CAA News Today

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed. Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view or touring.

July–August 2011

Cone Sisters Collecting Matisse

Pablo Picasso, Woman with Bangs, 1902, oil on canvas, 24⅛ x 20¼ in. Cone Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art. BMA 1950.268 (artwork © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York; photograph provided by the Jewish Museum)

Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore
Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128
May 6–September 25, 2011

The Cone sisters of Baltimore, Claribel and Etta, were a beacon of taste through their collection of modern art. The Jewish Museum has extracted fifty works from a collection of approximately three thousand that blossomed from purchases of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse—as early as 1905. After an introduction to the Parisian avant-garde by Gertrude and Leo Stein, the Cone Sisters accrued and displayed modernist treasures alongside an elegant collection of textiles and furniture from Africa, Asia, and Europe. The exhibition will gather these works, photographs, and archival material, allowing the public to ascertain their unrelenting appreciation of art objects.

Dara Birnbaum: Arabesque
Marian Goodman Gallery
24 West 57th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019
June 28–August 26, 2011

This summer, Marian Goodman Gallery will exhibit Dara Birnbaum’s new multichannel video piece Arabesque (2011) alongside a miniretrospective of early work such as the rarely seen Attack Piece, Mirroring, and Everything’s Gonna Be Alright. Arabesque, a meditation on the recurring “power struggle between male and female” that Birnbaum recognizes in her work, is inspired by the composer Clara Schumann’s work, life, and relationship with her much more famous husband, the composer Robert Schumann. This struggle arguably connects the work to her otherwise dissimilar video work from 1975–76, in which Birnbaum confronted gender inequality in the media, pop culture, and even her relationships with her male collaborators.

Seeing Gertrude Stein

Cecil Beaton, Gertrude Stein, 1935, gelatin-silver print. Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s. CM3794 (photograph provided by the Contemporary Jewish Museum)

Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories
Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
May 12–September 6, 2011

The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is spearheading an exploration of Gertrude Stein’s colossal creative ambitions and the legacy of her involvement in the arts. The exhibition mingles personal and acquired artifacts among five “stories,” or subcategories, of her life. The first, “Picturing Gertrude,” documents the writer’s transformations in appearance and her interpersonal magnetism through portraits by Man Ray, Cecil Beaton, and other artists. “Domestic Stein” uncovers the intimate relationship between Stein and her life-long partner, Alice B. Toklas, while presenting details from their eccentric homes in Paris and the south of France. “The Art of Friendship” reveals Stein’s influence on a younger generation of queer artists and writers through her collaborations with dance and opera. “Celebrity Stein”concentrates on Stein’s lecture tour across the United States in 1934–35, documented extensively by the media, and also her experience during both World Wars. Last, “Legacies” spotlights the impact of her undisguised sexuality, brash experimentation, and charm on artists such as Andy Warhol and Glenn Ligon. The exhibition will travel to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, from October 14, 2011, to January 22, 2012. Check the website of the Contemporary Jewish Museum for a number of lectures, performances, and events pertaining to the exhibition.

Claude Cahun
Jeu de Paume
1 place de la Concorde, Paris, France
May 24–September 25, 2011

Claude Cahun, born Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob, was a vanguard French artist interested in bending the social perception of gender. Her androgynous photographic self-portraits from the 1920s not only fluctuated fluidly between male and female personae, they also presented innovative visual techniques like staging and montage. Although she was affiliated with the Surrealists in the 1930s, her theatrical emphasis on exposing predesigned assumptions about contemporary women inflamed their confrontations with reality. Despite this antagonism, Cahun’s photocollages and slew of writings—much of which is on display at Jeu de Paume—contributed to the momentum of the movement. Performance is inescapable in her photographs, which underscores her influence on photographers such as Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin. This exhibition—the first large-scale presentation of her work in her native France in sixteen years—will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago and La Virreina Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona during 2011–12.

Guerrilla Girls Erase Discrimination

Guerrilla Girls, Erase Discrimination, 1999, ink on rubber, 1⅛ x 2½ x ¼ in. each. Collection of the Akron Museum of Art (artwork © Guerrilla Girls; photograph provided by the National Museum of Women in the Arts)

The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC 20005

June 17–October 17, 2011

Since 1985 the legendary, gorilla-masked feminist collective the Guerrilla Girls have, in their own words, been “fighting discrimination with facts, humor, and fake fur.” The National Museum of Women in the Arts is celebrating more than twenty-five years of the group’s “guerrilla tactics” in fighting sexism and racism in the art world with the exhibition The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back. The show includes examples and documentation of the anonymous collective’s posters, stickers, billboards, books, and performances, which combine snarky satire with disturbing statistics to demonstrate the institutional exclusion of women and artists of color from both art history and contemporary art exhibitions.

Modern Women: Single Channel
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
January 23–August 8, 2011

Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art at the Montclair Art Museum, gathered this group of single-channel videos by eleven female artists from the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. Spanning from the 1960s to the late 1990s, the international selection offers the technical experiments of artists such as Pipilotti Rist and Kristin Lucas as well as conceptually groundbreaking precedents set by Joan Jonas and VALIE EXPORT. As a whole, the exhibition challenges the limitations of narrative, documentation, and popular culture. Although gender and sexuality are imminant concepts in the work, Modern Women: Single Channel emphasizes how the female gaze has evolved over the last forty years in the singular medium of video.

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber, Children playing chess aboard the Henry Gibbins, 1944 (artwork © Ruth Gruber; photograph provided by the International Center of Photography)

Ruth Gruber, Photojournalist
International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036
May 20–August 28, 2011

The Brooklyn-born Ruth Gruber is a famed photojournalist who began her career in the Soviet Arctic and Siberian Gulag in 1935. She continued to conquer unchartered territory in Alaska, capturing some of the first color images of the terrain and its natives in the early 1940s. Gruber activated her humanitarian inklings during World War II, documenting the migration of one thousand Jewish refugees to the United States from Europe in 1944 and later recording the difficulties of Jewish emigration into Palestine. The exhibition will include never-before-seen color photographs and vintage prints as well as contemporary prints from original negatives taken from Gruber’s personal archives.

Filed under: CWA Picks, Uncategorized — Tags: