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.

March 2013

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo working on what was then titled Deathrose, 1960 (photograph by Burt Glinn and © Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos)

Jay Defeo: A Retrospective
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021
February 28–June 2, 2013

Organized by Dana Miller, this exhibition is the first major retrospective of the work of an important yet overlooked figure of American postwar art. Best known for her monumental painting The Rose, on which she labored from 1958 to 1966, Jay DeFeo (1929–1989) experimented wildly with collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and jewelry. Bringing together more than 130 objects, the presentation illuminates the idiosyncratic production of another neglected female artist of American art while shedding further light on her relationship with San Francisco’s beat scene. The exhibition was previously on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2012–13.

Lenore Tawney: Wholly Unlooked For
Maryland Institute College of Art
Decker Gallery, Fox Building, 1303 West Mount Royal Avenue; and Leidy Atrium, Brown Center, 1301 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217
January 17, 2013–March 2, 2013

Lenore Tawney: Wholly Unlooked For
University of the Arts
Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, 333 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
December 7, 2012–March 17, 2013

Wholly Unlooked For is a multivenue survey of the work of Lenore Tawney (1907–2007), illuminating her pioneering exploration of fiber art and her working methods. At the artist’s alma mater, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), an exhibition organized by Piper Shepard and Susie Brandt focuses on line-based objects that exemplify the artist’s loom production through nine weavings. At University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery focuses on paper work, curated by Sid Sachs. Together, the two shows contextualize Tawney’s work with studio materials and personal belongings, shown in public for the first time.

The Leidy Atrium of MICA’s Brown Center showcases Tawney’s monumental Scripture in Stone, a fourteen-foot-square piece made of black canvas and white linen threads, and the Cloud Sculpture series of hanging works, each comprising of thousands of individually knotted threads. Distinguished for its circle-in-the-square design—a favorite motif of the artist—Scripture in Stone is exhibited for the first time in over two decades.

Joan Semmel: A Lucid Eye

Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10456
January 24–June 9, 2013

The camera has been an integral part of Joan Semmel’s artistic process since the 1970s. For the oil paintings in this exhibition, she turns the device on herself. Several large canvases show the artist nude, photographing herself through a mirror, the bold yet intimate works depicting not just her own image, but also how the image for the painting is constructed. In a series of smaller self-portraits, she focuses on her face. Beautifully rendered and hauntingly real, these paintings reveal Semmel’s strong character as well as the passage of time. The works in this exhibition—all made after 2001—are being shown publicly for the first time.

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