Featuring work by thirty-six global artists, Women House challenges conventional ideas about gender and the domestic space. The exhibition is inspired by the landmark project Womanhouse, developed in 1972 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. With works that disrupted traditional ideas about the home as a feminine realm, Womanhouse was the first female-centered art installation to appear in the Western world. In the new exhibition, Women House, women artists from the 1960s to today examine the persistence of stereotypes about the house as a feminine space.
Through photography, sculpture, installation and video works organized across eight themes, Women House emphasizes the plurality of women’s views on the home. In Walking House (1989), Laurie Simmons creates a playful yet disconcerting image of the female body being consumed by expectations and responsibilities. Laure Tixier’s series Plaid House (Maquette) (2005–11) explores domestic architecture from worldwide cultures in solid-colored felt sculptures that resemble miniature residential homes, tents, towers, or high-rise buildings. Zanele Muholi’s 2007 photograph of a young female couple in South Africa leaning into the warmth of their kitchen stove speaks to the possibility of domestic space as a place of both privacy and freedom.
Women House is organized by La Monnaie de Paris. Its presentation at NMWA is made possible by GRoW @ Annenberg and Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional funding is provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, Belinda de Gaudemar, the Estate of Sara D. Toney, Mahinder and Sharad Tak, and Étant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation.
Étant Donnés is developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with lead funding from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, and Institut Français-Paris. NMWA also thanks Regina Weingarten for her special contributions. Further support for Women House at NMWA is provided by American Airlines, the official airline of the museum’s 30th Anniversary.