Advance Exhibition Schedule for June 2015–May 2016
Jun 01 2015
Note: Please discard previous calendars. This information is current as of June 2015. For more news about the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), visit the press room.
June 5–September 13, 2015
Rather than merely document beauty, artists in Super Natural engage with nature as a space for exploration and invention. Historical painters and naturalists focused on the singularity or strangeness of plant and animal specimens, sometimes adding narrative details and imagined settings. Super Natural juxtaposes their works with photographs, books and videos by contemporary artists who share their artistic foremothers’ uninhibited view of flora and fauna. Performance artists incorporate the female body into the landscape. Book artists sculpt paper and wood into hybrid plants and beasties. Photographers shoot spectacular still lifes with equal focus on living objects’ beauty and the decay that threatens them. Louise Bourgeois, Ana Mendieta, Maria Sibylla Merian, Patricia Piccinini, Rachel Ruysch, Kiki Smith, Sam Taylor-Johnson and others illuminate women artists’ unrestrained absorption with nature.
Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015
June 5–September 13, 2015
Historically, women artists were encouraged by society to take the natural world as their subject. Rather than narrative art, which was thought to require invention and imagination beyond women’s capabilities, subjects such as botanical drawings, still-life paintings and images of animals seemed to require merely the power of observation. Turning this archaic paradigm upside-down, the contemporary artists highlighted in Organic Matters actively redefine the relationship of women, nature and art by investigating the natural world—to fanciful and sometimes frightful effect. Collectively, their work encompasses modern society’s complex relationship with the environment, ranging from concern for its future to fear of its power. Through a diverse array of mediums, including photography, drawing, sculpture and video, these artists depict fragile ecosystems, otherworldly landscapes and creatures both real and imagined. Women to Watch is an exhibition series held every two to three years, developed in conjunction with the museum’s national and international outreach committees. Each of these exhibitions features emerging and underrepresented women artists from the states and countries in which the museum has committees.
September 4, 2015–January 17, 2016
During America’s golden age of photojournalism, freelance photographer Esther Bubley (1921–1998) cast her discerning eye over a broad range of subjects. Mentored by Roy Stryker, manager of the Farm Security Administration’s documentary photography program during the Great Depression, Bubley first chronicled American life during World War II. She later photographed worldwide for clients including the Standard Oil Company, Life magazine, UNICEF and Ladies’ Home Journal. Drawn from a recent donation to NMWA’s collection, this exhibition presents Bubley’s images of beauty pageants, circuses, amusement parks, boarding houses, barber shops, classrooms, clinics and kitchens. Bubley strove to give a human face to each story she covered, yet many of her images convey an ironic tone and suggest the momentous social changes that were developing in mid-20th-century America.
Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today
October 30, 2015–February 28, 2016
Pathmakers explores the vital contributions of women to postwar visual culture and their use of craft materials—especially clay, fiber and metals—to explore concepts of Modernism. Featuring more than 80 works, Pathmakers focuses on women working at mid-century, including Ruth Asawa, Lenore Tawney and Eva Zeisel. The group came to maturity along with the emerging American modern craft movement and had impact as designers, artists and teachers. Pathmakers highlights the international context of the movement: European émigrés including Anni Albers and Maija Grotell brought to the U.S. a belief in craft as a pathway to Modernist innovation. The work of Scandinavian designers Rut Bryk, Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe and others emphasizes parallels between women designers working in the U.S. and Scandinavia. The exhibition also presents contemporary artists whose work reflects the influence of the historical figures, including Vivian Beer, Hella Jongerius and Front Design.
Womanimal: Zine Art by Caroline Paquita
November 16, 2015–May 13, 2016, in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center
Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.
Caroline Paquita (b. 1980) is a Brooklyn-based artist, zinester and founder of Pegacorn Press. Her first self-published zine, Brazen Hussy, used xerography like other punk zines of the 1990s, but it already shows evidence of Paquita’s distinctive aesthetic, which features strong line work. Paquita’s recent work has focused on envisioning “Womanimals”—half-woman/half-animal creatures that seek to interject a queered whimsy and irreverence into distracted modern culture. This exhibition showcases Paquita’s punk art zine-making over the past 18 years.