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CWA Picks: Fall 2023 

posted by October 23, 2023

The exhibitions chosen for the Fall CWA Picks collectively highlight the power of art to engage with medium and memory in diverse and thought-provoking ways. Each exhibition showcases artists who engage with the concept of memory, whether by challenging societal norms and values, redefining perfection, or addressing historical and environmental legacies. Together, these exhibitions emphasize the power of art to shape our understanding of the past and how it shapes our present.  

Medium and Memory 

September 7–21 November, 2023 

HackelBury, London 

Medium and Memory is an exhibition featuring conversations between eight diverse artists whose work centers on memory in its various forms. The work in the show aims to challenge the act of forgetting and harness the potential of art to aesthetically transform traumatic historical legacies, including war, famine, genocide, colonialism, deindustrialization, and the memory-altering effects of the digital age. 

RE/SISTERS: A Lens on Gender and Ecology 

October 5, 2023–January 14, 2024  

Barbican Art Gallery, London  

RE/SISTERS: A Lens on Gender and Ecology showcases the work of nearly fifty international women and gender nonconforming artists. Through film, photography, and installations, the exhibition delves into the interconnectedness of gender and ecology, advocating for a just and equitable society where both people and the environment are valued and treated fairly. 

The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University: Three Decades, 1986–2017 

September 13–December 22, 2023 

Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ 

In 1986, Rutgers Distinguished Professor Emerita Judith K. Brodsky established the Brodsky Center to provide opportunities for women, gender nonconforming artists, and artists of color who were marginalized in the art world. This center, originally focused on print and papermaking, evolved into a hub of innovation, addressing contemporary concerns such as race, gender, climate, language, and immigration. The exhibition showcases artworks emblematic of the Brodsky Center’s mission to introduce new narratives into American culture and is organized thematically into sections reflecting its impact on art and society.  

Alison Croney Moses: The Habits of Reframing 

September 1–October 22, 2023 

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Boston  

The Habits of Reframing is a solo exhibition by Boston-based artist Alison Croney Moses, featuring two new series of wooden artworks. These pieces encourage viewers to consider their ability to shape their sense of self and their understanding of the world, while also challenging societal values, celebrating imperfections, and redefining perfection through sensory engagement with the materials and forms used by the artist. 

Dala Nasser: Adonis River 

September 16–November 26, 2023 

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago 

In the fall of 2023, the Renaissance Society will host the first solo exhibition of Beirut-based artist Dala Nasser, featuring a site-specific commission designed to fill the Ren’s expansive exhibition space. Nasser’s interdisciplinary approach encompasses painting, performance, and film, with a focus on abstraction and alternative image-making. Her artwork, created by directly engaging with landscapes, offers a unique perspective by highlighting the marks of political and environmental erosion and toxicity, exploring themes of ecological decay, historical narratives, and the consequences of capitalist and colonial practices. The exhibition centers on the Adonis River, where Nasser produced her paintings inside the cave associated with the mythical figure Adonis, utilizing locally sourced materials, and incorporating three-dimensional spatial environments that evoke the Adonis temple and its surroundings. 

Yolanda López: Portrait of the Artist 

July 7–October 29, 2023 

San José Museum of Art 

This is the first solo museum presentation of the work of Yolanda López, the pathbreaking Chicana artist and activist whose career in California spanned five decades. The exhibition presents a compendium of López’s work from the 1970s and 1980s, when she created an influential body of paintings, drawings, and collages that investigate and reimagine representations of women within Chicano/a/x culture and society at large. 

Yolanda M. López: Women’s Work is Never Done 

August 31–November 12, 2023 

Thacher Gallery, University of San Francisco 

Curated by her archivist, Angelica Rodriguez, and son, Rio Yañez, this body of work reveals López’s inquisitive approach to artistic mediums and the feminist and political sensibilities that emerged in her practice from life experiences, research, and community activism. Artworks include drawings from her youth, protest designs, preparatory studies for her iconic 1978 Guadalupe series, photography, collage, and xerox art from 1980 and 1990s Mission, prints from her Women’s Work is Never Done series, as well as her final reflective works. This body of work reveals López’s inquisitive approach to artistic mediums and the feminist and political sensibilities that emerged in her practice from life experiences, research, and community activism. 

Hung Liu: Capp Street Project, 1988 

September 16–November 18, 2023  

Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco  

This collection of paintings and artifacts re-imagines the 1988 exhibition Hung Liu: Resident Alien, the culmination of Liu’s two-month artist residency at the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, presented at the downtown Monadnock Building, a sprawling, under-construction office space that offered Hung Liu a liberating and engaging opportunity. The original exhibition, which took place just five years after Liu immigrated to the US from her native China, was instrumental in bringing her work to the attention of the larger art world. The multimedia installation—composed of paintings, wall drawings, Chinese calligraphy, ceremonial objects from Chinatown, a pile of abacuses, and small mounds of fortune cookies—addressed the history and complexities of the immigrant experience, looking specifically at the history of Chinese immigration to San Francisco from the Gold Rush of 1849 to her own immigration to the US in 1984 and her subsequent status as a “resident alien.” This exploration was both a central theme of the 1988 show, and a focus Liu would pursue for the rest of her career.  

