The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NWMA)—the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing great women artists—announces the return of the popular #5WomenArtists social media campaign in March for Women’s History Month. The campaign asks cultural organizations and individual social media users the question “Can you name five women artists?” It aims to help increase awareness of gender inequality in the art world. This year, the museum is asking social media users to place a special emphasis on sharing the stories of women artists of color who often face discrimination based on both race and gender.
Using the hashtag #5WomenArtists, the campaign will launch on March 1 on the museum’s website and blog as well as on the social media outlets Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Throughout the month, the museum will share information about women artists—including biographies, quotes and statistics—with #5WomenArtists. Last year more than 520 national and international cultural institutions and nearly 11,000 individuals joined the campaign to promote women artists in all 50 states and on seven continents.
“In this watershed era when influential men are losing their jobs due to sexual abuse and harassment, and women are speaking out with powerful #MeToo stories, discussions about gender inequity have renewed significance,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “There is no better time than now to raise awareness that the art world also disadvantages women’s opportunities and advancement, with women artists of color experiencing a double disadvantage in an already challenging field.”
“Very few collections highlight women artists. When talking about women artists of color the numbers drop even more dramatically,” said NMWA’s Director of Public Programs Melani Douglass. “Collections, exhibitions and programs are beginning to become more inclusive as leaders in the field actively push for equity, not only in the arts, but also in arts administration, so that those who are making the decisions about what’s bought, shown and discussed focus on equity for all women.”
To have an inclusive campaign and share a wide range of work by women artists, NMWA invites other art and cultural institutions to join in using #5WomenArtists on social media. To reach the widest possible audience, the museum’s posts will encourage the public to comment and share their own favorites.
Last year, the numerous participating institutions included the Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago; Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; National Gallery and British Museum, London; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota; and Australian Centre for Photography, Darlinghurst, New South Wales.
Recent statistics about gender inequality in the arts can be found on NMWA’s website.
Women’s History Month Events at NMWA:
- Drop-In Tour: Fierce Women
Sunday, March 4, 1–2 p.m.
Visitors will discover a diverse cast of “fierce women” who refused to let men define their place; thumbed their noses at the limited roles society accorded them, and blazed trails as artists, activists and innovators. From the 16th-century painter who was the family breadwinner to the contemporary photographer shaping new dialogues about gender roles, these women artists stand out. The tour is free to the public. No reservations are required, but space is limited. Visitors can sign up at the Information Desk upon arrival.
- Wikipedia Edit-a-thon 2018
Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
In honor of Women’s History Month, NWWA will host its fifth Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, focused on improving entries related to notable women artists. A lack of women contributors has added to gender disparities in Wikipedia representation. Event attendees will receive training and materials to help fix the gap. No experience is needed. Registration and a laptop are required. The event is free and open to the public.
- RIGHTING THE BALANCE III: Can there be gender parity in museums?
Sunday, March 18, 4:30–6 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m.
The third annual “Righting the Balance” Fresh Talk explores whether true gender parity in museums is possible. Museums across Europe including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Tate Modern in London and Musée d’Orsay in Paris are committing to presenting works by women artists and highlighting the contributions of women artists who have traditionally been overlooked. What do these changes mean, and how will they be sustained? What is the impact on institutions and audiences? Laurence des Cars, director of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Frances Morris, director, Tate Modern, London; and Eike Schmidt, director, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, address these questions and more. $25 general; $20 members, seniors, students. Reservations required. Reserve online.
- NMWA Nights: Welcome to Our House
Wednesday, March 28, 6–8:30 p.m.
Tap into your feminist side during this crafty happy hour event. Try your hand at subversive crafts inspired by Women House, enjoy comfort food-inspired snacks and delicious drinks, and take themed tours of the special exhibition and museum’s collection. $25 general or, at the door, donate new personal or household items (at least a $20 value per attendee). All proceeds benefit Washington, D.C., homeless and low-income women served by N Street Village. Check out N Street Village’s Amazon Wish List for acceptable donations. Reservations recommended. Register online. Admission fee or donation includes two drink coupons and all craft materials. This event is 21+. IDs will be checked at the door.
- Hung Liu In Print
January 19–July 8, 2018
Adapting figures from historical Chinese photographs, Hung Liu (b. 1948) reimagines antique depictions of laborers, refugees and prostitutes. After toiling for four years in rice and wheat fields as part of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Liu trained as a painter in her native China and later California, where she lives and works today. To create her works on paper, she blends an array of printing and collage techniques, developing highly textured surfaces, veils of color and screens of drip marks that transform the figures in each composition. Recently, Liu has begun to explore historical American subjects, particularly families caught in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, a context of struggle and migration that resonates for the artist. This focus exhibition continues NMWA’s exploration of innovations in printmaking, a medium in which women have worked since at least the 16th century.Hung Liu In Print, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and generously supported by the members of NMWA.
- Women House
March 9‒May 28, 2018
Questions about a woman’s “place” resonate in our culture, and conventional ideas persist about the house as a feminine space. Women House features more than 30 global artists who conceive of home as a place for demonstration and liberation rather than a space solely for nurturing comfort and stability. This new exhibition forms a sequel to the famous project Womanhouse, developed in 1972 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro. Similar to their artistic foremothers in the 1970s, contemporary artists in Women House recast conventional ideas about women and the home with acuity and wit, creating provocative photographs, videos, sculptures and room-like installations built with materials ranging from felt to rubber bands. Organized across eight themes—including “Desperate Housewives” and “Mobile Homes”—Women House emphasizes the plurality of contemporary women artists’ views on the home. NMWA is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition.Women House is organized by La Monnaie de Paris. Its presentation at NMWA is made possible by GRoW @ Annenberg and Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional funding is provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, Belinda de Gaudemar, Mahinder and Sharad Tak, and Étant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation. Étant Donnés is developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with lead funding from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, and Institut Français-Paris. Further support for Women House at NMWA is provided by American Airlines, the official airline of the museum’s 30th Anniversary.
- Monday–Saturday: 10am–5pm
- Sunday: 12pm–5pm
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youth 18 and under. Admission is free the first Sunday of each month.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located at 1250 New York Avenue NW. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org.