Recent Acquisitions at the LRC: The Agonizing and Absurd Moments of Palestinian Life

The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see new books on women in the arts, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more. Meet Tanya Habjouqa at the museum on Wednesday, July 27 for a special in-gallery program.

The cover of Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa, FotoEvidence, 2015

The cover of Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa, FotoEvidence, 2015

Occupied Pleasures
Tanya Habjouqa
(FotoEvidence, 2015)

Jordanian photographer Tanya Habjouqa reveals the agonizing and absurd instants of occupied Palestinian life in Occupied Pleasures. In the foreword, poet Nathalie Handal describes the book as “a collection of stories captured in images, images like Palestinian lives lived in instants only.” Habjouqa’s photographs portray joyous moments­­ of daily life—a family picnics together, women dance, and children swim—that are surrounded by dark circumstances. The occupation is obvious in these images: the menacing security wall looms in the background, a man sits at a checkpoint, a woman holding a bouquet wanders through the tunnel between Gaza and Egypt to a forbidden wedding.

Habjouqa’s work has been exhibited and published worldwide, and six of her photographs are currently on view at NMWA in She Who Tells a Story. She currently works from East Jerusalem on projects concerning identity politics and subcultures of the Levant. Habjouqa is also a founding member of the Rawiya photo collective, a group of women photographers from the Middle East who challenge stereotypes and support fellow women photographers in the region.

Occupied Pleasures contains a combination of photojournalism and imagery illustrating everyday Palestinian life, which Laleh Khalili refers to in the book’s introduction as “evanescent moments.” This body of work offers a nuanced perspective. Khalili writes, “It brings together the indisputable condition of their lives—occupation, violence, surveillance—and shows us that even within the confines of normalised atrocity, the spirit effervesces.”

In one captivating photograph, a man smokes a cigarette in his car outside of a checkpoint, with a sheep in the passenger seat of his car. “Detention juxtaposed against a moment of respite illuminates the extremities of the Palestinian narrative: celebration and mourning, respite and struggle, and the pleasure of smoking a cigarette,” writes Khalili. Through this collection of photos, Habjouqa exposes moments of levity to give the viewer a window into the humanity of the Palestinian people.

Meet artist Tanya Habjouqa at the museum for an in-gallery conversation on Wednesday, July 27. Reserve your spot on NMWA’s website.

All are welcome to look at this catalogue, which is available in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. If you’re touring the museum, the library is open to the public Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.

 ­­Katy Seely was the winter/spring 2016 intern in the Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: June 24, 2016

The Atlantic writes that women are writing the best crime novels and that their “awareness of that inside-out sort of violence” and their “more psychologically acute” stories sets them apart.

Front-Page Femmes

Iranian-born artist Bahar Behbahani finds inspiration in Persian gardens.

Los Angeles–based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby was awarded the Prix Canson award, which includes a solo exhibition, an artist residency, and about $11,300 worth of Canson paper.

Anna Gibb’s detailed architectural drawings of cities span Hong Kong to Glasgow.

In Al-Ugh-Ories, Nicole Eisenman’s paintings “signal something different: an inkling to stop, to ‘hang out,’ to find love in one’s community.”

Mirror, Mirror … Portraits of Frida Kahlo features 57 photographs of the painter at different stages of her life.

Agnes Martin’s works create an “intimate vibration,” convey feelings of “weightlessness,” and represent the artist’s “inner visions.”

One Hyperallergic essayist follows French photographer Sophie Calle and logs her experience.

Tate Modern’s Switch House extension adds 60% more gallery space to the museum, increasing the number of works on view by women artists from 17% to 36%.

For 30 years, photographer Elaine Ling has captured mystical forms carved from stones.

Hyperallergic raves about Joanne Greenbaum’s abstract paintings and ceramic sculptures.

Jenny Holzer creates a site-specific work in Ibiza.

Artistic Noise, a program created by artist Lauren Adelman and juvenile defender Francine Sherman, offers workshops to incarcerated young people.

