Past Exhibitions

Bronze sculpture of a spider by Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois, Spider III, 1995; Gift of Wilhelmina Cole Holladay; Art © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Revisit your favorite past exhibitions at NMWA.

For a complete list of previous exhibitions, please see our NMWA Exhibition History. For previous exhibitions at the Library and Research Center, see Library Exhibitions.

Jump to a year:
     2019     2018     2017     2016    2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008


SEP 19 2019–JAN 20 2020

Judy Chicago—The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction

This exhibition showcases for the first time Judy Chicago's newest body of work, which tackles human mortality and species extinction.

SEP 19 2019–JAN 20 2020

Live Dangerously

This exhibition features the work of twelve photographers who reveal the dynamic ways female bodies activate the natural world.

OCT 11 2019–JAN 05 2020

Women Artists of the Dutch Golden Age

This focus exhibition examines the lives and works of several highly successful artists in the Netherlands during the 17th–18th centuries.

MAY 03 2019–SEP 22 2019

More is More: Multiples

This exhibition highlights multiples—three-dimensional art objects produced in series of identical editions, which blend the temptation of retail and the allure of fine art.

MAR 22 2019–JUL 28 2019

Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling

This exhibition showcases Ursula von Rydingsvard's monumental works made from cedar wood and other organic materials, highlighting the emotional fragility and imposing scale that define her art.


DEC 07 2018–APR 14 2019

Ambreen Butt—Mark My Words

Trained in Indian and Persian miniature painting, Ambreen Butt reimagines the genre to feature contemporary female protagonists and political subject matter.

NOV 10 2018–FEB 10 2019


The first fashion exhibition organized by NMWA features American luxury fashion house Rodarte, founded by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

JUL 20–NOV 25 2018

Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career

This focus exhibition celebrates the vision of Krystyna Wasserman, curator emerita, who assembled NMWA’s collection of more than 1,000 artists’ books over a thirty-year period. 

JUN 28–SEP 16 2018

Heavy Metal—Women to Watch

The fifth installment in NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series showcases 20 contemporary artists working with metal in a variety of scales and techniques.

JAN 19–JUL 08 2018

Hung Liu In Print

This exhibition explores the relationship between Chinese-American artist Hung Liu’s multi-layered paintings and her works on paper.

MAR 09–MAY 28 2018

Women House

Global artists in Women House recast conventional ideas about the house as a feminine space through provocative photographs, videos, sculptures, and room-like installations.


OCT 13 2017–JAN 21 2018

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today

Magnetic Fields places abstract works by multiple generations of black women artists in context with one another—and within the larger history of abstract art—for the first time.

NOV 10 2017–JAN 05 2018

El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project

In this bilingual and participatory installation, Mónica Mayer transforms the clothesline into a tool to engage the community and facilitate dialogue around women’s experience with violence.

JUL 14–OCT 29 2017

Equilibrium: Fanny Sanín

This focus exhibition explores the working process of Colombian-born artist Fanny Sanín, known for her meticulous and colorful geometric abstract compositions.

JUN 23–SEP 10 2017


In celebration of NMWA’s 30th anniversary, Revival illuminates how women working in sculpture, photography, and video use spectacle and scale for expressive effect.

MAR 10–JULY 02 2017

Chromatic Scale: Prints by Polly Apfelbaum

Polly Apfelbaum employs bright colors and abstract motifs in her prints. Chromatic Scale explores her distinctive approach and how it relates to her work in painting, sculpture, and installation.

FEB 17–MAY 14 2017

Border Crossing: Jami Porter Lara

Explore recent work by Jami Porter Lara, who hand-builds and pit-fires clay sculptures resembling an icon of modernity—the plastic bottle.

FEB 17–MAY 14 2017

New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin

Pottery by Maria Martinez and photographs by Laura Gilpin illuminate the midcentury Southwest as a nuanced and dynamic environment.

JAN 18–APR 16 2017

Terrains of the Body: Photography from National Museum of Women in the Arts

On view at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, this exhibition showcased an essential part of NMWA’s collection with photographs and video created by 17 contemporary artists from five continents.


OCT 14 2016–FEB 26 2017

Wanderer/Wonderer: Pop-Ups by Colette Fu

Colette Fu is renowned for her immense, sculptural pop-up books that combine landscapes, fairy tales, and folklore to form three-dimensional fantasy worlds.

SEP 30 2016–JAN 08 2017

NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection

Explore works by 37 artists from the Rubell Family Collection, which focus on the process of making and images of the female body.

JUN 10–OCT 02 2016

Alison Saar In Print

Prints and sculptures showcase Alison Saar’s deep interest in history, identity, and cultures of the African diaspora. Her vibrant prints allude to spiritual beliefs and critique cultural stereotypes.

APR 08–JUL 31 2016

She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

This exhibition features more than 70 photographs made by pioneering women with roots in Iran and the Arab world, inviting viewers to explore cultural landscapes and confront preconceptions.

JAN 29–MAY 22 2016

Salon Style: French Portraits from the Collection

This exhibition examines 18th-century French women artists, their art, and their artistic legacies—particularly that of Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.


OCT 30 2015–FEB 28 2016

Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today

This exhibition explores art, craft, and design by dynamic women artists from the mid-20th century and today.

SEP 04 2015–JAN 17 2016

Esther Bubley Up Front

This exhibition explores photojournalist Esther Bubley’s images of small-town American life in the mid-20th century.

JUN 05–SEP 13 2015

Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015

This exhibition examines the relationships between women, nature, and art in the fourth installment of NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series.

JUN 05–SEP 13 2015

Super Natural

This exhibition focuses on how historical and contemporary women artists engage with the natural world as a space for exploration and invention.

MAY 01–AUG 16 2015

Casting a Spell: Ceramics by Daisy Makeig-Jones

This exhibition explores Daisy Makeig-Jones’s place in the history of decorative arts as she melded her vivid imagination and technical ingenuity to develop decorative china.


DEC 05 2014–APR 12 2015

Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea

This exhibition examines the concept of womanhood represented by the Virgin Mary and the social and sacred functions her image has served through time.

SEP 27 2014–SEP 27 2015

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Magdalena Abakanowicz

This installation features groups of Abakanowicz’s signature monumental headless human figures accompanied by flocks of simplified bird forms in flight.

SEP 19–NOV 02 2014

Soda_Jerk: After the Rainbow

This exhibition features a two-screen projection video installation created by two-person art collective, Soda_Jerk.

JUN 06–OCT 12 2014

Total Art: Contemporary Video

This exhibition highlights the inventive processes that sustain women artists’ position at the forefront of video.

APR 26–SEP 14 2014

Meret Oppenheim: Tender Friendships

This exhibition explores friendship as a source of inspiration and support in Surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim’s artwork.

JAN 17–APR 13 2014

Judy Chicago: Circa ’75

This exhibition examines 13 of Judy Chicago’s artworks that paralleled and influenced the U.S. feminist movement of the 1970s.


DEC 20 2013–APR 27 2014

“Workt by Hand”: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts

This exhibition showcases 35 18th–20th-century quilts from the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned decorative arts collection.

OCT 04 2013–JAN 05 2014 

Wanderer: Travel Prints by Ellen Day Hale

A selection of Ellen Day Hale’s travel prints, drawings, and original plates are featured in this exhibition.

JUN 21–NOV 10 2013 

American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s

This exhibition presents a selection of 49 rarely-exhibited paintings by Faith Ringgold that reflect on the momentous events that shaped America in the 1960s.

JUN 21–NOV 10 2013 

Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger

A fantastic, strange, and mysterious world, real and imagined, is featured in this mid-career retrospective of artist and best-selling author Audrey Niffenegger. Paintings, drawings, prints, and book art—239 pieces in total—reflect her captivating narrative talent.

