Artist-Designed Multiples on View at NMWA
Apr 01 2019
WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents More is More: Multiples, on view May 3–Sept. 22, 2019. Challenging the notion that a work of art must be singular or unique to have value, the exhibition celebrates multiples as a medium by presenting approximately 25 artist-designed objects that bridge the gap between works of fine art and limited-edition retail items. More is More presents dinner plates, tote bags, sunglasses, toys and more created by artists including Barbara Kruger, Helen Marten, Jiha Moon, Cindy Sherman and Mickalene Thomas.
“Combining utilitarian characteristics and innovative artistry, these objects offer celebratory and tongue-in-cheek commentary on stereotypical attributes of femininity,” said curatorial assistant Hannah Shambroom. “The exhibition, drawn primarily from NMWA’s collection, highlights women artists’ contributions to the medium from the 1980s to the present, reflecting on themes like mass-production and commercialization, domestic tropes and democratization of access to art.”
Some works, such as the baby onesie inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ Be Calm (2005) reference a theme, in this case motherhood, through the object’s function as well as its imagery. Others, like Mickalene Thomas’s Pocket Mirror (2016), call attention to narrow beauty standards and aesthetic representations of women. Both of these objects are produced by design company Third Drawer Down in partnership with the artists’ studios, exemplifying the collaboration inherent in this medium. Several works carry biting social messages, including Barbara Kruger’s “Your gaze hits the side of my face” sunglasses (2013), and Sophie Calle’s The Pig dinner service (2013), a set of porcelain plates inscribed with a story about a man who insulted the artist’s eating habits.