Hung Liu: Witness 

June 30–December 10, 2023 

SFMOMA, San Francisco 

Chinese-born artist Hung Liu (1948–2021) created richly layered portraits and installations that interweave memory and history. This exhibition features works from SFMOMA’s collection, from her most significant paintings made in China during the tumult of the Cultural Revolution between 1966–76 to those created in the US during the 1990s and 2000s. Intimate and large-scale works blend landscapes and images from historical and family photographs with dripping brushwork. Together, they reveal Liu’s enduring commitment to “be a witness of my time” as she elevated her subjects to “mythic figures on the grander scale of history painting.” 

Arleene Correa Valencia: Naces Así, Naces Prieto. No Naces Blanco. / You Are Born Like This, You Are Born Brown. You Are Not Born White. 

August 26–November 4, 2023 

Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco 

Born in Mexico and based in California’s Napa Valley, Arleene Correa Valencia creates paintings, textiles, and drawings that reflect on patterns of migration and family separation. Her recent work is inspired by the letters that she wrote to her father as a child, during a period when her father had migrated to the United States while Correa Valencia remained in Mexico. Correa Valencia draws on her family’s archives and correspondence to craft a visual language that considers the politics of visibility and the complexities of undocumented immigration.  

Mika Rottenberg: Spaghetti Blockchain 

May 18–October 22, 2023 

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco 

New York–based Mika Rottenberg (b. 1976, Buenos Aires) employs a disarmingly absurd sense of humor to confront the paradoxes of global capitalism and uncover the surprising ways in which we are all connected. This exhibition presents Rottenberg’s most prominent videos, installations, and sculptures of the past decade in the first museum survey of her work ever to be presented on the West Coast. Explore a collection of vividly colorful video installations and kinetic sculptures that uncover the surreal qualities of mass production and consumption. 

Women In Revolt! Art And Activism In The UK 1970-1990 

November 8, 2023– April 7, 2024

Tate Britain, London 

This exhibition is a major survey of feminist art by over 100 women artists working in the UK. It explores how networks of women used radical ideas and rebellious methods to make an invaluable contribution to British culture. Through their creative practices, women’s liberation was forged against the backdrop of extreme social, economic, and political change. 

Women in Revolt! brings together a wide variety of mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, performance, film, and photography. It explores and reflects on issues and events such as: the British Women’s Liberation movement, the fight for legal changes impacting women, maternal and domestic experiences, punk, and independent music, Greenham Common and the peace movement, the visibility of Black and South Asian Women Artists, Section 28 and the AIDS pandemic. 

The show celebrates the work and lived experiences of a hugely diverse group of women. Many who, frequently working outside mainstream art institutions, have largely been left out of artistic narratives. Women in Revolt! presents many of these works for the first time since the 1970s. 

The Feminist Art Program (1970–1975): Cycles of Collectivity

September 13, 2023–January 21, 2024

REDCAT, Los Angeles

In 1970, artist Judy Chicago pioneered a feminist model for art and education with her students at Fresno State College. Chicago was invited by Miriam Schapiro to collaboratively expand this program at CalArts in 1971, where they would go on to develop radical and now influential forms of art, pedagogy, and performance. The program began a cycle of collective activity with the contribution of numerous students, faculty, artists, and designers, many of whom are now considered pivotal artists in feminist art history. 

This exhibition acknowledges the many generations of women, trans, queer, and non-binary faculty, students, and artists at CalArts who have stewarded these histories through teaching, archiving, and experimenting. Engaging with these initial moments, while also drawing connections with subsequent contributions, The Feminist Art Program (1970–1975): Cycles of Collectivity brings together these histories through its diverse feminisms, gender theories, and transfeminismos. The exhibition gathers materials from institutional and personal archives, joining them with new responsive artworks by CalArts alumni ak jenkins, Andrea Bowers, Gala Porras-Kim, and Suzanne Lacy. The show includes a special presentation of The Performing Archive by Leslie Labowitz Starus and Lacy. The Feminist Art Program (1970–1975): Cycles of Collectivity presents an ever-growing feminist contribution to art and pedagogy with a multiplicity of voices, contexts, and identities, with an intergenerational collective of scholars, artists, activists, and curators contributing to the research, memory, syllabi, and artworks on display.


Joanne Leonard, Artemesia’s Suzanna and the Elders and Men Conspiring, 2006 
(From Medium & Memory)


Filed under: CWA Picks