Thursday, October 11, 2012

Go to Elles

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at an amazing new exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum a few days ago, Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Because I couldn't phrase it any better, here's a description from SAM's site about the exhibition:

Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris is a landmark exhibition of more than 130 works of art made by 75 women artists from 1907 to 2007. Organized by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, home to the Musée National d'Art Moderne—the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe—this exhibition is an unforgettable visual experience that will challenge visitors' assumptions about art of the past century. This survey of daring painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and installation by pioneering women artists offers a fresh perspective on a history of modern and contemporary art. With humor, disdain, sensuality and ambiguity, these women represent the major movements in modern art—from abstraction to contemporary concerns.
Artists include Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Dora Maar, Diane Arbus, Marina Abramovic, Louise Bourgeois, Atsuko Tanaka, Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Hannah Wilke, Nan Goldin and Tania Bruguera, among others.
An exhilarating exhibition that has already become a milestone in the history of exhibitions, Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris will excite the casual viewer as much as the hardboiled expert.

– Marisa C. Sánchez, Associate Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show...

Helen Frankenthaler, one of my favorite artists--male or female--of all time:

Jenny Holzer:

I love these. Not part of the show but one of my favorite of her pieces from this series is this guy:


A huge installation covering multiple walls, with multiple copies of the following texts:

Sonia Delauney, who I recently raved about:

Artist unknown -- but it was one of my favorites:

"Hilton Head Island, S.C., USA" by Rineke DijekstraHer work is amazing:

Cindy Sherman, who I think is pure genius:

Guerrilla Girls:

I love "Not having to undergo the embarrassment of being called a genius."

 I was unfamiliar with Guerrilla Girls prior to this exhibit, but they are spectacular. In their own words:

"We're a bunch of anonymous females who take the names of dead women artists as pseudonyms and appear in public wearing gorilla masks. We have produced posters, stickers, books, printed projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in politics, the art world, film and the culture at large. We use humor to convey information, provoke discussion, and show that feminists can be funny. We wear gorilla masks to focus on the issues rather than our personalities."

I can't say enough good things about the show, not to mention the opportunity it has given me to begin a dialogue with my two daughters, ages 6 and 4, about why women have their own exhibition -- why women are underrepresented in museum collections, in art history, and in all sorts of other places. You simply must go to Elles!

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