El Tendedero / The Clothesline Project

  • A woman wearing a pink apron leans over a clothesline, pinning pink Post-It notes with clothespins
    Photo credit: Yuruen Lerma
  • An installation of a structure covered with pinned pink post-it notes, images mounted on the wall and a mounted screen
    A previous installation of El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project. Photo credit: Yuruen Lerma
  • A room full of women sitting in a circular table having a discussion.
    Community workshop with Mónica Mayer and local artists. Photo credit: Yuruen Lerma

El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project on view November 10, 2017–January 5, 2018

In this exhibition, Mexico City-based artist Mónica Mayer transforms the clothesline, a traditionally feminine object, into a tool designed to engage the community and facilitate a dialogue around women’s experience with violence—including topics such as sexual harassment, domestic violence, and trafficking.

Mayer has implemented El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project in various museums and communities throughout Mexico, South America, and the United States, asking women from different economic classes, ages, and professions to respond to the statement, “As a woman, what I dislike most about my city is…” Participants write their responses on small pink ballots, which are then hung on a clothesline. The site-specific installation documents the project’s results by using content created through community outreach, inviting visitors to add their voices and experiences to the tendedero, or clothesline. 

This fall, working with artists, activists and organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, Mayer facilitated workshops for the D.C. iteration of El Tendedero. Two NMWA-sponsored workshops at local organizations—House of Ruth and La Clinica del Pueblo—helped to create the framing questions for the exhibition and other materials which will be included in the presentation of El Tendedero in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery at NMWA. The exhibition is bilingual, offering all text in both Spanish and English.

Participants who cannot visit the museum may also submit responses online, which will be printed and added to the display. At the close of the exhibition, all responses will be archived at the museum.

Digital Archive

View all 1,432 ballots created during the exhibition. 

browse the ballots

Related Event: Fresh Talk Forum

This inaugural Fresh Talk Forum with Mónica Mayer focused on the ways art can create awareness and inspire advocacy.

watch the video


Learn more about some of the exhibition’s community partners and find links to resources for support services and violence prevention programs.

find resources

The Women, Arts, and Social Change public programs initiative is made possible through leadership gifts from Denise Littlefield Sobel, the MLDauray Arts Initiative, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and the Swartz Foundation. Additional support is provided by Deborah G. Carstens, the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and the Bernstein Family Foundation.

National Museum of Women in the Arts