WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project, D.C., an exhibition by Mexico City-based artist Mónica Mayer, on view November 10, 2017–January 5, 2018. Since 1978, Mayer has been implementing El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project in various museums and communities throughout Mexico, South America and the United States, asking women from different economic classes, ages and professions to respond to the statement, “As a woman, what I dislike most about my city is…” Participants write their responses on small pink ballots, which are then hung on a clothesline. The site-specific installation documents the project’s results by using content created through community outreach, inviting visitors to add their voices and experiences to the tendedero, or clothesline.
Mayer transforms the clothesline, a traditionally feminine object, into a tool designed to engage the community and facilitate a dialogue around women’s experience with violence—including topics such as sexual harassment, domestic violence and trafficking. This fall, working with artists, activists and organizations in the Washington, D.C.,area, Mayer facilitated workshops for the D.C. iteration of El Tendedero. As the project is city-specific, hearing the direct experiences of local women was a critical piece of framing for the exhibition and its content.
“I am pleased that Mónica’s next installation of El Tendedero will be associated with NMWA’s acclaimed Women, Arts and Social Change public programs initiative—highlighting women and the arts as catalysts for social change,” said Director of Public Programs Melani N. Douglass. “We have partnered with several D.C.-area organizations and assisted in the creation of conversations between local artists and advocates to inspire community-based advocacy directed at reducing violence against women.”
Mayer offered workshops to D.C.-area artists, activists and advocates working on issues of violence against women in September. NMWA sponsored a workshop with more than 20 participants at the House of Ruth, which is an organization that helps women, children and families in greatest need and with very limited resources build safe, stable lives and achieve their highest potential. NMWA also hosted La Clinica del Pueblo, an organization which seeks to build a healthy Latino community through culturally appropriate health services, for a bilingual workshop with Mayer. Both groups helped to create the framing questions for the exhibition and other materials which will be included in the presentation of El Tendedero at NMWA. The exhibition is bilingual, offering all text in both Spanish and English.
In addition, artists and activists from D.C. and Baltimore participated in a working session with Mayer to discuss the project and the parallels to their own work. They also explored how they could implement the El Tendedero model in their respective communities.
Mayer’s work with NMWA culminates in November with the opening of the D.C. tendedero, as well as a Women, Arts, and Social Change Fresh Talk Forum, featuring Mayer in conversation with the local project participants on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 4:30 p.m. This inaugural Fresh Talk Forum: Mónica Mayer—El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project focuses on the ways art can create awareness and inspire community-based advocacy directed at reducing violence against women. $25 general; $20 members, seniors, students. Price includes museum admission and reception. Reservations required.
The Women, Arts and Social Change public programs initiative is made possible through leadership gifts from Denise Littlefield Sobel, the MLDauray Arts Initiative, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and the Swartz Foundation. Additional support is provided by Deborah G. Carstens, the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and the Bernstein Family Foundation.
Women, Arts and Social Change
Women, Arts, and Social Change (WASC) is an acclaimed public programs initiative highlighting the power of women and the arts as catalysts for change. These programs convene women from a range of disciplines whose socially conscious ideas are reshaping lives and economies, engaging communities, and empowering women. Fresh Talk, the initiative’s signature program series, assembles prominent women in the arts for creative conversations. Fresh Talk champions women through the arts and advocates for social change. WASC also features Cultural Capital program partnerships, which build community connections with area organizations to increase the museum’s visibility and reach new audiences. #FreshTalk4Change
National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum seeks to inspire 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, Frida Kahlo, Shirin Neshat, Faith Ringgold, Pipilotti Rist and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.
NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, in Washington, D.C. It is open Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sun., noon–5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youth 18 and under. Admission is free the first Sunday of each month. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.org, Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.