The Kilroys, a group of female and trans playwrights, draw attention to otherwise overlooked plays.

Rachel Whiteread’s site-specific, concrete cabin on New York’s Governors Island alludes to Henry Thoreau and “the grimmer, darker underbelly of America.”

Georgian musician Salio discusses the music industry and women artists.

Billboard interviews singer-songwriter Victoria “La Mala” Ortiz.

Actress Ellie Kemper discusses how the television show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was written for her.

The New Yorker and ARTnews discuss a new biography of famed photographer Diane Arbus.

NPR explores Terry McMillan’s latest novel, I Almost Forgot About You.

Five of the six artists on the shortlist for the Jarman film-art prize award are women.

Shows We Want to See

Mai-Thu Perret’s “small yet powerful exhibition” at Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas features life-size female fighters, a ceramic dog, two large eye sculptures, and a glass wall smeared with petroleum jelly. Perret’s works question “the divide between human and artwork, reality and fantasy.”

The Whitney Museum of American Art holds a retrospective of 86-year-old artist June Leaf.

Arlene Shechet’s installation at the Frick Collection pairs early-18th-century Meissen porcelains with sculptures that Shechet recently made at the same German factory.

Silt, Soot and Smut showcases Alison Saar’s works inspired by the 1927 Great Mississippi Flood.

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

She Who Tells a Story: Shirin Neshat

In Arabic, the word rawiya means “she who tells a story.” Each artist in in NMWA’s summer exhibition She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World offers a vision of the world she has witnessed.

Visitors study Shirin Neshat’s work in She Who Tells a Story

Visitors study Shirin Neshat’s work in She Who Tells a Story

Shirin Neshat

(b. 1957, Qazvin, Iran; lives New York City)

Shirin Neshat moved to the United States during the Iranian Revolution (1979) and studied fine arts. In 1990, Neshat returned to visit Iran and found a changed country. Inspired to create her best-known photographic series Women of Allah (1993–97), Neshat wrote verses by contemporary Iranian women writers across the surface of her photographs in Farsi.

In Her Own Words

“Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance.”—Shirin Neshat, in a 2010 TED talk

In a way, all of my photographic work is inscribed with poetry. Poetic works allow us to say everything; they offer a subversive language that can transcend the law.”—Shirin Neshat, in an Artforum article

“Under all circumstances, [Iranian women] have pushed the boundary, they have confronted the authority, they have broken every rule in the smallest and the biggest way and once again they proved themselves. . . . Iranian woman have found a new voice and their voice is giving me my voice.”—Shirin Neshat, discussing the Iranian Green Movement in a 2010 TED talk

What’s On View?

Five photographs, including one from Neshat’s “Women of Allah” series (1993–97), and four from “The Book of Kings” (2012) are included in the exhibition.

Shirin Neshat, Ibrahim (Patriots), from the series “The Book of Kings, ”2012; Ink on laser-exposed silver gelatin print, 60 x 45 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; © Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat, Ibrahim (Patriots), from the series “The Book of Kings,” 2012; Ink on laser-exposed silver gelatin print, 60 x 45 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; © Shirin Neshat

“The Book of Kings” marks Neshat’s return to black-and-white photography. Neshat found inspiration in stories from participants in the Arab Spring in 2011 and protesters from the Iranian Green Movement in 2009. One portrait on view, Ibrahim (2012), belongs to a part of “The Book of Kings” series Neshat calls the Patriots. The figure meets the viewer’s gaze with his right hand placed over his heart. Neshat inscribed the portrait with calligraphic verses in Farsi from contemporary Iranian poetry, giving the work a powerful effect.

Neshat borrowed the title of her series from the Shahnameh (Book of Kings), an epic Persian poem written a thousand years ago by the poet Ferdowsi. The epic narrates the deeds of legendary and historical kings of Iran, including tales of heroes and villains. Interested in the concept of martyrdom, Neshat says her series explores “how the notions of patriotism, faith, and self-sacrifice always intersect with violence, atrocity, and ultimately death.” She connects triumphs and tragedies of the past to contemporary political demonstrations in Iran and the Middle East. “Perhaps that’s why I became an artist,” says Neshat, “I could build a bridge in between myself and my country. . . re-interpreting historical narratives which I’ve never witnessed but only imagined.”

