WASHINGTON—The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom has chosen to honor the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), located in Washington, D.C., with its annual award. NMWA will be the first organization in the United States to be presented this award. The prize will be awarded to the museum during an official ceremony on January 9, 2015, taking place at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.
NMWA was founded in 1981 with the singular mission to bring to light remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today. Through its programming, NMWA directly addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art, therefore assuring great women artists a place of honor now and into the future. NMWA remains the only museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women’s creative achievements. The museum champions women through the arts with its collections, exhibitions, educational outreach and public programming, advocating for equity for women by shining a light on excellence.
Chaired by Josyane Savigneau (writer and journalist for Le Monde) and accompanied by founding president, Julia Kristeva (professor at Paris Diderot University, writer and psychoanalyst) and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (honorary president), the jury consists of public figures from the world of arts and literature. The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom was created to mark the 100th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth by honoring women, men and associations who, in the spirit of Simone de Beauvoir, fight to defend women’s rights wherever they are comprised. The prize is supported by the Institut français, the Mairie de Paris and Paris Diderot University.
By awarding the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom, the jury wishes to make a contribution to international solidarity, reaffirm women’s rights around the world, guarantee protection for those who currently risk their lives and stand alongside them to defend the ideals of equality and peace.
“The National Museum of Women in the Arts is extremely honored to receive the prestigious Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “NMWA is dedicated to providing a platform for women’s free expression and filling the void in recognition of women artists past, present and future. The museum empowers women and girls through inspirational examples in the arts and connects great art and ideas by women to people around the world.”
Renowned feminist artist Judy Chicago has long supported the museum. “My study of women’s history made me acutely aware of the fact that women’s achievements, along with too much of women’s cultural production, have been erased, marginalized, under-recognized or in other ways diminished. My understanding of this tragic loss led me to devote my life to creating art that could help change this situation so that women’s accomplishments would become a permanent part of our cultural heritage,” said Chicago. “When Wilhelmina and Wallace Holladay founded the National Museum of Women in the Arts, I became a staunch supporter. I long for the day when women around the world are accorded equal rights, equal pay and equal recognition in all aspects of human life. Until our art museums, schools and universities fully integrate women’s history, experiences and perspectives into their collections and curricula, we desperately need our own institutions so that our contributions will be honored in the same way as men’s have been. My congratulations to the museum on this well-deserved award.”
“NMWA deserves to be selected as it is a completely unique place in the world, which shelters women artists, their works, their history and their narratives; encourages research and a critical point of view; and welcomes curators like me who try to change the paradigms in art history,” said Camille Morineau, independent curator behind elles@centrepompidou, an 18-month exhibition showing only works by women artists from the Centre Pompidou and the curator of the current Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. “I am proud to have been part of that history and hope to be part of its future evolution. Bravo!”
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Founded in 1981 and opened in 1987, NMWA is the only museum solely dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing and literary arts. The museum’s collection features 4,500 works from the 16th century to the present created by more than 1,000 artists, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin, along with special collections of 18th-century silver tableware and botanical prints.Founded in 1981 and opened in 1987, NMWA is the only museum solely dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing and literary arts. The museum’s collection features 4,500 works from the 16th century to the present created by more than 1,000 artists, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin, along with special collections of 18th-century silver tableware and botanical prints.
NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit www.nmwa.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA Members and youths 18 and under. Free Community Days are on the first Sunday of the month. For more information about NMWA, visit www.nmwa.org, Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook or Twitter.
NMWA International and National Committees
In 1984, NMWA created its network of national and international committees. The museum currently has 18 outreach committees (ten in the United States and eight abroad) with more than 2,000 dedicated members throughout the United States and around the world and continues to expand its network. The committees host regional programs and serve as ambassadors for the museum. Committees such as Les Amis du NMWA in Paris host significant programs that promote women artists, offer new educational experiences and broaden the museum’s membership. NMWA has 16,000 members and devoted supporters from all 50 states in the United States and from 22 countries.
Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986), French philosopher, novelist, essayist and author of The Second Sex in 1949, was a major theorist and feminist of the 20th century. She defended women’s freedom through her writing and public stand on issues concerning women.
The Simone de Beauvoir Prize
Created in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth on January 9, 1908, the prize is awarded each year to laureates who are elected by an international jury. The prize is supported by the Institut français, the Mairie de Paris and Paris Diderot University.
In January 2014, the Simone de Beauvoir Prize was awarded to Michelle Perrot and in 2013 to Malala Yousafzai.
The jury of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom
Josyane Savigneau, president of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize jury and journalist at Le Monde
Julia Kristeva, founding president Simone de Beauvoir Prize, professor at Université Paris Diderot, writer and psychoanalyst
Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, honorary president of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize jury
Élisabeth Badinter, philosopher
Gérard Bonal, writer
Constance Borde, co-author of English translation of Le Deuxième Sexe de Simone de Beauvoir
Denis Charbit, professor of French civilization at University of Tel Aviv
Cécile Decousu, PhD candidate, Université Paris Diderot
Annie Ernaux, writer
Claire Etcherelli, writer
Madeleine Gobeil-Noel, former director of Arts and Cultural Life at UNESCO
Sihem Habchi, former president “Ni pute ni soumise”
Liliane Kandel, sociologist
Ayse Kiran, PhD, University of Haceteppe, Ankara, Turkey
Claude Lanzmann, writer, filmmaker and director of the magazine Les Temps Modernes
Bjorn Larsson, writer and professor at University of Lund, Sweden
Liliane Lazar, International Simone de Beauvoir Society, professor at Hofstra University
Annette Lévy-Willard, writer and journalist at Libération
Anne-Marie, senator and president of Conseil des Femmes, Wallonie, Belgium
Frédéric Maget, writer
Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, co-author of English translation of Le Deuxième Sexe de Simone de Beauvoir
Kate Millett, American writer, painter and sculptor
Yvette Roudy, former French minister for women’s rights, 1981–86
Danièle Sallenave, writer
Alice Schwarzer, writer
Margaret Simons, professor of philosophy, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, U.S.
Annie Sugier, president, International League of Women’s Rights
Linda Weil-Curiel, lawyer
Anne Zelensky, writer president of the League of Women’s Rights, co-founded with Simone de Beauvoir