Press Room

Advance Exhibition Schedule for June 2017–Summer 2018

Jun 01 2017

Note: Please discard previous calendars. This information is current as of June 2017. For more news about the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), visit the press room.


June 23–September 10, 2017

Offering a new look at the nature of spectacle, this exhibition presents contemporary sculptors and photo-based artists whose arresting aesthetics and intense subject matter spur the viewer into a transcendent encounter with the art object. Works by Louise Bourgeois, Petah Coyne, Lalla Essaydi, Maria Marshall, Alison Saar and other global artists create immersive, mesmeric environments. Artists in this exhibition explicitly embrace the illimitable scale and effect of their mediums to animate deep-rooted ideas about fear, strength and love. They favor figurative or highly allusive imagery, yet each artist centers her work on the unconscious, ferreting out the unspoken through disquieting referents including fragmented bodies and peculiar creatures. Inspired by NMWA’s institution-wide focus on contemporary women artists as catalysts for change, Revival illuminates the ways that women sculptors, photographers and filmmakers regenerate their mediums to profound expressive effect.

Equilibrium: Fanny Sanín
July 14–October 29, 2017

In 2017, NMWA is taking a closer look at women working in abstraction. Born in 1938 in Bogotá, Colombia, Fanny Sanín developed her visual language during Colombia’s vibrant avant-garde art scene in the 1950s and ’60s. Unlike the gestural and organic paint strokes of Abstract Expressionism, Sanín’s works feature clean-edged geometric forms. Equilibrium invites viewers into the artist’s meticulous, intuitive process, in which she creates anywhere from four to 18 preliminary drawings preceding each finished work. Sanín uses these revisions to experiment with arrangements of form and color until she reaches her desired balance. Only then does she commit the final composition to a large-scale painting on canvas.

Wonder Women!
July 17–November 17, 2017

In the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center; open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.
From the Guerrilla Girls righting the wrongs of the art world to painter Edna Reindel’s tough WWII riveters, to vintage feminist comic books—it’s the celebration of the Wonder Women! Explore images of the powerful woman, real and fictional, in a wide-ranging selection drawn from the special collections and artists’ archives of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center.

Inside the Dinner Party Studio
September 17, 2017–January 5, 2018

Explore the creation of Judy Chicago’s monumental and radical work, The Dinner Party, through archives, documentation and film. Over the course of nearly five years and with the help of hundreds of volunteers, Chicago executed one of the most iconic artworks of the 20th century, confronting the erasure of women from history using elaborate research, craft and presentation. The extraordinary complexity of The Dinner Party’s process is illustrated through test objects, designs, documentation and revealing behind-the-scenes footage shot by filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas.

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today
October 13, 2017–January 21, 2018

NMWA’s 30th-anniversary celebration continues with Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, the first U.S. exhibition to explore the formal and historical dialogue on abstraction among black women artists. Featuring work by more than 20 women, including progenitors like Mavis Pusey and contemporary artists such as Shinique Smith, Magnetic Fields is intergenerational in scope and highlights the longstanding presence of black women artists within the field of abstraction in the United States. From the brilliant colors and energetic brushwork of Alma Woodsey Thomas’s paintings to shredded tire sculptures by Chakaia Booker, works featured in this exhibition testify to the enduring ability of abstraction to convey both personal iconography and universal themes. This landmark project underscores the diversity of abstract art, which lies in its material construction as well as in its practitioners.

El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project, D.C.
November 10, 2017–January 5, 2018

Since 1978, artist Mónica Mayer has been implementing El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project in various museums and communities throughout Mexico, South America and the U.S., asking women from different classes, ages and professions to respond to the statement “As a woman, what I dislike most about my city is…” Participants write their responses on small pink ballots, which are then hung on a clothesline. This traditionally feminine form doubles as a useful tool to communicate with other women about violence against women—including sexual harassment, domestic violence and trafficking. Working with artists, activists and organizations in the Washington area, Mayer will facilitate another of her important Clothesline Project participatory works in September. The installation at the museum in November will document the results of the project, using content created through community outreach. Presented in partnership with community organizations serving women, including La Clinica del Pueblo.

Women House
March 9‒May 28, 2018

Questions about a woman’s “place” resonate in our culture, and conventional ideas persist about the house as a feminine space. This eye-opening exhibition features 36 global artists who conceive of home as a place for demonstration and liberation rather than a space solely for nurturing comfort and stability. This new exhibition forms a sequel to the famous project Womanhouse, developed in 1972 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. Similar to their artistic foremothers in the 1970s, contemporary artists in Women House recast conventional ideas about women and the home with acuity and wit, creating provocative photographs, videos, sculptures, and room-like installations built with materials ranging from felt to rubber bands. Organized across six themes—from “Desperate Housewife” to “Nomads”—Women House emphasizes the plurality of contemporary women artists’ views on the home. NMWA is the only U.S. venue for this cutting-edge exhibition organized by La Monnaie de Paris.

Women to Watch 2018
Summer 2018

The fifth installment of NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series showcases contemporary artists working in metal. Featured artists enthusiastically investigate the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork through objects including sculpture, jewelry and conceptual applications of the material. The exhibition also engages with the fluidity between “fine” art, design and craft, categories whose traditional definitions are rooted in gender discrimination. Women to Watch is presented every three years and is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and its national and international outreach committees.

download the full advance exhibition schedule

National Museum of Women in the Arts