As They Saw It: Women Artists Then and Now

 In Future Exhibitions

As They Saw It: Women Artists Then & Now

April 2 – September 2, 2024

As They Saw It: Women Artists Then & Now celebrates the vision and creativity of American women artists working across three centuries. The exhibition emphasizes varied experiences and approaches to artmaking, while pushing back against the underrepresentation of women in the arts. The over 60 works on view showcase how women—despite social, economic, and cultural barriers—express their identities and shape their “herstories” through artistic expression.

Drawn from the collections of three partner museums—the Springfield Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Fenimore Art Museum—and organized by an all-women curatorial team, As They Saw It foregrounds collaboration and connection. The paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, and sculptures are in dialogue across three thematic sections. The first features self-portraits and explorations of identity by artists including Kyra Hicks. In the second, the powerful bonds of sisterhood and community are conveyed through artworks such as Dancing on the George Washington Bridge II by Faith Ringgold. Finally, the closing section calls attention to the importance of multi-generational relationships and highlights women’s roles as stewards of knowledge, creative practices, and artistic techniques. Representing these concepts are works such as a 19th-century Diné Women’s Dress with a contemporary Sash by D. Y. Begay.

Showcasing how women artists have defined, supported, and sustained one another, As They Saw It: Women Artists Then & Now sheds light on the essential contributions of American women artists. In an era of debate about women’s rights and when museums are striving to increase representation in their collections, the exhibition embraces conversations about contemporary issues related to the arts, advocacy, and gender.

Sponsored in part by Nellie and Robert Gipson and NYCM Insurance.

As They Saw It is one in a series of American art exhibitions organized through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership led by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.

 

Image Credits:

1) Self Portrait, 1885, Ellen Day Hale, oil on canvas, H: 28 1/2 x W: 39 in., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Gift of Nancy Hale Bowers. 1986.645.

2) Self-Portraits in Mirror, 1978, Oriole Farb, lithograph, H: 23 x W: 18.5 in., Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, Anonymous Gift. 79.D13. Photograph by John Polak.

3) Basket, c. 1920, Elizabeth Conrad Hickox, myrtle sticks, split willow or wild grape root, maidenhair fern, dyed porcupine quills, H: 3.38 x Dia. 3.38 in., and Basket, c. 1915, Louise Bernice Hickox, Wiyot/Hupa, Klamath River, California, myrtle sticks, split willow or wild grape root, beargrass, maidenhair fern, H: 8 x Dia. 7 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Michael Engl. Thaw Collection, T0815a-b and T0816a-b. Photograph by Richard Walker.

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