More is More: Multiples

  • Two sides of a compact mirror, each featuring a photographic portrait of a black woman
    Mickalene Thomas, Pocket Mirror, 2016; Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of NMWA Chief Curator, Kathryn A. Wat; Photo by Lee Stalsworth.
  • A small painted porcelain fortune cookie next to a white takeout box
    Jiha Moon, Lady in K-Garden, 2017; Promised gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of the 30th Anniversary of NMWA; Courtesy of the artist.
  • Detail of a lambswool blanket by artist Helen Marten
    Helen Marten, Untitled (Detail), 2017; Gift of Beth and Michele Colocci; Courtesy of the artist and Studio Voltaire, London. Credit Graham Pearson.

More is More: Multiples on view May 3–September 15, 2019

Distinctively placed between the worlds of art and retail, multiples leap off store shelves and into the hands of consumers, collectors, and museums worldwide. These artist-designed objects (often developed in collaboration with design firms, artists’ foundations, or charitable initiatives), are produced in series of identical editions using industrial or commercial processes. More is More: Multiples presents dinner plates, totes, sunglasses, toys, and more created by artists including Cindy Sherman, Mickalene Thomas, Barbara Kruger, Helen Marten, and Jiha Moon.

This focus exhibition, drawn primarily from NMWA’s collection, highlights women artists’ contributions to the medium from the 1980s to the present. The objects offer both celebratory and tongue-in-cheek commentary on activities and roles that are stereotypically feminine. Some works, such as Mickalene Thomas’s Pocket Mirror, call attention to narrow beauty standards and aesthetic pressures faced by women. Louise Bourgeois and Third Drawer Down’s Be Calm onesie (an example of a collaboration between an artist’s studio and a design firm), references motherhood through both its function and imagery. 

Celebrating multiples as a medium—for both their utilitarian characteristics and their innovative artistry—More is More challenges the traditional notion that a work of art must be singular or unique to have value. While the majority of works featured in the exhibition have a functional purpose, all were created with thoughtful consideration of their aesthetic appeal. Visitors will encounter an enticing display of objects in surprising materials, inviting inquiry into the temptation of retail and the allure of fine art.

More is More: Multiples, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and generously supported by the members of NMWA.