WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has commissioned Austrian artist Katharina Cibulka (b. 1975) to present the next iteration of Lookout, a public art project presented while the museum is temporarily closed for a major renovation. In her first installation in the United States, Cibulka will cover NMWA’s north-facing façade with one of her monumental “SOLANGE” (German for “as long as”) works, a series that addresses gender-based inequity and social power structures. Featuring a message to be revealed on October 28, Cibulka’s work at NMWA will reflect the museum’s mission and resonate with neighbors in Washington, D.C., as well as the museum’s broader network of members, supporters and friends.
In bright pink tulle on white mesh fabric that covers construction scaffolding, Cibulka cross-stitches poetic and witty declarations such as “As long as the art market is a boys’ club, I will be a feminist,” “As long as he makes the cash while I work for change, I will be a feminist,” and ”As long as women’s power is an underrated energy source, I will be a feminist.” For each of Cibulka’s site-specific “SOLANGE” works, the artist considers the local environment and community while developing the phrase for that location. NMWA solicited ideas from the public this past spring to help the artist understand the concerns of community members, neighbors and museum supporters. Previous statements have addressed topics such as income inequality, family structures, the abuse of power and the art world.
“Cibulka’s project re-purposes construction sites, spaces commonly identified with a narrow concept of masculinity, which makes her message of gender equity resonate powerfully,” said Kathryn Wat, NMWA’s chief curator. “We are thrilled to give her the space to share her process and reflect on the mission of NMWA and the values of our local community.”
“The ‘SOLANGE’ sentences point unmistakably at existing imbalances,” said Cibulka. Reflecting on her excitement to be presenting at NMWA, just two blocks away from the White House, she says, “where there’s power, there’s room for action. If the most powerful people on this earth would finally use their power to benefit all and not just to gain more power and profit for themselves and a few others, the world would be a fairer place today.”
Follow along @WomenInTheArts and @solange_theproject. An online exhibition that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the artist’s process and inspiration will accompany the unveiling of the installation in October.
Lookout: Katharina Cibulka is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The project is generously supported by Share Fund and the members of NMWA. The installation will run through Feb 26, 2023.
Lookout features large-scale original artworks suspended across the museum’s façade during its renovation. The first iteration featured a mural by D.C.-based artist MISS CHELOVE, a.k.a. Cita Sadeli. Elevated just above sidewalk and soaring towards the sky, the works in Lookout are viewable to the many visitors in downtown Washington, D.C. With this unique opportunity to feature artworks that extend over multiple floors, Lookout highlights works by women artists who create on a monumental scale.
Akin to NMWA’s New York Avenue Sculpture Project, which demonstrates the museum’s lasting commitment to public art, Lookout reflects the museum’s inclusive mission as it speaks directly to the Washington, D.C., community. The project will support NMWA’s vital work to champion women artists and engage city residents and visitors—with a reminder to look out for the re-emergence of the new NMWA in fall 2023.
About the Artist
Katharina Cibulka works as an artist, filmmaker and photographer and develops concepts for artistic processes. She is cofounder of the all-female band telenovela and the performance group peek a corner. Cibulka studied art and film at the Academy of Fine Art and School for Artistic Photography, both in Vienna, as well as the New York Film Academy. Her work has appeared in several exhibitions and film festivals at venues including the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Künstlerhaus, Vienna; Kunstverein, Bonn; Lidgett Gallery, Budapest; Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade; Neue Galerie, Innsbruck; Shedhalle, Zürich; and St. Claude Gallery, New Orleans. Her work was also featured in the 2006 St. Petersburg Biennale, Marmara University’s 2010 International Student Triennial in Istanbul, inaugural Rabat Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2019, and Vierzon Biennale in 2022.
Cibulka employs moving images, photography, installations, public interactions and performance in her work. In deconstructing processes, her work sometimes assumes subversive or even temperamental and anarchist forms. Often, the dynamism of the work’s content stands in contrast to the minimalist clarity and elegance of its formal images and sounds.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum inspires dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today. The collections highlight painting, sculpture, photography and video by artists including Louise Bourgeois, Mary Cassatt, Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Shirin Neshat, Faith Ringgold, Pipilotti Rist, Amy Sherald and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.
The museum building is closed for a major renovation, with plans to reopen in fall 2023. Visit nmwa.org/renovation for more information. During the building closure, NMWA continues its mission-based work and engages supporters and friends through a dynamic slate of online programs and events, off-site and virtual exhibitions, and digital content. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.org, Broad Strokes blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.