Designing Conversations for Change

Braving post-blizzard traffic conditions in D.C., nearly 100 guests attended the museum’s third FRESH TALK—part of the new public programs initiative Women, Arts, and Social Change. On Wednesday, January 27, FRESH TALK: Can design be genderless? featured Netherlands-based designer Gabriel Ann Maher, whose work is on view in Pathmakers, and International New York Times design critic Alice Rawsthorn.

Design historian and critic Rawsthorn kicked off the evening with an overview of design, highlighting the ways design informs everyday life and how it is often gender-biased. She discussed the increasingly eclectic and fluid concept of gender identity and how it impacts design culture through digital technology.

Gabriel Maher speaks at NMWA; Photo: Kevin Allen

Gabriel Maher speaks at NMWA; Photo: Kevin Allen

Maher, a designer who identifies as gender fluid, investigates gender through design media. Maher dissected issues of the Dutch magazine FRAME to reveal perpetuated stereotypes of “male” and “female”—from article titles to depictions of men and women designers.

Maher explained how designers direct people’s self-presentation—through clothing that accentuates body shape, or through the act of sitting, in which people claim or relinquish space.

In one of the night’s most repeated and tweeted statements, Maher declared, “Design is inherently genderless but it is designers who create gendered objects.”

The presentations wrapped with a moderated conversation led by NMWA Director of Public Programs Lorie Mertes. Rawsthorn and Maher explored ways that design could become more inclusive—from genderless bathroom signage to TSA body scanners (which are based on an algorithm for male or female forms). The speakers reflected on cultures that embrace and revere multiple concepts of gender. Both pondered how the internet can be a tool for change.

Fresh Talk speakers with guests during Catalyst cocktail hour; Photos: Kevin Allen

FRESH TALK speakers with guests during Catalyst cocktail hour; Photos: Kevin Allen

At Catalyst, a cocktail hour with a topic and a twist, guests became impassioned participants in a conversation sparked by the presentations. They became friends with fellow attendees, discussed perspectives, and focused on actionable steps for change. Here are a few highlights:

1. Seeing the world with new eyes.

Guests felt more aware of their built environments. They began to consider how the world is constructed and how design can create obstacles for gender-fluid people.

2. Empathy is the name of the game.

Attendees introduced themselves and shared details of their identities—which many had never considered aloud. Guests gained a greater understanding of the LGBTQ community, discussed how gender stereotypes are ingrained, and considered the impact of gender labels.


Left and right: Participants discuss gender and ideas for change; Photos: Kevin Allen

3. Your ideas for social change matter.

Guests were surprised to have such meaningful conversations about the world from inside a museum. Instead of a traditional Q&A, guests provided their own strategies for change. Via comment cards, they completed the phrase “My idea of social change is…”

  • “discuss, discuss, discuss.”
  • “acceptance. Great event!”
  • “to be inclusive.”
  • “looking for new spaces and forums for conversation and questioning.”

The conversation continues online with #FreshTalk4Change. Visit the museum’s website to watch event videos. The recordings of FRESH TALK: Can design be genderless? will be available soon.

Don’t miss the next program, FRESH TALK: Natalie Jeremijenko, Wednesday, March 2. Artist and engineer Natalie Jeremijenko teams up with Jean Case and Megan Smith to discuss “Can an artist use science and technology to heal the environment?”

—Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is the public programs coordinator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: February 5, 2016

The College Board changes AP Art History in an attempt to reverse the cultural and racial bias in the arts.

The Atlantic reports that the College Board’s new Advanced Placement curriculum for art history requires students to make cross-cultural connections. However, the challenges in diversifying the syllabus “mirrored the broad cultural bias found in the art world,” where 65% of the content is grounded in Western art. The efforts to diversify the course mean that 35% of the works studied come from “other artistic traditions.”

Front-Page Femmes

Ceramics, video, photography, and sound artist Emma Hart is the winner of the sixth Max Mara Art Prize for Women, which includes a six-month artist residency in Italy.

Rebecca Campbell’s 19 portraits of women artists are on display at the L.A. Louver.

Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi is fined $6,600 for distributing three-dimensional scans of her vagina.

A three-year project successfully digitized and restored more than 100 films by Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta—15 of which are on view at Galerie Lelong.

Alexandra Kehayoglou uses scraps from her family’s Buenos Aires-based carpet factory to create transformative tapestries and rugs mimicking nature scenes.

