Urgent Museum Notice


A woman lying on her back gazes confidently out at viewer adorned and surrounded by polished bullet casings
Jun 23 to Sep 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. Revival illuminates women who regenerate sculpture and photo-based art to profound expressive effect.

Featured artists:

Louise Bourgeois, Sonya Clark, Petah Coyne, Cathy de Monchaux, Lalla Essaydi, Anna Gaskell, Sonia Gomes, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Maria Marshall, Polly Morgan, Deborah Paauwe, Patricia Piccinini, Alison Saar, Beverly Semmes, Joana Vasconcelos, Bettina von Zwehl


Old fashioned telephone handset with seven baby chick heads coming out of the receiver.

Polly Morgan, Receiver, 2009; Taxidermy quail chicks and Bakelite telephone handset, 9 x 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Ilene Gutman; © Polly Morgan; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Exhibition Sponsors

Revival is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding provided by Share Fund; the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund; the Judith A. Finkelstein Exhibition Fund; American Airlines, the official airline of the museum’s 30th Anniversary; and NMWA’s Ohio Advisory Group.

  • American airlines
  • Artworks

Related Media


Watch videos from around the web about the artists featured in Revival, including interviews and studio visits.