporary Artists’ Books from India. This moveable puzzle book celebrating Brazilian culture is on display in the LRC until November 18, 2016.

Book artist Priya Pereira

Book artist Priya Pereira

Pereira’s Puzzle de Brasil explores the country’s most notable cultural, political, and ecological wonders through interactive screen-printed and hand-sewn cardboard flaps. Printed on each flap is a boldfaced word or icon illuminating aspects of the Brazilian experience. In particular, Pereira references Brazil’s love of football (soccer) by including the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) logo. Viewers can detect mentions of Ipanema and the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as illustrations of the samba and anacondas.

When handling the book, readers often devise their own methods of unfolding the complex, layered flaps. When lifted and manipulated in certain ways, Puzzle de Brasil’s moveable components can create a flat or three-dimensional artist’s book. With its cardboard base adorned with long strands of colored text and raised flaps, the book serves as a topographical tourist map—representative of Brazil’s complex geography. In this way, the work’s structure portrays the country as a mix of flatlands, jungles, mountains, and rivers.

Priya Pereira, Puzzle de Brazil, interior, 2001; Artist's book published by Pixie Bks

Puzzle de Brasil, interior, 2001; Artist’s book published by Pixie Bks

Pereira’s choice to embellish her work with blue, yellow, and green mirrors the colors of the Brazilian flag. Three overarching “tiers” each correspond with one of the flag’s three colors. The interactive book encourages readers to unfold the flaps in a blue-yellow-green order. Pereira says, “Open left to right, right to left, north to south, or vice-versa. One clue: follow the colors of Brazil—blue, yellow, and green to make it easy for you.” Pereira’s vibrant and complex book reveals some of Brazil’s cultural treasures and allows viewers to develop a deeper appreciation for the country.

Visit NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see a selection of Priya Pereira’s books. Located on the museum’s the fourth floor, the LRC is open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Emily Benoff is the summer 2016 Library and Research Center intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Wordplay and Whimsy: Priya Pereira’s Book Art

NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center (LRC) currently features an exhibition showcasing works by book Mumbai-based artist Priya Pereira. The artist explores Indian culture, history, time, and language in her contemporary creations. Ten of her books will be on display until November 18, 2016.

Book artist Priya Pereira; Photo: Meenal Agarwal

Book artist Priya Pereira; Photo: Meenal Agarwal

Pereira received her training in graphic design from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Bardoa, Western India. After graduating, she worked for five years in advertising, which later came to inform her artistic mindset. Pereira says, “Having studied graphic design and thanks to advertising, I came to artists’ books from a place where ‘idea’ was the most important thing… The most thrilling part is coming up with an idea.” In 1993 she moved to the United States to study computer art at Memphis College of Art. In a papermaking class at school, she learned about book binding and began creating book art—a genre she did not know existed until years later.

Pereira returned to India and continued to create books: innovative, vibrant works of art. Beyond using traditional materials like paper and string, Pereira incorporates mirrored surfaces and iron. Her books prompt viewers to rethink the medium’s limits. Whimsical, bold—even comical—her work tackles the complexities of contemporary life in India. The artist cites “living and breathing in India” as a major source of her artistic inspiration.

In one work, The Book of F (1999), the artist uses wordplay and humor. Each page of the small book has short lyrics composed of words that start with F. Pereira describes it as “dotted with ditties that popularize the ‘F’ word without once mentioning the most used and abused word.”

Priya Pereira, The Other Side of ABC, interior, 2003; Artist's book published by Pixie Bks, Photo: Lee Stalsworth

Priya Pereira, The Other Side of ABC, interior, 2003; Artist’s book published by Pixie Bks, Photo: Lee Stalsworth

NMWA’s exhibition also features a set of booklets titled The Other Side of ABC (2003). Their structure and composition recall that of a child’s toy. Pereira explains, “The structure of the book is based on a street toy sold by the wandering balloon sellers along with plastic watches and other cheap toys. The original toy is not an alphabet book, but has pictures of different fruits, modes of transportation, et cetera, and in the center is a piece of glass, not a mirror as I have used.” The interiors of Pereira’s booklets reveal depictions of Indian street art as well as letters surrounding the mirrors.