Ceramic works by Katsuyo Aoki integrate skulls, myths, and intricate coral-like structures.

Janet Fish’s paintings explore boundaries between representational and abstract art through their use of “intense color and spontaneous execution.”

Combining feng shui and digital technology, Sara Ludy’s works create a “tranquil sense of logic.”

Instagram artists Ashley Armitage and Ophelie Rondeau form the Girls by Girls photo collective.

In a new music video, Pussy Riot parodies Russian law enforcement.

Songs, monologues, and dances in “Freeze Frame” by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy tackle gun violence and race relations.

A Ballerina’s Tale chronicles Misty Copeland’s historic rise to become the first African American principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.

Indian dancer and choreographer Mrinalini Sarabhai died at the age of 97.

Women are taking over the role of warrior in wuxia—a genre of storytelling set in ancient China.

Dubbed the “first forgotten female filmmaker,” Alice Guy Blaché wrote, produced, and directed the first narrative fiction film in 1896. Today, however, historians estimate that more than 95% of her work has been lost or destroyed.

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison discusses her most recent novel, God Help the Child.

Shows We Want to See

Astro Noise at the Whitney Museum of American Art showcases disorienting works by journalist and filmmaker Laura Poitras. Using descrambled images of Edward Snowden’s files, ground zero footage, and prisoner interviews, Poitras’s works “address the sort of public numbness brought on by the accrual of so many revelations about government overreach.”

The Guardian explores Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics, which includes works by Joan Semmel, Anita Steckel, Betty Tompkins, and Cosey Fanni Tutti that were found too controversial during anti-pornographic movements of second-wave feminism.

The Ohio Craft Museum’s exhibition of figurative ceramics by 13 women artists is a “visual response to what equality means.”

Kinetic sculptor Lisa Walcott’s whimsical exhibition, Living with Myself, includes a gallery filled with a dozen spinning tables with twirling white tablecloths.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

5 Fast Facts: Eva Zeisel

Impress your friends with five fast facts about designer Eva Zeisel (1906–2011), whose work is on view in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today through February 28, 2015.

Eva Zeisel (1906–2011)

Installation view of Eva Zeisel’s ceramics in Pathmakers

Installation view of Eva Zeisel’s ceramics in Pathmakers

1. Journeywoman

Hungarian-born Zeisel made a name for herself in Germany and Russia before settling in America in 1937. Early in her career, she apprenticed with a master potter and became the first female “journeyman” in the Hungarian Guild of Chimney Sweeps, Oven Makers, Roof Tilers, Well Diggers, and Potters.

2. Hazing Before Glazing

Zeisel’s Ted Talk recalled the “welcome” present she received on the first day of her job in a male-dominated Hamburg pottery shop. “Colleagues thoughtfully put on [my] wheel . . . a very nicely modeled natural man’s organs.” Zeisel’s blasé removal of it from her workstation garnered the attention and respect of her coworkers.

3. For the Birds

While most of Zeisel’s curvilinear designs recall the human body and intimate interpersonal interactions, she also created works that evoked Hungarian folk art birds.

Installation view of Eva Zeisel’s ceramics in Pathmakers

Installation view of Eva Zeisel’s ceramics in Pathmakers

4. Household Name

In 1942, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Castleton China commissioned Zeisel to create modern china for mass production. Her resulting designs were featured in MoMA’s first one-woman exhibition. Zeisel’s works have since been sold by Red Wing Pottery, Hall China Company, Crate and Barrel, and Design Within Reach.

5. Shmoo Who?

 Zeisel’s “Town and Country” line for Red Wing Pottery included biomorphic salt and pepper shakers sometimes referred to as “Shmoos.” These pieces share the name and shape of cartoon creatures developed by Al Capp. Capp’s Shmoos are gentle, low-maintenance beings who reproduce quickly and are considered delicacies.

—Addie Gayoso is associate educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Now on View: “Salon Style” Portraits

Salon Style: French Portraits from the Collection examines portraiture by women artists of 18th-century France, who struggled past barriers of training, public opinion, and political turmoil to attain professional success.