Visit the museum and explore She Who Tells a Story, on view through July 31, 2016.

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

On View: Salon Style in the Eulabee Dix Gallery

Like many museums, NMWA is only able to show a small portion—perhaps 3%—of its collection at any given time. Many objects stay safely tucked away in storage until curators select them for display. In an effort to place more of NMWA’s collection on view to the public, the staff recently reinstalled the Eulabee Dix Gallery, located on the museum’s fourth floor, “salon style.” Open to the public during weekday hours, this gallery now showcases an array of landscapes, interior scenes, portraits, and still lifes.

Dix-Gallery_February-2016_07

NMWA’s Eulabee Dix Gallery before (left) and after re-installation (right)

The new salon-style installation—a selection of artworks of varying sizes, with mismatched frames, arranged in a crowded manner—allows the museum to exhibit more of its smaller paintings. For years there were fewer than a dozen paintings in the gallery. The recent reinstallation enables NMWA to exhibit more than 30 works, some of which have not been seen by the public in over a decade. Visitors can rediscover treasures from the museum’s collection and encounter new favorites.

Jane Peterson, Tower Bridge, ca. 1907; NMWA, Gift of Alice D. Kaplan

Jane Peterson, Tower Bridge, ca. 1907; NMWA, Gift of Alice D. Kaplan

Landscape paintings in the gallery depict scenes as varied as Jessey Dorr’s Lone Cypress (1906), which shows a tree overlooking a waterside cliff, Grandma Moses’s Calhoun (1955), a farm scene awash in yellows, and Gabriele Münter’s view of a mountain lake, Staffelsee in Autumn (1923).

Two paintings by Jane Peterson (1876–1965) are on view, a sunny Beach Scene (ca. 1935) and a watery, shadowed Tower Bridge (ca. 1907). In Tower Bridge, Peterson evokes misty London, with a nearby dock and distant bridge rising above the water.

Two works are on view by French painter Suzanne Valadon (1865–1938). Nude Arranging Her Hair (ca. 1916) exemplifies Valadon’s style: rich colors, dark outlines, textiles, and simplified forms, with an awkwardly posed subject.

Suzanne Valadon, Nude Arranging Her Hair, ca. 1916; Oil on canvas board, 41 ¼ x 29 ⅝ in.; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Suzanne Valadon, Nude Arranging Her Hair, ca. 1916; Oil on canvas board, 41 1/4 x 29 5/8 in.; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Valadon had no formal training—instead, she grew up in Montmartre and modeled for painters. She learned from the artists around her, including friend and mentor Edgar Degas, and successfully transitioned from model into artist. Valadon also painted floral still lifes. Her Bouquet of Flowers in an Empire Vase (1920), also on view, features her vibrant color palette, strong outlines, and palpable brushwork.

There are more still lifes to discover in the gallery, including two by Dutch painter and botanical illustrator Alida Withoos (ca. 1661–1730). She emphasized flowers’ growth and gave them a naturalistic appearance. Arrangements of cultivated flowers appear to grow from the earth, accentuated by blades of grass and a frog near the bottom.

With the new installation of the Eulabee Dix Gallery, visitors have the opportunity to encounter more work by women artists at NMWA, exploring the abundant details of these paintings and their salon-style neighbors.

The Eulabee Dix Gallery is located on the fourth floor of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, open to visitors Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

—Catherine Bade is the registrar and Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: June 17, 2016

Artsy profiles 20 early or mid-career female figurative painters who are “creating inspiring figurative paintings that speak to the present, and offer glimpses into the future.” The list includes NO MAN’S LAND artists Nina Chanel Abney, Hayv Kahraman, and Mira Dancy—as well as NMWA artist Amy Sherald.

