New York City, NY
Making Space shines a spotlight on the stunning but still relatively under-recognized achievements of women artists between the end of World War II (1945) and the start of the Feminist movement (around 1968). In the postwar era, societal shifts made it possible for larger numbers of women to work professionally as artists, yet their work was often dismissed in the male dominated art world, and few support networks existed for them. Abstraction dominated artistic practice during these years, as many artists working in the aftermath of World War II sought an international language that might transcend national and regional narratives—and for women artists, additionally, those relating to gender.
Drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, the exhibition features more than 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, prints, textiles, and ceramics by some 50 artists. Within a trajectory that is at once loosely chronological and synchronous, it includes works that range from the boldly gestural canvases of Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell; the radical geometries by Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, and Gego; and the reductive abstractions of Agnes Martin, Anne Truitt, and Jo Baer; to the fiber weavings of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sheila Hicks, and Lenore Tawney; and the process-oriented sculptures of Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, and Eva Hesse. The exhibition will also feature many little-known treasures such as collages by Anne Ryan, photographs by Gertrudes Altschul, and prints made at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, founded by June Wayne.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Women of Abstract Expressionism is a long-awaited survey of female Abstract Expressionist artists revealing the richness and lasting influence of their work
The artists Jay DeFeo, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and many other women played major roles in the development of Abstract Expressionism, which flourished in New York and San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s and has been recognized as the first fully American modern art movement. Though the contributions of these women were central to American art of the twentieth century, their work has not received the same critical attention as that of their male counterparts.
Women of Abstract Expressionism is a long-overdue survey. Lavishly illustrated with full-color plates emphasizing the expressive freedom of direct gesture and process at the core of the movement, this book features biographies of more than forty artists, offering insight into their lives and work. Essays by noted scholars explore the techniques, concerns, and legacies of women in Abstract Expressionism, shedding light on their unique experiences. This groundbreaking book reveals the richness of the careers of these important artists and offers keen new reflections on their work and the movement as a whole.