The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128
Feminist challenges to creative and institutional limits have been widely influential in art since the 1960s. Much of the feminist movement aimed to overcome the male-dominated modes of heroic and formalist painting. Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism is primarily drawn from The Jewish Museum’s outstanding collection of feminist art, and will include select loans. By embodying a distinctive coupling of Jewish and feminist content, the thirty works in the exhibition emphasize the social and cultural dimension of creative self-expression. Individual artists as well as feminist social networks expressed a critical Jewish feminist consciousness in paintings that confront anti-Semitism and question assumptions about family, home, the body, ritual, faith, and conventional symbols. The exhibition texts and website will contextualize the interrelationships of artists working in groups such as the Feminist Art Program, the Heresies Collective, and Ridykeulous. There will also be a database and chronology of all female artists who have shown at The Jewish Museum since the 1940s.
Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism for the first time places Feminist art in a larger historical context that explores its roots in Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and Minimalism, and presents the practices of today. Feminist Painting begins with personal paintings by Eva Hesse, Audrey Flack, and Lee Lozano created at the dawn of a resurgent feminist position in postwar American art. The next section focuses on a core group of pioneering feminist artists, including Ida Applebroog, Judy Chicago, Joyce Kozloff, Elaine Reichek, Miriam Schapiro, Joan Semmel, Joan Snyder, Nancy Spero, and Hannah Wilke. Working in diverse techniques, such as abstraction, photorealism, collage, and embroidery, these artists created new styles and directly confronted taboos of sexual representation and discrimination. The last section of the exhibition extends to the present, when feminist impulses remain vital in recent paintings by Dana Frankfort and others, which target the representation of women in popular culture. The show will include several male artists who create paintings that embody a feminist aesthetic.