Abney’s work “swiftly tackle topics related to race, gender, and politics.” Artsy writes that “a critical mass of female painters are embracing figuration, diversifying it, and pushing the conversation around it forward.”

Front-Page Femmes

“Just Me and Allah,” a photographic series by Samra Habib—a queer Muslim photographer—shares the stories of LBGT Muslims.

Activist groups protest Tate Modern’s new building for the exclusion of works by Ana Mendieta.

Painter Françoise Gilot—now 94 years old—discusses her past with Picasso, her career, and her attempts to buy back her paintings.

Juxtapoz features Brooklyn-based photographer Janelle Jones’s vibrant, candy-colored still-lifes.

Chinese artist Cao Fei is the youngest artist ever selected to create a BMW Art Car.

Yayoi Kusama–In Infinity is the first exhibition to highlight the Japanese artist’s interest in fashion and design.

Artforum shares “A Feminist Guide to Surviving the Art World,” highlighting works by prominent feminist artists.

For her “social sculpture” project, Percent for Green, Alicia Grullón conducts environmental justice workshops, providing a proposal for legislation.

Andra Ursuta’s Alps sculpture resembles a climbing wall—but with penis-shaped holds.

Mika Tajima’s temporary public art project is a hot pink hot tub that releases “techni-color clouds.”

Multidisciplinary artist Ciriza’s work “evokes the slow shedding of human hair and snake skin.”

Xiomara Reyes will become the new director of the Washington School of Ballet.

Teen thriller author Lois Duncan died at the age of 82.

The Atlantic explores how a short-lived 1908s spinoff series, She-Ra, offered an alternative to the male-dominated cartoon world.

Comedian Tig Notaro released her memoir, I’m Just A Person.

The Guardian interviews “punk-poet genius” Patti Smith.

The New Yorker writes that rocker Mitski Miyawaki’s lyrics “invite close readings, examinations that reveal submerged meanings.”

The Los Angeles Times raves about two murals featured in Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life.

The Atlantic delves into the why Hollywood doesn’t tell more stories for and about girls.

AIGA explores design house Marimekko’s history of being “made for women and run by women”—and how 94% of its employees are women.

Shows We Want to See

Hyperallergic examines (left) and Georgia O'Keefe’s watercolors (right)

Hyperallergic examines Adriana Varejão’s portraits (left) and Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors (right)

In Kindred Spirits, Adriana Varejão encourages visitors to guess which portraits are images of native people and which are versions of modernist designs.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Far Wide Texas examines 51 watercolor paintings O’Keeffe made during her two years teaching in Texas.

Women of Abstract Expressionism at the Denver Art Museum aims to correct the history of the male-dominated art movement. Vogue and the Denver Post interviewed the exhibition’s curator.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum opens The Art of Romaine Brooks.

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

She Who Tells a Story: Rania Matar

In Arabic, the word rawiya means “she who tells a story.” Each artist in NMWA’s summer exhibition She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World offers a vision of the world she has witnessed.

Rania Matar

Rania Matar at NMWA in front of one of her photographs in She Who Tells a Story; Photo: NMWA

Rania Matar with one of her photographs in She Who Tells a Story; Photo: NMWA

(b. 1964, Beirut, Lebanon; lives Brookline, Massachusetts)

Photographer Rania Matar says, “I was born and raised in Lebanon. I moved to the U.S. to go to architecture school in 1984. . . . I am very much part of both cultures, and both places have shaped my identity.” Matar’s documentary photographs depict women and girls in the U.S. and the Middle East, highlighting universal themes of developing identity. “A Girl and Her Room,” her largest series, features images of young women surrounded by their possessions and creations.