MAY 10–SEP 22 2013 

Bice Lazzari: Signature Line

As part of 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States, an initiative organized by Italy’s’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy, Washington, D.C., this exhibition presents a selection of 25 paintings and drawings by one of Italy’s most revered modern artists, Bice Lazzari.

FEB 15–MAY 12 2013 

A World Apart: Anna Ancher and the Skagen Art Colony

The most comprehensive U.S. exhibition to focus on Anna Ancher explores her role as the only professional woman artist within the Danish colony.

FEB 01–MAY 05 2013 

Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape

Freya Grand’s paintings and drawings explore the link between the artist’s emotions and the forces of the natural world.


MAR 23 2012–FEB 24 2013 

Women Silversmiths from the NMWA Collection

The exhibition highlights late 17th- and 18th-century British and Irish women silversmiths.

NOV 02 2012–JAN 06 2013 

High Fiber—Women to Watch

NMWA showcases fiber artists from the areas in which the museum has outreach committees, part of the Women to Watch exhibition series.

OCT 12 2012–JAN 19 2013 

Fabulous! Portraits by Michele Mattei

The exhibition highlights a selection of photographs of women who have devoted their lives to the arts.

SEP 07 2012–JAN 06 2013 

Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power

This exhibition features more than 70 artists and 250 artifacts highlighting women’s contribution to rock and roll.

MAR 28–SEP 16 2012 

25 x 25: Artists’ books from the NMWA Collection

NMWA celebrates the museum’s unique and diverse artist book collection as part of the 25th anniversary.

MAY 01–JUL 31 2012 

Mamacita Linda: Letters between Frida Kahlo and her Mother

Showcasing a selection of letters sent between Frida Kahlo and her mother in the years just before her mother’s death.

FEB 24–JUL 29 2012 

Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections

Featuring more than 70 paintings, sculptures, miniatures, prints, and drawings by Revolution-era French Women Artists.

MAR 08–JUL 15 2012 

R(ad)ical Love: Sister Mary Corita

Drawn from a never-before-exhibited collection, R(ad)ical Love presents eye-popping prints created by Sister Mary Corita between 1963 and 1967.

MAR 08 2012–APR 27 2014

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Chakaia Booker

This installation features four of Booker’s abstracted tire sculptures.


OCT 28 2011–JAN 15 2012 

TROVE: The Collection in Depth

Featuring more than 100 works in various mediums, Trove: The Collection in Depth illuminates the breadth and depth of the museum’s collection, amassed over a quarter century.

OCT 28 2011–JAN 15 2012 

Visions of the Orient: Western Women Artists in Asia 1900–1940

Visions of the Orient: Western Women Artists in Asia 1900–1940 features 125 prints and paintings by female Western artists exploring Asian cultures between 1900 and 1940.

JUN 17–OCT 02 2011

The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back

The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back features 70 works by the Guerrilla Girls who critique sexism and racism in contemporary culture.

JUN 17–OCT 02 2011

Susan Swartz: Seasons of the Soul

Seasons of the Soul: Seasons of the Soul presents 13 large-scale paintings by this environmentally conscious, Utah-based abstract artist.

JUN 17–OCT 02 2011

Pressing Ideas: Fifty Years of Women’s Lithographs from Tamarind

Pressing Ideas: Fifty Years of Women’s Lithographs from Tamarind features more than 70 works by women artists who helped revive lithography, a highly collaborative medium that lay dormant for decades.

FEB 18–MAY 22 2011

Eye Wonder: Photography from the Bank of America Collection

Drawn from Bank of America’s renowned collection of international photography, Eye Wonder: Photography from the Bank of America Collection features more than 100 works by a wide array of artists, including Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Rineke Dijkstra, Gisèle Freund, Candida Höfer, Graciela Iturbide, Dorothea Lange, and Hellen van Meene.

JAN 28–MAR 13, JUL 18–OCT 30 2011 

The Art of Travel: Picturesque Views of Europe by Richenda Cunningham

The Art of Travel: Picturesque Views of Europe by Richenda Cunningham features “Nine Views Taken on the Continent,” ca. 1830, a lithographic portfolio of travel prints from NMWA’s collection by British artist Richenda (Gurney) Cunningham (1782–1855).


