March is Women’s History Month, and TODAY is International Women’s Day! To mark the occasion, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is once again asking: Can you name five women artists?
- 51% of U.S. visual artists are women. They earn 81 cents for every $1 by a male artist.
- In the book Basic History of Western Art, 8% of the artists are women. Less than 1% are women of color.
- 5% of artworks on major museum walls are by women.
Women are less likely to have gallery representation, to get solo shows, and to make the big bucks at auction. See sourcing and more statistics, in this infographic.
In 2017, we wrote about the hugely successful #5WomenArtists campaign, started by NMWA, which challenges people to share the names of five women artists they know. In 2018, we shared a round up of our favorite artful links for Women’s History Month.
Now that you’re aware, here are some ways to take action!
Celebrate International Women’s Day at National Museum of Women in the Arts
Here in the DMV, we’re lucky to have the National Museum of Women in the Arts, open 362 days a year. Go ahead and pay them a visit now; we’ll be here when you get back.
… Welcome back! The NMWA addresses a huge gap in museum collections all over the globe, which vastly under represent women.
Whether you can name 5, 50, or 100 women artists, this month’s full of opportunities to find and support women artists who are new to you. Here are some exhibits to see and events to attend:
More exhibits to see…
Ann Pickett’s “The Exuberance of Life” (Open March 9 through April 7 in The Art League Gallery Solo Room): With movement, mystery and appetite for life, the work of painter Ann Pickett intertwines the figure with its environment in “The Exuberance of Life.”
Ambreen Butt “Mark My Words” (On view December 7, 2018–April 14, 2019 at NMWA): Mark My Words reflects the multilayered aspects of mark-making in Butt’s art through her exceptional range of techniques—including drawing, stitching, staining, etching, and gluing—while also speaking to broader ideas about women making their marks on society.
Torpedo Factory Art Center (open 7 days a week), including The Art League gallery, is full of working women artists in every medium you can imagine. This blog post by Visit Alexandria has some suggestions on studios to visit. Take time to wander each of the floors…and chat with the local artists creating art right in front of you!
Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad by Jeanine Michna-Bales (at Alexandria Black History Museum, February 2–March 16): Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade meticulously researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom. While the unnumbered routes of the Underground Railroad encompassed countless square miles, the path Michna-Bales documented encompasses roughly 2,000 miles and is based off of actual sites, cities, and places that freedom-seekers passed through during their journey.
The portrait of Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald is on view indefinitely at the National Gallery of Art.
Articles to read
Why wait until the museums are open? You can read about women artists right now:
- Here are 11 Female Abstract Expressionists Who Are Not Helen Frankenthaler (Artsy)
- What the Data Tell Us About the Challenges Facing Female Artists of Color (Hyperallergic)
- Can you name #5WomenArtists? Here’s a list to get you started (The Lily)
- How Women Are Using Digital Platforms to Find Parity in the Arts, (Observer)
- These women are some of America’s greatest artists. Why don’t they get the respect they deserve? (Washington Post)
- 201 Artists You Should Remember This International Women’s Day (Huffington Post)
Closer to home, in the past year, this blog has interviewed 17 women artists who exhibited in our gallery or who taught a class this year:
- Kay Walsh
- Karen Schmitz
- Deborah Conn (and here)
- Tone Olson
- Beverly Ryan
- Jackie Saunders
- Donna Reinsel
- Kathleen Calhoun
- Kathryn Mohrman
- Tess Olson
- Tania Karpowitz
- Julia Dzikiewicz
- Linda Lowery
- Mary Beth Gaiarin
- Candace Edgerley
- Teresa Oaxaca
- Jennifer Allevato
We hope you have an enlightening Women’s History Month! If you learn about any new women artists whose work you want to share, won’t you leave us a comment below?
Films to watch
Documentaries are one of our favorite ways to learn about artists we like. Here are five to watch this month, or any time:
- Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (2014) (view on PBS)
- Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2012) ($3.99 on Amazon Video, also on other services)
- What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann (2005) ($2.99 on Amazon Video, free with Prime)
- Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress, & the Tangerine (2008) ($2.99 on Amazon Video, free with Prime)
- Guest of Cindy Sherman (2008) ($3.99 on Amazon Video