Left to right: Visitors in Salon Style; Marie-Geneviève Navarre, Portrait of a Young Woman (detail), 1774; Pastel on paper, 24 x 19 3/4 in.; NMWA Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Exhibiting at the Salon of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris was an important milestone for the success of any artist. From 1735 onward, the biennial exhibition was held in the Louvre’s Salon Carré. In order to exhibit, artists had to be members of the Academy. Artists were voted in by other members after being presented formally by a current academician. For women, this was doubly challenging: their work had to be found as worthy as that of their male peers despite not having equal access to artistic training, and the total number of female members allowed at any one time was limited to four.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun and Adélaïde Labille-Guiard made history on May 31, 1783, when they were both admitted into the Academy. However, while Labille-Guiard was accepted through the standard application process, the Academy was compelled to admit Vigée-LeBrun her under an edict from King Louis XVI. Vigée-LeBrun was a favorite portraitist of the king’s wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. With the admission of Labille-Guiard and Vigée-LeBrun in 1783, the Academy reached its quota for women artists, together with the portrait and still-life painter Anne Vallayer-Coster and miniaturist Marie-Thérèse Reboul Vien.


Marie-Victoire Lemoine, Portrait of a Young Lady, Half Length, Wearing a Blue Dress and Red Headband, n.d.; Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 in. x 18 1/8 in.; NMWA, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Throughout its history, the Academy accepted over 450 members—only 15 of whom were women. Even when they were admitted, women did not enjoy the same benefits. Unlike their male peers, women were not allowed to vote on new members. They also could not teach or take Academy art classes.

Works by women who exhibited in the Salon were compared and judged against one another—as were their characters. By asserting themselves in the public sphere, women artists risked upsetting societal expectations, which held that virtuous women belonged solely to the private, domestic sphere. Despite this risk, these artists persisted in exhibiting in the Salon throughout the rest of the 18th century. This focus exhibition examines these women and their art as well as their artistic legacies—particularly that of Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.

Salon Style: French Portraits from the Collection is on view through May 22, 2016. Visit the museum and see works by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Marie-Victoire Lemoine, Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Marie-Geneviève Navarre, and Rosalba Carriera.

Art Fix Friday: January 29, 2016

After backlash against the news that no women were nominated for the biggest prize in comics, the Angoulême comics festival agreed to add some women to its shortlist.

Though women have had a presence in American comics for the last 100 years, their contributions are often dismissed. The Guardian discusses a new exhibition, Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics, which aims to dispel the myth that there are few women creators in the comic industry and includes works dating back to the 18th century. In addition, NPR interviews Ariell Johnson about the inspiration behind Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, a comic book store championing diversity in superheroes.

Front-Page Femmes

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) acquires the first painting Frida Kahlo ever sold, raising the number of Kahlo’s works in American public collections to 13.

Two massive murals by Dorothea Rockburne in a Midtown building in New York are at risk of being destroyed.

Babel Tower, by Shirin Abedinirad, is a stair-stepped outdoor installation that reflects the landscape.

Facebook censored a photograph of artist Lisa Levy sitting naked on a toilet for a performance art piece.

Just Mothers” by photographer Sarah Pabst depicts the lives of two friends—both teenage mothers—in a slum near Buenos Aires.

Louise Bourgeois’s Chelsea townhouse opens for tours. The New York Times shares photographs and writes, “More than five years after her death, the house still feels inhabited by the woman who called it home.”

Singer Yoli Mayor, dubbed the “Cuban Adele,” is a hit in the South Florida music scene.

Hyperallergic charts how five American Indian dancers from Oklahoma, referred to as the “Five Moons,” became some of the first American prima ballerinas in top companies.

Argentina-born artist Amalia Ulman revealed that her social media from the last five months was part of an extended performance project “to prove that femininity is a construction, and not something biological or inherent to any woman.”

A group of 24 D.C.-based women rappers combat sexism and violence through music.

Susan Silton’s four-part rooftop opera with composer and singer Juliana Snapper drew crowds on Los Angeles’s 6th Street Bridge.

The Guardian writes about the need for awards for women authors of color, stating that the prizes “provide a platform on which to unite and force change.”

Shows We Want to See

In Martha Tuttle’s first solo exhibition, wall hangings comprised of paper, natural dyes, and woven textiles “exist in that strange space between painting and sculpture.” Drawing inspiration from her childhood in New Mexico, Tuttle uses clay and sheep’s wool from the region.

Tauba Auerbach’s works, on view at Paula Cooper Gallery, reach “beyond traditional boundaries, dimensions, and categories.” Music, architecture, design, geometry, and language collide in Auerbach’s oeuvre.