DEC 08 2010–MAR 06 2011 

P(art)ners: Gifts from the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection

P(art)ners: Gifts from the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection demonstrates the Podestas’ shared collecting vision through a selection of nearly 30 photographs and sculptures drawn from more than 300 works that the couple has donated to NMWA.

SEP 10 2010–JAN 16 2011

Books Without Words: The Visual Poetry of Elisabetta Gut

Books Without Words: The Visual Poetry of Elisabetta Gut will present 22 artists’ books, collage-poems, book-objects and object-poems by Italian artist Elisabetta Gut (born 1934). Her visual poetry is inspired by her dreams, memories, and love for music and poetry. 

OCT 09 2010–JAN 09 2011

Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color

The first major retrospective, Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color, features more than 70 paintings, textiles, and sketches from the pioneering African American artist’s 75-year career.

JUL 02–SEP 12 2010

Women to Watch
Body of Work: New Perspectives on Figure Painting

NMWA’s newest installment in the exhibition series, Women to Watch, centers on contemporary figurative painting. The 17 works in the exhibition reflect myriad styles and approaches, but all highlight figure painters’ embrace of the slow, subtle, and singular set of processes involved in painting people.

JUN 25–SEP 13 2010

June Wayne’s “Dorothy Series”

Still working at 92, artist June Wayne epitomizes the strength and determination of her generation. Taken from NMWA’s collection, June Wayne’s “Dorothy Series” is a set of lithographs created in a hyper-realist style using reprinted photographs, documents, and scrapbook memorabilia. The 20 works illustrate her mother Dorothy’s life as an immigrant, a single parent and a successful saleswoman during the first half of the 20th century.

JUN 25–SEP 13 2010

The Collaborative Print: Works from SOLO Impression

This selection from NMWA’s collection, The Collaborative Print: Works from SOLO Impression, consists of more than 40 prints made through creative partnerships between SOLO Impression Inc. founder Judith Solodkin and some important contemporary artists including Ghada Amer, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, and Nancy Spero.

JUN 25–SEP 13 2010

JuYeon Kim: The In-Between

Artist JuYeon Kim has created two new structures on site in our galleries that visitors can enter for a contemplative experience. The exhibition, JuYeon Kim: The In-Between, is inspired by an 8th-century Tibetan Buddist text.

APR 28–NOV 07 2010, MAR 26–OCT 30 2011

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Niki de Saint Phalle

The first phase of the New York Avenue Sculpture Project features works from the oeuvre of French-born artist Niki de Saint Phalle: Nana on a Dolphin, 1998, L’Arbre serpents (Serpent Tree), #23 Basketball Player, and Les trois grâces (The Three Graces), all from 1999. Saint Phalle’s joyful works celebrate women, children, heroes, cultural diversity, and love.

FEB 12–MAY 16 2010

A Dream...but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is pleased to present some of the leading women artists who claim Turkey as their homeland, but whose video art, photography, and painting declare their identity in A Dream...but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey.

FEB 05–AUG 22 2010

Pomp and Power: Antoinette Bouzonnet Stella’s Entrance of the Emperor Sigismond into Mantua

Pomp and Power: Antoinette Bouzonnet Stella’s Entrance of the Emperor Sigismond into Mantua features a series of 25 engravings by French artist Antoinette Bouzonnet Stella (1641–1676) entitled The Entrance of the Emperor Sigismond into Mantua. Modeled after a 16th century stucco frieze in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua, Italy, by Renaissance artists Giulio Romano and Francesco Primaticcio, Antoinette’s prints were commissioned by Louis XIV’s minister of finance in 1675. This commission was part of a large-scale effort by the French government to emulate Classical Greek and Roman sculpture in French national art.


