National Museum of Women in the Arts Now Open to the Public

By Editorial Team on March 9, 2021

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is once again open to the public, premiering two new exhibitions: Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend and Mary Ellen Clark: Girlhood. Visitors are encouraged to purchase timed tickets in advance and are required to adhere to health and operational protocols outlined here, including wearing a mask for the visit’s duration.

In-person gallery talks, tours and public programs remain canceled. A short audio guide of key artworks in the collection is available. Visit NMWA’s online calendar for a robust offering of virtual programs, including Art Chats with NMWA educators, conversations with artists, collection highlights talks, happy hours and more. The first and third Sundays of the month are free Community Days where visitors can explore our collection and special exhibitions.

Sonya Clark, Afro Abe II, 2010; Five-dollar bill and thread, 4 x 6 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Sonya Clark; Photo by Lee Stalsworth.

Exhibitions on View
Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend
Through May 31, 2021
Textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark (b. 1967) is renowned for her mixed-media works that address race and class, celebrate Blackness and reimagine history. This midcareer survey includes the artist’s well-known sculptures made from black pocket combs, human hair and thread as well as works made from flags, currency, beads, sugar, cotton plants, pencils, books, a typewriter and a hair salon chair. The artist transmutes each of these objects through her application of a vast range of fiber-art techniques: Clark weaves, stitches, folds, braids, dyes, pulls, twists, presses, snips or ties within each work. By stitching black thread cornrows and Bantu knots onto fabrics, rolling human hair into necklaces and stringing a violin bow with a dreadlock, Clark manifests ancestral bonds and reasserts the Black presence in histories from which it has been pointedly omitted.

Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood
Through July 11, 2021
An icon in modern photography, Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015) documented people around the world who would otherwise be unknown or forgotten. From street children in Seattle to circus performers in India, Mark captured the lives and stories of individuals with empathy, humor and candor. Drawn from an exceptional recent donation of more than 160 photographs by the artist, given to the museum by members of the Photography Buyers Syndicate, this exhibition presents 31 images Mark made throughout her career depicting girls and young women. Photographs from many of the artist’s best-known series reflect her wondrous and uncanny vision of girlhood.

Julie Chen: True to Life
Through June 30, 2021
Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Renowned book artist Julie Chen combines highly complex structures and poetic reflections to create ambitious artists’ books that raise questions about time, memory and human survival. Chen carefully engineers books in ways that create unmistakable, powerful unity of text and object. Julie Chen: True to Life presents a selection of the California-based artist’s captivating works from throughout her 33-year career.

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero
Through May 2, 2021
The dynamic works of Mexico City-based artist Betsabeé Romero (b. 1963) form the newest chapter in NMWA’s public art program, the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, established in 2010. Signals of a Long Road Together comprises four sculptures developed expressly for this installation. Using a process similar to tattooing, Romero carves figures and intricate patterns into the sidewalls and treads of tires, which are then filled with gleaming metallic paint. The tires are assembled into totemic structures that speak to themes of human migration and the natural environment. Romero’s sculptures are the first in the New York Avenue Sculpture Project to incorporate interior lighting, which gives each piece an otherworldly glow after dark.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum inspires dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today. The collections highlight painting, sculpture, photography, and video by artists including Louise Bourgeois, Mary Cassatt, Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Shirin Neshat, Faith Ringgold, Pipilotti Rist, Amy Sherald and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.

NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. It is open Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sun., noon–5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youths 18 and under. Admission is free the first and third Sunday of each month. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.orgBroad Strokes BlogFacebookTwitter or Instagram.