• Image of a woman in a shimmering gold dress sitting on the floor facing away from the camera
    Lalla Essaydi, Bullets Revisited #20, 2014; Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum, 30 x 40 in.; Courtesy Miller Yezerski Gallery; © Lalla Essaydi
  • Image of a telephone receiver with baby chick heads coming out of one end
    Polly Morgan, Receiver, 2009; Taxidermy Quail chicks, Bakelite telephone handset, 9 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Ilene Gutman
  • Image of three long fabric trains in two shades of blue, mounted on the wall and cascading onto the floor
    Beverly Semmes, Blue Gowns, 1993; Chiffon and crushed velvet, approx. 30 x 31 ½ x 30 ft.; Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Revival on view June 23–September 10, 2017

Revival presents contemporary women sculptors and photo-based artists whose arresting aesthetics and intense subject matter spur the viewer into a transcendent encounter with the art object. Spectacle and visual enchantment undergird much contemporary art. Yet the artists gathered here harness the illimitability of scale, technique, and effect in sculpture and photography explicitly to reanimate deep-rooted emotions related to the human experience. Their imagery elicits a ripple of exhilaration, a shiver of fear, or a wave of anxiety rather than merely tantalizing the eye. 

Through highly allusive depictions of human and other animal bodies, each artist in Revival connects to the unconscious. Video projections, large-scale photographs, and hanging sculptures create immersive, mesmeric environments. Smaller, meticulously wrought works made from hair, yarn, velvet, wax, marble, brambles, or taxidermied birds draw the viewer close, beckoning toward sensations that spark memory and emotion. 

The National Museum of Women in the Arts’ contemporary collection is rich in the mediums of sculpture and photography, which women continue to expand, recharge, and renew. A survey of the museum’s collection in its 30th year inspired this exhibition, which is enriched by important loans from public and private collections as well as artists’ studios. Featuring works by Louise Bourgeois, Petah Coyne, Lalla Essaydi, Alison Saar, Joana Vasconcelos, and others, Revival illuminates women who regenerate sculpture and photo-based art to profound expressive effect. 

Revival is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is made possible with support provided by the Judith A. Finkelstein Exhibition Fund and American Airlines, the official airline of the museum’s 30th Anniversary.


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