In Her Own Words

“In 2002 I was in Lebanon and went with a cousin of mine to a Palestinian refugee camp. I was shocked to see how people were living so close to where I had grown up and more shocked by the fact that I had no idea. I just started photographing people in the camps, and fell in love with the ability to tell a story through photography.”—Rania Matar, in an interview with Lenscratch

“After my first book, Ordinary Lives, about women and girls in refugee camps and in the aftermath of war in Lebanon, was published, I started the project about teenage girls. . . . inspired by my older daughter, then 15. I was watching her passage from girlhood into adulthood, fascinated with the transformation taking place, the adult personality taking shape.” Matar photographed her daughter with her friends and realized how the girls’ interactions shaped the identities they portrayed: “From this recognition, the idea of photographing each girl alone by herself in her personal space emerged. The room was a metaphor, an extension of the girl, but also the girl seems to be part of the room, to fit in, just like everything else in that material and emotional space.”—Rania Matar, audio recording for She Who Tells a Story

What’s On View?

Rania Matar, Reem, Doha, Lebanon, from the series “A Girl and Her Room,” 2010; Pigment print, 36 x 50 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Carroll and Sons, Boston; © Rania Matar

Rania Matar, Reem, Doha, Lebanon, from the series “A Girl and Her Room,” 2010; Pigment print, 36 x 50 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Carroll and Sons, Boston; © Rania Matar

Several works from the series “A Girl and Her Room” are on view. Matar says, “The images here are part of that series in the Middle East—Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. They include six young women from all backgrounds and religions, and it is honestly not obvious at all to guess which one is Muslim, Druze, or Christian. The focus is on being a girl, on growing up, and on identity. . . . Being with those young women in the privacy of their world gave me a unique peek into their private lives and their inner selves.”

Visit the museum and explore She Who Tells a Story, on view through July 31, 2016.

—Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

5 Fast Facts: Daniela Rossell

Impress your friends with five fast facts about Mexican photographer Daniela Rossell (b. 1973), whose work is on view in NMWA’s third-floor galleries.

Daniela Rossell (b. 1973)

Daniela Rossell, Inge and Her Mother Ema in the Living Room from the series “Ricas y famosas,” NMWA, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Daniela Rossell, Inge and Her Mother Ema in the Living Room from the series “Ricas y famosas,” NMWA, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

1. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

In the series “Ricas y famosas,” Daniela Rossell photographed some of the most affluent women in Mexico—many of whom are associated with the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), the ruling party in Mexico from 1929 to 2000.

2. All in the Family

Rossell’s “Ricas y famosas” subjects are her own family members, friends, and acquaintances. The artist began the series with images of her grandmothers before focusing on the younger generations of women in her family. The project expanded as Rossell’s photographs impressed other women, who asked to be included.

3. Open to Interpretation

Daniela Rossell, Medusa, from the series “Ricas y famosas,” 1999; NMWA, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Daniela Rossell, Medusa, from the series “Ricas y famosas,” 1999; NMWA, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC; © Daniela Rossell, Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Rossell published the entire series as a book in 2002. Seen together, these portrayals of extreme wealth caused controversy throughout Mexico. Rossell and her subjects faced backlash as the public saw the cumulative body of work and viewed the women as “poster girls of corruption.”

4. Artistic Beginnings

Because her mother is an art collector, Rossell grew up surrounded by fine art. She began her career in her teens as an actress. She later studied painting at the National School of Visual Arts in Mexico City before shifting her attention to photography.

5. Creative Collaborations

Not unlike She Who Tells a Story artist Tanya Habjouqa’s process of spending time with her subjects in her series “Women of Gaza,” Rossell interviewed the women, toured their houses, and listened to their ideas before taking her shot—providing a more authentic image.

—Ashley Harris is assistant educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Constructing Identities in “She Who Tells a Story”

NMWA’s summer exhibition She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World is organized around three themes: Constructing Identities, Deconstructing Orientalism, and New Documentary.

Artists in She Who Tells a Story explore questions of identity from the perspectives of religion, politics, gender, and history. Highlighting difference, connection, individuality, and universality, these works offer alternate views of Arab and Iranian female identity.

Breaking Silences

A NMWA visitor studies Newsha Tavakolian’s Don’t Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi)

A NMWA visitor studies Newsha Tavakolian’s Don’t Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi)

Many works on view examine identity in the context of political restrictions on women. In her efforts to explore the social and political circumstances of Iranian women, Newsha Tavakolian photographed and filmed professional female musicians forbidden to record or publicly perform in her series “Listen” (2010).

