Urgent Museum Notice

Advance Exhibition Schedule

Color photograph of a dense forest with a light skin-toned girl with bare feet climing a tree at center. Below her to the right is another light skinned girl sitting against the trunk of a tree. Other figures are scattered throughout the forest in the background.
Through May 2021

Note: Please discard previous calendars. This information is current as of July 2020. For more news about the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), visit the press room.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Spotlight Installation: Return to Nature
August 1, 2020–January 3, 2021

Close-up photograph shows a trumpet-shaped flower against a dark black background. The flower's striated long neck erupts in a profusion of purple and white petals that dominate the composition.
Amy Lamb, Purple Datura, 2015; Digital pigment print of photograph, 34 x 34 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the Artist and Steven Scott Gallery, Baltimore; © 2015 Amy Lamb, all rights reserved.

Despite the fact that women were integral participants in the development of nature photography, scholars largely ignored their contributions until the 1970s. With work by Imogen Cunningham, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Rineke Dijkstra, Justine Kurland, Amy Lamb, Ruth Orkin and others, this exhibition of modern and contemporary photographs reflects the extraordinary contributions of women artists. Some treat plant specimens from the perspective of an artist-scientist, while others apply a modernist sensibility, concentrating on line, contour and value contrast. Lush landscapes alternately serve as personal remembrances of distinctive spaces or stages on which models enact intriguing narratives.

Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020
October 8, 2020–January 18, 2021

A colored image of what appears to be a wall decorated with mosaics in red and yellow tones. Upon closer inspection each shape is actually an origami bug.
Paola Podestá Martí, Vergara Palace Cornice, 2010; Foam core, aquarelle paper, and stainless steel, 82 ⅝ x 118 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Photo by Calipsophotography

Paper Routes, the sixth installment of NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series, showcases the transformation of this ubiquitous material into complex works of art. Artists use paper not merely as a support for drawings, prints or photographs, but as a medium itself. Ranging in size from minutely detailed, small-scale works to large, sculptural installations, this exhibition explores artists’ ability to transform paper into a surprising array of shapes and structures. Begun in 2008, Women to Watch is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and its national and international outreach committees.

Julie Chen: True to Life
October 12, 2020–February 12, 2021
Open by appointment only, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; email lrc@nmwa.org to schedule.

A green-gold box with its attached lid flipped open holds five objects shaped liked candies resting on burgundy fabric. The inside of the lid displays outlines of each object, with the words "life cycle," "labyrinth," "elegy," "either/or," and "social graces" inside the outlines.
Julie Chen, Bon Bon Mots, 1998; Letterpress on paper, polymer clay, and Plexiglas, 2 x 13 5/8 x 10 in. (closed); National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum purchase: Library and Research Center Acquisition Fund; © Julie Chen

Renowned book artist Julie Chen combines highly complex structures and poetic reflections to create ambitious artists’ books that raise questions about time, memory and human survival. Chen carefully engineers books in ways that create unmistakable, powerful unity of text and object. Julie Chen: True to Life will present a selection of the California-based artist’s captivating works from throughout her 33-year career. 

Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood
January 16–April 18, 2021

A black and white photograph of two black teens sitting in folding chairs, facing the camera with their bodies angled in opposite directions. They wear matching cowboy hats, bandanas around their necks, vests, white tights, and white western-style boots. They hold two white hobby horses in their hands. In the background are trees and a forest.
Mary Ellen Mark, Tashara and Tanesha Reese, Twins Days Festival, Twinsburg, Ohio, 1998 (printed later); Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Robert and Kathi Steinke; © Mary Ellen Mark/The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation

An icon in modern photography, Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015) documented people around the world who would otherwise be unknown or forgotten. From street children in Seattle to circus performers in India, Mark captured the lives and stories of individuals with empathy, humor and candor. Drawn from an exceptional recent donation of more than 160 photographs by the artist, given to the museum by members of the Photography Buyers Syndicate, this exhibition presents approximately 30 images Mark made throughout her career depicting girls and young women. Photographs from many of the artist’s best-known series reflect her wondrous and uncanny vision of girlhood.

RECLAMATION: Recipes, Remedies, and Rituals 
Online beginning January 18, 2021

RECLAMATION, an online participatory exhibition and ingredient archive, examines food as a creative medium and connective tool for exploring intergenerational and intercultural experiences. Through a focus on ingredients used in cooking, curatives and ceremonies, this exhibition re-presents the traditional role of women in providing sustenance and healing. The exhibition’s innovative design centers around the kitchen table, the central domestic object for gatherings of family and friends. Nine artists will activate their kitchen tables, sharing photographs, videos and stories of how they use this most important domestic object. Museum visitors will leave their mark on the exhibition by sharing recipes, anecdotes and reflections related to food through a digital ingredient archive. RECLAMATION opens a year-long season of programming that examines the relationship between food, art, and women as part of the Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative.

Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend
March 3–May 31, 2021

U.S. five-dollar bill has an embroidered afro and sideburns stitched onto the portrait of Lincoln’s head. One-third of the afro protrudes beyond the top of the bill.
Sonya Clark, Afro Abe II, 2012; Five-dollar bill and hand-embroidered thread, 4 x 6 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Sonya Y.S. Clark; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark (b. 1967) is renowned for her mixed-media works that address race and class, celebrate Blackness and reimagine history. This midcareer survey includes the artist’s well-known sculptures made from black pocket combs, human hair and thread as well as works made from flags, currency, beads, sugar, cotton plants, pencils, books, a typewriter and a hair salon chair. The artist transmutes each of these objects through her application of a vast range of fiber-art techniques: Clark weaves, stitches, folds, braids, dyes, pulls, twists, presses, snips or ties within each work. By stitching black thread cornrows and Bantu knots onto fabrics, rolling human hair into necklaces and stringing a violin bow with a dreadlock, Clark manifests ancestral bonds and reasserts the Black presence in histories from which it has been pointedly omitted.

Current Exhibitions

Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico
Extended through August 23, 2020

Black and white photograph of a Mexican woman looking off into the distance. She wears a floral blouse and five iguanas sit atop her head at different angles, as if she were wearing a crown.
Graciela Iturbide, Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas), Juchitán, 1979; Gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 in.; Collection of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser; © Graciela Iturbide; Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Lyrical and provocative black-and-white images by celebrated photographer Graciela Iturbide (b. 1942) capture the rich tapestry of cultures, daily rituals, social inequalities and coexistence of tradition and modernity across Mexican society. In this major presentation of work from throughout the artist’s five-decade-long career, Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico tells a visual story of the country since the late 1960s. Approximately 140 photographs reveal the lifestyle of the Seri people living in the Sonoran Desert, the exploitation of workers among the Mixtec of Oaxaca and the vital role of women in Zapotec communities. Iturbide’s empathetic approach to photography reflects her deep connection to her subjects and offers powerful insight into the beauty and complexities of Mexico’s cultural heritage.

Linda Nochlin: The Maverick She
Extended through October 8, 2020
Open by appointment only; email lrc@nmwa.org to schedule.

Linda Nochlin (1931–2017), award-winning scholar, art historian and critic, devoted her career to forging a new appreciation for the contributions of women in the arts. Her 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” shifted the critical discourse to a place from which feminist artists, thinkers and activists have never looked back. NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center and the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art are collaborating to showcase a selection of Nochlin’s papers and ephemera (acquired by the Archives of American Art in 2018) that illuminate her remarkable contributions to art and culture.

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero
Through May 2, 2021

View of New York Avenue showing a tall, totem-like sculpture made of four stacked truck tires with gold leaf embellishments and supported by two steel poles.
Betsabeé Romero, Huellas y cicatricez (Traces and scars), 2018; Four tires with engraving and gold leaf and steel support, approx. 192 1/2 x 86 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.; Courtesy Betsabeé Romero Art Studio

The dynamic works of Mexico City-based artist Betsabeé Romero (b. 1963)form the newest chapter in NMWA’s public art program, the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, established in 2010. Signals of a Long Road Together comprises four sculptures developed expressly for this installation. Using a process similar to tattooing, Romero carves figures and intricate patterns into the sidewalls and treads of tires, which are then filled with gleaming metallic paint. The tires are assembled into totemic structures that speak to themes of human migration and the natural environment. Romero’s sculptures are the first in the New York Avenue Sculpture Project to incorporate interior lighting, which gives each piece an otherworldly glow after dark.

Visitor Information

HOURS: Starting August 1, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day                                     

LOCATION: 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, two blocks north of Metro Center

ADMISSION: $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youth 18 and under. Free Community Days take place on the first and third Sunday of each month, beginning August 16. Advance purchase of timed tickets is highly recommended.

INFORMATION: nmwa.org, 202-783-5000

SOCIAL MEDIA: Broad Strokes blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Exhibition Sponsor Information

Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020 is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and sponsored by the participating committees. The exhibition is made possible by Northern Trust with additional funding provided by the Clara M. Lovett Emerging Artists Fund and the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund. Further support is provided by Bayer AG, the Council for Canadian American Relations, and Luso-American Development Foundation.

RECLAMATION: Recipes, Remedies, and Rituals and the Women, Arts, and Social Change public programs initiative are made possible through leadership gifts from Denise Littlefield Sobel, the Davis/Dauray Family Fund, the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family and the Susan and Jim Swartz Public Programs Fund. Additional funding is provided by the Bernstein Family Foundation. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and generously supported by the members of NMWA.

Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is made possible by The Coby Foundation, with additional funding provided by Clara M. Lovett, the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation.

Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Presentation of the exhibition at NMWA is made possible by RBC Wealth Management and City National Bank, with additional support provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund and Agnes Gund. The museum extends appreciation to the Embassy of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C.

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero is made possible with funding provided by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Public Art Building Communities Program, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, with support provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund. The exhibition is organized by the museum in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and with assistance from the Embassy of Mexico’s Cultural Institute.