Priya Pereira has published limited-edition works under the imprint Pixie Bks for the last 23 years. Visit NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see a selection of the artist’s books, and use an in-gallery iPad to scroll through the pages of ditties in The Book of F. Located on the museum’s the fourth floor, the LRC is open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Casey Betts is the summer 2016 digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Recent Acquisitions at the LRC: The Agonizing and Absurd Moments of Palestinian Life

The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see new books on women in the arts, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more. Meet Tanya Habjouqa at the museum on Wednesday, July 27 for a special in-gallery program.

The cover of Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa, FotoEvidence, 2015

The cover of Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa, FotoEvidence, 2015

Occupied Pleasures
Tanya Habjouqa
(FotoEvidence, 2015)

Jordanian photographer Tanya Habjouqa reveals the agonizing and absurd instants of occupied Palestinian life in Occupied Pleasures. In the foreword, poet Nathalie Handal describes the book as “a collection of stories captured in images, images like Palestinian lives lived in instants only.” Habjouqa’s photographs portray joyous moments­­ of daily life—a family picnics together, women dance, and children swim—that are surrounded by dark circumstances. The occupation is obvious in these images: the menacing security wall looms in the background, a man sits at a checkpoint, a woman holding a bouquet wanders through the tunnel between Gaza and Egypt to a forbidden wedding.

Habjouqa’s work has been exhibited and published worldwide, and six of her photographs are currently on view at NMWA in She Who Tells a Story. She currently works from East Jerusalem on projects concerning identity politics and subcultures of the Levant. Habjouqa is also a founding member of the Rawiya photo collective, a group of women photographers from the Middle East who challenge stereotypes and support fellow women photographers in the region.

Occupied Pleasures contains a combination of photojournalism and imagery illustrating everyday Palestinian life, which Laleh Khalili refers to in the book’s introduction as “evanescent moments.” This body of work offers a nuanced perspective. Khalili writes, “It brings together the indisputable condition of their lives—occupation, violence, surveillance—and shows us that even within the confines of normalised atrocity, the spirit effervesces.”

In one captivating photograph, a man smokes a cigarette in his car outside of a checkpoint, with a sheep in the passenger seat of his car. “Detention juxtaposed against a moment of respite illuminates the extremities of the Palestinian narrative: celebration and mourning, respite and struggle, and the pleasure of smoking a cigarette,” writes Khalili. Through this collection of photos, Habjouqa exposes moments of levity to give the viewer a window into the humanity of the Palestinian people.

Meet artist Tanya Habjouqa at the museum for an in-gallery conversation on Wednesday, July 27. Reserve your spot on NMWA’s website.

All are welcome to look at this catalogue, which is available in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum, the library is open to the public Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

 ­­Katy Seely was the winter/spring 2016 intern in the Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Recent Acquisitions at the LRC: Their Stories Through Her Lens

The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see new books on women in the arts, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more.

Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album
Newsha Tavakolian
(Kehrer Heidelberg Berlin, 2015)

Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album by Newsha Tavakolian

The cover of Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album by Newsha Tavakolian

In Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album, Newsha Tavakolian (b. 1981) documents the lives of nine Iranians in Tehran through 135 pages of full-color photographs. As Tavakolian describes in her artist statement, her photographs represent a generation of Iranians who are “special in their normality.” Despite the burdens of their social and political situation, they continue to persevere in their daily lives. Tavakolian’s subjects are “interchangeable, thus representing many.” They represent a generation whose photo albums end with blank pages, and Tavakolian seeks to fill those pages. Visitors can enjoy Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album in the museum’s Library and Research Center and view other works by Tavakolian in the special exhibition She Who Tells a Story.

Najieh and her two sons during a parade celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Freedom Square, February 11, 2014” (146).

“Najieh and her two sons during a parade celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Freedom Square, February 11, 2014” (page 146 of Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album).