One part of “Listen” is a series of mock CD covers, combining photographs with imaginary titles for albums that cannot be recorded. The album title for Don’t Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi) is written over the image of a woman standing in the ocean “like a modern Venus.”

With a multi-faceted meaning, this work mourns “limitations on her freedom” while maintaining a tone of defiance. “Listen” reminds viewers that Iranian women are more than the ideals endorsed by the powerful, with identities and desires of their own. Simultaneously, the work dissuades men and Westerners from projecting their own biases and identities onto the image. “Listen” insists that Iranian women are not symbols or mirrors to reflect Western beliefs about the Islamic world, but individuals who can tell their own stories.

Women as Storytellers

Tanya Habjouqa’s “Women of Gaza” series offers an alternative view of Arab female identity that focuses on female empowerment. One photograph from the series shows a young woman snapping a picture with her cell phone camera. Depicting the girl in the process of looking and creating subverts viewers’ expectations and challenges stereotypes. The girl is an active subject whose gaze is indirectly fixed on viewers through the screen of her phone, appearing to watch them watching her. Habjouqa shows this young woman as a creator in her own right, upending the stereotypical objectified role of Arab women.

Tanya Habjouqa, Untitled, from the series “Women of Gaza,” 2009; Pigment print, 27 5/8 x 39 3/8 in.; Courtesy of the artist and East Wing Contemporary Gallery

Tanya Habjouqa, Untitled, from the series “Women of Gaza,” 2009; Pigment print, 27 5/8 x 39 3/8 in.; Courtesy of the artist and East Wing Contemporary Gallery

The work also explores the identity of the photographer. Habjouqa involves her subjects as active participants in creating their portraitsrejects the role of photographers as objective or removed from the circumstances they document. Habjouqa describes her collaborative relationship with the women in these photographs as an essential part of “telling the human story.”

New Possibilities

Artists like Tavakolian and Habjouqa are not simply investigating their own identities. They also share new possibilities for Arab and Iranian female identity and argue that women must be participants in—rather than objects of—representations that seek to tell meaningful stories. By portraying their subjects as active creators and storytellers, these artists reject stereotypes and offer images of women empowered to forge their own paths.

—Kait Gilioli is the summer 2016 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Art Fix Friday: June 10, 2016

The Tony Awards take place this Sunday, June 12, and the category of best actress in a musical is highly competitive, featuring Cynthia Erivo for The Color Purple, and Philippa Soo for Hamilton, as well as performances by Jessie Mueller (Waitress), Carmen Cusack (Bright Star), and Laura Benanti (She Loves Me). Artinfo analyzes the likely outcome.

The Salt Lake Tribune calls Erivo “a ball of confident energy.”

Front-Page Femmes

In an interview on Juxtapoz, artist Nina Chanel Abney describes making political art that “has been described as easy to swallow, hard to digest.”

The New York Times highlights “Call Her Applebroog,” a short documentary film about “inventive, provocative” artist Ida Applebroog. The film, made by the artist’s daughter, Beth B, captures a “vivid snapshot of a still-vital artist late in a still-purposeful life.”

Slate reviews a new memoir by feminist journalist Susan Faludi about her trans father.

The Guardian profiles Mary Heilmann, “finally enjoying a welcome career surge in her eighth decade . . . [for her] off-kilter paintings and brightly coloured chairs.”

Noisey says that both Björk and Beyoncé use their new music to “wholeheartedly reject the passivity that is expected from female popstars.”

Left to right: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye wins a South Bank Award; Ana Teresa Fernandez paints a “window” in the U.S.-Mexico border fence; and Carmen Herrera talks about her career

Left to right: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye wins a South Bank Award; Ana Teresa Fernandez paints a “window” in the U.S.-Mexico border fence; and Carmen Herrera talks about her career

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye won a South Bank Award for Verses After Dark, a 2015 exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries in London.