Hyperallergic examines Liss LaFleur’s interdisciplinary works, on view in Texas and South Korea, which investigate the fluidity and transformative qualities of self-reflection.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Patterned Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Dorothy Liebes, Prototype Theatre Curtain for DuPont Pavilion

Liebes’s work in Pathmakers represents her skill in fusing natural and synthetic materials into colorful, cutting-edge textiles. Her innovative, custom-designed modern fabrics appealed to prominent architects and her mass-produced designs modernized the textile industry.


Dorothy Liebes, Prototype theater curtain for DuPont Pavilion, New York World’s Fair, 1964; DuPont Orlon and Fairtex metallic yarn, 99 1/2 x 46 3/4 in.; Museum of Arts and Design; Gift of Dorothy Liebes Design, through the American Craft Council, 1973; Photo by Eva Heyd

Who made it?

Hailed as the “mother of modern weaving,” Dorothy Liebes (1897–1972) taught herself to weave on a small handloom while in college. She began designing textiles in the 1930s and became one of the first American artists to adapt her weaving techniques into mass production. After opening a studio in San Francisco in 1930, Liebes designed custom textiles for leading architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright.

Paving the way for women designers like Hella Jongerius, Liebes was commissioned to design textiles for the United Nations headquarters. The Museum of Modern Art regularly exhibited her work and she received the 1970 American Craft Council Gold Medal.

How was it made?

In the late 1940s and early ’50s, Liebes’s focus shifted from custom weaving to working with industry. She became known for her revolutionary combinations of natural and synthetic materials. Prototype Theatre Curtain for DuPont Pavilion was commissioned during her 20-year relationship with the DuPont chemical company. Liebes helped DuPont promote the image of manufactured fiber by making it look like a familiar natural material. The curtain in Pathmakers is exemplary of Liebes’s trademark combinations of color and industrial materials. A single panel of fabric, the work contains repeating vertical stripes in luminous shades of green and blue and shimmering strands of metallic thread. Through integrating unusual materials, such as sequins and nylon fibers, Liebes created bold, vibrant textiles.

Collection connection

Joana Vasconcelos, Viriato, 2005; Faience dog, handmade cotton crochet, 29 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.; Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC

Joana Vasconcelos, Viriato, 2005; Faience dog, handmade cotton crochet, 29 1/2 x 17 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.; Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC

In NMWA’s collection, Viriato by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos (b. 1971) also melds consumer culture with craft forms. Named after a first-century leader of Portugal, Viriato consists of a ceramic dog covered in an intricate crocheted cotton yarn—in shades similar to those found in Liebes’s curtain. Eye-catching and unconventional, the needlework obstructs the dog sculpture beneath.

Vasconcelos examines consumer culture through works that cross the boundary between “high” and “low” art. She often envelops everyday items in crocheted or knitted materials. Through integrating a mass-produced, decorative sculpture with traditional crochet, Vasconcelos reveals the conflict between handcrafted and manufactured.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Blurring Boundaries: Contemporary Design

“Design has had one unwavering role as an agent of change” incorporating new developments—in science, technology, or culture—for the better, says Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for the international edition of the New York Times.

Gabriel Maher, Courtesy of Alwin Poiana

Gabriel Maher, Courtesy of Alwin Poiana

What kind of impact will the gender-queer design discussion continue to have? Can genderless design help move contemporary society and culture toward a more positive, welcoming, and safe environment?


Genderless bathroom sign

Today, genderless, gender-queer, and gender-fluid identities have an increasing presence in mainstream consciousness. The New York Times stated, “2015 was the year unisex became a trend in fashion”—citing Louis Vuitton’s latest women’s wear ad campaign featuring Jaden Smith as a key example. The article also declares, “gender definitions are as fluid as they have ever been,” but there are also increased “efforts to codify the new reality, be it on bathroom doors or in the language of institutions.”

On January 27, as part of the museum’s Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative, artist Gabriel Ann Maher and Alice Rawsthorn continue the discussion surrounding the question “Can design be genderless?”

Netherlands-based designer Gabriel Ann Maher is one of the contemporary artists represented in the special exhibition Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, on view at the museum through February 28. Maher will discuss fluid gender identity as an artistic subject. Maher’s video work DE___SIGN examines the ways in which design shapes concepts of “male” and “female” and reveals how gestures, movements, and positions can imply gender norms.

Alice Rawsthorn, Courtesy of The New York Times Company

Alice Rawsthorn, Courtesy of The New York Times Company

Rawsthorn joins Maher for a presentation and discussion. Of Maher’s work, Rawsthorn says, “At a time of renewed interest in feminism and growing awareness of transgenderism, designers are striving to imbue products, graphics, environments and technology with subtler, more eclectic interpretations of gender both in commercial projects and conceptual ones like Maher’s.”

