WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has revealed a new work by artist Katharina Cibulka on the museum’s façade that reads, “AS LONG AS GENERATIONS CHANGE BUT OUR STRUGGLES STAY THE SAME, I WILL BE A FEMINIST.” The installation will be on view through February 26, 2023.
NMWA commissioned Austrian artist Katharina Cibulka (b. 1975) to present this iteration of Lookout, a public art project presented while the museum is temporarily closed for a major renovation. With her first installation in the United States, Cibulka has covered 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. This is the artist’s largest work thus far in the series.
Cibulka’s work at NMWA reflects the museum’s mission and will resonate with neighbors in Washington, D.C., as well as the museum’s broader network of members, supporters and friends. For the “SOLANGE” works, Cibulka cross-stitches poetic and witty declarations in bright pink tulle on white mesh fabric that covers construction scaffolding. Past works have included the phrases “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.” Cibulka considers the local environment and community while developing the site-specific phrase for each location. NMWA solicited ideas from the public this past spring to help the artist understand the concerns of community members, neighbors and museum supporters.
Cibulka explains, “I gathered ideas from the NMWA community this summer and a central theme emerged: the sobering fact that many demands—both of feminists and around human rights in general—have been made repeatedly for decades and yet remained unfulfilled. The phrase created for this artwork confronts the continued, cross-generational and intersectional reality of our struggle. Equality cannot be taken for granted.”
“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 message and reflect on the mission of NMWA and the values of our local community.”
“The message points 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.”
More information is available at @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.
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.
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, Lookouthighlights 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 outfor 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 collection highlights a wide range of works in a variety of mediums by artists including Rosa Bonheur, Louise Bourgeois, Lalla Essaydi, Lavinia Fontana, Frida Kahlo, Hung Liu, Zanele Muholi, Faith Ringgold, Niki de Saint Phalle and Amy Sherald.
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.