Juxtapoz highlights Ana Teresa Fernandez as she “destroy[s] visually this wall between México and the USA.”

Following Carmen Herrera’s 101st birthday, the Huffington Post interviews the abstract artist about her long career.

Hyperallergic describes Fatima Al Qadiri’s new “protest album . . . [that] speaks directly of war and powerlessness, of inequality and voicelessness.”

The New York Times followed art dealer Dominque Lévy during her preparations for Art Basel.

Hyperallergic examines new work by Cindy Sherman: “Sherman’s new series . . . is a bold act of intimate personal expression.”

During the Glastonbury Festival, a women-only venue will offer live music as well as workshops on “intersectionality, diversity, and inclusion.”

Artist Kara Walker interviews her father about an exhibition of his work that she curated.

Shows We Want to See

Hyperallergic dubs Nicole Eisenman, whose work is on view at both the New Museum and Anton Kern, “A Truly Great Artist.”

The LA Times reviews an exhibition of drawings by Helen Rae, in which female figures “pop out from their surroundings like peacocks in a snowstorm.”

The Whitney Museum’s Mirror Cells includes sculptures by five artists (four of them women). Art News describes its focus as the “movement toward the use of humble materials, figurative elements, and also what [co-curator Jane] Panetta called ‘this idea of people willingly engaged with narrative, but also narratives that have to do with political issues, or with personal issues.’”

Annie Leibovitz shows Women: New Portraits in Hong Kong.

Art News shared images of Mélanie Matranga’s Feeling Myself at Karma International in Los Angeles.

—Elizabeth Lynch is the editor at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Opening Tomorrow: Alison Saar In Print

Alison Saar (b. 1956, Los Angeles) is an American artist known for her sculptures, installations, and prints. Alison Saar In Print, on view through October 2, features 13 prints and three sculptures by the artist, focusing on Saar’s printmaking in relation to her sculptural work.

Installation view of  Alison Saar In Print at NMWA

Installation view of Alison Saar In Print at NMWA

As the daughter of renowned assemblage artist Betye Saar, Alison Saar grew up surrounded by art and became familiar with the process of printmaking through her mother’s work. Saar often creates prints based off of her completed sculptural works. Referring to herself as “a woodcarver primarily,” she began creating woodcut prints because she was already familiar with the process of woodcarving through sculpture. “I could do it at home . . . and so I liked the immediacy of it.  I think I like the way the wood in woodcuts translates my ‘mark,’” says Saar.

cottoneater

Alison Saar, Cotton Eater II, 2014; Woodcut on paper; 72 x 34 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., Promised gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore; © Alison Saar; Photo: Lee Stalsworth

The accessibility of prints is appealing to Saar, as well as the opportunity to visually rethink her more labor-intensive sculptural works. She says, “Sculptures are always bounded by gravity. . . Whereas prints and drawings allow me to expand into space and create.”

The works on view explore themes of gender, race, culture, and history. Because her work comes from “a very autobiographical place,” Saar often examines her personal experience as a black woman. Bold colors and textural details as well as elements of myth and legend reveal Saar’s interest in a range of cultures—particularly of the African diaspora.

Many of her prints also focus on the female body. Instead of portraying women as objects of desire, Saar depicts female figures that “spoof the odalisques painted by males, making them powerful women who stare down those scrutinizing them.”

“It’s a way to bring inequities and injustices to the forefront and to express things that are not often expressed or are ignored. . . . Exploring these ideas through art sometimes makes it more accessible for people because they don’t have their defenses up,” says Saar.

Like the sculptures that inspire them, Alison Saar’s prints are visually compelling and thematically complex. Her works combine powerful color, texture, and symbolism to draw attention to issues and identities that are often ignored.

Alison Saar In Print is on view in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, June 10–October 2, 2016. Visit the museum for lunchtime gallery talks about the exhibition Wednesdays July 13 and August 10 at noon.

—Kait Gilioli is the summer 2016 publications and communications/marketing intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.