FRESH TALK: Can design be genderless? considers these questions and more on January 27. Attend the event in person or tune in remotely for the live-stream video feed. You can also add your voice on Twitter by using the hashtag #FreshTalk4Change.

—Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is the public programs coordinator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: January 22, 2016

After Saatchi Gallery’s Champagne Life exhibition announcement, the Guardian expresses mixed-feelings and Broadly writes that “all-female group shows may have to be a necessity until equilibrium has been achieved.” In an interview with ArtinfoSaatchi Gallery Director and Chief Executive Nigel Hurst said, “the majority of women artists do have to keep more plates spinning.”

Front-Page Femmes

Marina Abramović trains a group of Greek performance artists for a large-scale performance project at the Benaki Museum in Athens.

In tragic news, 33-year-old French-Moroccan photographer and video artist Leila Alaoui died from injuries sustained during a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso. Best known for her portraits of Moroccans and migrants, Alaoui sought “to give life to the forgotten.”

The Atlantic delves into scientific illustrations by 17th-century naturalist artist Maria Sibylla Merian and writes, “One hundred and fifty years before Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, Merian knew nature well enough to depict it as a constant struggle for survival.”

The Red Sand Project asks participants to fill cracks in local sidewalks with red sand as a metaphor for the millions of trafficked people who “fall through the cracks.”

A new Google Doodle celebrates Swiss Dada artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp and her “joyous abstractions.”

The Guerrilla Girls challenge the art-world status quo in Minnesota with a series of “takeover” events.

Works by Mickalene Thomas, on view at Aperture Gallery, explore Thomas’s various approaches to art making and background in photography.

The San Francisco Chronicle explores Black Salt, a women’s artist collective that sheds light on artists of color, queer artists, and other artists who are “on the periphery of museum culture.”

Abeer Bajandouh, a 27-year-old Saudi freelance photographer and educator, explores themes of identity and immigration.

Bonhams addresses gender imbalance in the art world by dedicating a section of its upcoming sale to a selection of women artists.

Vogue creative director Grace Coddington scales back her role after more than 25 years at the magazine.

The New York Times reviews Golden Globe-winning comedian Rachel Bloom’s series.

In a discussion about women choreographers, the Guardian describes “a gender imbalance so egregious, and of such long standing, that it shames the British dance establishment.”

Chicken & Egg, an organization dedicated to supporting female documentarians, announces Kristi Jacobson, Julia Reichert, Yoruba Richen, Elaine McMillion, and Michèle Stephenson as its five grant award recipients.

Colossal shares behind-the-scenes work of three women animators.

Shows We Want to See

Hyperallergic explores stand-out artwork in No Man’s Land and also discusses the challenges in presenting work by 100 women artists.

An exhibition in Berlin presents new paintings and works on paper by 81-year-old British artist Rose Wylie.

WOMEN: New Portraits features newly commissioned photography by Annie Leibovitz as a continuation of a project that began over 15 years ago.

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Puzzling Pathmakers

Dynamic women designers and artists from the mid-20th century and today create innovative designs, maintain craft traditions, and incorporate new aesthetics into fine art in Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, now on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Each week, compare and draw parallels between works on view in Pathmakers and NMWA collection favorites.

On view in Pathmakers

Anni Albers, Orange Meander, 1970

Orange Meander’s dense and repetitive patterning calls to mind Albers’s textile works. Her abstract prints focus on geometric formal qualities—thick, straight lines and bold, flat colors. Their meanings are intentionally obscure. The electric orange of the print catches the eye, inviting the viewer to meander within a maze of lines.

Anni Albers, Orange Meander, 1970; Paper and ink, 28 x 24 in.; Museum of Arts and Design, Gift of the artist, through the American Craft Council, 1982; Photo credit Ed Watkins

Anni Albers, Orange Meander, 1970; Paper and ink, 28 x 24 in.; Museum of Arts and Design, Gift of the artist, through the American Craft Council, 1982; Photo credit Ed Watkins

Who made it?

German artist Anni Albers (1899–1994) is primarily known for her work in the textile arts—particularly weaving. She studied textiles at the Bauhaus, a German art and design school, after being turned away from other departments due to her gender. After the Bauhaus closed in 1933, Albers and her husband Josef Albers took teaching positions at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. In 1949 she exhibited at the first textile show in the Museum of Modern Art’s history. In addition to her fine art, she created fabric patterns that could be mass produced and wrote two influential books in her field, On Weaving (1965) and On Designing (1959).