AUG 07 2009–JAN 17 2010

Hard Copy: Book as Sculpture

Hard Copy: Book as Sculpture presents 15 examples of artists’ books that blur the lines between book and sculpture. The themes of these innovative and intimate works are as varied as the artists’ personal experiences and feelings.

OCT 09 2009–JAN 10 2010

Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions, and Conundrums in Contemporary Art

Artists today often create literal layers (as in collage) to deepen meaning in their works. This exhibition—Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions, and Conundrums in Contemporary Art—of 39 paintings, photographs, drawings, and prints from NMWA’s collection invites viewers to consider multiple interpretations.

OCT 09 2009–JAN 10 2010

Elements of Nature: Equines and Still Lifes by Clarice Smith

Elements of Nature: Equines and Still Lifes by Clarice Smith features 20 paintings that exquisitely articulate Clarice Smith’s graceful vision of the natural world.

OCT 09 2009–JAN 10 2010

Lands of Enchantment: Australian Aboriginal Painting

In recent years, Australian Aboriginal art has captured the attention of the global art market. Collectors and museums worldwide relish the striking color and intricate patterning of Aboriginal paintings created by artists in the nation’s central desert region in particular. The works’ nuanced expressions of Aboriginal history and culture reinforce their significance as rich cultural artifacts in Lands of Enchantment: Australian Aboriginal Painting.

MAR 20–AUG 30 2009

Fashion Forward: Photographs by Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Fashion Forward: Photographs by Louise Dahl-Wolfe showcases American photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895–1989). From 1936 to 1958, she brought her formal precision, irreverent sense of humor, and volatile personality to the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. As a staff photographer, she produced 86 covers and thousands of color and black-and-white photographs.

MAR 20–AUG 30, 2009

Picturing Progress: Hungarian Women Photographers, 1900–1945

At the turn of the 20th Century, photography afforded Hungarian women their first opportunity to become professional artists. Picturing Progress: Hungarian Women Photographers, 1900–1945 focuses on works produced between 1900–1945, a time of tremendous social and political upheaval.

MAR 20–AUG 30 2009

Mary McFadden: Goddesses

Inspired by the art and culture of ancient civilizations, American fashion designer Mary McFadden is renowned for her romantic and inventive haute couture designs for women, which is featured in Mary McFadden: Goddesses. Frequently referred to as a “design archeologist,” McFadden has created more than 100 collections.

JUN 02–JUL 26 2009

Bridging Communities: People and Places

Bridging Communities: People and Places is an exhibition of handmade books created by students from Seaton Elementary School in Washington, D.C., and Hoffman-Boston Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia.

MAR 06–MAY 17 2009

Miracle of Movement: Isabel Bishop in Union Square, New York

Miracle of Movement: Isabel Bishop in Union Square, New York features twenty works from NMWA’s collection, including seventeen prints and paintings generously bequeathed to NMWA in 2004 by Catherine Gamble Curran. Ranging in date from 1927 to 1984, they are exemplary studies of daily life in Manhattan.


AUG 22 2008–FEB 03 2009

Beyond Tradition: The Pueblo Pottery of Tammy Garcia

Tammy Garcia is one of the most recognizable figures in Southwestern ceramics and is renowned for infusing a two-thousand year old tradition with modern notions of design. Beyond Tradition: The Pueblo Pottery of Tammy Garcia features a select group of Garcia’s most important pots and will be the first exhibition of her work at The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

OCT 17 2008–JAN 25 2009

Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary American Photography

In today’s image-conscious world, photography is one of the most powerful mediators of our sense of self. Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary American Photography features the work of two generations of artists whose portraiture, self-portraiture, and narrative photographs have indelibly inflected our understanding of gender and identity over the past 30 years.

NOV 21 2008–JAN 25 2009

Mary Cassatt: Friends and Family

Mary Cassatt: Friends and Family explores the theme of friendship in Mary Cassatt’s art and focuses in particular on the artist’s relationships with artists and collectors including Edgar Degas, Louisine Havemeyer, and Electra Havemeyer Webb.

National Museum of Women in the Arts