Each section of the book begins with an image taken from her subjects’ childhood photo albums, after which Tavakolian continues the story with her own photographs. Posed portraits among debris on a mountain outside of Tehran, along with candid photos, “visualize a generation marginalized by those speaking in their name.” Short narratives and the captions help to flesh out the stories of these nine middle-class Iranians.

Tavakolian’s photographs show a side of Iran that is not commonly represented in Western media. “As we stopped adding pictures to our albums, we became subject to the perceptions of outsiders and those who focus only on the extremes of our society­—the angry protesters or the mysterious women with their veils,” says Tavakolian. Blank Pages gives readers the opportunity to see Iran through Tavakolian’s lens.

All are welcome to look at this catalogue, which is available in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

 —­­Katy Seely is an intern in the Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Feminism and Daring: Cataloguing Niki de Saint Phalle

“Very early on I decided to become a heroine . . .” said Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002). “What did it matter who I would be? The main thing was that it had to be difficult, grandiose, exciting.”

That quote, which adorns the back cover of Niki de Saint Phalle (La Fábrica / Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2015), captures the ambition and bravado of the French-American artist. The lush catalogue was published for a recent retrospective of Saint Phalle’s work that was shown at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the RMN-Grand Palais in Paris.

Saint Phalle may be best known for exuberant mosaic sculptures known as her “Nanas,” several of which were showcased as the inaugural works in NMWA’s New York Avenue Sculpture Project. This retrospective celebrates and contextualizes her Nanas while shedding light on her other work—from paintings to sculptures to experimental films—as well as her boldly cultivated persona and the political and feminist subjects that her art addressed.

In this catalogue, Saint Phalle’s work is presented in four sections—“The Beginnings,” on her formative work; “Shooting, Performances, and Commitment,” which traces her public persona and action-based Shooting Paintings; “Feminine Imagery,” highlighting her vibrant and sometimes aggressive portrayals of women; and “Sculpture and Public Art.” Numerous contributors include Bloum Cardenas, the artist’s granddaughter and trustee of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation, and Camille Morineau, lead exhibition curator.

Morineau’s introductory essay asserts Saint Phalle’s status as a feminist and risk-taker with a “mixture of coherence, complexity, and courage which distinguishes great artists.”

All are welcome to look at this catalogue, which is available in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Recent Acquisitions at the LRC: You Are You

The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see new books on women in the arts, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more.

You Are You
by Lindsay Morris
Kehrer Heidelberg Berlin, 2015
Released in conjunction with the 2015 exhibition at ClampArt, New York City

You Are You features photographs by Lindsay Morris that document gender-nonconforming children at an annual weekend-long summer camp. The camp provides children with a safe, supportive environment where they can explore and express multiple interpretations of gender alongside their families.

Morris’s work attempts to broaden the conversation on gender-nonconformity by contributing to a larger discussion of support and representation for youths. You Are You offers a glimpse into the importance of familial and societal support for gender-unique children. Noted author Jennifer Finney Boylan, who contributed an essay detailing her experiences as a transgender woman, explains, “As it turns out, the thing I most needed to learn was not how to do any one particular thing…No, the thing I needed to learn, back then as well as later, was that I was not alone.”

The book’s profound photographs capture the open expression and normalization of gender-variant childhood. The artist addresses the issue that a lack of understanding of gender identity and expression often leads to discrimination against gender-nonconforming individuals. You Are You marks a groundbreaking moment when “gender-creative childhoods are being freely expressed.” The book not only incorporates photographs of the children, but also the voices of family members on raising gender-creative youths and the importance of listening to their needs.

Morris’s project highlights the self-awareness and bravery of gender-creative children. It frames their growth and needs within the scope of societal responsibility; we must listen to them, support them, and let them explore the gender spectrum. Most importantly, we must let them be who they are.

All are welcome to look at this catalogue, which is on the wall display in the LRC’s reading room. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

—Bianca Rawlings is an intern at the Library and Research Center. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in art history with a concentration in late Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, focusing on issues of gender, representation, and marginalization.