WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has commissioned artist Katharina Cibulka 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. Through June 8, members of the public are invited to share their own phrases and ideas to give the artist insight into the concerns of NMWA’s broader community.
In bright pink tulle on white mesh fabric that covers construction scaffolding, Cibulka (b. 1975, Innsbruck, Austria) 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. She seeks public input to understand the concerns of community members and neighbors—previous statements have addressed topics such as income inequality, family structures, the abuse of power and the art world. Cibulka’s work at NMWA—unveiled during the October opening—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.
Through June 8, members of the public can submit ideas for the “as long as” phrase through an anonymous survey. The artist will review submissions for ideas and inspiration, with the final phrase unveiled when the work is installed on October 28, 2022.
“Cibulka’s project focuses on 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 back the mission of NMWA and the values of our local community.”
“The ‘SOLANGE’ sentences point unmistakably at existing imbalances,” said Cibulka. “Following one of feminism’s key issues—the quest for social justice—our project targets a broad spectrum of gender-specific inequalities.”
Lookout: Katharina Cibulka is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and generously supported by its members.
Lookout features large-scale original artworks suspended across the museum’s façade during its renovation. The first iteration, on view through July 31, features 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 (b. 1975, Innsbruck, Austria) 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, including the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast, Glucksman Gallery in Cork, Künstlerhaus in Vienna, Kunstverein in Bonn, Lidgett Gallery in Budapest, the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, Neue Galerie in Innsbruck, Shedhalle in Zürich and St. Claude Gallery in New Orleans. Her work was also featured in the 2006 St. Petersburg Biennale, Marmara University’s 2010 International Student Triennial in Istanbul, the inaugural Rabat Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2019 and the 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.