Heavy Metal

  • Abstract image featuring horizontal, vertical, and diagonal intersecting lines overlaid with pieces of rounded, plated steel
    Carolina Sardi, Grandfather, Cricket and I, 2016; Plated steel over painted wall, 91 x 156 x 2 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Panamerican Art Projects Miami; © Carolina Sardi; Photo by Mariano Costa Peuser
  • Two pewter casts of styrofoam, side by side
    Venetia Dale, Between: Kitchenaid Mixer, 2017; Styrofoam cast in pewter, 2 elements, each 29 x 21 x 8 in.; Courtesy of the artist; © Venetia Dale
  • Sixteen rectangular yellow and grey aluminum poles lean up against a wall
    Rana Begum, No. 161, 2008; Paint on powder-coated aluminum, 98 1/2 in. high, 16 sections; Photo by Philip White; © Rana Begum

Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018 on view June 28–September 16, 2018

Heavy Metal, the fifth installment in NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series, showcases contemporary artists working in metal. The exhibition series is presented every two to three years and is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and participating outreach committees. The 20 committees participating in Women to Watch 2018 worked with curators in their respective regions to create shortlists of artists working with metal. From this list, NMWA curators selected the artists whose work is on view in Heavy Metal.

Featured artists in Heavy Metal investigate the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork through a wide variety of objects, including sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms. Works in the exhibition range from large-scale installations to small objects intended for personal adornment; these disparate works are fashioned out of iron, steel, bronze, silver, gold, brass, tin, aluminum, copper, and pewter. This exhibition seeks to disrupt the predominantly masculine narrative that surrounds metalworking and demonstrate that contemporary women artists carry on a vibrant legacy in the field.

The exhibition features works by Cheryl Eve Acosta (Greater Kansas City Area), Rana Begum (United Kingdom), Carolina Rieckhof Brommer (Peru), Lola Brooks (Georgia), Paula Castillo (New Mexico), Charlotte Charbonnel (France), Venetia Dale (Massachusetts), Petronella Eriksson (Sweden), Susie Ganch (Mid-Atlantic Region), Alice Hope (Greater New York Region), Leila Khoury (Ohio), Holly Laws (Arkansas), Blanca Muñoz (Spain), Beverly Penn (Texas), Serena Porrati (Italy), Alejandra Prieto (Chile), Kerianne Quick (Southern California), Carolina Sardi (Florida), Katherine Vetne (Northern California), and Kelsey Wishik (Mississippi).

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Heavy Metal Audio Guide

Hear from the artists themselves in this exhibition audio guide. Listen online or through the Guide by Cell prompts in the gallery.


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Heavy Metal Blog Posts

Explore exhibition themes and artworks in depth in this special blog series. Continue to check back as new posts are added.


Heavy Metal Videos

Explore this online playlist of artist interviews and studio visits with the artists in Heavy Metal.


Heavy Metal Catalogue

The Heavy Metal catalogue features 96 pages and full-color images of works by the 20 contemporary artists working in metal. Available online or in the museum shop.


Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018 is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and sponsored by the participating committees. The exhibition is generously supported by the Clara M. Lovett Emerging Artists Fund, Share Fund, the Texas State Committee of NMWA, and the NMWA Advisory Board, with additional funding provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, Marisa and Vincent Boulard, Nellie Partow, Southern Copper Corporation, and Vhernier.

Further support is provided by Acción Cultural Española, FOMA Group, and Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah, LLP. Special thanks to San Francisco Advocacy for NMWA for their support of the Heavy Metal catalogue. The museum extends appreciation to the Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C., Embassy of Italy with the Italian Institute of Culture in Washington, D.C.; the Embassy of Peru in the U.S.; and the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., with SPAIN arts & culture.

National Museum of Women in the Arts