NBMAA dedicates year to female artists

Published on Monday, 6 January 2020 16:05
Written by Ciara Hooks


NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Museum of American Art will be presenting “2020/20+ Women at NBMAA,” a series of seven exhibits on display from January 2020 through January 2021 devoted to the works of female artists.

This exhibit will honor the centenary of women’s suffrage in America and provide a 12-month platform for female artists in the context of the milestone year.

“The picture of American art of the 21st century is one of a rich and varied diversity, reflecting America’s evolving national identity,” said Ming Jung Kim, director of the museum. “To be truly ‘American’ now means to embrace diversity. Yet 100 years after women were granted equal voting rights by the 19th Amendment, women artists are still significantly under-represented - not only in the NBMAA’s collection, but in most of the nation’s art museums.”

The artists selected for this exhibit represent diversity in race, ethnicity, age, experience, multiple perspectives, cultural backgrounds, career, geography and media. For example, Kara Walker explores race, gender, violence and identity in representations of the African-American experience.

Anni Albers is considered the most important textile artist of the 20th century, as well as an influential designer, printmaker and educator.

Shantell Martin’s work is unique in her innovative and multidisciplinary output - combining art, commerce and technology - while Jennifer Ma’s interdisciplinary practice bridges installation, public art and performance, and community engagement.

Helen Frankenthaler has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the 20th century.

“Our initiative challenges this underrepresentation by celebrating the innovative work and outsized impact of female-identifying artists throughout American history. And we are doing this in one of the oldest museums of American art in this country,” said Kim.

According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the artists in most museums collections are 87% male and 85% white. Only 27% of major exhibits are devoted to women artists worldwide.

The museum will also present two group thematic exhibitions as part of the 2020 program. One exhibit, “Anything but Simple: Shaker Gift Drawings and the Women Who Made Them,” features rare Shaker “Gift” or “Spirit” drawings created by women between 1843 and 1857, which are unique to the Shakers and to American culture.

The other is titled “Some Day is Now: Women, Art and Social Change,” and marks the centennial of American women’s suffrage. It features artists including Yoko Ono, Nancy Spero, Juane Quick-to-See Smith, Carrie Mae Weems and Guerrilla Girls, whose work advocates for social empowerment and change. Individually and collectively, the works by these artists challenge and inspire women and people of all genders, races and ethnicities, according to the museum.

“The arts and cultural heritage of our great metropolitan centers and of cities like New Britain, as well as other small towns, villages and rural communities tell a quintessentially American story,” said Kim. “The NBMAA has always been committed to reflecting various American visual expressions.”

The New Britain Museum of American Art, at 56 Lexington St., is the first institution dedicated solely to acquiring American art. It provides exciting and relatable exhibitions that help bring a little bit more information and beauty to the community and the world. It also provides programs and free low-cost art classes after school for children.

For more information about the museum, visit www.NBMAA.org .

Ciara Hooks can be reached at 860-801-5082 or chooks@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News on Monday, 6 January 2020 16:05. Updated: Monday, 6 January 2020 16:07.