How was it made?

In 1963, Albers began experimenting with printmaking at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. By 1970, she moved away from textiles and focused on lithography and screen printing—the technique used to create Orange Meander. Color was an integral element in her weavings as well as her prints. Albers noted, “Color . . . involves you in an emotional sense far beyond line.” One of a series of similar prints in different colors, Orange Meander’s bold rectilinear pattern is layered over a second, lighter arrangement, creating an optical dynamism. Lacking a focal point, the asymmetrical design presents several visual points of entry.

Collection Connection

Valerie Jaudon, Ingomar, 1979; Oil and metallic paint on canvas, 80 x 72 in.; NMWA, Gift of Josephine Cockrell Thornton; © Valerie Jaudon; Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Valerie Jaudon, Ingomar, 1979; Oil and metallic paint on canvas, 80 x 72 in.; NMWA, Gift of Josephine Cockrell Thornton; © Valerie Jaudon; Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

In NMWA’s collection, Valerie Jaudon’s Ingomar (1979) likewise takes its inspiration from decorative patterns. Jaudon was associated with the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s, which sought to challenge the long-held belief that the fine arts were superior to the decorative or “feminine” arts.

Jaudon engages with abstraction through decorative motifs. In an effort to discourage the perception of narrative in her works, Jaudon titled her paintings during the 1970s after towns in her home state of Mississippi. Drawing ornamentation from diverse periods and cultures, Ingomar resembles Celtic or Islamic designs. The metallic paint and vigorous brushstrokes in the painting contrast with the exacting and controlled feeling of the precise pattern. This visual puzzle welcomes viewers in, inviting a closer examination of its shimmering surface.

Visit the museum and explore Pathmakers, on view through February 28, 2016.

—Marina MacLatchie was the fall 2015 education and digital engagement intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: January 15, 2016

Artsy explores how and why women became the leading innovators in the field of video art.

The beginning of video art, unlike traditional mediums, wasn’t dominated by men. Artsy explores the “trailblazing legacy” of pioneering women artists including Hannah Wilke, Valie Export, Joan Jonas, Dara Birnbaum, Diana Thater, and Shirin Neshat.

Front-Page Femmes

One of the world’s most powerful art dealers, Paula Cooper, discusses the New York art scene, working with living artists, and how female dealers “have never been considered as significant.”

artnet shares a 2001 email exchange between David Bowie and Tracey Emin.

Catherine Opie discusses her diverse bodies of works with ArtInfo.

Retired public school teacher Elizabeth Verdow bequeathed $1.7 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

The United Kingdom’s largest all-female street art jam, Femme Fierce, raises awareness about over 200 women artists.

Creative Capital announces Ahamefule J. Oluo, Eileen Myles, and Liz Glynn among the winners of its 2016 arts awards.

Based on fluid reservoirs extracted from cars, Valerie Snobeck’s sculptures have been painstakingly re-created using blown and powdered glass.

Three Guerrilla Girls appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, sharing that “a lot of people thought that [gender parity in art] was an issue in the ’70s and the ’80s and then it got solved, but it hasn’t.”

Tate Modern attempts to “redress the balance” between male and female artists by installing works by Phyllida Barlow and Louise Bourgeois for the Artist Rooms project.

MOCA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth rearranges the museum’s permanent collection and contextualizes works by women artists within The Art of Our Time.

The Skidmore News shares six debut novels by women writers to read this winter.

The Los Angeles Times raves about Sandra Tsing Loh’s play, The Madwoman in the Volvo.

Singing troupe A-Wa—made up of three sisters, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim—revive ancient Yemeni songs.

#52FilmsByWomen challenges audiences to watch one film directed by a woman every week for a year.

Slate shares that three of the Best Picture nominees for the Academy Awards are women-centric films.

The percentage of women-directed films this year is the same as it was in 1998.

Shows We Want to See

You Go, Girl! Celebrating Women Artists at the Heckscher Museum of Art reveals the “difficulties that female artists have faced and how they’ve adapted or triumphed over them.”

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver’s exhibition, Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirtyshowcases visceral works that create “a visual pleasure that elevates and abstracts the familiar.”

Photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) are on view at the Science Museum in London. The Washington Post explores how Cameron created photos with “a lack of sharp focus and technical faults to evoke emotion and energy.”

—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.